News from Berlin and Germany, 24 March 2022

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



Berlin police face accusations of negligence due to racist right-wing attacks in Neukölln

According to the Berliner Morgenpost and the Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), the State Criminal Police Office (LKA) had information about a racist threat and a possible endangerment of the Berlin politician Ferat Kocak (“die Linke”). Nevertheless, the authority failed to warn him. The police themselves described it as a “wrong decision”. When the LKA received the threatening email from the “NSU 2.0” naming the home address of Kocak’s family in March 2019, officers should have been sensitised. Source: Morgenpost.

 Queer Berlin left to its own devices

The experiences Konstantin Sherstyuk has had in recent weeks could truly be better. For the association WostoQ-Regenbogen, which works for sexual minorities from the post-Soviet region, the 34-year-old advises queer people who must seek protection in Berlin because of the war in Ukraine. Not only Ukrainians but also Russians are involved. For more and more queer Russians, now seems to be the time to leave the country. Many of them are fleeing to Berlin. And, so far, there is only one contact point for sexual minorities, the information centre at the main train station. Source: nd.

Motion to dismantle the Thälmann bust

Pankow’s CDU, after Putin’s attack, wants the Ernst Thälmann monument to be melted down. Prenzlauer Berg councillor David Paul is proposing this historic site be removed from Berlin’s list of monuments so that the monument can then be demolished and the value of the material donated to aid projects in Ukraine. However, the demand of the Christian Democrats is regarded as highly questionable by the Senate Cultural Administration, led by the Left Senator Klaus Lederer (“die Linke”). This is not the first attempt to remove the Thälmann monument on Greifswalder Straße, designed by the Soviet artist Lew Kerbel. Source: Morgenpost.

The Expropriation Commission

The expert commission that is to examine the implementation of the successful referendum to expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co. in Berlin is taking shape. The Senate wants to decide on the formal establishment of the commission as early as next Tuesday. This would fulfill the promise to appoint such a body after the first 100 days in office. The commission is to work for one year on the issue of implementing the referendum. On 26 September 2021, 59.1 percent of Berlin’s voters voted in favour of socialising the portfolios of all private housing companies with more than 3,000 flats in the city. Source: taz.



Another warning strike at airports in Germany

In the collective bargaining conflict in the airport security industry, the trade union ver.di has called for an almost nationwide warning strike on Tuesday. At the airports in Frankfurt, Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Hanover, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, and Cologne/Bonn, the screeners are to stop work for the whole day. At Frankfurt airport, only transit passengers are expected to be processed. Last week there was a warning strike at BER in Schönefeld. According to the operator, two-thirds of all departures were cancelled then. A new negotiation date has been set for this Thursday. Source: Tagesspiegel.

AfD plays the victim

The federal budget for 2022 does not include any funds for the “Alternative für Deutschland” AfD-affiliated Desiderius Erasmus Foundation. At first glance, this is understandable. The party and its foundation are full of employees who hold positions against human rights. So, a conclusion could be that they want to collect tax money to spread their ideology. The AfD sees behind many of such decisions conspiracies by the other parties to disadvantage and exclude them. Nevertheless, whether or not the federal government did so in the case of the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation will be decided by the courts. Source: nd.

No end to cuts

Last year, the governmental coalition announced their intention to replace Hartz IV with a citizen’s income. One of the fundamental reforms would be to suspend sanctions for a transitional period of one year until the end of 2022. But the draft from the Federal Ministry of Labour considers that those who do not show up at the Job Centre for agreed appointments without a valid reason will still have to expect a reduction of the subsistence minimum. “By maintaining the sanction regulations for failure to report, the federal government is committing itself to the continuation of the majority of sanctions,” criticises the Paritätische Gesamtverband. Source: nd.

Future with old methods

Tesla plant in Grünheide shows the future, but from the past. It represents a departure, away from the carbon economy, for instance. But it is still about cars, which must park somewhere and get stuck in traffic jams. The raw materials are taken from the earth with environmental consequences. The location of the factory is in the middle of a water protection area. And then there is the matter of the trade unions. If Tesla pays better than the car mechanics in the region and the suppliers, there is to watch out there is no collective agreement, either. Source: nd.


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