German Of The Day: Enteignung

That means confiscation or dispossession. You know, like confiscating private property?

Greens

And the German Greens hold this to be denkbar – another cool German word meaning conceivable or possible.

After all, the world must be fair and if rising property rents in cities like Berlin – caused by city governments like Berlin (Social Democrats and Greens for decades) – are creating hardship for the 85 percent (!) of Berliners who don’t own property – the government does everything it can to discourage owning property here – then the government that created this mess will simply confiscate the private property of those currently developing new housing and… And what? Give it to the poor? Been there, done that. We all know how that turns out. And who foots the bill. Robin Hoodlums never learn. They have no intention of learning.

Thousands took to the streets of Berlin on Saturday in protest against rising property rents and called for properties of large-scale landlords with more than 3,000 houses to be taken over by the government.

“Das Grundgesetz sieht Enteignungen zum Allgemeinwohl ausdrücklich vor.”

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Berlin Is The Place

The place where you don’t want thriving companies offering gainful employment and increasing property value in your neighborhood.

Gentrification

I get it. It’s about gentrification again. But the problem here isn’t the evil capitalist rich swooping in to speculate and force the poor out of their neighborhoods. The problem is a classic case of “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” The German government in general and the Berlin government in particular have been “helping” German renters for decades in ways that have discouraged Germans from owning property of their own (the vast majority of Berliners pay rent). Then when reality finally strikes (supply and demand = rising rents) the same politicians can’t help these renters anymore and leave them high and dry with rents they can no longer afford to pay. Ain’t nothing new.

Kreuzberg has long been one of the most affordable areas of Berlin, making it a haven for students, immigrants, artists and activists, a hub of culture, night life and left-wing politics. But in a pattern repeated in similar neighborhoods in many of the world’s wealthiest cities, affluent people have moved in, too, in recent years, bringing with them the social tensions of gentrification.

“They push out the people who were here before.”

Leftest Violence Still As Harmless As Ever

Ah Berlin. I love the smell of barbecue ignition chemicals in the morning.

Car

In the past seven days, the extremists proved true to their claim, starting what could be the most destructive single anti-gentrification action any city in Europe has yet seen. On Saturday, a gang of 40 masked vandals smashed up 28 cars in the area near central Potsdamer Platz, leaving some of them in flames. Attacks continued the following night in the southwestern district of Neukolln, when at least 20 more cars were damaged and shop windows smashed in.

But don’t worry, folks. The Deutsche Welle reassures us that in the wake of two spates of property damage by extremists in Berlin, some news outlets and politicians have warned of a rise in “leftist violence.” But the long-term stats do not bear this out.

Well if it’s only a protest against gentrification, then alles klar (say no more). Why didn’t you say so in the first place? We thought it had something to do with property rights, respect for the law and senseless violence and vandalism again.

The vandals’ weapon of choice is a disposable tinfoil barbecue set of a sort that many German stores sell for use as summer grills in the park.

German Of The Day: Zweckentfremdungsverbot

Now that’s a German word for you. And no, not just because it has Verbot on the end of it, although that certainly helps.

SPD

Zweckentfremdung means misappropriation, and in this case the Verbot has to do with using apartments for something they were not meant to be used for; for renting. Well, actually, this particular misappropriation Verbot means renting them at a high rate to those awful and dreadful tourists who come to Berlin for a limited time instead of renting them out for much, much less to people who will be paying that much, much less for a much, much longer time. Which is, uh, better.

You guessed it, we’re back here in Berlin again and trying to rent your property for the most the free market will give you is an absolute sin in these parts and must be stopped immediately. And that’s what the Berlin SPD is now trying to do with this here new-fangled, old school Socialist-type Zweckentfremdungsverbot. And you and I both know that it will be yet another roaring success. Until it backfires and gets quietly repealed a few years down the road again, that is.

Experten setzen große Hoffnungen auf das Verbot. Denn dann sind Vermietungen an Touristen und Firmen künftig nicht mehr möglich.

PS: That picture up there kills me, too. Being willing to pay 500 euros (roughly $675) to someone who finds an apartment for you is considered a complete Skandal here so that’s why “the state” needs to jump in and take those 500 euros from somebody else to pay, so-to-speak, only it will be more like 5000 euros then, which is then OK.

Swabians In Berlin Soon To Be Wearing Yellow Mercedes Stars

Remember that Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in Berlin back in the bad old days with all those signs and scribblings about “Don’t Buy from Jews!” and the like? Of course you don’t.

Schwaben

But many from Berlin’s enlightened anti-gentrification left do remember and have now come up with the breathtakingly brilliant idea of introducing this same simple asymmetrical tactic against the “hated” Berlin Swabian community by spraying “Don’t Buy from Swabians!” on the walls around town, too.

The evil Swabians are hated here, you see, because they work hard and are successful and make lots of money (and the cliché goes that they’re  tightwads, too, but that’s beside the point) and, through their very presence, therefore increase Berlin property values which is an awful thing to do because those of the enlightened left (like most other Germans) do not own property but prefer to pay rent instead and this pushes the rents up and laber, laber, laber (blah, blah, blah) been there done that.

There can be no losers in Germany in general and Berlin in particular, you see (it’s verboten or something). That’s why there are so many of them here, I guess.

Der anonyme Unmut regt sich gegen die Schwaben, weil sie angeblich die Besonderheiten des Stadtviertels veränderten und die Preise auf dem Wohnungsmarkt in die Höhe trieben. In Berlin leben schätzungsweise rund 300.000 Schwaben.

„Kauft nicht bei Schwab’n!“

Empörungsprofis

Outrage professionals.

Farce

A farce, this “protest movement” at the East Side Gallery. And a well-written article, this is. But sorry, I don’t have the time or the energy to translate it today.

Wo war eigentlich Claudia Roth?

Hoff The Wall

David Hasselhoff himself, “adored by fans in Germany after his 1989 performance of his song Looking for Freedom on top of the Berlin Wall,” is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore and will now sign a petition opposing the further removal of remnants of the wall at Berlin’s East Side Gallery.

David Hasselhoff

But that’s not the interesting part of this article, I find. The following line is:

He once complained that his role in the reunification of East and West Germany had been overlooked following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

His role in the reunification of East and West Germany? I don’t get it. David Hasselhoff’s roles are always overlooked. That’s just what he does. That’s his trademark, so-to-speak. So let’s move on and overlook his latest role here while we’re at it, too.

“How can you tear down the wall that signifies freedom, perseverance and the sacrifice of human life?”

Remove 20 Meters?

Of a 1.3-kilometer stretch of the Berlin Wall?

Wall

And you can still find 300 people who care?

The real issue: This is being done to build a road to a new luxury condominium so, well, the yuppie scum must be behind it again.

“Does culture no longer have any value?”

And We Don’t Like Swabians Either

You already knew that Berlin’s Left had problems with all of those annoying, gentrifying foreign out-of-towners who won’t leave town. Now Ärger (resentment) has broken out with gentrifying German out-of-towners from Swabia (the region around Stuttgart in southwestern Germany) who won’t leave either.

Swabians go home!

More specifically, “native” Prenzlauer Berg Berliners of the poltically correct kind are pissed off these days about the confusion that reigns whenever they want to order their local breakfast buns in the morning (called Schrippen here). The upwardly mobile Swabians who now live here too prefer calling them by the name they use for them down south in their own neck of the woods: Wecken. And this is just plain wrong. Or something. And an issue. A German issue even. A classic German petty bourgeoisie issue even, even.

In fact, this German petty bourgeoisie issue has become such a German petty bourgeoisie issue that Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Thierse (SPD) himself felt compelled to note in a recent newspaper interview that “I’m annoyed whenever I go to my local baker and find out that there are no more Schrippen for sale, only Wecken. In Berlin we say Schrippen – and the Swabians ought to get used to that.”

This would be funny except that he meant it. Which makes it funny after all, come to think of it. And I’m not even making this stuff up, people.

“Ich ärgere mich, wenn ich beim Bäcker erfahre, dass es keine Schrippen gibt, sondern Wecken. In Berlin sagt man Schrippen – daran könnten sich selbst Schwaben gewöhnen.”

Yuppie Scum Need Not Apply

What would you do if hords of uninvited strangers suddenly started pouring into your city for temporary visits in order to pump boatloads of money into your local economy? What would you do if affluent and upwardly mobile young expats moved into your neighborhood(s) and started opening businesses, buying homes and increasing the property values there?

Gentrification here? Nein, danke!

Why you’d freak the hell out and demand that they get the freak out of Dodge by sundown, wouldn’t you? Oh, you wouldn’t? Then you’re not German. Worse still: You don’t live in Berlin and you’re not a Berliner, either.

Viva the Hipster Antifa Neukölln or something.

“The anti-foreigner thing started as a bit of a joke but now it is much more serious. This is critical, it is sneaking into mainstream thinking – it’s almost being perceived as normal to dislike tourists.”