DiEM25

Democracy in Europe Movement 2025

Berlin

Tag: Allianzen

DiEM25 @ G20 in Hamburg

Newcomer meeting

On Monday, June 19 we, the DSC (DiEM Spontaneous Collective = Local Group) Berlin invite you to our monthly newcomer meeting, at 19:00 in Roter Salon of Brotfabrik, at Caligariplatz 1 in 13086 Berlin.

Are you interested in DIEM25 and would you like to get a glimpse? Then you are very welcome. At the meeting, we will get to know us each other over coffee and conversation in a relaxed environment. You will have the opportunity to get to know more about DIEM25 and our DSC, to discuss, to complain or simply, to listen.
Whether you are completely new to the topic, already have specific ideas for our common future or bring experience from other movements or parties;
Whether you define yourself as old, young, rich, poor; whether you graduated from the streets or from a school.
Whether you consider yourself left, liberal, conservative, or don’t fit in any category;
Together, we want to stop the disintegration of Europe, find a way forwards to a better future.

Come join us, we are looking forward to meeting you!

DiEM25 Berlin gathering

DiEM25 Berlin invites you to an assembly and discussion. This will be our talking points:

  • Welcome
  • Recap Volksbühne Event
  • DiEM25 organisation in Berlin
  • Report of DiEM25 @ G20 in Hamburg
  • Report about a meeting with SPD Europarunde des Landes Brandenburg
  • July events from Liquid Democracy and Offenes Neukölln
  • Others

We will meet at the room “Versammlungsraum” (Mehringhof, Gneisenaustr. 2a, 10961 Berlin). To get there, you enter the yard, then turn left, pass by the bar, enter another yard where you take the stairs on the right side, leading up to Versammlungsraum.

Afterwards we will go for a little drink in one of the surrounding bars:)

Right to the city – DiEM-Lab #1

Since 2008 more people on earth are living in cities than in the country. Until 2030 there will be 5 billion people in cities. Therefor urbanisation is a planned development. In which direction this plan will develop and who is going to have the right to a say in the matter will be another question. For this reason the activist group of DiEM25 Berlin dedicated the first ‘DiEM-Lab’ to the topic ‘Building Rebel Cities’.

Building Rebel Cities

The theoretical concept of ‘Rebel Cities’ is going back on the book ‘Right to the city’ of french philosopher Henri Lefebvre from 1968. The name ‘Rebel Cities’ is due to the social theorist David Harvey. He traced urban development back to global monetary flow. Large scale projects like the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg or the airport Berlin-Brandenburg, for example, are built in big cities because international money is searching for profitable investment. In accordance with Harvey such  investments are indication of housing bubbles and economic crisis.

Furthermore the book ‘Rebel Cities’ points out the social aspects of urban communities. City researchers like Andrej Holm and Dirk Gebhardt show that it is about “concrete use of urban spaces … and access to political and strategic debates about future development paths”. At the beginning of the ‘DiEM-Lab’ Martin Pairet, activist of DiEM25 and member of the organisation ‘European Alternatives’, called attention to how promising the concept of ‘Rebel Cities’ could proof. There are several possibilities to make it a reality. For example Barcelona and Naples have the shape of a rebel city. Both municipalities form there own “Lab” with their own history, experience and above all their specific population. What about Berlin?

Whereas water privatisation was stopped in Naples and the municipality is organising water supply itself, also people in Berlin call for a different development. Lisa Vollmer researches housing protests in Berlin and New York and represented the alliance “City from Below” at the ‘DiEM-Lab’. The alliance is communally and self-governed. Lisa gave a very informative talk about recent political events and the everyday struggles around the topics of rising rents, public property and eviction.

City from below

Currently the alliance is mainly dealing with the so called ‘Dragoner-Areal’ a former army compound in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. It demands, that the area as “inner-city open area is developed along the interests of local users”. But the 4.7 hectare big area was already sold in 2012 with highest-bidding of about 21 million Euro from the Institute for Federal Real Estate to the investor ABR German Real Estate. The investor was planning upscale owner-occupied flats, cooperative buildings and new constructions. According to the building law the development plan has to take regard to the thorough collection of all interests and their fair consideration. Above all a comprehensive participation of the public and all parties involved. But the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg didn’t want to have that, which let to a withdrawal of German Real Estate to buy the area.

Therefor residents expressed “massive doubts about the promise of ‘affordable’ flats by a private investor” through a participation procedure. As a result the Institute for Federal Real Estate has again invited tenders through a highest-bidding contest. Within the rent city of Berlin (60 % of residents have right for social housing) is another group whose housing conditions are precarious: migrants.

Urban plurality

Max Hoßfeldt of the initiative ‘Give Something Back To Berlin’ (GSBTB) presented the work of his organisation at the ‘DiEM-Lab’. Just five years after its creation GSBTB is the biggest platform for neighbour initiatives and social employment in Berlin. It is dedicated to bring the big migrant community in Berlin to work together. GSBTB has hundreds of volunteers from over 60 countries. They differ from jetsetters to refugees and demand to “get involved”. This is an appeal to all people living in Berlin to build up communities and develop social projects. Already there are over 60 projects regarding different topics like centers for homeless people, mentor programs or creative children work. Today GSBTB can reach over 14.000 participants a year for their own refugee projects.

Christoph Wiedemann gave a different perspective on the topic escape and migration. He was in charge of an emergency accommodation for about 180 male refugees in Berlin. He reported about self organisation and self administration in that shelter. Some inhabitants argued to give rules to themselves and also to imply them whereas others had the opinion, with regard to the autocratic systems in their countries of origin, that the management of the shelter should give and imply the rules. Christoph pointed out that refugees are not a homogenous group and bring very different political opinions. Therefore alliances between democratic and progressive people with and without migration background are important.

Building Rebel Cities?

 The organisators of ‘DiEM-Lab’ were excited about the event. Johannes Fehr, coordinator of the DiEM25 Spontaneous Collective (DSC) 1 in Berlin, said that it was a very convenient event. He learned how ‘City from Below’ is working and how it is challenging the municipal institutions. Johannes underlined the aspect of working together and above all, that “refugees should have the right to vote” and the “institutions involved in municipal politics should become more democratic”. Also another activist for DiEM25 in Berlin praised the “mix” of the inputs as well as the atmosphere of the get-together. All participants could conclude that more participatory rights for refugees are needed and many urban initiatives need political representation. For the future DiEM25 can learn that the specific European character of the movement is a main advantage. Urban problems are present in all European, yet all cities worldwide. To gather these problems and coordinate solutions will be a massive task for our future.

DiEM25 – Next stop 2019?

#ReturntoBerlin

All information here: https://diem25.org/berlin-may-25/

For our guests we put together Transportation Tipps for Berlin.

We are looking forward to see you!

Berlin-wide organisational meeting

We would like to invite you to our next Berlin-wide DSC meeting on February 6th at 19:00. This meeting will be devoted to organizational issues of our DSC.

Please note: The next newcomer-meeting will be on 20th of February. Newcomer-meetings are for everyone who is new to our DSC or who would like to get more involved.

Topics we will talk about:

  • Topics to speak about, moderation
  • Presentation of the new communication culture (task force Diversity)
  • Presentation of the new structure of meetings of DSC Berlin 1
  • Speaking in the name of DiEM25 Berlin
  • Communication between different DSCs
  • Cooperation with Direkt KandidatInnen/ Festival in Kiel/ others
  • Other points

We will meet at the room next to the “Blauer Salon” (Mehringhof, Gneisenaustr. 2a, 10961 Berlin). To get there, you enter the yard, then turn left, pass by the bar, enter another yard where you take the stairs on the right side, leading up to Blauer Salon.

Change from below – City for everybody

In Berlin a broad alliance of local initiatives takes to the streets for social housing and self-determined organisation of the city by its inhabitants. Students of the Humboldt University of Berlin initiated this demonstration. What is exemplified by this demonstration is the consequence of extensive social change. A report.

The students present at the demonstration on Saturday did not exhibit signs of fatigue. Although they would have had every reason to be tired. For ten days already they have occupied the Institute of Social Sciences of Humboldt University. The catalyst for the lasting occupation has been the dismissal of their lecturer for City Sociology, Andrej Holm. Holm, who additionally saw himself forced to step back from his office as State Housing Secretary for the Berlin government, a coalition of the social democratic party (SPD), the Green and Left Parties (Die Grünen, Die Linke), a few days earlier, is known for his critical investigation into the development of city politics such as gentrification and the sell-out of the city.

„Andrej was our voice“, says a man of the Mieterprotest in Pankow during the students‘ plenary. The room in the Humboldt University’s Institute of Social Sciences is packed. According to the speaker, Holm had been the one listening to the Tenant’s Protest and had carried on their concerns and wishes.

The indignation about his dismissal is more than clear. Many statements like this are made. The students had invited local initiatives concerned with city politics and developments in their respective districts on that Friday. One could observe how numerous they were. “Kotti & Co”, “Tenants of the Otto-Suhr-Siedlung”, “Stadt von Unten”, “100% Tempelhofer Feld”. They are all united in their anger at Berlin city politics.

It becomes clear how this is about more than the Holm case. The political atmosphere is tense. It seems, as if many had waited for the opportunity, to voice their anger. “Presence and political Resistance” would not take place enough, commented Max, a student of Humboldt University, who for days has spent his nights at the institute. He feels “general dissatisfaction”, that now finally has found space to express itself through the occupation. But where does this dissatisfaction stem from?

Everywhere in German cities the rent level has risen over the last years. Even rooms in student dorms start at 400 Euros. Discrepancies of the economic development can be felt directly. While tax income flourishes as the state is reduced in size and companies and international financial capital reap unimaginable profits, academics but also craftsmen slip into financially precarious situations.

To blame is the often mentioned widening gap between the rich and the poor. It is macro structures like institutions, states and organisations with gigantic revenue on the one hand, and the many individuals on the other; “those above and us down here”. It is abstract.

Recently, Die Zeit dedicated an entire dossier to this trend. Democracy is in danger, was their message. “Earlier the German Parliament had many members that only [sic!] went through primary or secondary education. They were fabricants of tools, craftsmen, simple people.” Today this is not the case anymore, which is why increasingly these groups do no longer feel themselves represented. It is only logical that a political vacuum forms. Those most accountable for this development are the political parties. Who asks around about the upcoming federal parliamentary elections often encounters a general disorientation.

Party expenses for professional communications consultancy have multiplied over the last years. Any rigid distinction by content becomes increasingly difficult. Parties themselves have become parties of professional voters. True to the teachings of the market economy parties look for voters, like companies search for their clients. The alignment of political parties with topics that promise the biggest share of voters leads to the disregard of parts of society. Or, in the words of sociologist Didier Eribon, the neglect of entire social classes

What our world is living at the moment is that this vacuum of representation is filled by parties and individuals, who preach a bizarre and one-dimensional world view. AfD, Front National, Geert Wilders, Donald Trump. It seems almost ironic that it is this year that Germany, France and the Netherlands hold federal elections. In those countries, in which unidimensional populists from the right have found their way into the middle of society. Their victory is a victory of “Irrationality” as an editor recently called it. The true meanings of “postfactual” or “Fake News” are visualized brightly and vividly this way.

The grave changes in the structure of society, the transition from industrial to service societies, urbanization and migration, they all pose a new social question, one that should be read focusing on city politics, as city councillor for housing in Berlin, Ephraim Gothe, contends. And the market will surely not solve it. For this reason alone, Gothe wants to convert city politics in a “real leftist project”, as the Tagesspiegel wrote. The Holm case spreads major distrust in this context. Actually, there is no reason to think about city politics without thinking of financial politics. And finance and speculation are running wild, as can be seen. Selling is fast, to take something into communal ownership is a long, embattled, legal process.

The political and social questions, big or small, are local. Globalized politics deciding over the heads of people is abundant, just not in the here and now of the population. In their housing and lives. If the Berlin government wants to reverse this trend it will have to listen to numerous initiatives in city politics and let them participate in decision making, also to pull the rug out under right wing populism. The government will have to foster direct participation and the integration of citizens and social movements into the political decision making process.

Mitte letzten Jahres hatte der an der Humboldt Universität lehrende Politologe Wolfgang Merkel bereits gewarnt, junge Linke und Studierende hätten den Bezug zur „Unterschicht“ verloren, sie hätten sich Richtung globale Elite orientiert. Die studentischen Besetzer des sozialwissenschaftlichen Instituts der Humboldt Universität haben nun das Gegenteil bewiesen. Mit ihrem zur Verfügung gestellten Forum für stadtpolitische Initiativen für eine Stadt von Unten haben sie einen ersten Schritt getan hin zu einer kritischen, lokalen Öffentlichkeit, die ihr Recht auf Mitbestimmung einfordert.

Already in mid-2016, the political scientist Wolfgang Merkel of Humboldt University warned that young leftists and students had lost their connection to the “lower class”, that they had oriented themselves in the direction of global elites. The student occupants of the institute of social science of Humboldt University have proven the contrary. Through the forum they provide to local initiatives and movements in city politics, for a “Stadt von Unten”, a city from below. They have made the first step towards a critical and local public that demands its right for participation.

They are all present on this sunny Saturday in the heart of Berlin. United and loudly they demonstrate in front of the Rotes Rathaus, (the city hall), the Humboldt Forum, the city palace, the old city hall, the Volksbühne. “These people want their city back”, is what a participant comments. She participates for the movement “Democracy in Europe Movement”, short for DiEM. She relates that DiEM wants to connect the “rebel cities” of Europe. Her role model in this respect is Naples, the only major European city that brought its water supply back into public ownership. “This shows the need for change from below”.

Wandel von Unten, change from below, that is what the calls of the demonstrants demand among the historic buildings of Berlin.

Lively start into 2017

Our DiEM25 group started lively into the New Year. Good, as the general elections in Germany are just around the corner and we plan great things for 2017.

We had an intensive Newcomer meeting on the 9th of January. After a short introduction to DiEM25 and our work in Berlin, we spread into small groups with the 60 participants to work on different topics. We had discussions about DiEM25 policy papers and our internal organisation. Also the new taskforce “diversity” was founded, which will deal with the important task to include different human beings into DiEM25 to make our movement as colourful and diverse as our society.

On the 15th of January our second DiEM25 documentation night followed at B-Lage in Neukölln. We presented the crowdfunded documentary “This is not a coup”. It describes the European Central Bank’s (ECB) financial interventions in states like Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece. Featuring well-known academics, politicians and journalists, “This is not a coup” analyses the interdependences of EU institutions with big corporations and banks and the undemocratic and hidden influence they exert on national politics. After the film we had an interesting exchange with the audience and are looking forward to the documentation night on the 19th of February.

Do you want to join? Contact berlin1dsc@de.diem25.org

5th Congress European Left – Berlin 2016

logo_5_el_congress_berlin_300x158The Party of the European Left (EL) will hold its 5th Congress this December in Berlin, Germany, gathering delegations from all its parties to decide on the political focus for the next three-year term.

The EL Congress will address important issues such as the creation of a broad left-wing front to stand against fascism and the far-right, the fight against tax evasion and the rupture with the negotiations of TTIP, TISA and CETA. The EL stands for a Europe that allows people to take control over economic choices, advocates equal rights for all, dignified welcome and a policy to help migrants and refugees, a Europe that works for peace and not for war and fear.

According to the EL statutes, the Congress will also elect the new ruling bodies and it will decide on the accession of new member parties, observers and partners.

The Congress will take place at the BCC – Berlin Congress Center, between the 16th and the 18th of December 2016.

DiEM25 Berlin will be present. Informations also on Facebook.

© 2017 DiEM25 Berlin