Busy week in Berlin

Maybe it’s because I’m leaving, but Berlin seems even more politically alive than usual at the moment. Today, tens (hundreds?) of thousands of students have been on the streets, as [part](http://www.taz.de/1/zukunft/wissen/artikel/1/bildung-statt-banken/) of a week-long [strike](http://www.bildungsstreik-berlin.de/page/index.php?show=call) against attempts to privatize and charge for education.

The government response has been, rather pathetically, to [call them](http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/studium/0,1518,630965,00.html) ‘behind the times’. Bleating that markets = modernization = good was pretty shaky at the best of times, but now it seems positively ludicrous. And the students’ [demands](http://www.bildungsstreik-berlin.de/page/index.php?show=call) are much saner:

– Self-directed life and learning

– Free access to education, and the abolition of tuition fees, training fees, and childcare costs

– Public financing of the education system, without corporate influence

– Democratization of educational institutions, and strengthening of their self-government

I went along to support the Berlin demonstration earlier today, and found myself strangely weepy. I don’t know if they can win, mind, given the current hopelessness of the SPD and the rest of the European centre-left.

From a more radical corner, the squatting scene is [headed for a busy week](http://rockstar.blogsport.de/2009/05/27/heisser-juni/). [One place](http://brunnen183.blogsport.de/) is due for eviction tomorrow — and then on Saturday comes [something more ambitious](http://tempelhof.blogsport.de/) — a massive, and pre-announced, attempt to squat the currently disused Tempelhof airport. It sounds insane, but I’m gradually coming to see the logic of it. Turning an abandoned space into a temporary hippie playground appeals both to my head and my heart.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *