#250: Anti-AfD protest, S-Bahn strike, Antisemitism clause struck
Startups getting less money (but still lots)
Hey 20 Percent!
It’s still January but it feels like the Year of Discontent® is peaking — or maybe just getting started. I was heartened by the turnout at Sunday’s protest against the far-right AfD and hope the German government will redouble efforts to combat the political slide to the right in some areas.
More discontentment (and news) below. Have a good week!
Biggest-ever S-Bahn (and Deutsche Bahn) strike
The GDL train driver union is especially discontented this year and will strike Deutsche Bahn from 2am Wednesday until 6pm Monday in its longest-ever strike as it fights to lower the working week from 38 hours to 35 for the same pay. The strike will again hit the Berlin S-Bahn hard since it’s run by Deutsche Bahn — BVG, which operates our trams, buses and U-Bahns, is a separate company and is unaffected but warns its vehicles will be full, full, full. The S-Bahn will switch to emergency service during the strike. The following S-Bahns will run every 20 minutes (according to Tagesspiegel):
S3 (Erkner to Ostbahnhof)
S46 (Königs Wusterhausen to Schöneberg)
S5 (Strausberg Nord to Ostbahnhof)
S9 (Friedrichstraße - Schöneweide - Flughafen BER).
And Schienenersatzverkehr (bus replacement service) is a finally a good thing: buses shuttling passengers between Südkreuz and Gesundbrunnen via Friedrichstrasse — the S1 route — will continue. The service circumvents work on a subway tunnel.
Big anti-AfD protest
The discontent took a positive turn this weekend when between 100,000 and 350,000 Berliners turned out to protest the far-right AfD party generally and its November secret meeting with far-right idealists specifically. The secret meeting in Potsdam sought to raise cash for a plan to deport millions of immigrants and even German citizens that don’t fit their ideal (ergo, us). Cops estimated the crowd at 100,000 while organizers set the higher figure. Regardless of which number is correct, access to the main protest in front of the Reichstag had to be limited because of the size of the crowd. A secondary march along Friedrichstrasse was then organized to redirect tardy protestors.
No more antisemitism clause
Berlin culture minister Joe Chialo (CDU) Monday said he’s discontent with his own plan and will rescind a requirement for artists to sign a pledge against antisemitism before receiving subsidies from our city-state. The requirement was introduced earlier this month amid protests over Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip, according to Tagesspiegel. The pledge used a controversial definition of antisemitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and sparked an open protest letter to the minister signed by over 4,000 members of Berlin’s creative scene. Artists said the clause limited freedom of expression and could lead to the defunding of any works seen to be critical of the state of Israel — even those by Israeli artists. Chialo said concerns about the constitutionality of the clause were the main reason for rescinding the decision though he also took the artists’ criticisms seriously.
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Berlin startups lured €2.4 billion in fresh capital last year, down from €4.9 billion in 2023, as rising interest rates and Germany’s slowing economy made investment less attractive, according to consultancy EY. The Hauptstadt received just 39% of the new money, down from half in 2022. Berlin is still the venture capital king however — Bavaria, the No. 2, brought in just €1.7 billion. Private to VCs: We’re happy to take a lunch.
A quick event tip from us:
The American Academy is holding the first event of its 25th anniversary line-up of lectures and readings tonight (Tuesday) at Humboldt University (though a discussion on Somali legal policy is admittedly very niche). Check out the full schedule here — the academy may seem far away in southern Berlin but it’s brought that much closer by the S-Bahn. This year’s line-up includes superstar memoirist Heidi Julavits, Word Without Borders founder Samantha Schnee, former Whitney Museum director Adam D. Weinberg, artist Theaster Gates, historian Timothy Snyder and political scientist Yascha Mounk.
Some tips from our friends over at The Next Day Berlin:
Thursday, 25.01, 8 pm. Columbihalle, Columbiadamm 13-21, 10965 Berlin. Ticket: €44.25
Slowdive's concert is always a beautiful experience. After a year, they return to Berlin to present the new album, 🎧 "Everything Is Alive," featuring a misty combination of guitars and ethereal voices. #shoegaze
Buy 2, get 1: Walking Tour by Silencio
Thursday, 25.01, 3:30 - 8 pm. On-going performances at the location Adddress/Monochrom - Weinmeisterstraße U-Bahn - 2 performative walking tours at 15:30 and 18:30 from Jacob-Teitel Park. Free with pre-registration.
Join a Mitte walking tour for an ironic examination of contemporary human behavior, encompassing online consumption and the art of self-promotion. Experience this blend of role-play, dance, music, and computer performances. The event is presented by Vorspiel, CTM & Transmediale.
VALIE EXPORT: Retrospective
Opening Friday, 26.01, 8 pm - 12 am. Until 22.05. C/O, Hardenbergstraße 22–24, Charlottenburg.
Valie Export (1940) is a renowned Austrian feminist artist, who emerged from an increasingly mediatized society. Raised until the age of 14 in a convent, she became known for her transgressive poetic research. Her retrospective spans 1966-2009, showcasing her pioneering feminist art, from "expanded cinema" to provocative performances challenging societal norms.
More events and culture at The Next Day Berlin
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