bpb dossier “Left-Wing Extremism”: No more horseshoe

After pressure from the right, the Federal Agency for Civic Education changed a definition in the “Left-Wing Extremism Dossier”.

“End of the terrain” campaign in the Danneröder Forest in December 2020 Photo: C. Peepovicz / Adora Press

It often helps to relate events to one another in order to understand them. One such event: the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) changed the teaser of an online dossier on “left-wing extremism”. This was preceded by right-wing to right-wing extremist outrage on Twitter, right-wing cancel culture, so to speak.

Tweeted on January 10th NZZ-Editor Anna Schneider took a screenshot of the mentioned teaser and was surprised that this would be “a serious publication” by bpb. She had marked the following sentence: “In contrast to right-wing extremism, socialist and communist movements share the liberal ideas of freedom, equality, brotherhood.”

The tweet was shared more than 700 times, including by the former AfD politician Frauke Petry and the author Martin Lichtmesz, who is on the right blog Sezession released. Right publications like that Young freedom and Tichys ­insight reported about it, but also those Picture-The newspaper responded on January 12 with the title “Downplaying Communism: Are Lefts the Better Extremists?” All of this could be ignored if the bpb had not changed its teaser shortly afterwards, whereupon the Political scientist Michael Lühmann pointed out.

In fact, the original wording, which reproduced evaluations from scientific research, was replaced by a wording “by the security authorities”, says bpb spokesman Daniel Kraft of the taz. Anyone who googling the first sentence of the new formulation, which defines “left-wing extremists” through efforts “against the free democratic basic order”, ends up on the website of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, where a very similar formulation can be found.

Revised wording

They looked at the discussion again and came to the conclusion that the original wording should be revised and sharpened, says Kraft, “in order to rule out future misinterpretations and misunderstandings.” The picture quotes the Federal Ministry of the Interior in its report as saying that it has asked for a revision. The bpb is a subordinate authority of the Ministry of the Interior.

To answer the question of Picture, Whether left-wing extremists are the better extremists, to answer, we now need to relate various events; it is also called thinking in context. The outrage over a supposed trivialization began a few days after right-wing extremists stormed the Capitol in Washington on January 6th.

But you don’t have to look to the USA for a sensible classification: the teaser, which was changed because of an alleged trivialization of left-wing violence, now resembles the definition of an authority whose former president played down the right-wing extremist riots in Chemnitz in summer 2018; an authority that was actually responsible for preventing the racist NSU murders, but instead was never able to credibly dispel those doubts that it was involved in them or that they at least allowed them.

The bpb changed its teaser because of the alleged trivialization of left-wing violence in a country in which in the past two years it was not the left, but the right-wing who murdered: in Halle and Hanau. And isn’t it right-wing conspirators who are looking forward to the X day and making plans about how to execute their political enemies? To all of this, to also to the police scandals surrounding uncovered right-wing extremist chat groups and the threats posed by a self-proclaimed NSU 2.0. This text is not sufficient to be adequately addressed. But all of them are events that occurred within the competence of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the authority that apparently caused the change in the teaser.

Anyone who is sincerely concerned about the basic liberal order should think in these contexts in order not to fall for real smoke grenades. This also applies to those who like to define themselves as the “middle” of society and who were pretty angry a few months ago when it came to the appearance of a cabaret artist who likes to make anti-Semitic jokes. It is bitter that the very institution which is largely responsible for political education in Germany could not withstand right-wing hysteria. But one also wonders: where are the defenders of the liberal discourse?


Kristina Hänel on her 219a judgment: “I don’t want to be a martyr”

The doctor Hänel was convicted of Section 219a, which forbids advertising for abortion. Now she’s going to the constitutional court.

Don’t give up: Kristina Hänel Photo: Boris Roessler / dpa

taz: Ms. Hänel, you have announced that you will be taking information about abortions from your practice’s website. Why?

Kristina Hänel: The higher regional court in Frankfurt am Main rejected my appeal. I have now been legally sentenced for the first time under Section 219a. If I don’t take the information off the page now, advertisements would always be possible. Ultimately, that would ruin me financially.

How much have anti-abortion ads cost you so far?

The legal and procedural costs alone for my colleagues Nora Szász, Bettina Gaber and myself should be around 60,000 euros. And I haven’t even paid a fine, so that’s another 2,500 euros. Fortunately, the Pro Choice Germany association has now set up a donation account for us.

What’s happening now? Are you giving up?

Of course not. I’ve thought about what I’m doing for a long time. Also about the question of whether I would go to jail to change something for the better. But I don’t want to be a martyr. I believe that the path to the Federal Constitutional Court is now the right one. It’s free now.

Are you filing a constitutional complaint?

64, is a general practitioner. In November 2017 she was convicted for posting information on her website that and how she is doing abortions. Her conviction sparked a nationwide debate about Section 219a, which prohibits “advertising” for abortions

It’s already prepared. I expected the judgment of the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court. The Berlin doctor Bettina Gaber was the first to be convicted under Paragraph 219a. She has already filed a complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court. Now comes mine. I hope this increases the pressure.

The fact that you were convicted for the first time by the Giessen District Court in November 2017 sparked a nationwide debate on Section 219a. What has happened since then?

What has happened since then changed my life. I received an incredible amount of media attention. That helps to achieve my goal, which is still: to abolish paragraph 219a or to change it so that doctors can inform women about how to carry out abortions. I have also become a stimulus for anti-abortion opponents, some of whom have threatened me. It’s a burden, but not a reason to lock myself up in the basement. Here in Hesse there are at least 150 meters of protection zones around our practices.

This means that there are no longer any “vigils” by anti-abortionists through which women have to go.

Not in Hesse, but in other federal states and cities, that’s a big problem. It is also shown further attacked. And the unspeakable compromise of the grand coalition on paragraph 219a has ultimately only worsened the legal situation for us doctors: It made it clear that factual information about the “how” of abortions is always punished.

That sounds like a bitter record.

That is not true: the positives clearly predominate. There was an incredible amount of recognition for our commitment. No matter where I went with readings, I was welcomed with open arms. Students and doctors come to our practices and want to learn from us. Groups of activists have emerged trying to improve the situation for doctors and women. The fact that abortions have been legalized in Argentina, South Korea or Ireland is also an enormous success.

Do you see your struggle in a global context?

Yes. What is happening here in Germany is only part of the story. Women fight for their rights worldwide.

Has the pandemic changed your job?

Enormous. I’m much, much more popular. That’s because my practice is so well known. Many women who cannot find any other information turn to me with questions. Other practices have restricted their offerings during the pandemic, and some hospitals no longer drop out. These women end up with me now.

How do you go on now?

I see the move to the Federal Constitutional Court as a push. In paragraph 219a, only stubborn fundamentalists can see any meaning within. But I cannot accept legislation that prohibits medical education and information. So on the one hand I will continue to be there as a doctor for women.

And on the other?

I am no longer allowed to provide information about abortions on my website. But all people who do not abort are allowed to do so. I have the great wish and hope that the momentum from the past four years can lead to a powerful act.

People, there are 80 million people in this country! If only a few of you jump into the gap, if only a few of you put factual information online – then mine no longer needs it. I can not say more about that. But if you are interested, you will already find views from several people on various social media channels. We cannot leave information sovereignty to the fundamentalists.


Arson attack in Lübeck 1996: Hoyerswerda, Solingen, Lübeck!

On January 18, 1996, ten people died in an attack on a refugee shelter in Lübeck. To this day it has not been legally clarified.

The day after the attack, survivors stand in front of the ruin Photo: Rolf Rick / dpa

One place, two attempts to keep the action present: The street corner with a memorial stone and a commemorative plaque at the corner of Hafenstrasse 52 and Konstinstrasse should not only look bleak in winter and during Corona times. Here, on the outskirts of Lübeck’s city center in the port industrial area, hardly anyone comes by.

25 years ago, on January 18, 1996, ten people died in an arson attack in a refugee shelter on this street corner. The two monuments stand for the politically incomplete classification as well as for the lack of criminal investigation into what happened. The arson attack is remembered on the memorial stone reached in 2000, but it was not until the additional memorial plaque placed in 2015, initiated by the Lübeck Refugee Forum, that the attack was classified as a racist one. Perhaps this ambivalence is one of the reasons why the arson attack is barely anchored in the nationwide public memory.

Hoyerswerda, Rostock-Lichtenhagen, Mölln and Solingen are the exemplary places that are remembered in connection with racist murders. But Lübeck, the pretty Hanseatic city on the Baltic Sea?

A request from the Lübeck public prosecutor’s office confirms that there has not been much legal work-up here: A press spokeswoman for the taz replied that there was “no room” for “a retrospective assessment of the first investigations”. She asked for your understanding and stressed that the public prosecutor’s office had given journalists comprehensive information on the “complex issue” in the past. In “the matter” “no investigations are pending” because “no new facts” are available.

A resident becomes the main suspect

Gabriele Heinecke is not surprised by the assessment of the Lübeck public prosecutor’s office. Heinecke is a lawyer in Hamburg. She represented the main accused, a refugee who himself lived in the house. Heinecke asks not to give his name. Although he was acquitted, he still had to accept disadvantages.

The public prosecutor’s office had the then 20-year-old arrested barely 24 hours after the fire. Suspicion: particularly serious arson. A speculation that the investigators in two court cases could not substantiate. The man was acquitted twice. The public prosecutor “did not want to investigate back then and does not want to investigate in the direction of the right”, says Heinecke.

On the night of January 18, 1996, the police received an emergency call at 3:41 a.m. Françoise Makudila called 110 on her cell phone. The 29-year-old woman screamed in three languages. During the conversation, her three-year-old son suffocated, as did her other children, and she herself did not survive the attack. At around 3:42 a.m., a resident made a second emergency call from a telephone booth. During the night, 48 people who had fled Angola, Togo, Lebanon and Zaire were in the shelter. None of the residents could save themselves via the stairs. The caller had previously jumped out of a window on the first floor. His brothers were standing at the roof ledge, one later becomes the main suspect.

The rooftop brothers saved Aida Alias ​​and her three children. Smoke and fire blocked the stairwell in the three-story house of the Diakonie and also forced João Bunga onto the roof ledge. Bunga’s wife Monique and daughter Suzanna jumped out of a skylight and died. At 3.47 a.m., the first fire engine reached the former seaman’s home. The accused was the last to climb the fire ladder. “He was afraid of damaging the ladder with his weight and thus endangering the rescue of the others,” says his lawyer and adds: This behavior alone should have raised doubts about the accusation.

The victims

That night the three adults Monique Bunga, Sylvio Amoussou and Françoise Makudila and the seven children Suzanna Bunga, Rabia El Omari and Jean-Daniel, Christine, Christelle, Miya and Legrand Makudila die. 38 people are seriously injured.

At an emergency medical center, the suspect immediately reported to a police officer what his father had said: “We were attacked, we were set on fire.” Not much attention was paid to this. Another sentence allegedly said by the accused got stuck with the investigators – irrefutable: “It was us,” he is said to have said to the emergency services.

Less than ten minutes before the first emergency call, however, employees of a nearby food company had seen three men at a parked car – right-wing skinheads. At that time, the police already knew the names of the young men because they had previously been subjected to a routine police check on site. They drove to Lübeck from Grevesmühlen in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to steal a car. Shortly before the inspection, they had bought one liter of cola and five liters of a 1:50 mixture of petrol at a gas station.

The next morning, investigators question the three. René B. asserted that he was not involved and that he was neutral towards “Jews, N ***, foreigners or Wessis”. Heiko P. did not want to have been involved either. However, he was in hiding when the police arrived. He was not a right-wing extremist or even an arsonist, assured Maik W., who was sometimes called “Little Adolf”, says lawyer Gabriele Heinecke. The investigators did everything to wipe away the massive suspicion that the three were under, she says. After their arrest, coroners found traces of burns on them: scorched hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. In 2012, Wolf-Dieter Vogel wrote in the taz: One of the men “apparently had a line to state security officers from the LKA before he was arrested”.

The prosecution collapses

In the following weeks the defense refuted the alleged evidence against the main accused resident. The source of the fire was not, as the public prosecutor had pointed out, on the first floor, but on the ground floor. On June 2, 1996, the youth chamber of the Lübeck regional court questioned almost all of the evidence against the accused and released him from pre-trial detention.

In 1997 the prosecution by the Lübeck Regional Court finally collapsed. The court acquitted him. Two years later, the Kiel Regional Court also held the accusations untenable. Gabriele Heinecke, the accused’s lawyer, tried to force a new trial before the Schleswig Higher Regional Court in order to clarify the arson attack – it failed.

At the time, the public quickly believed the version of an attack from inside the house. The taz reporter Vogel saw how German passers-by complained in front of the fire ruins: “And who is apologizing to us now?” Germans were wrongly suspected as perpetrators. Collective relief now spread. After years of right-wing terror, after attacks and attacks since the beginning of the 90s, which are now also known as the “baseball bat years”, it should not be what is.

The fact that the fire was not the first attack in Lübeck was hardly mentioned. As early as 1994, four right wing groups had carried out an arson attack on the synagogue. A second attack followed in 1995. On June 13th of that year, a letter bomb was sent to the then mayor Michael Bouteiller (SPD), and one of his employees was seriously injured. The background was probably Bouteiller’s anti-racism in the city.

The mayor stands with those affected

On the night of the fire, Bouteiller showed where he was standing in front of the house – with those affected. He saw how people saw their loved ones die, and through tears he spoke into the television cameras. Bouteiller said what his own party did not want to hear: “We have to dissolve the communal shelters, change the inhuman asylum law, perform civil disobedience to protect people from deportation.” He was hostile to the media and politics. The Lübeck news wrote that the mayor harmed the city more than any other politician. “A messenger of the cult of concern,” etched it from the CDU.

25 years later: The initiative “Hafenstaße 96” complains in an appeal that “the fire is not officially declared as a racist arson attack and that recognition as the most serious arson attack in Germany is pending”. The Hanseatic city of Lübeck has not yet established a culture of remembrance for victims and those affected by right-wing violence. “With a petition for a parliamentary committee of inquiry, we want to increase the political pressure,” says Britta Kloss from the initiative. Two of the first to sign: Michael Bouteiller and Gabriele Heinecke. A memorial on site is planned for the evening of January 18, 2021.


ZDF presenter on gender: “It starts to get used to it”

Petra Gerster moderates the “heute” news and has recently started changing. In an interview, she explains why the topic is particularly controversial among older men.

An ideological battle is raging over gender, says Petra Gerster from “heute” news Photo: Rico Rossival / ZDF

taz: Ms. Gerster, more and more often you can be heard gendering in your moderation. You speak of “country bosses”, of “rulers” and, most recently, of “pharmacists”. How easily do you get that off your lips after 30 years of moderation with a generic masculine?

I’ve been dealing with women’s issues all my life, and over 30 years ago I started to moderate “Mona Lisa”, the first nationwide women’s magazine with an emancipatory claim. Of course, with the news, too, it was important to me to make women visible wherever they are involved. But gendering with asterisks is new to me. I resisted it for a long time because I thought it didn’t work in spoken terms. Then, last year, Claus Kleber included the mini-break now and then in his moderation in heute journal and came across as very natural. He passed me by in a feminist way (laughs).

Why is gender important to you?

In conversations with the extended family, I became aware of how important this topic is, especially for young women. I myself never had a problem with the generic masculine, actually always felt included. But my great niece, she is 20, feels discriminated against. Faded out, so to speak. In this generation – and not only there – perception has changed. And if many feel that way, the language should reflect it. Language is a living thing. It changes with society.

What reactions do you get?

After my first broadcast with gender stars in October, around 60 people complained. That’s a lot. Bad letters were mainly from men. But a woman also wrote me polemically whether I wanted to talk about the “wastebasket” too. Meanwhile, the complaints per broadcast are only in the single-digit range, so it is getting used to.

Other editorial offices that have introduced gender also report that they get very emotional reactions. How do you explain that the asterisk is such a hot topic?

An ideological battle is raging around the issue, which I suspect is primarily led by older men. Sometimes downright hateful. Obviously, this is about a question of power, about interpretative sovereignty. And the fear behind it of having to give some of this power to women and “other minorities”. I just don’t understand what someone could lose by speaking in a gender equitable manner.

is 65 years old. She has been moderating the “heute” news on ZDF for 23 years, and will retire in spring.

They are also attacked publicly. The editor-in-chief of the right-wing weekly newspaper “Junge Freiheit” tweeted that the ZDF would have enforced “without democratic legitimation a coup-like left-wing extremist gender speech in broadcasting”. How do you deal with that?

The claim is simply wrong. My broadcaster is open to gender issues, there have been several meetings, including with the editor-in-chief. Result: We are free to gender, but there is no compulsion. After all, we are trained journalists who work with the language on a daily basis. This is our tool of the trade. The fact that Junge Freiheit is focusing on the topic shows how important the topic is for rights. That worries me because it is calling into question our freedom and everything that we have achieved in terms of progress.

You say gender is especially important to younger people. The “Today” news is more likely to be seen by older people.

That’s right, and that’s why you should also take into account the listening habits of the audience and not push through gendering with the bulldozer. There are also various ways of expressing diversity. The most important thing is and remains the content of the news, from which one should not distract with too many changes.

Are there any terms that you don’t gender?

For example, I would not speak of Neanderthals, there is a certain comedy about that. And in the case of offenses like child pornography, I would probably speak of perpetrators in most cases. Gender should not be done out of principle, for one’s own sake, but in a context-dependent and sensitive manner.

The media service Kress has counted that women played an even less role in the news programs of 2020 than before. In the “Today” news there were only two women for every eight male experts, politicians and scientists shown. How does that fit your gender?

I think that goes well together. Apparently, the need for gender-equitable language is so great because women – again or still – are less present. We are currently not only experiencing a revitalized young feminism, but also a roll-back in terms of equality. I have been a feminist since I was 14 and always had the naive idea that history runs linearly, in the direction of progress. There is no doubt about it. Today women no longer have to ask their husbands whether they can work, as they did in the 1970s. But there are fewer women in the Bundestag today than 20 years ago. It’s sobering. Like the fact that there are still far too few women in our news movies.

Why is that?

Well, on the one hand because of the still male-dominated reality that we have to depict, but often it is simply a matter of convenience. You need an interview, and the first thing that comes to mind is the man you have seen and saved as an expert a hundred times. That was also the case at the beginning of the corona pandemic. In the first few months only virologists and epidemiologists had their say, and everyone got the impression that it was a purely male domain. We now know better and are seeing a corona expert more and more often on talk shows. You have to look for the competent women because they often don’t push themselves into the foreground, and that costs time and effort. That is why we have now created lists for the news on which experts and their specialist fields are collected in order to be able to bring them into the program as original sounders. That’s the only way to do it.


Armin Laschet is the new CDU boss: the best of the three

Armin Laschet could be the reconciler that the CDU needs. But it won’t be easy for Schwarz-Grün: He is a hardliner in terms of climate policy.

More ambitious and more power-oriented than it seems at first glance: Armin Laschet (l.) Photo: dpa

BERLIN taz | The CDU decided against it to confide in a risk candidate and to turn right. That’s good news. With the unpredictable Friedrich Merz, the man with a lot of ego and little empathy, who wants to win votes on the right and is ready to split the middle of society, the party would have plunged into very uncertain waters. In the short term, a weakened CDU may be attractive to leftists and make them dream of green-red-red majorities. In the long term, however, a stable conservative force that resists populist temptations is important for the local democracy.

The new party leader now has to do two things: bring the split party together and create a feeling of departure that will bring the exhausted CDU through a difficult election year. Despite all the shortcomings, Armin Laschet is the best of the three candidates.

Perhaps he is exactly the reconciler the party needs now. In any case, he has the talent. In NRW, Laschet has succeeded in integrating the various currents in recent years. Not out of pure strategy. But because he considers the CDU’s polyphony to be its recipe for success.

Which may also be due to the fact that he – liberal in immigration policy, tough in energy policy, conservative as a devout Catholic – can find access to all trends. And the joint candidacy with Jens Spahn, who can involve other milieus within the CDU, was a smart move anyway, which, despite prophecies of doom, lasted until the party congress.

Can Laschet exude a new beginning?

Merz, whose ego should be deeply offended by his second defeat, and his followers only have to be involved. Which didn’t happen a good two years ago. The numerous calls for unity of the party show how great the fear is that this will happen again. In their sum, there is something almost panic about them.

Laschet managed to deliver a personal and emotional speech that tells a story. It was the strongest speech of the three. But it remains questionable whether he can also exude a new beginning – also because he wants to keep Merkel’s course. The crisis in which the CDU is stuck is also much deeper than the current Corona-induced good poll numbers would lead you to believe.

In NRW, however, Laschet managed to rebuild the CDU after a severe defeat and to bring it back to power. Sure, NRW is not the federal government. But it is at least the most populous federal state that used to be an SPD country.

Don’t be fooled by the friendliness

Laschet, who is more ambitious and more power-oriented than it seems at first glance, will now be reluctant to let his candidacy for chancellor be taken away. The big question is whether he can be Chancellor. In the corona pandemic, at least, he often acted unscrupulous and unskillful, especially when he was under pressure. That Laschet has the necessary nerve structure and the skill for night-long negotiations at EU summits can therefore be doubted.

The election campaign will be much more difficult for the SPD and the Greens than it would be against a Merz CDU. Women and city dwellers that Merkel won for the CDU could also take a liking to Laschet. But you shouldn’t be fooled by its Rhineland friendliness. Deportations, the escalation in the Hambach Forest and the fight against so-called clan crime – they show: Laschet is also a tough dog.

In terms of climate policy, the new CDU chief only does what he absolutely has to do. If in doubt, his priority: save the industrial site. Black and green will be anything but a sure-fire success with the new CDU boss, even if he used to like to meet the Greens at the Italian in Bonn for a pizza connection.


Wikipedia turns 20 years old: Unevenly distributed knowledge

Wikipedia celebrates its 20th birthday. A lack of diversity and a decline in active users, however, endanger the community project on the Internet.

Wikipedia: to this day one of the most visited websites worldwide Photo: Christoph Hardt / image

There is an idea to “add a little feature to Nupedia.” The little feature that Larry Sanger announced with the subject “Let’s do a wiki” in an internal team email on January 10, 2001, goes five days later, on January 15th, online at wikipedia.com. After just a few years, it will be the largest online reference work in the world, making knowledge available to everyone free of charge. In the beginning, it wasn’t even in the focus of the developers.

The actual project of Wikipedia founders Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger was the online encyclopedia Nupedia, which they founded in 2000. Because specialist articles on Nupedia first had to be sent back and forth between several reviewers, as is common in science, the platform developed very slowly: 27 articles were created in three years.

So Sanger and Wales came up with something new, faster. In the future, articles on Nupedia should still be exchanged laboriously between several reviewers, but as a preliminary stage they were based on the so-called Wiki principle. The term is borrowed from Hawaiian, tere stands for very fast and can be found on express buses at Honululu Airport. On the web, it refers to pages that can be edited collaboratively by users who often act anonymously.

The basic idea of ​​Sanger and Wales, namely that in future not just a few articles but all of them will be able to write on Wikipedia, was the democratization of knowledge on the Internet; he approached the vision of Tim Berners-Lee, who with his invention of the World Wide Web created a free and non-commercial offer that should be available to everyone. Wikipedia is one of the few web projects that has remained non-commercial. Even more: the low entry threshold and the collaborative writing make the reference work a unique joint project on the Internet.

Click instead of scrolling

Wikipedia overtook the actual main feature Nupedia within a few months. In 2003 Nupedia was discontinued. At this point, Wikipedia already had a million posts. To date it is one of the most visited websites in the world. Readers: in order to look something up, they no longer have to leaf through outdated books or even buy them. Instead, thousands of users voluntarily update existing entries, called lemmas, in real time and link them to one another. Within a few years, Wikipedia ousted established encyclopedias such as the Brockhaus or the Encyclopædia Britannica and is now considered a mass medium.

On its 20th birthday, Wikipedia is still the largest digital reference work with 53.73 million articles in almost 300 languages. With more than 2.5 million articles, the German language Wikipedia is the fourth largest edition worldwide. On January 11, it was viewed more than 42 million times. The Wikimedia Foundation, based in San Francisco, is behind the project. It guarantees operation, solicits donations every year, but does not intervene in the autonomous Wikipedias of the individual language areas.

The prerequisite for a successful wiki principle is the participation of as many voluntary authors as possible with different biographies. The problem: The number of active editors has been falling for years. While 8,614 authors were still active in the German-language Wikipedia in 2006, there were only 5,262 active in December 2018. Active Wikipedians: only around 300 people see the “hard core” of the German-language Wikipedia, who write articles. 350 to 400 new items are added every day. Many other active users: meanwhile hardly contribute to the expansion of the content, but correct errors in the texts and provide missing documents; internally in wikipedia, this is also referred to as a “cleaning crew”. Other departments are users who take photos for articles or who can block users who are registered as administrators with extended rights or edit or delete articles.

As the number of authors decreases, the influence of a few increases, researchers found. The scientist Taha Yasseri describes such authors as “super editors” who write excessive amounts of Wikipedia articles and thus keep the joint project alive. It is problematic when “super editors” dominate much-discussed articles, build up an elitist circle among themselves and “defend” their area. South Korean researchers found in a study in 2016 that individual users: inside real trench warfare in sometimes unimportant subject areas; for example, whether the Beatles members should be displayed alphabetically or by relevance.

Complex set of rules

Newcomers who are initially motivated to get involved have an increasingly difficult time because of the complex set of rules. The relevance criteria that have been developed over the years, i.e. whether people, events or topics are of permanent importance or not, and the neutral writing about a matter are demanding, and hours of work can sometimes be deleted without comment. In a study, scientists also consider the harsh climate within the Wikipedia community to be a reason why fewer and fewer women are getting involved.

Wikipedia remains a men’s association that also writes about men more often than women

Most of the Wikipedia authors are made up of men anyway. According to a survey by the Wikimedia Foundation in 2018, it is between 80 and 90 percent. Wikimedia tries to tackle the problem with measures such as collective writing campaigns or the gender gap force. Nevertheless, Wikipedia remains a men’s association that also writes more often about men, as the author Theresa Hannig criticized in April 2019. Because Wikipedia had a list of male but not female science fiction writers, she wrote one herself. Shortly thereafter, their list was proposed for deletion on the grounds that it was “completely redundant”, “a feminism project” and thus superfluous.

This seems all the more questionable in view of the fact that there are lists on Wikipedia about the former supporting actors of the TV series “In allerfreund” or about the furthest shooting distances for killing people by snipers. After heated discussions within the Wikipedia community, Hannig’s list finally went online again. Other authors, however, have been victims of anti-feminist smear campaigns.

Claudia Wagner from the University of Koblenz carried out a study in 2016 on how gender inequality in society is reflected in Wikipedia content and compared the biographies of men and women in the English version. Of the almost 1.5 million biographies on English Wikipedia, only 17.7 percent were women in 2018.

Weaknesses of the system

The researchers concluded that women need to be more prominent and relevant than men in order for a post to be made about them. All Wikipedia entries must consist of several reliable sources that are independent of the author. So no trivialities and disinformation should land on the encyclopedia.

The case of Donna Strickland shows that the system has weaknesses. The physicist won the Nobel Prize in 2018, but at the time she had no Wikipedia entry. This had previously been rejected by an editor because major newspapers had not yet written much about Strickland. Strickland was already recognized as a world leader in its field even before the award ceremony. Your research partner Gérard Mourou had already had an entry for ten years.

An automatically updated list of the collaborative writing project “Women in Red” shows further biographies about women that have not been published due to a lack of relevance. On January 1, 2021, the contribution by the British researcher Fawzia Gilani-Williams to Islamic children’s literature was not approved due to a lack of different sources. Relevant content is removed as irrelevant due to the strict standards.

Larry Sanger wrote in his January 10, 2001 email about the new feature called Wikipedia: “Absolutely anyone else can make any change they want to.”

Wikipedia does not currently do justice to this guiding principle.


Jutta Allmendinger on women’s politics: “I fight for options”

Coping with the pandemic demands a lot from women in particular. According to the sociologist, paid and unpaid work must be distributed more fairly.

Foto: Ute Grabowsky/getty

taz: Ms. Allmendinger, shortly after the first wave of the pandemic, you prophesied that Corona would cause women to experience “terrible retraditionalisation”. Do you still see it that way almost eight months later?

Jutta Allmendinger: Even stronger than then.


Studies on the first lockdown are now available in many disciplines. An article has just appeared on the so-called “mental load”, which shows from a psychological point of view that the stress factors in women – and only in women – increase to the extent that school closings and double burdens occur. Meanwhile, there is little change in men beyond the lockdown phase. In addition, women have reduced their working hours much more and have found it much more difficult to find their way back into the labor market after the initial lockdown.

Born in 1956, is a sociologist and president of the Berlin Science Center for Social Research. Her book “It only works together! How we can finally achieve gender equality ”has been published by Ullstein Verlag.

You have now published a book in which you describe what should have been different. What would that be?

In my book I draw from my personal point of view and over the decades what is actually happening in this country. My grandfather, my father, the father of my son: full-time work was and is the norm with them. Women have adapted their life courses more and more to those of men and still do that today. They take on more and more paid work. Men, on the other hand, have not changed their life histories.

How should the résumés be changed specifically?

I am an advocate of employment of an average 32-hour week, i.e. below the current full-time. But the central point for me is to divide the unpaid work more evenly between men and women. Because the inequality that we have had here for a long time is the reason that there are enormous differences in monthly income. This in turn results in extremely low pensions for women, which they often have to live with for 20 or 30 years.

When it comes to employment, shouldn’t women adapt to men, but men to women?

It is a mistake to let women simply accept men’s careers. We live in a society that needs a lot more commitment to others. Now the time has come when men, when they become fathers, no longer increase their workload – and women have to go part-time. Paid and unpaid work must finally be distributed more fairly.

There are studies that show that at least the extra work caused by Corona in heterosexual couple relationships was almost equally distributed between men and women.

These studies are about proportional gains. These can of course be higher from a low level than from a very high level. I use the term limit load: women simply can no longer shoulder their already high burden.

Many are currently working from home. You write that this makes it easier to combine work and family – but at the same time it is a trap for women. In what way?

The home office does not provide any impulses for change. And it will not contribute to a permanent reorganization of unpaid work. Those who are currently in better positions in the labor market can afford to work from home because they were present at the workplace beforehand and thus visible and thus got into good positions. But the others, especially women, are currently lacking the important visibility needed to get into management positions due to the home office.

How is it during parental leave?

Men should go up from the previous 2 parenting months to 4 and women from 12 to 8 months. Men would then have sole organizational and mental responsibility for the children for a certain period of time. That would have longer-term effects on the assumption of responsibility.

Then women would adjust to men again, shorten their parental leave and be available for longer on the labor market.

I am not making any suggestion as to how long parental leave should be. I’m just saying that it should be shared equally between mothers and fathers. As long as only women take the long break, little will change in the fact that women are less represented in management positions. Employers will always prefer those who are more available to the labor market.

The motto of your book is: We can only do it together. Who is we”?

On the one hand, couples themselves. I can only imagine a more equal distribution – I am actually mainly talking about heterosexual couples in this book – if the couples who say before the birth of children that they want to have a partnership also together work to achieve this goal. I can’t imagine a fight between mothers and fathers or something like that.

And on the other?

On the other hand, politicians must open up options and massively cut back the state incentives to keep women’s work low: abolish spouse splitting, increase quota and parental leave. Then women and men can still say they want to live a different model, that’s fine. But I fight for options.

Don’t you assume that a common goal of politics is to achieve gender equality? Many want to prevent exactly that, the splitting of spouses, for example, is not an issue at all.

That is exactly what we have to work on. I am not only against spousal splitting, I want to work out a concrete alternative and arrive at a family split that is fairer. Pressure is needed now.

What would such a family splitting look like?

The tax relief is not only applied if one of the two people earns little and the other earns a lot. But the number of people in the household must be taken into account. Then the new family splitting must be developed from the child benefit, the exemption amounts and the spouse splitting.

Do you see an opportunity in the next legislature to abolish splitting?

Yes. I see a maximum understanding among the women of the CDU that the splitting of spouses is very obstructive for intra-family negotiation processes, anyway with the SPD and the Greens.

The problem is likely to be the Union men.

The men did not consider the quota for women in management positions necessary either, and now it exists anyway. Last year, I actually appeared activist for the first time in my life. I’ve learned that you have to bring women from different sectors and age groups together to really create something.

The quota for women in management positions is: One woman on the executive board if it consists of at least three people. Who is that useful?

Jutta Allmendinger, sociologist

For me, the goal is that women can freely choose how they organize their gainful and unpaid work. The unequal distribution of unpaid work is a major driver of different living wages and pensions.

Indeed, this benefits women who have come a long way. Most important to me, however, is that successful women have to become a matter of course. We need a lot more role models so that young women can see that women also have leadership responsibilities in business or in the public sector.

The fact that women can be role models does not mean that they are fighting for socially fairer women’s politics.

That’s right, that’s why I didn’t say that. Women aren’t just hiring women, and I don’t want to tell women to do that either. But to see that it works is extremely important in a society like Germany’s.

In the current situation, wouldn’t it be more important to fight for better pay and fairer working conditions in nursing than for women in management positions?

I don’t want to weigh that against each other. That was a pragmatic first approach that we took – simply because it was part of the coalition agreement. It must now be possible to incorporate the things you have mentioned in the next coalition agreements. This of course includes better pay for systemically relevant jobs, which are mostly done by women.

You close your book with the words “We will win”. When is that the case?

For me, the goal is that women can freely choose how they organize their gainful and unpaid work. The unequal distribution of unpaid work is a major driver of different wages and pensions. In order to change that, false incentives have to be eliminated: the free co-insurance of marginal part-time employees, the splitting of spouses, the standardization of what a good mother is. Then this goal would be achieved.


Katja Kipping on “Zero Covid”: “Protection must get better”

The Left Party leader welcomes the demand for the Zero Covid Initiative. Above all, she sees a group of responsibility.

Is campaigning for a solidarity lockdown: Katja Kipping Photo: Reuhl / imago

taz: Ms. Kipping, so far there have been Covid protests mainly from the right. Now a left-wing initiative has formed with Zero Covid. The name says it all: with a hard lockdown, the number of new infections can be reduced to zero. What do you think of this request?

Katja Kipping: I am pleased that there is an initiative that draws attention to the enormous consequences and suffering that comes with Corona. Socially, this is an important counterbalance to the right-wing coronavirus and lateral thinkers.

Is this a realistic requirement?

That is of course a very ambitious goal. But perhaps an initiative that deliberately seeks to counterbalance it must also be ambitious. A lot would be gained if we in Germany had a situation like the one that the Max Planck Institute discussed. That we push the numbers to a maximum of 1,000 new infections per day, because then individual tracking is ensured and we can enable social life again. At the moment, the aim of the measures is to prevent the complete collapse of the health system and the crematoria. This is important. But of course it cannot just be about averting the very worst. Our goal should be that we come to a state where we can make social life possible again in all its diversity.

born 1978 in Dresden, has been leading the Left Party since 2012 together with Bernd Riexinger. Both announced at the end of August that they would no longer run for chairmanship. The election of a new tip was postponed to February 2021 due to Corona.

The initiative also calls for factories to be closed. The federal government has so far refused to impose binding conditions on employers. What’s your attitude?

The Federal Government’s previous lockdown measures are clearly on the list. I have already criticized several times for the fact that the federal government is actually placing the burden of contact restrictions on private households alone. However, the spread of a virus does not end where lobby interests are affected. The government should finally have the courage to make the employers’ side obligatory. Where work can be done in the home office, there must be the right to work from home to reduce contact. Where work has to continue on site, there should be clear and binding infection control measures – which, if necessary, can also be enforced with unannounced controls and fines. It cannot be that Amazon sorting centers turn into hotspots again and again, because infection protection continues there.

Her party colleague Sahra Wagenknecht said in an interview that she herself believes the federal government’s goal of reducing the 7-day incidence to 50 is unrealistic. She demands to concentrate only on protecting the risk groups, but otherwise to relax now.

Is that really your position? During the days I had several debates in the party and in the group. And nobody took that position. The party’s common position is: We stand up for a solidarity lockdown. And that means: In addition to our demand to make employers responsible for infection protection, social security must also run better. That is also a problem at the moment.

Will you sign the initiative’s appeal?

I will definitely inform you that this initiative exists. As the left we have our approach of solidarity lockdown, the initiative has its own. And that’s just as well. Not everything that I find sympathetic has to be captured by party politics.


Trump’s last days in office: The coup attempt is not over

After four years of agitation, Pandora’s box is open. The coup leaders were encouraged by the ease with which the Capitol could be stormed.

She was encouraged by the ease with which the far right entered the Capitol Foto: Mike Theiler/reuters

The US President Donald Trump could resign – should he see an advantage for himself. He could be removed from office because of his apparent unsuitability – should Vice President Mike Pence and other remaining members of the government come to that late insight and act accordingly. He could be impeached – impeached – by the House of Representatives for a second time. Or he could be locked up somewhere in the White House with no phone, internet, or other means of communication.

Any one of these possibilities would be better than waiting, trembling and hoping. But not a single one of these measures and not even all of them together can fundamentally change anything about the fact that the remaining nine days until the planned handover to President-elect Joe Biden remain a time of maximum risk. Individuals such as the two newly elected Democratic Senators from Georgia are in danger, as is the constitutional order in the USA in the form of the inauguration on January 20th and peace in the world. Because in Iran, for example, the USA is currently launching one provocation after the other.

After four years of daily lies, agitation, undermining the rule of law, praising the “silent majority” and after countless small and large trials of strength on the streets in various parts of the United States, Pandora’s box is now wide open. January 6th – on which the US Congress and other elected institutions in the US states were simultaneously attacked – showed how confident the coup forces in the US have become. The ease with which they were able to carry out their illegal actions has encouraged and encouraged them to do more. The understanding that large parts of the American population signaled with a shrug of shoulders has also strengthened their backs.

The January 6 strikers weren’t naive. And they weren’t slipped or sent into something they couldn’t see. They were prepared and they brought their symbols with them. They carried the crosses and Jesus symbols of the evangelical fundamentalists and the Confederate flags of the slave-holding regime that was abolished 156 years ago in the US Congress. And they knew they had dozens of political supporters inside his two chambers.

The coup attempt in the US is not a past finished deal. It’s an ongoing process. The exit is open.


Five years of “Storming Connewitz”: Slow reconnaissance

Five years ago neo-Nazis attacked the Leipzig-Connewitz district. The processes involved are tough, open questions remain.

On January 11, 2016, the right wing rioted in Connewitz – the arrest was prompt Photo: Jan Woitas, dpa

LEIPZIG taz | The evening of January 11, 2016, will be remembered for a long time to Leipzig-Connewitz. Under cover of darkness, armed with slats and iron bars, masked and dressed in black, more than 200 neo-Nazis roam the left-wing alternative district and smash windows of bars, shops and snack bars, demolish houses and set fire to cars.

After a few minutes, the police arrive and arrest 200 suspects. What remains is a picture of devastation: some injuries, 113,000 euros in property damage and a shock that will stay with the residents of the district for a long time to come. It was the biggest neo-Nazi attack since the 1990s.

That was five years ago. Actually, a long time for law enforcement when the suspects were arrested and identified minutes after the attack. However, not all of the perpetrators have been convicted and the process is slow. Those already convicted have so far got away with relatively mild sentences.

124 parties have been convicted, 66 proceedings are pending

According to the Evangelical Press Service (epd), 124 defendants have been convicted of a particularly serious breach of the peace. Most of them received suspended sentences of between one and one and a half years.

Most recently, a co-organizer of various right-wing rock concerts was only sentenced to a fine of 900 euros in October. In contrast, there is still no trial date for 66 suspected attackers. A court spokesman told the epd that each judge would decide for himself when a trial would be opened.

For Juliane Nagel, a member of the Left Parliament, who has her own citizen’s office in Connewitz, the processes are “now pure waste”. The negotiations were “shortened with questionable deals” while the victims were still waiting for clarification. To date, there is no knowledge of the organizational structure of the attack.

Why didn’t the authorities stop the attack?

It is also unclear why the authorities did not prevent the attack on Connewitz. There were enough indications: mobilizations in chat groups and an assessment of the situation by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution indicated that right-wing extremists were approaching nationwide for the evening. In the letter from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which the Leipzig city magazine kreuzer published for the first time, it says: “This should contribute to a considerable increase in the potential for violent people in Leipzig, whose direct encounter with the political opponent – even violent – is to be feared.” Why The police claim that they did not know anything about the attack, is still unclear.

In addition, the neo-Nazis who were detained were well networked: through camaraderie, which has since been banned, the martial arts and hooligan scene to the right-wing terrorists of the Freital vigilante group. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution also confirmed the right-wing extremist references of some of the attackers. Investigations in the direction of right-wing extremist networks have not yet become known in the trials.

Also a prison officer among the perpetrators

Instead, they brought other scandals to light: The correctional officer Kersten H. is said to have been involved in the attack on Connewitz – and still worked for three years in a prison. Here he could also have had contact with accomplices.

In addition, the prospective lawyer Brian E. was convicted, who was able to start his legal clerkship at the Chemnitz District Court in 2018 despite the ongoing proceedings. Photos show E. with relevant neo-Nazi tattoos at an event of the right-wing extremist martial arts scene. However, the public prosecutor’s office stopped investigations at the beginning of 2020. Neither for Brian E., nor for the more than 200 other neo-Nazis who devastated Connewitz on January 11, 2016, the trials have so far had really serious consequences.

The wound in the district remains deep. Activists are planning a theater rally for the coming Saturday. The action is named after the statements of numerous attackers in court that they just cheated on the right-wing mob: “The longest last row in the world.”