There is No Revolution to Make without Women

Democratic Change in 1989 Invitation to extend the horizon by including the contributions of women
Bei diesem Beitrag handelt es sich um ein Blog aus der Freitag-Community

"In our country, communication between the state and society is obviously disrupted." With this sentence starts the call for a "break-up '89", more precisely: the founding of the New Forum. This happened 30 years ago, on 10th September 1989. In autumn 1989, the New Forum was to become an important platform which people brought together all over the country to initiate changes towards a democratisation of their society. The New Forum was registered on 19th September by Bärbel Bohley and Jutta Seidel as an association beyond state's control. Both as well as Katja Havemann and Ulrike Poppe are reasonably well known as activists in '89. However, many others are not. But there were single women, who often gave the impulse for the break-up. In addition, also groups such as the "Lila Offensive" or the Independent Women's Federation were founded in autumn 1989. Their political-feminist profile still offers numerous inspirations for today.

The «weltgewandt» Institute for Intercultural Civic Education has published the text "There is No Revolution to Make Without Women. HERstory and Dynamics of the Democratic Change of 1989 in the GDR". The educational material results from a cooperation between organisations in Helsinki / FIN, Marseille / FR, Lódz / PL, Málaga / SP and Berlin which was funded by the Erasmus+ programme for adult education. Under the title "Connecting Memories. The Power of the Past and the Future of Europe" they took up questions that are controversially debated in the partner's contries and/or neglected in the public memory. The texts can be downloaded via the website of weltgewandt e.V. and the project website in English and German for free.

Appreciating the individual actors and women's groups is embedded in considerations on what happened before 1989. Why could the GDR, which seemed so stable, and its leadership lose power so quickly? What were the ideas of those who wanted to change the country? What happened BEFORE the Berlin wall was opened on 9th November? What role does the 9th October 1989 play in this context? Since history is usually discussed in parallel on the three time levels past - present - future, the treatise leads into the reflection of memory politics of the present. This applies in particular to the so-called «unification narrative».

According to the European perspective of the project, the material also contains reflections on the democratic upheaval of 1989 in the GDR by citizens from the partner organisations. This nonetheless confirms the starting point of the publication: the knowledge about "1989" can be expanded not only in the younger generation, but also in other European countries. To change this, the concluding method section offers exercises for educational work, which were jointly tested in workshops.

The HERstory approach as well as the focus original documents of this lively historical period offer the possibility to broaden the horizon so that the image of the GDR and its bourgeois revolution in 1989 becomes less 'grey' or 'black-red-gold' but more colourful. This may also offer «connecting points» for discourses beyond the national framework of thinking.

14:51 09.09.2019
Dieser Beitrag gibt die Meinung des Autors wieder, nicht notwendigerweise die der Redaktion des Freitag.
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Sophia Bickhardt

Diplom-Sozialwissenschaftlerin; Projektleiterin weltgewandt. Institut für interkulturelle politische Bildung e.V.
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Sophia Bickhardt
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