RS Live: Revolution by Referendum


Coliving is booming in Berlin. There are 15 buildings renting serviced rooms with ‘community, flexibility and diversity.’ But are they just overpriced dormitories? Maisie Hitchcock went to find out.

Can we solve the housing crisis by seizing property from private owners? One group is promoting revolution via referendum. We hear from Thomas McGath from Deutsche Wohnung Enteignen. It wants the government to forcibly purchase over 110,000 flats currently owned by large property corporations.

At the same time, residents in Karl Marx Allee are campaigning to save their flats, which are about to be purchased by Deutsche Wohnung, Germany’s biggest property investment company. The city is considering a plan to use the right of first purchase to prevent the deal.

Are you being tricked into watching far-right propaganda? A Berlin computer researcher says yes. Ray Serrato has analysed videos from the Chemnitz hate marches and thinks Youtube is click-baiting everyone.

Dan hosts a Berlin news quiz. Do you know the name of the city’s mayor? Can you guess which U-Bahn stop has the most expensive rents? Which company has a logo featuring three phalluses?

Thanks for listening in 2018!

Keep Berlin Colourful


Billboards have gone up encouraging people to voluntarily leave Germany. The Interior Ministry – run by the CSU’s Horst Seehofer – is offering to pay up to twelve months living expenses back where you came from. The multi-lingual ads have been attacked with paintballs and ‘refugees welcome’ tags. Dan’s take: freedom of movement is good, especially if paid for by the German state, but only if it goes in both directions.

It’s Christmas market season. Festive lights have gone up along Unter den Linden, paid for by Lidl. But the city’s heritage protection department says they are too multi-coloured. Are only white lights allowed now in Berlin?

Berlin will get a new public holiday in 2019 – May 8, also International Women’s Day. It means seven of ten public holidays will occur in the first half of the year.

Come to our next live recording on Sunday December 16. Check our website for location details.

This episode was presented by Maisie Hitchcock and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by RadioEins.
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RS Live: The Ampelmann Strikes Back

Pedestrians in Berlin have had enough of being overrun by both cars and bikes. They’re campaigning for better sidewalks and street crossings. We talk to a pedestrian activist who is hopping mad about being walked over: Roland Stimpel from FUSS, the Organization for Pedestrian Protection.

Is Mauerpark a beloved cultural hotspot or a noisy nuisance? Authorities are threatening to seize and destroy instruments if buskers don’t pipe down. We meet Karla from Save Mauerpark, who says only a handful of complainants are trying to limit the freedom of thousands of Berliners.

Diesel vehicles could soon be banned from several main streets in Berlin. An environmental protection group sued the city because of the high levels of pollution that breach European Union regulations. A court found Berlin must take drastic action to lower particle emissions. But Angela Merkel’s coalition is taking the side of the auto industry and trying to avoid diesel bans.

The BVG’s public taxi app Berlkönig is now operating 24/7 and expanding to 300 vans, but is anyone using it? Meanwhile, the BVG is abandoning part of the 248 bus line because it is sick of illegally parked cars blocking the route.

Freelancers’ minimum health insurance payments should drop from over €300 to around €160 a month. That’s thanks to years of activism by the VGSD, a freelancer’s lobby group. But compulsory pension payments could eventually come into force. Joel recommends talking to the people at SmartDE freelancers’ cooperative to get a better deal.

German doorbell names could breach Europe’s new data privacy laws. Landlords are being warned they could be sued for publishing their tenants’ names on the front door, and some are replacing names with numbers. Could this improve packet delivery, at least?

This show was recorded at Prachtwerk Neukölln on Sunday October 28 by Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern. Apologies for the poor audio quality!

RS Live at Floating University

We record live at Floating University, a temporary structure built over a hidden reservoir near Hasenheide. Dan describes it as “Burning Man meets Waterworld.”

Gang war breaks out on the streets of Berlin. A crime boss has been shot dead at Tempelhof Park on a Sunday afternoon. Have police stirred up a hornet’s nest as they crack down on criminal clans?

Have you tried the new BVG weekend shuttle service Berlkönig? The public taxi vans will pick you up and drop you off almost anywhere for as little as €4.

Berlin’s garden colonies are under threat as investors try to replace flowers with flats. We interview garden owner Trevor Sears from the campaign Da Wächst Was (Something’s Growing Here). He tells us why Kleingarten are important for the city, and how you can get one.

What should you do if an architect visits your apartment building asking to take photos? It’s usually the first sign your owner wants to sell or renovate. Green Party representative Georg Kössler tells us five things you can do to halt a rent increase. The Greens have launched a campaign Rette Deinen Kiez (Save Your Neighbourhood).

Joel presents some ideas of his own about how to stop runaway property prices. Berlin could increase the property sales tax from 6%, tax second homes and rental profits vigorously, ban companies from buying residential property, restrict foreign investors.

This episode was recorded on Thursday September 13, 2018. Hosts Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern.

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Free Haircuts for Tall Men


TV series Babylon Berlin is searching for 3000 extras, but bearded men need not apply. You must be over 1.86 meters tall and be prepared to get a 1920s haircut. Maisie is thrilled about the mass make-over of Berlin blokes. Sign up at Agentur Filmgesichter.

The Berlin Wall is being rebuilt to create a totalitarian theme park in Mitte. The art project Dau will submit visitors to mild oppression and screen lengthy films. It will run from from October 12 til November 9, when the “Wall” will be demolished. Couldn’t they use it to patch up the East Side Gallery?

Algae is blooming in Berlin lakes post-heatwave. But don’t worry, it’s still safe to swim. The Berlin health authorities have tested the water and found no deadly blue-green algae. Meanwhile, Alternativ für Deutschland leader Alexander Gauland is now pushing a new and rather bleak right-wing position, acknowledging the reality of climate change but saying humans can’t do anything about it. Is this the start of ‘climate change realism’ – to borrow from Mark Fisher’s capitalist realism?

Wondering why Berlin doesn’t have any electric scooters yet? The stand-up scooters are appearing in cities worldwide as investors rush to find the next trend after shared bikes. But in Germany motorized scooters are classified as road vehicles, restricting their use.

This episode was presented by Maisie Hitchcock and Joel Dullroy, and brought to you by RadioEins.

Subscribe to Radio Spaetkauf on iTunes.

Support us with a monthly donation!