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Related Categories: U.S. | Police State & Prisons
End of a Career. Obituary The "Swabian housewife"
by Pepe Eggers
Friday Jun 26th, 2020 4:54 AM
The "Swabian housewife" dominated politics. Now she is buried by her inventors, of all people.
The state is not a business or a housewife but can borrow and become indebted to help present and future generations.
Systemic change, not climate change! Fight ignorance, not immigrants!
End of a Career
Obituary The "Swabian housewife" dominated politics. Now she was buried - by her inventor, of all people
Pepe Egger

[This article published in June 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.freitag.de/autoren/pep/ende-einer-karriere.]


You may be blinded for a moment. But the lady was always wrong

It's time to say goodbye. To say goodbye to a contemporary who was strangely familiar to us: who has accompanied us in the last years, who we have reckoned and struggled with, although nobody has ever met her in person. It is time to say goodbye to the Swabian housewife. Suddenly and unexpectedly she has left us. Only yesterday she was in good health and was bursting with symbolic power. Today she is no more.

The fact that there is an obituary of the Swabian housewife here testifies to her unprecedented career as a figure of thought and her success as a discursive power. "You can't live beyond your means in the long run," was how Angela Merkel summed up the logic of the Swabian housewife in 2008. Debts are bad, getting into debt is an evil, not a permanent and certainly not a normal state of affairs. Writing red figures is a sign of weakness and lack of efficiency and of not doing good business.

A few weeks of a global pandemic with devastating economic consequences were enough to make the complete opposite the order of the day: Those who save now are acting irresponsibly; those who do not accumulate mountains of debt now are gambling away the future. Since the virus has been rampant, rescue packages, supplementary budgets and new debts have been hailing everywhere. Soon a debt-financed economic stimulus package and a reconstruction fund of 500 billion euros for the countries hardest hit by the Corona pandemic should become a European reality. That is a 180-degree turnaround. The reconstruction fund in particular, which Merkel proposed together with French President Emanuel Macron, goes beyond all dimensions. For it should consist of budgetary resources, not of loans that have to be repaid (see box). Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) is now even quoting Alexander Hamilton, the first US Treasury Secretary whose revolutionary step, he says, was to introduce the "joint debt capability" of the US: The distance to the Swabian housewife could not be greater.

Unconditional Faith

When we look back on the career of the "Swabian housewife", the first thing you notice is how short it actually was. Born in the financial crisis of 2008, often anxious and raised to international prominence in the years of the smoldering euro crisis; buried in the budgetary devastation wrought by the Corona pandemic. Yes, it too is one of the victims of the sars-CoV-2 virus, swept away by the newly spreading insight that states can easily raise considerable sums of money through debt. This debt gives them the opportunity to react to crises, to build up and support something useful, to save through the crisis into better times. They can even lay the foundation for new, sustainable growth. And, best of all, but also most shocking for all supporters of the Swabian housewife:

These debts do not even have to be paid back.

In retrospect, it is clear what a few had repeatedly criticized: The Swabian housewife was based on a misunderstanding She has always been wrong, and perhaps this is what gave her strength. If you spend more than you earn, you cannot achieve prosperity, you must fail. So far, so Binse. Whatever economic decisions were made with reference to the Swabian housewife, however, was fatal: as if companies or entire states also had to follow the maxim "debts are an evil, credit is unnecessary.l".

One thing is clear: an entrepreneur who operates without credit cannot invest, his company only grows in dwarf steps. But if he borrows money, uses it to build a new factory building, fills it with new machines, he has the opportunity to create added value. The new workshop on credit makes it possible to produce things from materials that are only paid for later, the sale of which in turn reduces the credit creates new jobs and adds to the value of the company.

The situation is very similar with the state. If it lends money, it can maintain and expand its infrastructure, it can invest in education, in technology. In a word: lay the foundation for their future. One borrowed euro multiplies and generates several euros of growth, growing consumption, additional taxes. Anyone who, like the Germans, believed unconditionally in the Swabian housewife has been blind to these opportunities for a decade. Only the pandemic has opened our eyes again.

Actually, it is time to ask: How could this happen? How can we explain the success of a truism that has been so abused? It helps to remember how it all began: December 1st, 2008 in Stuttgart. It's a CDU party conference, the financial crisis has just reached its peak after it had started the year before as a subprime crisis in the USA. The collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers was only six weeks ago, but in the meantime, the regional financial crash has turned into a global economic crisis that has also affected Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes the podium as the main speaker and says the momentous sentence: "Suddenly you read everywhere why the world' s financial markets were on the verge of collapse, even from those who previously recommended investments they themselves did not understand. But it is actually quite simple. Here in Stuttgart, in Baden-Württemberg, one should have simply asked a Swabian housewife. She would have told us a wisdom that is as short as it is correct, which is: You cannot live beyond your means in the long run. That is the core of the crisis."

The bill will be paid by others.

The Swabian housewife was born. Is it surprising that this wisdom has nothing to do with fiscal policy and national debt? After all, there is no euro crisis as yet, nor is the world under the impression that we are dealing with the crash of an unleashed financial sector, which Merkel is also targeting in her speech: It is the bankers, traders and financial jugglers who have lived beyond their means and are now being presented with the bill. So the Swabian housewife actually means them. The fact that they won't settle their bill in the end, but will instead pass the bill on to the taxpayer, is something about which she could have been asked even more precisely.

In fact, the opposite happens: the wisdom of the Swabian housewife is misunderstood. Just six weeks later, she is reproached to Merkel, who has just passed "the largest economic stimulus package in post-war history, including record levels of new debt". How was it again with the Swabian housewife, she is asked on ZDF on 13 January 2009? Merkel says she is in an exceptional situation. But she had promised to stop living on credit in 2011? "Politics begins with looking at reality", the Chancellor counters. Actually, the Swabian housewife should have been history by then.

The fact that she'll be up to no good for another decade is due to the euro crisis. To Wolfgang Schäuble, who will become Finance Minister in autumn 2009. And German policy towards the Euro members on the Mediterranean. From now on, the "Swabian housewife" will be beating around the ears with relish: They have lived beyond their means, so it would be wrong to bail them out now, even though they can't help them with the US subprime crisis any more than they can with the Corona pandemic. It turned out: The Swabian housewife, that always means the others, never oneself. Schäuble pushes this cold-hearted egoism, which pretends to be charity, to the extreme when he says in 2015: "My grandmother, who came from the Swabian Alb, used to say: Good-naturedness comes just before licentiousness. There is a kind of generosity that can quickly cause the opposite of what is intended."

The Swabian grandmother who dictates fiscal policy for the eurozone: From a distance, it seems even more grotesque than it already was back then. Nevertheless, the trick of imposing Swabian simplicity on the euro countries worked: After all, it was not a question of explaining the usefulness of the austerity policy that inevitably followed from the aversion to debt making. It was about concealing the absurdity and malignant excesses of austerity policy, declaring it to be without alternative and even morally imperative.

But that was not enough: the Swabian housewife was allowed to continue to work in Germany, in the form of the black zero and the debt brake. This was achieved without great difficulty due to the favorable economic situation, the associated high tax revenue, and the low level of the euro. Germany could afford the luxury of wallowing morally in it: Look here, Italians and Greeks, we don't live beyond our means. The real price of this policy is well known: a decaying infrastructure, broken schools, an investment backlog of several hundred billion.

Corona has put a stop to that. We are once again living beyond our means! Because anything else would be devastating. We are discovering perpetual bonds that are only repaid on the day of never. We remember how we paid off huge debts in the past. By paying the interest and waiting for the mountain of debt to melt away over time, thanks to growth and inflation, like a Swiss glacier in the climate change: a little bit every year until after thirty years you look and there is nothing left.

A daring leap

Corona helper Angela Merkel once told how as a child she stood at the three-meter board during swimming lessons and did not dare to swim. Only when it was almost too late, she took heart and jumped. She takes a similar view of the European commitment against Corona: only now, with French President Macron, has she presented reconstruction funds for particularly affected sectors and regions. 500 billion euros, financed by bonds issued by the European Commission, for which the EU members are jointly liable, is to be granted by the fund, not as loans but as grants. In Germany, Merkel received support, while Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark insisted on loans that have to be repaid. Because the plan would be part of the EU budget, all 27 EU members would have to agree.

_________________________________________________________________________________________


"Many want to interfere"
Interview Silja Graupe founded a university that brings public spirit into the economy
Pepe Egger

[This interview published in June 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet,

Certainly, a monoculture also offers advantages: High yields on a large area, made possible by the intensive exploitation of existing resources. But this is not possible without harmful side effects, especially in the long run: the brutal monotony makes people susceptible to disease, the environment suffers and does not recover, and in the end the soil is left empty and exhausted.

Silja Graupe diagnoses a "monoculture of economic thinking": a devastating monotony of the neoclassical mainstream that does more harm than good to society in the long run. On the other hand, Graupe tries to design a different, more sustainable and forward-looking way of thinking and researching economic interrelationships. In 2014 she co-founded the Cusanus University in Bernkastel-Kues on the Moselle, a place for alternative, pluralistic economics. Today the university bears the name "for shaping society". Its declared purpose is therefore not only to think differently, but also to offer other possibilities for action.

der Freitag: Ms. Graupe, the corona crisis has completely thrown the way our economy works off course, albeit perhaps only for a short time. In a state of economic emergency, you have noticed something that you call public spirit. What is that about?
Silija Graupe: I am following a long tradition of philosophy on the concept of public spirit. To express it in an epistemological sense: public spirit means perceiving the immediate reality without resorting to calculations and stereotypes. If we look at the situation in hospitals at the beginning of the corona pandemic, we see In structures that are actually completely economised, with countless regulations and billing methods, an unforeseen large number of sick people suddenly collapsed. So the nursing staff improvised to meet the needs of these people: There was not enough protective clothing, so they used painters' coats; doctors handed dying people their iPhones to connect them to their loved ones. Hospital managers, instead of filling out efficiency tables, creatively procured disinfectants and so on.

The state of emergency has overridden the logic of exploitation.
Yes. The spontaneous neighborhood assistance that was there follows a similar pattern.

Now you say that care work as a whole always works like this, only in the "state of emergency" it is not visible.
Care work always has this element of spontaneity: When you are caring for a dying person or sick children, you have to respond to the immediate needs of the other person, to the immediate events. This type of care economy has now been discovered to be systemically relevant. That is true, but it always has been, except that in the normal state it is hidden and cannot penetrate to the surface of social perception or economic efficiency calculations.

Many are now saying: "How nice it would be if things stayed like this after Corona! Or politically: hopefully neoliberalism is now at an end.
Well, this political amazement about the public spirit is present in every crisis, whether it be floods, economic crises or Ebola. The problem is that the public spirit is improvising, spontaneous, and cannot create structures on its own to sustain itself. We can't keep improvising indefinitely, but have to return to the routine at some point or create something new. Our current routines, however, damage the public spirit and bury it under efficiency, ideas of control, discourses of constraints and stereotypes.

Does this mean that after the state of emergency we will inevitably fall back into old patterns?
Yes, as long as we do not develop new routines with the help of another form of knowledge from the experience of public spirit: I call it the meaningful cognition, whereby visions of the future are developed and old routines are tested. The sense of community must come together with imagination here: Imagination about what a good life should look like in the future.

We must be able to imagine what does not yet exist and then design structures for its realization. In this way we can break old patterns and create new creative normality.

Indeed, in times of crisis, as Naomi Klein quotes Milton Friedman, governments and elites operate with the "ideas that are lying around": you fall back on what was established before the crisis.
Sure. The nursing staff may have acted differently and spontaneously during the crisis, but that is not why efficiency calculations and managerialism have disappeared. It is a completely different ability to draw the consequences and change routines. One problem of the dominant economy is that the whole habitual sphere of people is considered unconscious or irrational and thus not as self-changeable and negotiable, but only as manipulable by so-called "nudges" and opinion control.

In conventional economic research, it is seen as progress that for some time now, beyond the "homo oeconomicus" and purposeful rationality, the area of habits has also been researched by behavioral economics.
My point is not to say: this is all wrong. But it is insufficient. Of course, since the last crisis in 2008/2009, there has been a lot of new research on behavioral economics, which, as it were, explores the unconscious layers of that iceberg whose tip is represented by "homo oeconomicus". But this is also only about almost solidified structures. After all, habits only reflect the past.

Instead of the iceberg model, they propose a layer model based on the tectonic and geological layers of the globe.
Yes, the idea behind this is to find a metaphor for it, one that allows economic rationality to be understood as a mere encrusted surface phenomenon, which in its depth actually rests on dynamic, fluid processes: This is the whole area of social and ecological dynamics that Cornelius Castoriadis calls social magma: the abundance of all still unrecognized social and natural possibilities. The public spirit creates the first meaningful images and practices out of it and can thus initiate fundamental changes in meaning and values; imagination and practical judgment in turn create new structures out of it. The two uppermost layers, i.e. those with which conventional economics is exclusively concerned, are like encrusted surface layers that float on top of all this without knowing it.

These solidified structures are, however, broken up again and again.
If, to stay with the metaphor, the earth's crust was completely encrusted and had no contact whatsoever with the magma of the earth's core, then the latter could only breakthrough in the form of violent eruptions and earthquakes. ... I see this as a symbol of our economized society: violent tensions build up directly below our feet, but we say: Oh, there's nothing there. You feel safe, let the trees grow into the sky, and only notice something when shattering crises bring everything down. The reconstruction then often follows only in the old structures until the next eruption comes. And we could do so much more! Basically, my aim is to awaken the dynamic potential of people and societies. But this can only be achieved with a real change in the paradigm of knowledge. We have to relearn the "thinking of thinking" and create systematic and structural spaces for it.

If we play this out using a concrete example, what would it look like?
Let's take the example of care, the care economy: there the public spirit is constitutive, not only for the fact that someone takes up a care profession but also in the daily work, in the direct interaction between care staff and patients, in responding to real human needs. But if we do not have social structures that support it, that give it appreciation, then the public spirit chafes, it exhausts itself, and you end up - individually and collectively - in burnout.

How can this be changed? The most common answer would be to say: You want appreciation, so we try to translate appreciation into the medium of the monetary, that is, to pay you better.
A single monetary measure would not be enough, and empirical evidence suggests that this is not enough: the primary aim is to help shape meaningful structures. The logic of money is always based on predictability, but the nursing profession is inherently unpredictable. It needs creative routines that are allowed to renew themselves continuously. Creating them is an organizational design task that can only be accomplished with the people involved. Fair payment should be one result of these processes - and not be controlled from above, as it were, by rigid and unrealistic efficiency calculations. It is like the earth: structures must grow from bottom to top, from liquid to solid - and not the other way round.

What would a better care system look like? And could we even afford it?
There are models such as neighborhood care in the Netherlands or other care concepts such as in dementia villages where profit maximization is suspended. The interesting thing is that these new structures, which are based on the public spirit, do not cost more at all: because they are geared to real needs, but also to potentials, and prevent outflows to external shareholders or all the energy losses and costs that arise from profit maximization.

Why is profit and benefit maximization, thinking in the mode of homo oeconomicus, still so stubbornly successful despite all the damage it does?
This can be explained by epistemic violence, by the systematic extinction of other forms of knowledge, consciously or unconsciously. It already starts at university, where students arrive with their experiences, and then economics says, as my colleague Bachmann put it: "Learn our language before you join in! For students of economics, which in the introductory courses is about 20 percent of all students in Germany, the standard teaching merely implicitly teaches them to think only on the basis of a habit: remember how you shop in the supermarket, how you weigh one good against another, and then pay for it, with money. That is the only habit on which you have to base your thinking. Even if it obviously doesn't fit at all, like in nursing, it still means: Pretend that there are prices everywhere. The Chicago School demands tacitly to act as if markets exist in every area of human life, and calls this economic imperialism. My colleague Walter Ötsch aptly calls it market fundamentalism: the experience of how we deal with each other in markets is made absolute in order to think everything in the world on the basis of this most superficial of habits.

Is this so successful because it is so abstract?
Yes, we all experience this ourselves every day: when I go to the supermarket, the abstraction that money brings about enables us to forget the whole social dynamic behind it, in fact we have to. It is not important how the cashier is doing, whether there is moonlighting in the company or how the bread is baked. In every money transaction we experience that we silence everything that has been before; only in this way can we compare everything in a calculating way. This is the real abstraction of money, as Sohn-Rethel calls it.

You are co-founder of the Cusanus University of Social Design. How do you teach economics there differently from at conventional universities?
In my lectures, for example, the introduction to economics consists of not presupposing the habits of money, but explicitly addressing them and consciously reflecting on the experiences of the supermarket. Then the students realize very quickly that this is only one way of shaping economic cooperation - production, institutional coexistence, distribution: they all function quite differently and require alternative skills of cooperation and communication! We then conduct trans- and interdisciplinary research into how these can be understood and promoted.

Is it enough to criticize?
Of course criticism is part of our work. But one must not forget that criticism that market fundamentalism is unrealistic is not really criticism: that is the point of being far from the reality of social magma. And we must also move from criticism to the shaping of alternatives. For this it is important to talk about motivation, for example. A science that no longer talks about its motivation today basically has the motivation that motivation should no longer play a role. In our country, the motivation of many students to study economics is because it is important to society.
They want to interfere and shape reality. They do not achieve this by criticism alone, but only with new constructive approaches. We encourage them to do so. We have, for example, the area of student research, where students look for questions and areas for themselves and we then help them to research these methodically.

What is the research done in this case?
For example, the area of commons, i.e. all forms of social organization beyond the market and the state. Then there is a lot of ecological and sustainability-oriented research. One of our graduates has just won the BUND research prize for her master's thesis on the governance of 'just structural change' using the example of the Rhenish lignite mining area. Other students deal with images and narratives of the future. One important result is that we in society have an alarmingly small number of pictures of where we really want to go. As a university for the shaping of society we would like to contribute to enabling young people to experience public spirit and to strengthen their powers of imagination, ethical judgement and practical creative abilities. So that they can really change the foundations of our economy before crises do.

Silja Graupe, born in 1975, is a professor of economics and philosophy. She has studied in Japan, Germany and the USA. Graupe is head of the Institute of Economics and vice president of the "Cusanus Hochschule für Gesellschaftsgestaltung" (Cusanus University for Social Design) in Bernkastel-Kues in Rhineland-Palatinate, which was founded in 2014. More than 100 students are currently studying there. The Cusanus University of Applied Sciences has the declared goal of "developing a life-sustaining economy and sustainability".
_________________________________________________________________________________________



"We will now discuss the balance of power"
Interview Aminata Touré is 27 and vice-president of the Landtag, Green, and Afro-German. She welcomes the fact that whiteness is finally being widely and critically discussed
Pepe Egger 4

[This interview published in June 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.freitag.de/autoren/pep/wir-sprechen-jetzt-ueber-machtverhaeltnisse.]


"We're talking about power relations now"
"I have the claim to want to make the democratic institutions better and better so that they last", says, Aminata Touré

Aminata Touré has been a Green member of the Schleswig-Holstein state parliament since 2017, not really an office with nationwide appeal. But since her election as vice-president of the state parliament in 2019 she has been in the spotlight: as the youngest vice-president of the state parliament in Kiel - she was 26 at the time - and as the first black woman. Touré, who was born in Neumünster, lived the first five years of her life in a refugee shelter and was threatened with deportation until twelve, is now probably the most prominent black politician in Germany. Her political program could be summarized like this: To change the state institutions from within, to make them "unlearn racism". This conversation was developed in the context of a portrait of Aminata Touré, which can be read here.

Friday: Are we - after weeks of protests, debates, and discussions after the murder of George Floyd - at a turning point in the fight against racism?

Aminata Touré: I do believe that in the last three weeks something has happened that has never happened before. We've had a more intense debate about racism than before, it's the first time we've had such a broad mainstream debate about anti-black racism. This is of course painful on the one hand because it is about violence against black people, about sharing violent videos about black bodies. On the other hand, I notice in the black community that you notice that something is changing: I don't think we've ever talked so broadly and critically about whiteness in Germany, or even called it that. As a rule, only migrant people are named, but not the majority society. We are talking about power relations when we name that. How sustainable that will be cannot yet be said today.

How have the last few weeks felt for yourself? How do you feel as one or perhaps the most prominent black German politician?

I was and am glad not to have to master this task alone, even if it often feels that way because there are not too many black MPs or even MPs affected by racism. Many black actors* are having this debate together with me and that gives you a feeling of strength. At the same time, it is a crass situation that you realize that you are about to lead a debate nationwide, although you are actually sitting in the parliament of Schleswig-Holstein. For me, it is not the first phase that is so intense. It was most recently so intense when I was elected Vice-President, where for days on end I did nothing but answer the same questions over and over again.

When someone publicly accuses racism, racist insults, hate mails and the like often follow. When you go to the morning magazine, do you know that you get more hate mails, threats?

Yes, absolutely. You know, the moment you leave the studio, the first news and reactions come at the same time. I don't want to talk down to you. But I have to say that there is also a lot of positive feedback that you get, which is not irrelevant to continue such work.

From all the things that have happened since George Floyd's death, debates, demos, discussions, demands, to your proposal to delete the concept of race from the constitution: what could really help reduce racism?

This is an exciting debate that is going on right now about the replacement of the word race in the German constitution: this would have a blatant and important symbolic power. But I believe that this alone is not enough. What would be important: Concrete measures are actually taken in all federal states and in the Bundestag.
You could just do that. Just like going into education. This is by no means the end of the story, but these are two central points.

You say in the time, you wish that Antifa groups and left groups would cooperate more with authorities.

Does it surprise you?

Yes. It seems to me that you have a very positive relationship with state institutions and state bodies, unlike some other leftists or activists.

The cooperation of left groups with state institutions is important. But what is much more important to me: is to go into the structures. That is my essential point. To say: if you want to change structures progressively in your own sense, then you have to go into these structures. We live in this state that we talk about and criticize. I have chosen the way to go into state structures and say: I am conducting these talks in order to change things. I believe that it takes a lot of people who go in and deal with state structures with confidence and a critical view, I am simply 100 percent convinced of that.

There are many leftists who have a very distanced relationship to the state and to institutions; some say that capitalism must be abolished, then racism would also dissolve.

The debate must be conducted, but I believe that to say, let's abolish capitalism, and then racism will be over, I don't have the time. It is also a bit convenient to formulate something like this when you are not currently stuck in the structures or living in societies where you are actively affected by it. I'm not saying we shouldn't have the debate, but meanwhile, I see my black brothers and sisters suffering from all these situations.

Does Der Spiegel write that Habeck said that you were the one who tipped the scales in favor of Jamaica in Kiel?

We had twelve main negotiators, and I was one of the twelve and helped negotiate the areas of migration and social affairs, and was then also involved in the final votes. At the party conference, I also spoke out in favor of our trying to do this. That was the most blatant Realpolitik moment I have ever been kicked into ...

You have been Vice-President of the Landtag since 2019: Is that above all representative, symbolic politics?

I've thought a lot about whether I want to do that or not. It was important to me that I could definitely continue to work on my content. And I can do that. I didn't give up a specialist political office, that's why. But simply even less time.

In recent weeks, black people have often been asked in interviews about their experiences of racial discrimination. You said that you didn't like doing that.

No, I said I hated it.

Isn't it sometimes important to describe something like that simply because it affects people emotionally, more than if you talk about structural racism?

I honestly don't think there's a lack of examples. We had the hashtag metwo, where many people revealed the most personal things about themselves, there are an incredible number of books... If I do 18 interviews in one day and people ask me eighteen times if I can tell them about a humiliation, I say, 'No, I don't want that. Because that is simply also a position of weakness into which you are then placed, whether consciously or unconsciously, for which I am not ready. The point is not that I have to show myself in a position of weakness, but that the reflection must take place about the fact that this is happening. We've been talking about it since we could speak.
There's always these moments, "Wow, I never thought I'd be like this, wow! I don't want those wows. I don't want the "Oh, God, I didn't know this would happen. Read a book. There. I'm not prepared to keep giving it away from my role as a political spokesperson. The first question that is often asked is, can you tell us about a very invasive moment in your life, and then I'm out of what I'm actually doing politically. What I find vehement is that when you work on such policy areas, you are always accused of doing politics on an emotional basis. Even though the discussion is actually on a scientifically proven, specialist political level. And then it's just so crass that the moment you want to talk about scientifically proven and political things, the question comes up: Can you take your clothes off for a moment and tell us all the humiliations that have happened to you. This is a de-politicization of our politics.

Your way of speaking and communicating, do you make us aware that you express yourself the way young people today speak and write?

Old people often write to me that I shouldn't talk so quickly, and I am sorry about that. I've always talked too fast. But I also think that politics fails where you don't speak in a way that you understand. I have the feeling that I am pretending when I speak differently. But I already notice that sometimes I have to pull myself together, not only to speak in my own way, that I have to use fewer English terms and so on, but no idea.

You could also adapt to the way people speak in the political arena?

(Laughs) I think this desire to adapt in order to conform to some supposed norm, this train has left as soon as I was born here. Even if I wore suits and spoke official German and tried to look like a 40-year-old person, it wouldn't work, I would still be 27 and still a black woman. I don't have the claim, how can I best fit in so that I don't attract attention. I do that anyway...

That you are so committed to democratic institutions has this to do with your parents' biography?

Absolutely. I think my parents' experience of living in a state where constitutional structures do not function has shaped us. But that's why I don't have a naive or naive view of statehood, but rather the claim to want to make the democratic institutions better and better so that they last. For the first twelve years, I grew up with the feeling that, okay, what if we were to be deported again, and I do not know how stable that would be. I had moments when I sat in the classroom and thought: "You don't know how lucky you are to live here. and without that being in question. I am happy to have the opportunity to work within state structures.
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