New Patrons



Online from October 13, 2020

Fantasies of empowerment or much-needed democracy update? Online petitions, iconoclasms and toppling monuments, civil disobedience and bottom-up processes—current participation models all have one thing in common: they believe that participation in civil society goes beyond representative and democratic processes.In recent months, for example, the Fridays for Future movement and Black Lives Matter protests have increased public awareness of demands to deal with climate change and racism. Is this mobilization an expression of the often-cited “crisis of democracy” or, on the contrary, a sign of the vitality of the democratic model?

Shooting at Grüner Salon of Volksbühne Berlin

Against this background, we want to learn more about trust in existing political institutions—and about progressive ideas for an optimistic update to democracy. We will take a look into the analog and digital toolbox of civic engagement and ask what we can achieve with which instruments. The focus, at the end of the parliamentary day, is on everything that differentiates fantasies of empowerment and feel-good yet politically ineffective clicktivism from action that might actually change the world.

Guests enter into the ambivalences of current forms of collective self-empowerment. What is there to the concept of initiative democracy, which offers self-representation as an alternative to being represented? Who speaks for whom? Who is (not) participating? What about power? And what does art do?

Lewamm Ghebremariam, campaign strategist at e. V., founder of the network Wake Up Eritrea, board member of Clubcommission e. V.
Christopher Lauer, publicist and former member of the Berlin House of Representatives
Alexander Koch, director of the Gesellschaft der Neuen Auftraggeber (Society of New Patrons)

Christine Watty, Deutschlandfunk Kultur

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