Just returned from my trip to Germany, It was big fun as usual. Every time I go to Germany I want to stay there.
Though at the moment, it seems that the situation is not that good than last time: the unemployment rate is now the highest in Germany since the end of the second world war, more people live in poverty than ever in Germany, especially single mums, and the gap between the rich and the poor has widened again tremendously with the richest people being richer than ever before.
The new legislation has affected lots of unemployed by being driven into 1 Euro jobs to get their dole, the benefits have been lowered (or the conditions for getting benefits have been made more difficult, whichever way you look at it), and a visit to the doctor and drugs now are dependent on contributions.
Lots of shops are empty now. Last time I was there there was hardly any shop empty, now there are quite a lot.
Anyways apparently the political scene in my hometown has grown bigger than never before, with lots of young people now involved.
There is a public food kitchen now 3 times a week, last week even 4 times.
The scene is rocked by a sexism discussion at the moment, which I find very interesting in the aspect how it is dealt with and how people, groups and organisations discuss it and what in the end is going to be decided. The discussion is shortly about a guy which is accused of having too many quite young girlfriends at once and not being honest with them; I wondered if stuff like that would ever get debated here in Britain.
There are accusations that he might have abused his political experience to impress the girls and pressured them into a “free-love” attitude.
The women’s group calls to isolate the guy and to expel him out of all political organisations, groups, meetings, gatherings and exclude him from all parties and socials. Which is quite harsh in the way that the same calls usually go out after rape accusations, so there also seem to be difficulties in how appropriate a reaction would or could be. So, just to give a scary example to how strong feminism is in the left in Germany.
So be nice to the women in your group!
There was also a press conference organised by the refugee support group, which unfortunately I missed most of it. It has to do with another change of legislation, now, refugees who have leave to stay and have been in Germany partly for decades, have to apply to immigration to get a permission to work. Lots of people got denied their permission, suddenly, after 10 years of working. There is a fucked up law, that foreigners are only allowed to work in a job, when there were no suitable German applicants for the job, and suddenly, with the change of authority they take it so seriously, that they drive families with kids into poverty and homelessness because they deny after long years of working, e.g. for McDonalds, a work permit for former refugees, and then, if they don’t have work, they would need to cancel their flats, move into state mass accommodation and then get deported, even though, e.g. in one case, they are married to a German woman, have 2 small children and the brother has provided work for the guy for more than 6 years. As authorities work slowly they started from the top of the alphabet with all Ethiopians and Eritreans. The press conference was very successful; about 100 people were there, and amongst them 80 Ethiopians and Eritreans. The group got lots of support from the press, Amnesty International, employers, and from different affected Ethiopians telling their life stories. However, some people had no permission to speak on the panel as their boss threatened them with sanctions.