The DiEM25 Summer Festival 2020: Political organisation in Germany during the pandemic

On 19 September, DiEMers met for The DiEM25 Summer Festival 2020 — the yearly German-speaking reunion of the movement in Berlin.

This meeting took place in the DiEM25 grassroots tradition of an easy-going gathering with crowd-sourced inputs and discussions organised and curated between the local group of DiEM25 with the movement’s national collective. This concept necessarily received a 2020 update in the shape of a Corona hygiene concept which ensured that no one was infected or passed on COVID-19 at the event. Thanks to all participants for that.

Guests came from Berlin but also cities all over Germany and included active members, members of friendly organisations, and new members which show that the interest in transnational solutions remains strong. It was also great to see former DiEM25 members that also came back to appreciate the personal connections and share their perspective and current projects.

A timetable led us from participatory exchanges on gender stereotypes, discussion of citizen’s assemblies in connection with the Green New Deal for Europe to inputs on big tech capitalism or municipalism. It also allowed for discourse on the state of our movement, the lessons of the past year and the potential of DiEM25.

It was especially heartwarming to see that despite COVID-19, the motivation to make a change and try new paths remains strong.

 In line with the great DiEM25 spirit that makes strangers connect with ease over shared values, the weekend took off on Friday with a panel discussion and the livestream of the Progressive International at a Berlin bar. This is despite the COVID-19 measures that were imposed in the last seven months, which reduced street level activity and the retreat of many local groups into online coordination.

The next day a communal breakfast opened the stage for what would be a very long day, as the optimism of DiEM25 organisers to be able to stick to a time table and the energy and enthusiasm with which topics were discussed ensured that instead of ending at 19:00 for a communal dinner, discussions continued throughout the dinner and ended in a closing of the event at 21:30.

Clearly, that could only have been the ending of the formal event, as most of the happy, spontaneous DiEM25 family continued their path through the city of Berlin. As happens so often, the shortness of the night before and the length of the program on the day itself only leads participants to spend more time with each other and debate the big questions of our time.

Some even took part in next day’s demonstration against the negligence of Moria and other refugee camps and the inaction of the German government. Others were already on the way back to their cities, planning demonstrations, or continuing their political activities — as always, very tired but with a fresh boost of motivation that a change can come and we can play our part in it.

The organisers thank everybody for adhering to the hygiene concept, they thank all the people that made this event possible and are grateful for all people that contributed to the fundraiser for this event.

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