Archive for the ‘germany’ Tag

Fascist Fashion in Berlin

There was nothing thinly-veiled about it. When Tønsberg set up shop in central Berlin, they meant to get right up the people’s nose.

Tønsberg stocks a variety of clothes that incorporate neo-Nazi insignia. One of their brands, Thor Steinar (above), has been punished under new anti-racism legislation and litigated by the Norwegian government.

So pitching up on Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße, the street bearing the name of Germany’s great Marxist revolutionary, was a clear blue-eyed stare of intent.

Shop owners, social activists and artists have responded. At the tip of the road you’ll find a clear manifesto (above – click to read the detail).

Tønsberg’s presence on this liberal fashion strip is misleading to consumers. It’s bad for the street’s reputation. And, if reports of a “resident baby pitbull bred to eat baby Jews” are true, it could be a direct platform for hate crime.

Two aspects of this story grabbed me as I walked down Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße a few days ago.

Firstly, the well-campaigned and well reasoned response of the Left. But secondly, more compellingly, was the creative assault against the neo-Nazis.

Slap bang on the doorstep of Tønsberg, there’s a silo dedicated to anti-right street art. The posters and paintings get regularly refreshed. Some of it’s not great, of course. But the better bits get the brain-cogs turning faster than any well-oiled manifesto.

And Mitte Gegen Rechts are as strong online as they are in the field.

With an efficient search you’ll find their blog and various Flickr pools. It’s got press in The Economist and in-depth coverage at Gridskipper.

There’s even a slick docu-spot for Watch Berlin posted on YouTube (in German).

So – an insidious weave from the neo-Nazis gets a swift media jab from the Left, right?

Keep hold of your ticket stubs, mein freund. The sum of the bricks is less than the whole, and the finish isn’t as fast as the smart bet might have it.

In this ciy of love and reunification, the clash has yet to end in a kiss.

Tønsberg still stands on Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße. Just more battered and splattered than before.

Campaigners have taken to smashing their windows and hurling paint.

This happened larger in Leipzig not long ago when another shop opened. The video of the riot has been stripped from YouTube, and it must have got ugly.

Well-reasoned, multi-platform, creative campaigning for a noble cause. Ends in violence. Can’t get history off repeat after all.

So: the challenge. How would you campaign to stop Thor Steinar?

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Hiding in Your Machine

Not a bad job, really. Small office – but one whole wall for a window. Wow.

What are the tips like?

Wait a second… It’s just an ad. And from a company that speaks in German. Well that’s another opportunity lost.

Luckily for everyone in the first world, it’s easy to get a bad job. The trick is keeping it.

It’s harder to get hold of a good job. And when you do it might take hold of you. Pressing more buttons and a kicking when you don’t produce. Without regular oiling, it can make you click into machine mode to protect yourself.

Not in Japan. To evade assailants and superiors you can dress up as machine and stay safe. Although it would involve hours of standing still.

Best way to stay unspotted in the metropolis. But too much robot and no progress. Shame we do it most when there’s greatest pressure. Greatest sense of danger, in public or private.

You can switch off and relax.

In Japan, crime rates are getting lower. The average age is getting higher. You’ll live, even if you’re a cyborg. You can get a job in a vending machine if it gets too much.

While we’re on that – milk two, please. Anyone else want a cup?