Is it normal to be apolitical?
Why we can't afford to be apolitical
... and why it is not enough for me to just be "against the law".
This post is part of the “Bloggers Against Right” series by Fashion Changers. At the end of the post you will find a list with all participants and texts from the first row “Why we cannot afford to be apolitical”. The links are neither commissioned nor paid, but important to me personally.
“Nonpolitical”, that was one of the ticks that I clicked first on Schüler- and later on Studi-VZ. In addition to the favorite music and funny sayings, it was also the political attitude with which one could classify, differentiate and present oneself. And “apolitical” was what I chose so as not to tie me into discussions. So as not to distance myself from everyone who might otherwise have been of opposing attitudes. In order not to admit completely openly that my knowledge of and interest in politics were ridiculously small.
Then in January 2015 I started going to demonstrations on a regular basis. For the most part, these were the counter-demonstrations to the Leipzig PEGIDA offshoot LEGIDA and regular was sometimes called weekly or even more frequently. I was amazed myself how much it affected me, how excited I was suddenly discussing political issues with friends.
As early as June of the same year I was familiar with a large number of demo slogans, a large number of Saxon towns, data and facts about racist marches, acts of violence and - if there were - counteractivities. What I didn't really know was my own demeanor. While I could safely say that I don't want to live with Nazis, the question of how do I want to live instead was largely unanswered.
I wasn't completely clueless, but still pretty unreflective.
When the LEGIDA demo shouted “Do-gooders” against the counter-protest in June 2015, as if the word were an insult, I replied with a loud “You bad people!"
Even when I called, I felt anxiety. Wait, that wasn't okay at the moment. "Bad people", who should that be and what kind of concept is behind that? And what does that reflect of my thinking?
It took me a while to realize that being against the right doesn't just mean being for the opposite of what the right wants. It took until the penny dropped that non-rights and myself often say or do things that have little to do with the society in which I want to live.
Dealing with the "enemy image"
What do I mean by that? How often have you read, heard or even said the word “Nazi bitch” yourself? Have you ever made fun of those taking part in a Nazi demonstration because you simply found them "ugly" or that they were not very intelligent, have poor language skills or are unsportsmanlike? I've done that, and not a little either. I don't care how people look, how clever they are or how they speak - I reject misanthropists because of their misanthropy. If I take a closer look, then I don't even like to live in an environment in which the word "slut" is an insult to women *. And it is precisely the society in which every person can live and realize themselves as they are and also experience appreciation and recognition with strange hairstyles, unsportsmanlike conduct or other non-compliance with ideals and norms, is the one in which I want to live.
Solidarity is a weapon - and a must
Thinking this through opened a bottomless pit for me. The desire to handle Nazis with kid gloves and to be considerate of their feelings will never be mine. But there is a desire to live in an environment full of mindfulness and consideration. I want to take care not to hurt people with thoughtless sayings. I also want to be sensitive to problems and struggles that are not mine. For me, this means not to put an “either or” between the struggles against sexism, racism, ableism, anti-Semitism and LGBTIQ hostility, not to weigh them against each other, but to tackle them with solidarity and determination.
In the fight against the law, I don't just want to save what can be saved, I want to attack the normal situation. Because even outside of Nazi marches and even without an AfD party book, it is characterized by discrimination and exclusion. And I notice myself every day how much I still have to learn and think about - and that it will probably never end.
“Blogger Against Right” is a great action. When I look around there, I see many people who I at least read like myself: white, cis and heterosexual, with a higher education and neither in poverty nor threatened by it. It is important to take an active stand against the shift to the right from this situation as well, to take a stand and take a stand. But it is at least as important to recognize and reflect on the privileges of this situation. To see what lies outside of one's own horizon, where one can support and also where it is better to take a step back.
Because we cannot afford to be apolitical - but neither can we be careless and lack solidarity.
Blogger against right
The Fashion Changers initiative connects bloggers who, in addition to their actual topics, want to make it clear that they are clearly campaigning against the law. It is worth stopping by and reading their texts.
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