Voting Rights for all: this is the demand of the Aktionsbündnis Antira (ABA, anti-racist alliance of action), the initiative Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen, and “Nicht ohne uns 14%” (not without us 14%) at a rally on Saturday, 23rd April at Kottbusser Tor (at the corner of Adelbertstraße).
As well as demanding reform of voting rights on a national level, the organisations are above all calling on The Berliner Senat to respect the coalition agreement on local voting rights, so that people without German citizenship also have voting rights, if they have been living in Berlin long-term.
Garip Bali from ABA said: “the Berliner Senat must now honour their promises. If not, we will treat them as proven liars. Voting rights for everyone without conditions should be self-evident in a democracy like Germany.
Saniz Asimipour from the national initiative Nicht Ohne Uns 14% said: “we won’t let ourselves continue to be silenced. We no longer accept that every seventh person in this country is systematically excluded. To make voting rights dependent on citizenship rather than living conditions is simply undemocratic. Participation is our right, because we live here.”
Berta Den Ben from the initiative Deutsche Wohnen und Co Enteignen said: “the people’s initiative Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen has experienced how many signatures were declared invalid. We live in this city and are directly affected by all decisions, but are not allowed to vote ourselves. For future referendums everyone who lives in Berlin must be able to vote!”
The following text is the call to action for Saturday’s demo.
Call to Action
Voting Rights for Everyone is a minimum for a democratic society. Exactly this minimum is missing in Germany, where 10 million people nationally (700,000 in Berlin) are excluded from this democracy, just because they don’t have a German passport.
For us, the fight for voting rights for all is part of our fight against every type of racism, nationalism, capitalism, patriarchy, displacement and poverty
In the coalition agreement of December 2021, the Berlin Red-Green-Red Senat promised to “create the conditions under federal law to enable active voting rights on the national and regional level, also for people without German citizenship”. But they have done nothing in more than 100 days.
To remind the Senat of its responsibility, we published a joint declaration on Voting Rights for All on 8 February, which was signed by 50 initiatives. We expected a response by the end of March.
But nothing came! Ignoring demands from civic initiatives is disrespectful and undemocratic behaviour.
It has been shown time and again: we can’t expect anything from parliament if no pressure is applied from below.
We would like to apply exactly this pressure together with you. This is why we are inviting you to fight with us on Saturday, 23rd April for voting rights for all.
We say: Enough of empty promises! Voting rights must not remain a privilege.
Bring all your friends and let’s be loud together for the right to self-determination and a say in the decision making process.
With our rally we want to stress the following points:
We are demanding The Berliner Senat to honour its promises.
Voting Rights for Everyone without conditions should be self-evident in a democracy.
We are not just concerned about voting rights. For us, the fight for Voting Rights for all is part of our fight against every type of racism, nationalism, capitalism, patriarchy, displacement and poverty.
Without voting rights, people lack the possibility of acting for their right to political participation.
Voting rights must apply to everyone. The new government must support this in all forms – everything else is undemocratic!
Translation: Phil Butland