Friday, 27 June 2008

Berlin Citizens Discover Direct Democracy

Mediaspree Versenken from Pappsatt

A group of activists against privatisation and gentrification gathered the highest amount of signatures so far for a public voting in Berlin for their call to have the Berlin river Spree for everyone. While the local government is selling out the whole river area in the district Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain in favor of a "Media Spree" filled with glass house offices and hypermarkets, the public has the change to vote against the sell out of their living area.

All political parties, including the greens and the socialists, oppose the initiatives wishes for a publicly accessible riverbank and ignore the call for protection of the very lively scene culture around the riverside.

Relatively new forms of public voting allow Berlin citizens to bring up topics for a public voting, and different initiatives to bring up a public issue saw the light. We have had a public voting over brilliant issues, such as the rename of a street to give it the name of the '68 student leader Rudi Dutchske (result: pro Dutschke), a voting over the closing of the famous Berlin airport Tempelhof (result: pro closing).

In the case of the Mediaspree voting, it can become a case example of new forms of public involvement and grassroots organization against a too commercial sell out of public space. A relatively small group of activists get's the chance to oppose such a hundreds of millions megaproject. And rule over their politicians. Let's see what the people will vote.

Day of vote: 13 July 2008
More info: and Mediaspree eV

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