How Berliners Fight Against Right-Wing Populism

Berlin was up in arms as the AfD announced their demonstration “Zukunft Deutschland” for this coming Sunday, May 27th. In moments like these, you as a reader do not know whether to laugh in shock or break out in tears. Apparently the right-wing populist party expects 10,000 participants to its event, but we’ll see about that. Berlin reacts quickly, cleverly and with its typical cheeky grin: 13 counter-demonstrations have been registered for this Sunday, whose estimated number of participants already wildly exceed that of the AfD demonstration.

How has Berlin defended itself in the past against the commotions of the AfD?

 In 2016 the AfD took the attack on Breitscheidplatz as an opportunity to blame Merkel’s asylum policy and stoke the already noticeable xenophobia. In response to their demo at Breitscheidplatz, Berlin quickly came together to start an anti-hate-demo that eventually surpassed the one of the right-wing populist demo with thousands of supporters. They demonstrated for “solidarity instead of hatred!” and held their paper hearts up high.

photo: Zentrum für politische Schönheit

After AfD chairman Björn Höcke called the Holocaust memorial in Berlin-Mitte a “memorial of disgrace”, the artists of the CPS (Center for Political Beauty) rented a property next to Björn Höcke’s house in Bornhagen to rebuild the “monument of shame” 10 months later in an artistically activist manner right outside his doorstep. Another great example of how Berlin defended itself against right-wing populism in Germany.

photo: The Clubmap

That the Berlin club scene wasn’t only about entertainment but also about making a political stand by motivating their audience to go vote, that it already demonstrated in 2016. Then, small and large clubs joined forces under the name “The Clubmap” to launch a digital poster campaign in order to effectively convince their younger club visitors to go to vote.


photo: Travestie für Deutschland

Another great poster campaign for the 2017 general election was launched as a project by a group of travesty artists who founded a new party with their middle finger raised (and painted) against right-wing extremism. “Travesty for Germany” graced the bottom right of the posters, which deliberately remind you of posters of the AfD. With slogans such as “Rather a pink flamingo, than a brown Ingo!” Or “Germany is colorful. That, you can not dispose of!”, they reached a large audience, which gave us hope.


What did Berlin come up with this time to signal against right-wing populism?

photo: Dominik Pascal

Once again, the berlin club scene is motivated to tackle AfD’s hate, with more effort than ever before. For, as they themselves say about their scene: “Berlin’s club culture is everything that the Nazis are not and what they hate: we are progressive, queer, feminist, anti-racist, inclusive, colorful and have unicorn horns.” So that is why this Sunday 150 clubs are joining forces in Mitte against the AfD to “bass” them “off”, together with you. For this, 14 music trucks are inviting you to dance along and, in particular, make a statement: Berlin is not a dancefloor for Nazis.


photo: David Mechel

Jonny Knüppel has announced an impressive raft demo under the name “Never Again!”, working together with the raft community of Berlin, a sightful event which you should not miss. At 9:30 am on Sunday, 15 rafts will gather at the East Side Gallery, where they will be escorted by water police to the government quarter via the Mühlendammschleuse. Finally, at 13:30 the demo awaits you for their rally at the yachting pier Schiffbauerdamm!


photo: Alia Wilhelm

Also, the Berlin theater scene is taking a stand! Under the name “Die Vielen”, artists, ensembles and actors in the performing arts have teamed up to demonstrate for a society that does not isolate itself and celebrates diversity. “We send out a signal for solidarity and help, for a lively diversity and a brilliant life for all!” Their “Glossy Demo” on the 27th of May starts at 11am in Volkspark am Weinberg in Berlin-Mitte and ends with their rally at the Brandenburg Tor. 

As expected, Berlin encounters the intimidation attempts of the “alternative” for Germany (insert an audience laugh here) with its usual attitude: tolerant, creative and assertive. Not only the left, but above all the liberals are going against this right-wing extremism. Well, we’ll be busy “glossing” and “bassing” them “off” – see you there!


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