Berlin, 29. Mai 2021
The Deutsche Wohnen & Co enteignen initiative has rallied today to scandalize the alarming interconnections between the housing crisis, voting rights,racism and lack of political participation in Berlin. Over 15 Berliner organisations including Corasol, DIDF, Aufstehen gegen Rassismus, Trans*sexworks and Unidas Podemos have united on Tempelhofer Feld to express their criticism.
Many Berliners without German citizenship or registration in the city support the initiative. However according to Berlin’s voting laws their voices neither count in the current signature collection drive nor in the upcoming referendum. A total of thirty percent of the signatures collected so far have been declared invalid in the electoral commission’s most recent count. The main reason: the signee’s lack of German citizenship.
„The housing crisis is also a crisis of democracy – this is a fact that we as migrants are aware of most starkly. Only once everyone has the ability to politically co-determine the future of our city can we achieve more equal access to housing and other basic necessities. A first, long overdue step in this direction is full voting rights for all people who live in Berlin,“ said Rosa Silva from the Right to the City for All working group, which organised the rally and are part of Deutsche Wohnen & Co enteignen.
Denying Berliners with migrant histories full voting rights is a structural barrier that prevents political participation and exacerbates already existing problems of discrimination and rascism on the housing market. Those who face the brunt of systemic discrimination often have to contend with exploitative housing conditions.
„Obtaining housing registration is another vital bureacratic process that plays a decisive role in everyday life in Germany and your recognition as an active citizen. The city’s strict, idiosyncratic requirements for registration, in combination with low numbers of vacancies, puts newcomers at a disadvantage where they are often forced to live in apartments with no registration at all. This is a highly precarious and unstable situation which must be recognised as a symptom of the housing crisis. The Senate has a duty to act consistently against all forms of discrimination in the housing market,“ demands the Right to the City for all-AG.
Deutsche Wohnen & Co enteignen aims to democratize housing in Berlin by transferring over 240,000 apartments to public ownership. All tenants will have the opportunity to jointly manage these newly socialized homes regardless of their citizenship status. The model suggested by the initative to manage housing already contains an anti-discrimination agenda.