“What do right-wing extremists, Alice Schwarzer and the last generation have in common?”

At the start of the Berlin Foundation Week, the satirist Florian Schroeder gives a provocative speech. He is concerned with people finally taking action.

Florian Schroeder provokes with the title, but does not surprise with the content.

Florian Schroeder provokes with the title, but does not surprise with the content.www.imago-images.de

Florian Schroeder immediately makes it clear that he is not delivering any of his stage programs here, but has written a speech. It’s about the “uncanny neighborhood” of right-wing extremists, the last generation and the neo-pacifist movement behind Alice Schwarzer and Sahra Wagenknecht.

As he speaks, it remains open: what is the point of this comparison? What does all this have to do with foundations? And why is nobody laughing?

The cabaret artist and podcaster is a guest this Tuesday in the Rotes Rathaus at the opening event of the Berlin Foundation Week. The audience is mostly made up of founders of foundations, donors and volunteers, but all other Berliners were also able to register. The people are well dressed, most of them of an age that they will certainly no longer experience a possible climate catastrophe. Florian Schroeder also wears a classic dark suit and enters the stage after the Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey.

It’s her last week in office. Giffey emphasizes that she made the decision to continue governing as a junior partner of the CDU because she wanted “the best for Berlin”. That means “security, social security, but also internal security”.

Schroeder’s speech is also about fear. The catch is that the three movements in question are gaining followers with the fear of an apocalypse. As if that weren’t enough material, Schroeder relates this end-time rhetoric to religious motifs. Although his thoughts are understandable, they are by no means new: the New Right plays with fear, just like Wagenknecht and Schwarzer, they stage the “space of a higher truth, the truth of the powerless”.

Florian Schroeder does not condemn the last generation

An elderly lady in the audience is still diligently writing down Giffey’s speech in neat cursive. “Permanent crisis” is on their sheet. “Everything okay? Between permanent crisis and confidence” is the question to which the 14th Berlin Foundation Week is dedicated. “I want to understand the nature of the foundation,” says the woman. She wanted to find out what she should best donate to. As Schroeder reads his speech, she puts down her pen and closes her eyes.

The three movements – pacifists, right-wing extremists, climate activists – all deal with crises. “What kind of world do we want to live in?” is the question he is dealing with, says Schroeder. You can clearly hear his sympathy for the last generation. He does not condemn their actions. The apocalyptic danger is real, their method hits a crucial point of our time, the “flow” of traffic. Schroeder only warns of the potential that he sees in a single quote from Tadzio Müller. “It’s been about self-defence for a long time,” he said. “Part of the group will go underground.” The last generation is not yet terrorist, but it could mutate into an “angry devil” who has no time and thus tear society apart.

“Being free from fear helps when acting,” says Schroeder. All three groups are directed against a guilty elite, he says, optionally the left, the boomers, NATO and the USA. Rather, it is our task to “perceive ourselves as rats in a labyrinth, who know from each other that the others are just as disoriented”. And caged rats learn from each other. “We should watch each other and learn from each other to take action,” he concludes. Schroeder also understood that inaction is no longer an option.

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