Announcement for a rally in Kreuzberg
Mietwahnsinn stoppen!“ – „Stop the insane rent increase!“ Two posters pop out from the immaculate, fresh painted walls beneath our entrance door. That’s nothing new. It’s the way they’re fixed, that catches my eye: Normally they use twos stripes of Scotch Tape. These were fixed by several smashes of glue out of a presumably huge bucket.
“Wow”, I thought. “Now it’s getting serious!”
To Put things straight: I share the opinion of these people and have joined their rallies on several occasions. It’s an anouncement for another rally and I’ll be there, of course.
Yesterday evening, the door bell rang. Our neighbour, an English teacher, had some questions about this and that, and then he turned to the major topic:
Did you receive an announcement of a rent increase as well?” We agreed.
Normally smiling day in and dayout he now turned bloody serious. “I can calculate when I’ll have to leave Kreuzberg and move to Marzahn or any remote place in the country side. Oh this is horrific…”<
This sentence you can hear from many of the old Kreuzbergians these days. The – let’s call them – “money makers” have discovered the district some years ago, bought the tenement houses for cheap and started to propagate Kreuzberg in the media. This district has been famous beforeq, but now it’s kind of a hype. What happens? Living in Kreuzberg becomes popular, the rents increase a lot and the old Kreuzbergians cannot afford the rents anymore.
The district always has been changing, people moved in and moved out, shops opened and closed again, creating a vivid and colorful atmosphere. But this one is different. Kreuzberg always has been a district of working class people, students and migrants, that is, people of little money. When they have to move out, the social structure will change. A fundamental change and a dramatic one:
First, it’s a bad thing for the inhabitants, who are practically forced to move away from the place they have lived for many years and loved so much.
Number two, it’s absoluteley clear that soon the atmosphere of the district will change, too. For it’s the people, that make the atmosphere. In maybe 10 years from now, Kreuzberg will be similar to – let’s say – Zehlendorf: Quiet, “sober and clean”. No life in the streets anymore. The uniqueness will be gone, and the “money makers” will shrug their shoulders and move to another location. Absurd indeed: those who renovated Kreuzberg in the mean time destroy it by doing so.
In the 1980ies, Kreuzberg used to be famous for the high level of political activity of it’s inhabitants. Many have left, but a lot of the “old guard” still lives here. In 2015, the activists launched a party to gain new members: The kids from the 70ies and 80ies partying the way they did back then, with the same music, the same food. You can describe the whole scene with one word: greyish. Where are the new kids? Do they take the inspiring environment for granted? Don’t they know that their creativity needs a spark to evolve?
Grey the old Kreuzbergians may be, but at least they’re there. So hand me that damn bucket and I’ll glue the whole city!