Sunday, August 21, 2011

Underclass or Social Displacement: Berlin Style

If you were thinking of going to Berlin today, I would not take your hard earned Porsche, doctor!!!


On Thursday night and the early hours of Friday, 11 cars went up in flames in various parts of Berlin, according to police. It was the fourth night of arson attacks in a row, and the total would probably have been higher if it hadn't been for the rain. So far this year, 141 cars have gone up in flames in Berlin. There has also been a series of arson attacks in Hamburg.

"The enthusiasm about Berlin as the capital of alternative culture has never been as great as it is these days. EasyJet tourism is booming, as is the real estate market -- prices may be rising in Berlin, but beer and apartments are still relatively cheap. And everything is so peaceful here. You can walk around Berlin in relative safety at any hour of the day, much more so than in almost any other big city."

"But not everyone is equally delighted by the fact that the global middle class has discovered Berlin. Many long-term Berlin residents are feeling uneasy. They wonder how long they will be able to afford to live in their neighborhoods. Wages in Berlin are indeed low. Nowadays people complain about the tourists as much as they do about the lousy weather. And now more and more cars are burning at night. Is there a connection between the tourism fatigue of long-term residents, the rising rents and the nightly arson attacks? Are things getting dangerous in the party capital?"

"And will Berlin's politicians take the arson excesses as an opportunity to finally do something to preserve a diverse social mix in the city's central districts? … Ten years ago, rent controls and efforts to avoid social exclusion were still part of the city's political landscape. But nowadays such regulatory measures are taboo. The arsonists will not be able to change that. … The real issue is not the burning cars -- it is the rampant social displacement."

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hyperCRYPTICal said...

Erm - it worries me when politicians jump on acts of vandalism as meat for their cause and attach whatever slant is beneficial to them.

The same article states: "But the fact that cheaper models are also now being targeted as well as upmarket models suggest that politics is no longer the main motive."

Berliner Zeitung: ".... And then, just like always when they have nothing better to do, they will return to settting cars on fire. Just like they have been doing for the last twenty years in Berlin."

So these arson attacks are not new.
Nevertheless I would agree that "The real issue is not burning cars, it is the rampant social displacement."

Anna :o]

Cockroach Catcher said...

I thought we should not let the Germans get away first with the E Coli blames that were totally unjustified and now these acts that were more complex than class struggle or even social displacement.

In a perverse way, it will help their car industry.