Pin It
via Flickr

A far right politician in Germany is trying to revoke Berghain’s license

An Alternative for Germany councilor claims to want to slash the legendary club’s opening hours

Far-right political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) has put forward a claim to rescind Berlin club Berghain’s license. 

Maximilian Schirmer, a Left Party district councilor, shared a letter on Twitter where the AfD has asked for the club’s opening hours to be slashed to 10pm-6am, and for a redesign. The party’s Sibylle Schmidt, who according to local publication Berliner Morgenpost ran clubs in the 80s and 90s across the city, signed the letter off. 

The note, titled ‘Withdraw current business license from current Berghain operators’, asserts that cutting down the current opening hours would “enable a drug-free visit taking into account a natural biorhythm”. It also refers to a death of an American tourist from an overdose, as well as numerous hospital admittances for different reactions to drugs inside the venue, asserting that responsibility and safety structures are not in place at the club. Staff are described as “unintelligent, unsightly busybodies”.

In reference to the club’s darkrooms and club behaviour, it’s added: “Sexual acts are to be prevented by appropriate lighting and personnel”.

The motion by the AfD was reportedly set to be discussed in parliament April 25, but is said to be amid withdrawal.

The likelihood of any actual action by way of shutting down Berghain is pretty slim – it’s more likely that AfD are using the cultural cachet of the club as an easy hook to hang their own agenda on. These tactics are often deployed by the far-right: using popular cultural institutions and attacking them as degenerate in order to make headlines and push an overall sinister agenda. For example, the Bavarian branch of the AfD pushed to ban all mosques, while other factions of the political party called for a ban on headscarfs in the streets (comparing them to the apartheid), and to stop the teaching of English in all German primary schools – things that would likely never happen, but it gets a twisted conversation going and stirs tensions. 

Across political history, more ultra conservative, far right groups have attempted to stay in the headlines and increase divisive dialogue by criticising current pop culture. This was seen with the likes of the Catholic League in the United States in the 90s and early 00s – they had a very public, critical opinion on everything from Kevin Smith’s film Dogma, to George Bush’s Christmas cards, Lindsay Lohan, Joan Osborne, Jennifer Lopez, and David Bowie.

A translation of the letter, via Pulse, is below:

“For years, violations of restaurant regulations have taken place in Berghain. Drugs of all kinds – especially amphetamines that keep awake – are consumed and can be easily acquired. Continuous opening hours virtually demand the use of substances that keep awake. In the surrounding hospitals, young women and men are admitted who lose control over chemical substances and are sometimes abused. As early as 2010, several AIDS infections were discussed during a tour with city councillor Beckers. (For a possible hearing, a doctor of the gynaecological department of Vivantes at Friedrichshain could be invited). An American tourist, who already had signs of poisoning, was allowed medical help too late. She died. 

A restaurant has to serve its customers carefully and to pay attention to their safety. A music club has permission to fund an attractive program through entrance fees and the clean and proper sale of drinks. This is quite possible in the Berghain if people willing to pay were not selected by unintelligent, unsightly busybodies. A supposed underdog image overriding sophisticated laws allows the club a significant competitive advantage over its competitors. It is the responsibility of operators to obtain tuition in process organisation and music programs in famous, functioning clubs, for example in Manchester, London, Rio or Sardinia. It is the task of the district office, Inexperienced guests and Berlin visitors to protect against irresponsible and dangerous enterprises. The House of Representatives is called upon to lower the self-consumption limit of drugs to zero grams. An avoidable death with several responsible persons. The development was to be anticipated.”