Seehofer Antidote: Sealift

Monday, August 6th, 2018

“We’re a bit like a left-wing PEGIDA – only ten times as fast and not as shitty.” That’s the take-away quote from a recent piece in Neues Deutschland, “Uprising in Orange,” about Seebrücke (“See-bridge”; in English they call themselves “Sealift”), a new pro-refugee political movement that has recently arisen in Germany.

Maybe you already know about PEGIDA: A notable anti-refugee movement, since its formation in 2014 it has been organizing regular right-wing nativist demonstrations in its home-city Dresden and then further afield. These people are not that, they’re the opposite. Seebrücke just recently got its start in Berlin, which is where Neues Deutschland journalist Niklas Franzen interviews its two top officials for this piece; it, too, has already spread beyond its cradle to other cities. Its cause is clear: Stop the Mediterranean deaths! That is, save the refugees found floating there in their precarious, smuggler-provided rubber boats and let them come – let them even come to Germany! To that end, the organization has organized a series of public demonstrations this summer, including around 12,000 people gathering under the Seebrücke name in Berlin, and numerous other public events elsewhere in Germany, to include raves, flashmobs and even “yoga lessons”(?).

After initially coming to life as the result of communications traffic on the Telegram on-line message system among people alarmed at the drownings and increasing repressive measures against those Mediterranean “boat people,” the organization was formed through the coming-together of various left-wing NGOs and “art collectives.” Yet it resolutely keeps its own structure to a minimum: the two “leaders” interviewed for the piece are better described as Seebrücke‘s leading spokespersons, as it operates in a very decentralized manner, with no hierarchy, leaving it to local enthusiasts to organize events to move the cause forward, itself offering only what it calls “a roof” over the common cause (plus a common color to brand all their activities, namely the easy-to-pick-out orange tinge of the standard life-preserver vest).


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