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Come on Barbie Let’s go Smash the Patriarchy*

*Assuming the patriarchy is just, like, totally bad vibes


***Possible spoilers below but I have minimised references to the movie’s plot***

I have to admit, the Barbie live action film won me over. I expected to be swept up in the wave of enthusiasm for the film, dragged along simply so I could be in the loop with the prevailing culture. Only to find myself enthralled by the film’s visual narrative and style. Greta Gerwig has, with garishness to match Barbie’s, woven themes of feminism, existentialism, contemporary culture war debates – into a two hour advertisement for a multinational toy making giant.

Politically speaking the movie is, to paraphrase Chris Morris, an exotic display for the court. A comedy that leaves all the right people ribbed but unscathed. A satire that breaks balls while acquiescing to the hegemonic ideals of prevailing politics. But it has an hypnotic power, tailored for a disenchanted generation of millennials, that merits grudging praise.

The movie opens with Helen Mirren’s magisterial voice narrating the world we are about to witness, its opening scene immediately declaring for a cause: “SMASH THE PATRIARCHY!”

Immediately, the sceptical viewer is disarmed by the visual metaphor; delivered as it is – with an unapologetic panache. ‘Barbieworld’ is a particular version of a feminist utopia where incredibly smooth skinned, hairless himbos, clad in eye popping pastel shades that might spontaneously cure monochromatism, ornament the lives of the ceiling smashing Barbies that dominate society. Theirs is a benevolent dictatorship, where men are disenfranchised but treated exceptionally better than the real world dominated by the patriarchy.

Ryan Gosling plays one of the many Kens in this film as the himbo primus inter pares while Simu Liu portrays his rival and homoerotic object of desire. As they both vie for Robbie’s attention, they butt heads aggressively – un-aggressively. While taking turns threatening to beach the other off — instantly coining a double entendre that might just take off. Despite the terrific concentration of abs and male chest cleavage (notably absent for the women throughout the film) on display, men have been tamed of their aggression. You can tell this won’t last. A two hour advertisement cannot sustain itself on pure feel good wish casting alone.

Barbie exhibits an admirable ideological dexterity. It self-consciously makes an effort to superficially validate the angst brewing in the contemporary generation just coming of age. The conduit of these concerns is portrayed by a moody teenage girl who just needs to grow out of it. It is an inherently conservative critique that mirrors the logic of conservative reactionaries the film seeks to rebut.

Mattel is run solely by men, a fact explicitly and self-evidently acknowledged as hypocritical. It is in the boardroom that structural inequality gets a brief moment of acknowledgement through the best line in the movie when Connor Swindell (Sex Education’s Adam Groff) says:

“I’m a man with no power. Am I a woman?”

This is the closest the movie comes to a materially grounded understanding of patriarchy.

Obedience to the profit motive is demonstrated by the chicanery of executives trying to put women back in their box, alongside their tedious declarations of alliance to women through umbilical connections. Mattel is being satirised in its own advertisement for its own benefit. Rooseveltian notions of saving capitalism from itself come to mind in the exotic display of self-criticism Will Ferrell’s character embodies.

For Gerwig, patriarchy is best theorised as a virus that can infect an unsullied society like Barbieworld. just as small pox infected the indigenous people’s of North America and wrought their destruction; a reference explicitly made in the film and a contender for the most unintelligent and distasteful line in the whole film. Yet it is also one of its most revealing.

The patriarchy is a set of bad ideas that infect the body politic and, with enough preaching, it can be reversed. It is maintained and reproduced solely by conviction. Violence never factors into it and how could it? That would upend the tension the film expertly maintains. The very concept of structural discrimination, so commonly discussed in North American political discourse, is thus negated at a stroke. The musical sequences, sudden interjections of Mattel advertising, moments of vulnerable candour, uproarious moments of humour — all work in synergy to soften the senses in preparation for ingesting this message. And they work with a beautiful synchrony.

Gerwig and co-writer/husband Noah Baumbach have anticipated every ideological punch and presented the most coherent vision of liberal feminism through the medium of kitsch. For their exceptional craft, they deserve credit and even admiration. Radical feminism does not have the budget or the rights to intellectual property for rebutting the politics of Barbie through its own framework but if it did, it can learn a lot from their craftsmanship.

Barbie is a challenging film, that requires serious engagement, armoured with a disarming coat of magenta coloured ideological cotton candy. Like Gosling’s dreamy eyes and knee-wobbling smile, it asks you to put the encroaching flames on the horizon out of sight and join in a dance with the Kens and the Barbies. To imagine a world where we are Kenough. To manifest feminist utopia with good intentions and sheer will. Even the moody teenager cheers up, grows close to her mom, works within established institutions to redress the patriarchy. So why can’t you? In essence, serious grown ups try to establish an all female Supreme Court rather than fruitlessly endeavour to strip it of its power.

This film works diligently to expose truths about the real world within an unreal one. Yet it is peculiar how successfully it bounds our imagination within the limited ideological confines of its stupidly wealthy architects. But we need only to follow through on its central metaphor by placing ourselves in Barbieworld and crossing over to the messier domain of the real world. Except that – Barbieworld was conceived and constructed in the very world we occupy. We are all, more than we realise, Barbie.

The right has not won, neither has the left

VOX failed to make a breakthrough in last week’s Spanish election, but the Left has some serious questions to answer

Last Sunday, July 23rd, General Elections were held in Spain. The media, the polls (with a couple of exceptions) and even the prevailing mood suggested that the conservative Partido Popular (PP) and the extreme right VOX would get more than 176 seats, the number needed for an absolute majority in parliament. Yes, in Spain, the right wing is able to make a pact with the extreme right without any problems. We have seen this after the regional and municipal elections of May 28. They govern together in Extremadura, Castilla y León (since 2022), Valencia and the Balearic Islands, among others.

At 9 pm the two main pollsters, Sigma Dos and GAD3, presented their exit polls. According to Sigma Dos, the right wing could miss out on government by a very small margin, while GAD3 considered an absolute majority for the Right to be a certainty. Cuca Gamarra, PP spokesperson, went to the media to celebrate victory. The counting was quick. With approximately 70% of the vote counted, the social-democratic PSOE were set to win the elections. Later, the PP gained ground to gain slightly more votes than the PSOE (33,05% vs. 31,70%). Due to the Spanish provincial electoral system, the PP have 14 more seats in the Spanish parliament. There was also a fight for the third position between VOX and Sumar (the left-wing coalition of 15 parties, including Podemos, Izquierda Unida, Más País and Comuns). VOX ultimately gained third place with 0.08% more votes (12,39% vs. 12,31%) and two more seats.

The right wing cannot govern, even with the support of the Navarrese UPN, with whom they would have a total of 170 seats: 136 PP (up 47 since 2019), 33 VOX (-19) and 1 UPN (-1). The government coalition of PSOE and Sumar won 153 seats: 122 PSOE (+2) and 31 Sumar (-7). However, for a pact to support the Government, it is quite likely that the Basque left of Bildu (6, +1), the Catalan left of ERC (7, -6), the Basque Christian Democrats of PNV (5, -1) and the Galician left of BNG (1, =) can be counted on for a total of 172. It remains to be seen what the Canarian nationalists of Coalición Canaria (1, =) and, above all, the Catalan nationalists of Junts (7, -1) will do. With the distribution of seats on Sunday, an abstention by Junts would allow Pedro Sánchez’s government to be maintained.

The vote of Spaniards abroad, counted on Friday 29th, gave one last surprise. The PP in Madrid won 1 seat from the PSOE and left the balance at 171 to 171. Junts would have to support the government of Sanchez to be able to govern. If they abstained and Coalición Canaria supported the right, PP and VOX would govern. Some other parties are no longer in parliament. This includes the liberal-conservative Ciudadanos (who decided not to run), the Catalan left-wing CUP, the regionalists of Cantabria PRC, the Asturian regionalists Foro, the provincialists Teruel Existe, and the Catalan bourgeois party PdeCat.

Relief and contained breathing define the feeling in the Spanish left. It is difficult for the right and the extreme right to govern, but it is difficult for the left to do so as well. New elections cannot be discarded. Sumar, as a coalition of 15 parties, has lost 7 deputies and has not reached its goal of matching the 38 deputies it had in 2019.Instead they were squeezed by a campaign that was polarized between PP and PSOE. We could simply rejoice at the far right VOX losing 19 seats – countering the European trend of far right growth – but we should not be complacent.

Sumar is an invention created at full speed, with disputes and unclosed wounds between the members that compose it. In particular, there are disagreements around the integration of Podemos in the lists, which left out heavyweights of the party such as Irene Montero, Pablo Echenique or Rafael Mayoral. The leadership of Podemos and its media channel Canal Red, led by Pablo Iglesias, expressed their disagreement with the construction of Sumar from the beginning and there has been a feeling that, although Podemos’ militants were working hard, the leadership was not being completely honest.

Sumar has not been built democratically, that is a fact. Yes, many people have participated in the construction of its program, but this has in a rather dirigiste way led by the candidate Yolanda Díaz and her closest circle. The program is essentially social-democratic with some left-wing tints, especially around labour and ecology. However, the fact that the Spanish Greens are of part Sumar, makes, for example, the international policy ambiguous. Nevertheless, it must be recognized that the Greens of southern Europe are not comparable to the German Greens and have a more eco-socialist tradition behind them.

Sumar has gained presence in the electoral campaign, when it has expressed its differences with the PSOE. In the electoral debate, although Yolanda Díaz made clear her intention of governing with Pedro Sánchez, she did point out some points of difference, especially regardinf housing, migration and energy. Pedro Sánchez’s reaction was to say: “well, but we must have our feet on the ground”. That sentence reminds us why, even if there are coalition governments, a strong Left is necessary with a program of democratic rupture (and not just looking for pacts with the social democrats).

If the Left is weak or silent, the PSOE will apply the same economic policies as the PP, with a social facelift. But it is also important that Podemos and Izquierda Unida (with the Communist Party of Spain inside IU) remain within within Sumar. If not, the presence of the Greens (represented mainly by Ada Colau’s Comuns and Errejón’s Más País) can turn the Sumar project towards a more social democratic or social-liberal program with ecological overtones.

The questions that remain open to us are: will Sumar still exist in four years from now? What will Sumar be, a party, a coalition, a party roundtable? How will Sumar be built in a democratic way? For that, moment there are no answers, but this discussion cannot be delayed.

Jaime will be kicking off a discussion about the Spanish elections and the growth of the Far Right in Europe at the Berlin LINKE Internationals organising meeting on Monday, 7th August at Links*44, Schierker Str. 26. The meeting starts at 7pm and the discussion should start around 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome to join

Why the German Teachers’ Union prevented me from speaking about Child Labour in Palestine

Briefing by Israeli anti-Zionist activist and academic, Shir Hever


This article is the publication of an update sent out by Shir Hever to an email list.

Dear friends,

It has been a while since you heard from me. First of all, I apologize for sending you a long letter. It is possible this might even be the last letter related to the GEW scandal. Throughout this process, I have learned a great deal about German politics, legal structures, and how McCarthyism, censorship, and racism are handled.

Overview of the facts:

Last year, the GEW invited me to give an online lecture on child labor in Palestine. However, a week before the scheduled lecture, it was canceled without any explanation by Frank Orthen, the chairman of GEW Rhein-Neckar District.

The resulting scandal forced the GEW to provide an explanation. They referred to a secret letter from Dr. Michael Blume, the anti-Semitism commissioner of the state of Baden-Württemberg, as the reason for canceling the event. The GEW stated that while the topic of child labor in Palestine was important, they had concerns about the speaker (me) and did not believe I could say anything that the GEW could endorse.

Ricarda Kaiser, the deputy chairwoman of GEW Baden-Württemberg (GEW-BW), refused to show me the letter from Blume. Although she affirmed that I would still receive my lecture fee, the GEW did not pay it. Instead, they offered me hush money, hoping that I would not speak about the issue or publish anything. Naturally, I declined this offer.

The GEW doggedly refused to explain their reasons, meet with me, or discuss the situation. Hundreds of protest letters were sent to the GEW by individuals, including GEW members and the GEW group in Kassel, as well as various German organizations.

In response, I filed a lawsuit against the GEW to claim my fee. Monika Stein, the chairwoman of GEW-BW, refused to discuss the cancellation of the lecture at the GEW-BW assembly in Stuttgart with other GEW members, on the basis that the legal proceedings were ongoing.

For a comparison to my situation, the Volkshochschule in Offenburg also received a secret letter from Dr. Blume against their speaker, Peter Michael-Kuhn. However, unlike the GEW, the Volkshochschule decided to share the letter with Peter Michael-Kuhn and did not cancel the lecture. A simple act of responsibility and solidarity. Peter Michael-Kuhn also showed solidarity with me by allowing me to publish the letter about him, for which I am grateful.

Likewise, deeply outraged members of GEW-BW leaked Dr. Blume’s letter to me. As expected, Dr. Blume continues to insist that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic, despite the European Court of Human Rights establishing otherwise. Dr. Blume attacked me based on my opinion and not the subject matter of the lecture, which had no relation to the BDS movement.

This issue quickly spread beyond Baden-Württemberg. Claus Walischewski wrote an excellent article about the Nakba for the Bremen GEW newsletter. Sadly, at the end of the issue, the article was marked with a red stamp distancing the GEW from its content, although this stamp was not used for other articles. It seems that the Bremen GEW believes that the rights of the Palestinians are a subject they cannot support.

In response to this, a group of GEW members in Hesse wanted to organize a lecture with me on child labor in Palestine as a protest against the censorship in Baden-Württemberg. When Dr. Simone Claar, the deputy chairwoman of GEW-Hesse, learned about this, she announced that she would not allow an event with me to take place.

Dr. Simone Claar is a researcher who specializes in trade union issues in Africa, particularly in South Africa. She knows that the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) supports the BDS movement. It is questionable whether the GEW invites trade union members from South Africa as speakers, only to later disallow them due to their support for the BDS movement. Or does this censorship only apply to me?

I contacted Dr. Simone Claar to find out if her decision was racially motivated. I asked her if she imposed a professional ban on Jews or anyone who supports BDS. Unfortunately, I cannot quote what she said to me on the phone, but GEW-Hesse sent me a statement in response. It did not address the issue of racism or the reasons for banning an event with me; it merely emphasized the organizational structure of GEW-Hesse, stating that decisions about events are made by the GEW Hesse board and not activists.

The legal process for my fee lasted about half a year. The GEW’s response to my lawsuit was that the event was organized by GEW volunteers who did not have the authority to decide on event scheduling or fee payment. Agnes Bennhold, the organiser, has been volunteering for the GEW for many decades. She organized the event and officially requested the lecture to take place on October 27, 2022, with a fee of 250 euros. However, the GEW stated in court that they did not receive such authorization and did not explain why they sent an invitation and a link to the online event if it was not approved.

The court ruled in favor of the GEW, and I lost the case.

Political remarks:

Undoubtedly, there is a deep-rooted racism problem within the GEW. While the organization emphasizes democratic and progressive values in its statutes and declarations, its practical actions lean towards promoting McCarthyism, censorship, and discrimination. It is regrettable that they punished a Jewish speaker based on a secret letter from a white Christian. Additionally, Palestinian children are discriminated against in German schools, and the GEW, as a teachers’ union, seems to be part of the problem rather than the solution.

The GEW could have chosen a different path, but instead, they opted to silence critical voices rather than engage in open discussions with those who hold different opinions. The issues of racism and censorship were consistently ignored, and their responses were always the same — obedience to authority.

The GEW in Rhein-Neckar-Kreis had the opportunity to proceed with the original event as planned, but they regretfully chose to follow the “recommendation” from GEW-BW and canceled it. This recommendation was made based on a letter from Dr. Blume — a white Christian — without any discussion with me — a Jew. Why? Because Dr. Blume represents the government, and GEW-BW aligned themselves with the powerful against the weak.

Dr. Simone Claar did not explain her decision to ban the lecture, and her response to the accusation of racism merely referred to the hierarchical structure within the GEW, placing even greater responsibility for any misconduct on her shoulders. I will pass this response on to my contacts in COSATU to ensure they do not collaborate with the GEW and Dr. Claar.

Similarly, GEW-BW abused the trust of their volunteers, such as Agnes Bennhold (and many others), to win the court case. The most significant evidence presented by the GEW in court was the organization’s hierarchical structure, demonstrating that Agnes Bennhold could not decide on the event alone.

By doing so, the GEW saved 250 euros that should have been paid as a fee, but at the same time, they lost the trust of their volunteers. Who will now be willing to organize an event for the GEW without a written contract? Who will still be motivated to volunteer and promote initiatives within the GEW? The GEW was willing to go so far as to commit perjury and lie to the court just to win the legal proceedings.

A union’s duty is to protect its employees and represent them against powerful employers. Yet, the GEW consistently does not act like a union but rather more as a tool of suppression, aligning themselves with the strong against the weak — be it for Israel against Palestine, for Dr. Blume against me, or for Frank Orthen against Agnes Bennhold.

There are two possible explanations for this policy within the GEW in Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, and Bremen — a policy which has caused discontent among members and harmed the reputation of the GEW as well as the individuals in leadership positions: Frank Orthen, Ricarda Kaiser, Dr. Simone Claar, and Monika Stein. One explanation would be that the GEW acts uninformed and thoughtlessly regarding the situation in Palestine, leading to poor strategic decisions. The other explanation would be that the GEW is more willing to make sacrifices than to confront the structural racism within the organization itself, which leads to bowing blindly to authorities, even when they act unjustly. Both explanations have weighty arguments, which convince me that the GEW, under its current leadership, cannot be considered a serious trade union.

If the government decides to save money in the future by cutting teachers’ salaries, can we trust the GEW to stand up for teachers’ rights against the government? Maybe, but only if the teachers are white Christians.

I find it extremely difficult to understand how ethically minded people can continue to be members of the GEW and, more importantly, how they can continue to support the organization under its current leadership. Following the GEW abusing the trust of its own volunteers to win the court case, Frank Orthen, Ricarda Kaiser, Dr. Simone Claar, and Monika Stein all have no choice but to resign.

Personal remarks:

At the beginning, I mentioned that this might be the last letter I send regarding the GEW scandal. Yet here I am again because I believe I have done everything in my power to respond to the shameful submission of the GEW to racist pressure.

Initially, I was strongly tempted to leave the whole matter uncommented. In Germany, many lectures by speakers of different backgrounds are canceled, but when it comes to Palestinians, censorship is often accepted without newspaper articles or angry protest letters.

It was Monika Stein’s responsibility not to side with Dr. Blume and recommend the cancellation of my lecture without speaking with me or informing herself of the facts. The same applies to Frank Orthen, who should have stood by his volunteer and his promise to hold the event as planned, even when confronted with a recommendation from the regional chapter.

And so, it was also my responsibility not to remain silent in the face of arbitrary cancellation and to launch a campaign to expose the GEW and its McCarthyist behavior. This responsibility weighs even heavier considering my privilege as a Jew in Germany. I am not subjected to the same extent of racism and discrimination that Palestinians experience daily. In light of the prevailing racism in the GEW, it was more difficult for them to ignore my case than the many cases of silenced Palestinian voices that are simply overlooked. I could not simply shirk my responsibility.

The process undoubtedly demanded much from me. I was afraid to stand up against a powerful organization with an expensive lawyer and thousands of members. At the same time, I was angry at the wall of silence behind which Stein, Orthen, and Dr. Claar attempted to hide. And I was disappointed and saddened when I ultimately lost the case. These feelings still accompany me—fear, anger, and sadness.

Throughout this process, I lost time, sleep, and some money. I regret the money the least, instead I recall the Yiddish word “rebegeld” — money lost in exchange for a valuable lesson.

I wish I could now say that the story ends here. However, regardless of what happens with the GEW and whether the responsible individuals resign or not, I must continue the fight against Dr. Blume, who continues to spread hatred and justifies it with the excuse of “opposing anti-Semitism.” I will not cease to oppose such behavior.

With many solidarity greetings,

Shir Hever

Translation: Ali Khan. Reproduced with permission

Letter from the Editors: 27th July 2023

Ptrotest against the AfD national conference, and festival for Cuba


Hello everyone,

Today sees the start of the Performacula Migration-Transits-Movement Festival. What impact does migration to Berlin and the Europes have on those of us fleeing the obligatory heteronormative regime from the Americas?  The PERFORMACULA Second TRANSborder Festival of Politics and Performance proposes socio-cultural ruptures from trans, sex-disident, migrant, racialized communities. The event lasts until Sunday in New York in Bethanien and other venues in Berlin.

Tomorrow (Friday) there’s a solidarity party for the revolution in Rojava. Left wing movements are experiencing state repression and criminalisation worldwide. This evening aims at collecting donations for the Kurdish movement in Germany, while showing that we won’t let ourselves be demotivated. Our solidarity is stronger than their repression. The party starts at 7pm at Magdalenenstraße 19.

The AfD is currently being increasingly dominated by Nazis while being the second most popular political party according to recent polls. This weekend they are having their national party conference in Magdeburg, and there will be protests outside. Aufstehen gegen Rassismus is sending buses from Berlin, which will leave Alexanderplatz at 8am. Bus tickets cost €8 for the round trip (solidarity price €12) and are available at a number of venues listed here. There are stickers which you can print out here.

Also on Saturday, there will be buses going from Berlin to Szczecin Pride. Queer activists in Szczecin, Poland, are organising a Pride demonstration for the fourth time to protest against the anti-queer sentiment and policies in their country. In the face of opposition from the state, the Catholic Church and far-right movements, this takes a lot of courage, so we need to support them and show solidarity! A bus to the event is leaving Berlin Hauptbahnhof at 10am (at the BVG bus stop on Europaplatz) and goes back there in the evening.

If you can’t leave Berlin on Saturday, you can always go to the Fiesta de Solidaridad in Lichtenberger Parkaue. The fiesta promises a varied programme of cuban music and politics. It is an open-air event with a focus on Cuba/Latin America/solidarity work. There will be a stage programme with roundtable discussions and and live music as well as information booths of various solidarity and left-alternative groups. It is organised by Cuba Si who are our Campaign of the Week.

There are many more activities this week in Berlin, which are listed on our Events page. You can also see a shorter, but more detailed, list of Events which we are directly involved in here.

In News from Berlin, another re-election looks likely in Berlin – this time for the German government, Trans woman’s grave desecrated again, and retail workers in Berlin strike for higher wages.

In News from Germany, CDU leader Merz ready to cooperate with the AfD, new initiative from die LINKE for redistributing wealth, German government to subsidize the semiconductor industry, and asylum applications in Germany set to increase.

Read all about it in this week’s News from Berlin and Germany.

Finally, last month’s meeting on Palestinian solidarity and repression in Germany with Ramsy Kilani and Anna-Esther Younes is now online. The 20th of May saw Nakba day demonstrations banned in Berlin, and the one held by the Jewish Voice for Peace repressed by the police. Before the only allowed demonstration, activists came together to discuss the history of Palestinian repression in Germany, and what it means to live in a country where Palestinian solidarity is criminalized. The event is in German and was organized by the Nakba 75 campaign.

You can follow us on the following social media:

If you would like to contribute any articles or have any questions or criticisms about our work, please contact us at And do encourage your friends to subscribe to this Newsletter.

Keep on fighting

The Left Berlin Editorial Board

News from Berlin and Germany, 27th July 2023

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany


Berlin: repeating Bundestag elections?

Berlin is preparing itself for a complete repeat of the last federal election. As state officer Stephan Bröchler said in a video published last Monday, the theme is being discussed within the districts. Last week, there was a hearing of the Federal Constitutional Court where the case for repeating the election is being heard, attended by Bröchler. He said that there were no indications as to when a judgment would be announced and in which direction this could go. The only thing that is certain is that the election must take place within 60 days of the verdict. That is 30 days fewer than when the elections to the Berlin House of Representatives were repeated almost six months ago. Source: rbb

Hundreds of retail and wholesale workers demand better wages

Several hundred employees from Berlin and Brandenburg in the wholesale and retail trades have demanded better wages at a warning strike rally in Berlin. The ver.di union called for an all-day warning strike in both sectors. “Despite the holiday season, participation is high,” said ver.di negotiator Conny Weißbach last Friday. Branches and warehouses of Kaufland, Rewe, Edeka, Ikea, HM and Karstadt Galeria Kaufhof were affected by the warning strike. The workers demanded 2.50 euros more per hour and a minimum wage of 13.50 euros per hour in retail for around 230,000 employees in both federal states. Source: rbb

Ella’s grave desecrated again

In 2021, the Iranian trans woman Ella set herself on fire on Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. Since then, her grave has repeatedly been desecrated. The Berlin state security team were called out due to another incident last Sunday: the grave was wrapped with fire brigade barrier tape and a warning symbol. The items were removed and secured as evidence. Ella’s grave in the central cemetery in Berlin-Friedrichsfelde has been the target for several transphobic hate crimes. On April 26, the police reported that several items had been placed there as vandalism. Source: welt

Wegner and Redmann distance themselves from Merz’s statements on the AfD

CDU party leader Friedrich Merz has met fierce criticism from within his own party over his statements about a possible joint action with the AfD. Berlin’s Governing Mayor Kai Wegner wrote on Twitter: “The AfD only knows division. Where should there be COOPERATION?” Brandenburg’s CDU leader Jan Redmann also contradicted Merz, and the Berlin state chairman of the Junge Union Harald Burkart also made a statement rejecting any cooperation between the CDU and the AfD. After this backlash, CDU leader Friedrich Merz rowed back. “There will be no cooperation between the CDU and the AfD at the local level,” Merz tweeted. Source: rbb


Germany plans 20 billion euros in subsidies for the microchip industry

The federal government is planning to distribute subsidies in a total of 20 billion euros to the semiconductor industry. This is intended to support the local technology sector and ensure the supply of critical components, the Bloomberg news agency reported. The subsidies are to be distributed to German and to international companies by 2027, and the money will come from the climate and transformation funds. The German federal government is currently discussing bundling up to 180 billion euros in the fund. According to the report, the details should be published in the coming week. Source: junge welt

Number of first-time asylum applications in Germany increases in 2023

According to a new report by the Federal Office for Migration, the number of asylum applications in Germany will increase sharply in 2023. Compared to the first half of 2022, there were 77.5 percent more initial applications. From January to June, 162,271 applications were made. Of these, 150,166 are initial applications. In the first half of 2022, there were 84,583. There has been the expected reaction to the report from the right focusing on and emphasising the numbers of migrants coming from racialised countires and other demographics. Police boss Heiko Teggatz described the situation as highly dramatic. Source: focus

Die Linke: a plan against a right-wing country

Martin Schirdewan, co-chairman of the Party die Linke, and Gregor Gysi, left-wing member of the Bundestag, call their new initiative a “plan for a fair country”. Higher taxes for millionaires and large companies “which had earned themselves a lot during the crisis” are intended to provide finance relief for low-income earners. This can be understood as the standard redistribution from top to bottom. The demands are not surprising but send a signal to all those who are now looking to the right because they feel left alone by the traffic light coalition governments’s failed crisis policy. Source: nd-aktuell