Corona: crisis of equality (

Studying still gives women fewer opportunities than men.

Photo: dpa / dpaweb | Oliver Berg

“So that women don’t pay the price of the crisis, we need an equality check for the Corona policy,” demands Susanne Feldkötter. She is chairwoman of the district women’s committee in the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) Berlin-Brandenburg. It is mostly women who stayed at home and looked after children when the daycare center and school were closed, explains Vice District Chairman Sonja Staack. A survey by the union-affiliated Hans Böckler Foundation shows that in autumn 2020 women worked an average of six hours less work per week than men – before the pandemic the difference was five hours. “This widens the gap between the working hours of women and men in the crisis,” says Staack.

The inequality between the sexes has also been documented for eleven years by the gender data report based on data from the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office from the House of Gender Equality Senator Dilek Kalyci (SPD). The so-called gender pay gap is serious: in the 35 to 55 age group, 68.5 percent of men, but only 58 percent of women, earn more than 1,500 euros net. This is also evident from the recently presented edition with the figures for 2019. On average, women earn around a fifth less than men in professions subject to social insurance. One reason for this is the higher part-time work among women.

»We want the working hours and the care times of men and women to be the same. In the crisis, this development goes in the wrong direction, «says DGB woman Staack. In the companies, it must be ensured that women in particular can increase their working hours again after the crisis, and dismissals due to downtime during the crisis are excluded.

In general, the proportion of employed women is high in Berlin at almost 72 percent, emphasizes Lena Högemann, spokeswoman for the equal opportunities administration. That is a good thing: “Increasing labor force participation also leads to rising incomes for women.” However, things are progressing very slowly here.

The report also shows that the educational lead of younger generations of women is not reflected in the career and salary ladder. Across the generations, more women than men have a higher education entrance qualification (57 to 53 percent), among 25 to 34-year-olds it is even 74 percent (men: 69 percent). But there are almost 1000 female professors at Berlin’s state universities, as opposed to over 2000 professors. The differences are also great elsewhere: women make up more than half of the 23,667 medical professionals – but only 34 percent of senior physicians. In management positions, the proportion of women is less than a fifth.

The gender data report also covers other dimensions of inequality. According to this, around 66 percent of Berliners with a migration background have a job, but almost 80 percent of those without.

Women have one advantage in terms of average life expectancy – it is almost five years higher than that of men. One of the reasons for this is that women take fewer health risks. You smoke less, are less overweight and have more preventive medical checkups. This is particularly noticeable in cancer screening: more than half of women do health checks, but only a quarter of men.

Gender-based violence is the main threat to women’s health. Of the 15,665 victims of intimate partner or family violence in 2018, 72 percent were women. They even make up 80 percent of those seeking help because of stalking.

The report is also dedicated to political participation. The fact that the quota of women in the House of Representatives is far too low is primarily due to the “male-dominated parties”. Of the 25 AfD mandates at the beginning of the legislature, only three were women, while the FDP had two out of twelve. In contrast, the Greens had 59 percent women, the left-wing faction 48 percent. It fits into the picture that the AfD was elected much more often by men than by women (18 to 11 percent).

Senator Kalayci writes in the foreword that progress in equality is not progressing in a straight line Members. ”There was still a lot to do before gender parity.


Federal committee of the party Die Linke on police violence against LL-Demo (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

Police excess of violence on January 10, 2021 at the LL demo in Berlin

On Saturday, the Federal Committee of the Left Party dealt with the police attacks on the Luxemburg-Liebknecht demonstration in Berlin on January 10th and passed the following resolution:

The federal committee of the party Die Linke has taken note of the declaration of the alliance in preparation for the demonstration as part of the Luxemburg Liebknecht honor, January 11, 2021

The Federal Committee decidedly condemn the police violence against participants in the demonstration as part of the Luxemburg Liebknecht ceremony on January 10, 2021.

We see this as an attempt to forcefully enforce the ban on the FDJ, which is still in force in the former western sectors of Berlin and the so-called old federal states, even in those countries in which it actually does not apply after the Unification Treaty of 1990.

We call on those who are politically responsible for the deployment of the police in the state of Berlin to put an end to this arbitrary police force.

The peace plenum in Bochum drew attention to the action day planned for January 22nd on the occasion of the entry into force of the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty in a press release:

On Friday, January 22nd, 2021, the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons comes into force. The treaty prohibits, among other things, the manufacture, distribution, transfer, stationing of and the threat of nuclear weapons. IPPNW, DFG-VK and the Peace Plenum will organize a celebration on the Bochum town hall forecourt on Friday at 11 a.m. – very small under pandemic conditions. (…)

Rima Ideguchi from Bochum is the guest of the celebration. Her grandfather Shigemi Ideguchi was one of the few who survived the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945 only 500 meters from the epicenter – despite the most severe burns and radiation. (…)

As a symbol for the 50 states that have ratified the UN Treaty on Nuclear Weapons, 50 decorated chairs will be set up in front of the town hall on Friday. Another empty chair stands in the middle and behind it a banner is held to remind that the federal government and the grand coalition that supports it have so far refused to sign the contract. The banner says: Germany is missing!

The climate camp on the fish market in Augsburg has existed for 200 days. In a press release from Saturday it says:

(…) The city government’s reaction so far has been shockingly passive. With such
The climate campers themselves did not expect any duration. (…) The number of active people and supporters is constantly growing. (…) People from all over Germany still come to support the campers. Only after the city tried unsuccessfully to take action against the presence of the camp through legal proceedings, did it begin substantive discussions with the demonstrators. But these are similarly sobering. Because with goals that just lead to the inadequate coalition agreement being adhered to, calculations still cause three times as many emissions as Augsburg is still entitled to proportionally according to the IPCC report 2018, not to reach the vital 1.5 degree limit To exceed.


Without country air, without nibbles (

With a panning camera over the fields of the Mark, it goes towards Oderbruch. Lapidar a sonorous voice assures: “The small town of Müncheberg has been known for agricultural research since GDR times – and recently also for organic soups.” Perhaps the vegan products from WDM Fertigprodukt GmbH in Märkisch-Oderland are actually as tasty as in the video clip promised. The brand name “Wünsch Dir Mahl” covers ecologically sustainable regional food, from the use of raw materials to the marketing. But nobody will throw it out of their panties if, for example, has not tasted the potato soup brand “like at Grandma’s” at least once. To be able to see, smell and then taste everything that farms, stables and fields produce yourself – wasn’t that always the greatest temptation that drew crowds of visitors to Brandenburg-Halle 21a every year at the Green Week?

Corona made that impossible in 2021. For the first time in its history, the International Green Week (IGW), which a year ago united 1,800 exhibitors in the halls under the radio tower and, as always, attracted around 400,000 people, is taking place entirely digitally. The state of Brandenburg, which this year is the 31st guest at this trade fair, which was held for the first time in 1926, has to be content with a digital presence. Even the duration of the consumer fair has been shortened to two full days, January 20th and 21st. A bitter setback for the agricultural and food industry in the Brandenburg region, for which numerous producers advertised in changing group shows during the 85th Green Week in Hall 21a last year. Natural landscapes, the districts, municipalities, tourism and professional associations as well as clubs presented themselves at around 70 stands. This time, as Brandenburg’s Agriculture Minister Axel Vogel (Greens) regretfully announced in an online press conference on Friday, there will only be a purely virtual »BrandenburghalleDigital ’21«.

“At this time, the Prime Minister would normally have taken a tour with our Minister of Agriculture, the Green Week should have started today, if it had been held at the exhibition center in Berlin,” reminded Minister Frauke Zelt. From Brandenburg’s point of view, it is of course the central task of an institution like Green Week to advertise the region’s products, Vogel said. The Brandenburg Hall is usually rented by the state and made available to the regional development association Pro Agro, which then binds the individual companies that want to exhibit there. “For the state of Brandenburg, it is initially less expensive to hold a digital international Green Week,” said the minister. “But it would be much more positive if we could have used this money, which would have been available in the budget, for the Brandenburg-Halle, in order to then advertise our Brandenburg products even more intensively.”

In the virtual Brandenburg Hall, for example, agricultural companies but also tourism regions will be presented in short portraits. “Cinematic fare” instead of the usual finger food, as Vogel noted. The clips were produced with the Potsdam film office in the media house on the Babelsberg film site for Green Week. They are about regional value creation, regional brands as networks of good taste and innovative marketing. In addition to the Müncheberg ready-made food producer WDM, which is part of the Regionalwert AG network, the Syringhof Beelitz, the Ökohof Kuhhorst, the Biohof Schöneiche, Gasthof Reuner, Brandenburger flour from Müllrose, Eberswalder sausage and Peter’s agriculture from Werneuchen are there. You get to know the regional umbrella brand Spreewald, the Elbe-Elster regional seal and the certification mark of the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve and learn more about the winners of the Pro-Agro Marketing Prize 2021, which Agriculture Minister Vogel will honor as patron on January 20th.

A digital networking meeting on a virtual marketplace could not replace a real Green Week, where people could taste and smell, freshly cooked and heatedly discussed on the Brandenburg evening, admitted the Green politician. But the digital version is a clear signal to the industry that regional products and healthy food, comprehensible value and supply chains, fair prices and environmental services for society, with and from which farmers can live, are highly topical issues.

This year, more than ever, Brandenburg is focusing on the topic of regionality in connection with organic farming, sustainability and climate protection. “During the corona pandemic, the demand for regional and organic products rose again,” explained the Agriculture Minister. This is also proven by figures from the Association for Organic Farming Berlin-Brandenburg. As managing director Michael Wimmer explained, the sales of the organic food retailers grew by leaps and bounds by around 23 percent in 2020. Sales totaled 715 million euros (2019: around 580 million).

“So that the Berlin-Brandenburg market can be better served and managed in a more environmentally and climate-friendly way, the agri-environment ministry is tackling many projects: We are developing the eco-action plan with which the organic cultivation area is to increase to 20 percent by 2024.” Vogel added that this would even increase to 25 percent by 2030. His ministry will install value chain managers who will advise companies on adaptation to climate change, support the conversion of agriculture and certification costs. And one is considering the introduction of an EU-notified regional seal with which Brandenburg companies could finally apply more promisingly for catering in Berlin daycare centers and canteens.

According to the ministry spokeswoman Zelt, the videos will be broadcast on the IGW Digital 2021 Berlin platform on January 20 and 21, after which they can be viewed in the IGW media library and on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture until April 30, 2021.


Agromultis am Pillory (Young World newspaper)

Representatives of around 60 organizations call for sustainable environmental policy (Berlin, January 16, 2021)

While North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister and Tönnies-Kuschler Armin Laschet gave his speech on Saturday morning in the premises of Messe Berlin on the application for party leadership to the Christian Democrats, around 30 tractors drove up in front of the CDU headquarters. The tractors came from the outskirts of the capital with a clear message to the protagonists in the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus: “Promote farms, convert livestock, protect the climate”, one could read on banners. They are fed up with the disastrous agricultural policy of the Union, which has occupied the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food since 2005. The current minister responsible, Julia Klöckner, is particularly criticized for her group-friendly policy.

Since 2011, on the occasion of the “Green Week” in Berlin, the “We’re fed up” alliance has been calling for people to take to the streets for a socially just and ecological agricultural policy. Usually tens of thousands from all over Germany follow the appeal – in 2021, the corona-related protest had to take place in a slimmed-down form with around 100 demonstrators.

But the alliance, consisting of more than 60 organizations, did not want to appear quieter. An overwhelming number of supporters showed solidarity from afar: in front of the Federal Chancellery, where the honking tractors joined the rest of the protesters, around 10,000 printed footprints with clear messages were waving – in line with the motto of the demonstration: »Start the agricultural turnaround ! «The environmental alliance mainly denounced the» failed EU agricultural reform «and the» bankruptcy declarations in the climate crisis «. And the trade agreement with the four Mercosur countries Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay must be stopped.

“The situation of many farms has deteriorated,” said Olaf Bandt, Chairman of the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND), in a speech on video. “They are doing badly economically because they are forced by the trade to produce producer prices that are often below costs.” There are alternative concepts: “We know how one could spend 55 billion a year in agricultural subsidies for the common good instead of using them Just pour the watering can over the surface – without any social consideration from the subsidy recipients. “

Elisabeth Fresen, Federal Chairman of the Working Group on Farming Agriculture (ABL), addressed the Minister of Agriculture directly: “Link the subsidy money to specific ecological and social achievements, Ms. Klöckner.” The minister should finally use the funds in the interests of the farmers. Fresen further stated that she wanted to produce healthy food with her work, protect the climate, species and animals. But the government is pursuing completely different goals. “Fifteen years ago the Union took over the Ministry of Agriculture. Since then, 130,000 businesses have had to close. It is almost impossible for young start-ups to get ashore. Our land has become an object of speculation. And we farmers get dumping prices for our products. ”In a statement that same evening, Klöckner replied:“ A lot has already happened ”, was the usual succinct tenor.


Left in Berlin: controversy in the super election year (

Klaus Lederer at the party conference of Left Berlin.

Foto: picture alliance/dpa/Annette Riedl

In the Berlin Left there is something like the trauma of 2011. At that time, the party fell in the House of Representatives elections after the second government participation with the SPD to 11.7 percent. Five years in the opposition followed. One thing was clear: the SPD did not want to make it that easy again, the times of cooks and waiters should finally be a thing of the past with a renewed coalition – instead, they wanted to rule on an equal footing.

Martin Kröger on the mood in the red-red-green senate coalition

Martin Kröger on the mood in the red-red-green senate coalition

Photo: nd / F. Schirrmeister

Anyone who followed the party convention of the left at the weekend could see that the party has actually learned something new: Lederer and Co. rode sharp attacks against the SPD, for their “blinking in the direction of the CDU”, for the controversial personnel Volker Härtig, who was suggested the SPD moves up to the board of the housing supply. The Greens also got their fat away for the tender for the S-Bahn subnetworks, after all, it is possible that the Berlin S-Bahn as the backbone of local public transport will be smashed in the future.

The left is not holding back in the coalition with its own proposals and positions, see the so-called quota for migrants in the public service or the support of the ongoing referendum to expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co. This is how you gain a profile towards the coalition partners. In 2011, however, the left almost went under with its main demand for a public employment sector, including in the media.

It is quite normal for parties to raise their profile in an election year. The left is pursued, this is also openly admitted behind closed doors by coalition partners, with strategic goals. Strengthening the public community, for example, is a clear narrative in the face of the stressed health sector. Because very soon it will be about who has to pay for the consequences of the corona crisis. It is therefore right to categorically rule out a new savings regime. Nobody needs a Left Party that saves again until it squeaks.


Berlin’s left wants to conquer the “really red town hall” (

Klaus Lederer, the designated top candidate of the Berlin Left for the House of Representatives election, speaks on Saturday at the state party conference.

Photo: dpa / Annette Riedl

In view of the drastic effects of the corona crisis, the autumn election campaign seems to be a long way off. “I find it difficult to concentrate on September and the election campaign,” said the designated top candidate of the Berlin Left for the 2021 House of Representatives election, Klaus Lederer, on Saturday at the start of the digital state party conference. The deputy head of the senate and cultural senator of the red-red-green coalition spoke to the 159 delegates who took part in the digital party conference from a newly built television studio in the party headquarters in Mitte. In the end, according to Lederer, the topics of governance in the pandemic, post-crisis management and the upcoming election campaign cannot be separated at all. After all, it all depends – how current social cohesion is organized from the government and what development Berlin is taking after the corona crisis. “The answers will depend on the weight of the left.”

From the question of “Who owns the city?”, The question of the successful election campaign 2016, in which the left achieved a good result with 15.6 percent, the question “Who does the world belong to after Corona?” Should follow. “One of the most important functions of the left is to point out that the crisis does not affect everyone equally,” explained Lederer. The party is therefore calling for higher Hartz IV standard rates and new aid programs. “The left wants to fight for the common good,” said the designated top candidate. For the left-wing politician, this also includes advancing the popular initiative to expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co, which Lederer described as “absolutely sensible”.

So far, the Left is the only one of the three governing parties in Berlin that actively supports the referendum, which has set itself the goal of socializing private real estate groups with more than 3,000 apartments each in Berlin in return for compensation. As evidence of a new social urban development policy, Lederer referred to the regulation of the housing market: “With the rent cap, we have shown that we are serious about taking action against exorbitant rents.”

The designated top candidate of the left sharply criticized the large donations made by a real estate entrepreneur to the Berlin CDU. Lederer categorically ruled out a coalition with the FDP and CDU. His own coalition partner, the SPD, with its new state chairman Franziska Giffey and Raed Saleh, also attacked Lederer directly for “her blinking in the direction of the CDU”. One does not even think of relinquishing the independent urban development department that has existed since 2016. The new SPD top had toured publicly in interviews. But for the left-wing narrative of the »solidary city«, the occupation of this department is strategically important because in this area the possibilities of a policy change with the rent cap and other measures became clear.

After the election, Lederer sees himself as the upcoming Governing Mayor of Berlin. In a short film at the state party conference, a number of prominent supporters spoke out in favor of Lederer, including the musician Andrej Hermlin and the manager of the Bundesliga club 1. FC Union Berlin, Oliver Ruhnert. “A really red town hall would be good for the city,” explained Lederer.

“We’re betting on victory,” said state chairwoman Katina Schubert at the beginning of the party congress. With Klaus Lederer, the Left in Berlin can boast one of the city’s most popular politicians, said Schubert. “He can be the governing mayor!” The election manifesto with which the socialists want to go into the election campaign has not yet been determined. The development of the program was delayed by the corona crisis. It is quite possible that the original idea of ​​primarily campaigning for liveable neighborhoods in Berlin – from Spandau to Mitte to Müggelheim – is still central, but is increasingly overshadowed by the consequences of the corona crisis. The state chairman therefore spoke out in favor of a threefold strategy for combating the crisis: firstly, society should be made more crisis-proof, secondly a vaccination and test strategy should be developed and, thirdly, a social guarantee for jobs should be given. The Berlin left wants to fight the pandemic “with a solidarity lockdown”.

The debate and the adoption of the lead motion “Berlin for everyone” was delayed on Saturday lunchtime due to technical problems – the company, which was bought at a high price, had a sound track recorded twice, a mistake that was discovered very late.

Due to the difficulties, the results of the board election were not available until late Saturday evening: Almost the entire top of the old board was re-elected. State chairwoman Katina Schubert and her three deputies, Sandra Brunner (66 percent), Pascal Meiser (72 percent) and Tobias Schulze (63 percent) were confirmed with a strong 82 percent. The state managing director Sebastian Koch was also re-elected with 75 percent of the delegate votes. After 29 years as the state treasurer, Sylvia Müller did not run again, instead Anette Juckel ran, who achieved the best result of the management team with 87 percent. The Left Party’s executive committee has a total of 20 members. In addition to the completion of the election manifesto, other dates in the election year are the lists for which the districts can submit proposals. The top candidate and the list candidates are to be finally elected at a state members’ meeting in April.


Far away (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

imago images / Gerhard Leber

Is the Left Party on board? Demo calls on a house wall in Berlin-Neukölln (November 3rd, 2019)

The chemistry seems to be right, as they say, between Janine Wissler and Susanne Hennig-Wellsow. The Hessian parliamentary group chairman and the Thuringian state and parliamentary group leader of the party Die Linke will take over the leadership of their party at the end of February, succeeding Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger. On Thursday evening they had one of their so far rare appearances together at an online event of the series “Roter Salon” of the Wiesbaden Left Party – and the atmosphere was relaxed. Hennig-Wellsow joked that she would be vaccinated against Covid-19 earlier than Wissler because she was older. Wissler responded with a grin and the peace sign.

The scene set the tone. The discussion of political issues also remained peaceful. The differences between the party left Wissler and the “reformer” Hennig-Wellsow became clear. When moderator Ingo von Seemen, head of the Left and Pirates parliamentary group in the Wiesbaden city council, asked which left the country needed, the Thuringian campaigned for government participation with little clauses. One shouldn’t forget the »assertion perspective« if one wants to noticeably improve people’s lives, says Hennig-Wellsow.

Again and again she is confronted with the accusation that the left promises everything but does nothing. Trust comes from action. Hennig-Wellsow referred to the successes that the “red-red-green” government coalition led by her party had achieved over the past six years. Social improvements have been implemented such as a law on the award of public contracts with a minimum wage of 11.42 euros, two non-contributory kindergarten years or the employment of 4,000 teachers. It just “makes a difference who rules,” explained Hennig-Wellsow.

Wissler did not specifically address the issue of government participation, but characterized the task of her party differently. The left must support people where they fight for their causes, she said. To do this, the party must seek connections with trade unions and movements. However, it must not limit itself to fighting for small improvements, but must reinforce the “vision of a fundamentally different society”. A society in which “banks and corporations do not rule over our lives and nobody has to live in poverty any more.” The goal must be to overcome capitalism.

The debate about the direction of the party – government participation or social struggles – should continue to accompany Wissler and Hennig-Wellsow. There is currently also a dispute about this in the Berlin Left Regional Association, in which the “government left” traditionally set the tone. Before the state party conference taking place online this weekend, the anti-capitalist left party movement (AKL) Berlin expressed sharp criticism of the key proposal submitted by the state executive. An opinion that jW is available, has the heading “Cheer mood instead of serious analysis”. The balance of the Left Party’s participation in the state government is “not nearly as good” as the lead proposal suggests, said Tim Fürup, spokesman for AKL Berlin on Friday jW. “Senate politics is far removed from left-wing politics in many respects, the positive aspects do not outweigh the negative,” said Fürup. One could not speak of a policy change in the interests of working people and the socially disadvantaged.

The leading motion states that the left has “made the difference in many political areas in the Senate in recent years” and is “the engine for a policy that counteracts the growing division between rich and poor”. AKL Berlin decidedly contradicts this. Here the party overestimates itself. It takes a “considerably larger majority in urban society” to achieve noticeable improvements for the majority of Berliners. The AKL also criticizes the sentence in the main motion that the Left Party was “the only ruling party to support the popular initiative› Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co. ‹” It goes unmentioned that the Berlin Senate “took a full 441 days to examine the legal admissibility of the referendum and the referendum was blocked.”

The “evictions of the Syndicate, Friedel 54 or Liebig 34, carried out with escalating violence,” are also not left-wing politics, it continues. A “completely wrong and fatal signal” was sent out, “namely the enforcement of the property rights of individual speculators at any price – the red-red-green senate as vicarious agent of real estate capital”. The evictions of projects or evictions of individual tenants must come to an end, otherwise the slogan “The city is yours!” Would become a “cynical farce”. Even the rent cap introduced in Berlin is no reason to cheer, according to the AKL. The “rent madness” has not stopped. The paper also criticizes the police’s attacks on the demonstration in memory of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht on January 10th: “The enemy is on the left for those in power (regardless of which coalition).”

It had to end “with lazy compromises within the framework of the Berlin coalition.” On balance, participation by the left in government should be »fundamentally rejected«. The paper demands: “No continuation of the coalition after the House of Representatives elections in September and an immediate change of course to socialist opposition politics.”


Corona deniers gather again in bar

Larger police operation in Prenzlauer Berg
Image: dpa

The Berlin police had to break up a meeting of corona deniers in the Prenzlauer Berg district on the second evening in a row. As announced, the participants had come together again to found a party, according to their own statements.

Dhe Berlin police went out on Friday evening to stop another meeting of opponents of the Corona laws in a pub in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg. 20 to 30 people had gathered in and in front of the bar, said a police spokesman. Participants would disregard the corona hygiene rules. Further information was not yet available.

On Thursday evening, the police broke up an event there that was broadcast live on the Internet and in which a journalist was assaulted. Accordingly, 28 people were found, most of whom had neither worn a corona protective mask nor kept the prescribed minimum distance. According to the police, several participants are close to the “thinking outside the box” movement.

The bar is the Scotch & Sofa on Kollwitzstrasse. The Berlin hat maker and lawyer Rike Feuerstein was one of the guests that evening. Using the pseudonym “Viviane Fischer”, she denies the dangers of the pandemic on social media and warns against vaccination against the corona virus because it is “probably some devil’s stuff”.

Private gatherings of so many people are currently banned, and bars must be closed.


Off to bankruptcy (

Is no longer wanted by the artists’ social fund: Franziska Hauser

Photo: Franziska Hauser

Artists are more like extraterrestrials, «wrote the writer Franziska Hauser recently on Facebook. And these aliens would not fit into the system, »that’s why they need their own health insurance, because otherwise there would be no artists at all. At least none that get sick or old. Because the system does not like self-employed people and certainly not those who have children. It really only likes employed fathers and mothers staying at home. “

But let’s start at the beginning: The artists ‘social insurance fund, or KSK for short, is responsible for the insurance assessment and the collection of contributions for artists’ social insurance in the Federal Republic of Germany. Since January 1, 1983, the KSK has included independent artists and publicists (m / f / d) in the statutory health, long-term care and pension insurance after their application and subsequent examination. In a functioning welfare state, the KSK should ensure that artists enjoy similar protection in the statutory social insurance as permanent employees, whereby the artists’ social fund itself is not a service provider, but organizes the payment of contributions for its almost 200,000 members. Musicians and stage designers, actors and writers have normal “health cards” (AOK, Barmer Ersatzkasse, …) like other insured persons. Unless they are not artists overnight, like Franziska Hauser.

The daughter of a puppeteer and a documentary filmmaker appears as the epitome of Berlin bohemianism. Born in 1975 in Berlin-Pankow, Franziska Hauser now lives in Prenzlauer Berg, if you will: as a member of the indigenous population. She studied stage design and fine arts at the Berlin-Weißensee School of Art and then worked for several years at the Berliner Ensemble. In addition, she is trained as a photographer and as such works for various magazines, especially for »Das Magazin«. And by the way, she raised two children by herself and is already a grandmother of two in her mid-forties. And this woman is not supposed to be an artist?

The fact that such a diverse cultural scene was able to grow in Berlin was not least due to the fact that artists (unlike in Munich, for example) could be “unsuccessful” for a long time without accumulating a mountain of debt. If you don’t risk so much socially, you dare to do more – that’s in life as in art. This also made Berlin a trendy city with an international reputation. Other cities have theaters and opera houses too. This social location advantage of Berlin is now a thing of the past. Rents haven’t been cheap for a long time. Cheap studios and rehearsal rooms are also hard to come by.

Franziska Hauser was and is still successful! Her novel “Die Gewitterschwimmerin” was on the 2018 longlist for the German Book Prize. But according to the definition of the artist’s social security fund, Franziska Hauser is no longer an artist. Membership ended on January 1, 2021. As she said, it had fit into the system for years. Then Corona came, and all readings for her recently published novel »Glass Sisters« were canceled, as were festivals and writing courses. In order to cushion the loss of income – the 5,000 euros in emergency aid from the Senate of Culture only helped to a limited extent – Franziska Hauser worked a few hours more in her part-time job as a teacher of German as a foreign language, so that from then on she earned 600 euros a month. For the clerks at the KSK, this was tantamount to a serious violation of the rules, as her work as a teacher is not an artistic activity. 450 euros would have been allowed.

When she asked whether the KSK would now take the opportunity to kick all artists out because they are no longer allowed to work, the person in charge said on the phone: They are all at the job center. Franziska Hauser should also go there. In addition, a repayment will be demanded from her soon. One thing is certain: the artists’ social security fund knows how to enforce its demands.

Almost 3,000 artists and publicists had to do without health insurance last year, forced by the KSK regulations. In the case of 10,000 people affected in the culture and media industry, the artists’ social insurance fund triggered enforcement proceedings for backward contributions by November 30, according to the response of the federal government to a request from the Bundestag member Simone Barrientos (Left Party), who, according to the current living conditions, was in the KSK – Insured inquired. The cultural-political spokeswoman for the Left says: »The figures show that the situation of those affected has worsened since the beginning of the corona crisis. I am shocked that such precarious conditions are allowed in one of the richest countries in the world. “The cultural and creative industries are an economic factor that should not be underestimated, but above all elementary for social cohesion, so Barrientos:” Art and culture are relevant to democracy! “The state aid could not prevent thousands of freelancers and self-employed from being endangered in their professional existence and, moreover, from being without health insurance.

Franziska Hauser says: “Maybe it all just seems so absurd to my strange GDR-shaped understanding of solidarity.” She feels reminiscent of a well-known American board game in which you build an empire – with the aim of getting your fellow players into the To drive bankruptcy.


“He said I was his property”

FFor the twelfth day of his testimony against the Berlin clan boss Arafat Abou-Chaker and his brothers, the rapper Bushido had chosen his outfit to match the content of his testimony. “Leave me alone” was emblazoned in large white letters on the back of his black jacket. Unfortunately, only journalists and listeners were able to read the message, as the Abou Chaker brothers, as is customary in the courtroom, sat diagonally in front of the witness. The four brothers are on trial for, among other things, serious blackmail, deprivation of liberty, dangerous bodily harm, coercion, insult and infidelity. Bushido is a joint plaintiff and a witness in the trial.

In order for the Abou-Chakers to leave him and his family alone, he offered Arafat in March 2018 to pay him 1.8 million euros over three years, reports Anis Ferchichi, the real name of Bushido, in the Berlin district court on Wednesday. Officially, it was about a severance payment so that he could be left out of the contract, says the musician. But in reality he only made the offer “for protective purposes”. He never really thought that Abou-Chaker, his long-term business partner, had a legal claim to the money. Arafat is an “egomaniac” who wrongly believes he made Bushido great, according to Ferchichi.

“He said I was his property”

Of course, Abou-Chaker seems to have considered the 1.8 million euros to be too little. If one believes Ferchichi’s statements, the clan boss had previously instructed him at a meeting in January 2018 after violent arguments about the business separation to go home “like a dog” and wait for his instructions. He threatened Ferchichi that either he would accept the price he told him or that he would continue to pay until the end of his life. “He said I was his property, I belong to him,” remembers Ferchichi in the courtroom. In the more than four-hour meeting, Abou-Chaker insulted and threatened him with the door locked. They wanted to “break through psychologically in the middle”.

The rapper is particularly resentful of his ex-business partner when he threatened “I’ll fuck your dead mother, your father, your wife and your children.” Abou-Chaker calmly listed all his family members, reports Ferchichi. It was then that he realized that he would cause harm to himself and his family if he refused to pay the requested sum. “With us in the rap area, it is actually enough to insult your mother to express that you have a problem with someone,” the rapper explained to the inexperienced. Abou-Chaker’s statement was “defamatory” and brought tears to his eyes. As the rapper has described in detail in previous hearings, Abou-Chaker allegedly attacked him with a water bottle and a chair at the same meeting. Ferchichi described the situation as he “burst” with anger. The defense doubts the credibility of this account, especially since there are no further testimony to the meeting.

Apparently, Abou-Chaker was not only enraged by the question of money, but also by the alleged betrayal by Ferchichi and other former confidants. The meeting was about reputation, said the rapper. “The street is talking, you hear a lot,” said Nasser Abou-Chaker, one of the other brothers in the dock at the trial, to him. Arafat Abou-Chaker wanted to know exactly who was on Ferchichi’s side. The conversation was mostly about Veycel Kilic, a childhood friend of Abou-Chaker, and Ashraf Remmo, whom Ferchichi’s wife had asked for protection from the Abou-Chaker clan. He has now no longer had contact with either of them, the rapper said. He’s been leading a different life for two years, and the two of them didn’t fit. Kilic was admitted to hospital seriously injured after a shooting in late December. Among other things, he had been on the road with another Abou-Chaker brother, Ali Abou-Chaker.