“Why are we here?” was written on the street note and in a way it summed up my feelings during the umverteilen! Demo1 two weeks ago. I had some hopes that enough people would show up to a demonstration that wasn’t organized by the far-right.2 However, the numbers were not that good, whether you take the offical police number of 3000 people or the activist number of 7000; both numbers are just too low while the crisis is still going on. It showed me that the mood and support for leftist politics are dwindling. It feels a bit like lying to yourself if this demonstration is considered as a success. For me it was a small who’s who of the left scene but the original target group was missing. Despite the widespread concerns about general inflation, the rent crisis and the energy price shock in particular, i didn’t had the feeling that those affected from it showed up. In my eyes, this is really sad. For weeks, activists had carried out various pre-activities, including neighborhood meetings, flyers in Spätis, painting banners together and smaller demos but that was not enough it seems. At least one good thing is it showed that the left scene in general is not totally absent and there were some interesting blocks in the demo like the care block i briefly saw, in which employees from hospitals and nursing professions have gathered.

One thing irritated me though: The route of the demo via Unter den Linden and especially Friedrichstraße. If you don’t plan to loot the rolex stores to make a statement, then why go through this area and not an area where people are affected by the crisis? While i was taking photos i walked on the sidewalk with all the tourists and rich people and yeah, of course solidarity was not found. Tourists made videos and laughed about the demonstrants as if the demonstrants were participants of a street clown parade. The rich people just made their usual shocked faces of disgust. I grinned (and also rolled my eyes) a bit when a lady in her pelt (a walking cliche) observed the demo and said “Poor police…”. Yeah sure, as if that was the biggest problem here…

My personal highlight though was the big “tax the rich” on the old walls of the Federal Ministry of Finance.3

I hope that the demonstration will lead to new connections and actions like a boost for the “Deutsche Wohnen enteignen”4 movement or the crisis alliance “Genug ist Genug”5 and that, despite the very similar demands, each group is not doing its own thing again.

  1. https://www.umverteilen.jetzt/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/UMV_Flyer_druck_D_2x.pdf ↩︎

  2. Sadly this is not a german only phenomenon. To say it blantly: Across western democracies, left-wing parties don’t represent the low-income and less educated people anymore and the right-wing parties try to replace them or allowed the non-voter group to grow. There is an interesting study about that topic: https://wid.world/document/brahmin-left-versus-merchant-right-changing-political-cleavages-in-21-western-democracies-1948-2020-world-inequality-lab-wp-2021-15/ ↩︎

  3. I had some good shots from it, but the film has to be developed yet. ↩︎

  4. https://www.dwenteignen.de/ ↩︎

  5. https://www.wirsagengenug.de/ ↩︎