It is clear that state election season is here as every lamp post in the city seems to be sporting a blown up image of the district’s candidates, a commonplace means of campaigning in these parts in preparation for September 18th when residents vote for their new representatives. Besides the fact that there is an actual Pirates Party in Berlin, which to outsiders might seem strange enough, this year’s campaign has already featured some pretty odd slogans, as reported by The Local. This is the notoriously quirky city of Berlin, after all.
Alternative für Deutschland
The rightwing party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), who is known for the ultra-nationalist and strongly oppositional stances towards immigration, has been gaining unprecedented levels of popularity in recent months as tensions arise in the wake of Merkel’s notoriously open refugee policies. AfD party members also tend to be critical of Germany’s role in the European Union and of the way the EU functions more broadly. The current face of the party is Freuke Petry and its proponents are often in support of reinstating more traditional family values.
This year’s campaign strategy, in terms of local elections, come a bit out of left field for such a conservative bunch, no pun intended. For example, the party has been doing its best to appeal to the city’s young pot smokers. One of their campaign posters, which can be spotted throughout the city, declares that ‘my Moroccan dealer gets his life paid for by the state’. Supposedly, the idea here is that college students are somehow getting ripped off as their dealers enjoy state benefits. AfD wants these young people to know that they can get revenge by voting for AfD, which is notoriously anti-immigrant and austere in its stances on fiscal matters.
Perhaps even better than this, AfD decided to swoon potential voters with images of guys with seductive Fabio-style hairdos. This strikingly angelic, 80s glamour shot-style photo is of candidate Jan Sturm. What looks like it could be a still from the movie Napoleon Dynamite are currently plastered all around the district of Neukölln for anyone who would like to see for themselves.
The democratic socialist party, Die Linke, is one of the strongest leftist parties in Germany right now. The ideologies promoted under this platform are notoriously anti-capitalist, yet their are many factions within the party who offer different means of reforming our current system. They are known for promoting Keynesian economic policies and generally expanding government spending on social programs and education. However, none of these ideas seem so apparent from their campaign slogans. For one, AfD isn’t the only party talking about drugs. Their far left opposition, Die Linke, has been touting the slogan, ‘Berliner speed – take in more snorts’. The joke gets even punnier considering that the word for snort in German, zug, is the same for train and the poster features a photo of a sign for a late train.
Christian Democratic Party
The Christian Democrats are probably best distinguished in the minds of non-Germans by the fact that Chancellor Angela Merkel is a member of this party. As for the political stances of party members, they most commonly include a humanitarian outlook on political and social relations largely informed through Christian values. Christian Democrats tend to be relatively conservative economically and committed to integration within the European Union. Bearing hardly any relevance to these values, this party is using the classic approach of appealing to Berliner’s infatuation with hippopotamuses. We’re honestly not entirely sure what their aims were on this one.
There are also literal satirical parties who have put their posters in the mix just to make things interesting. Die Partei, for example, is a coalition of people dedicated to poking fun at the stuffiness and contrived nature of politics by creating an absurd list of grievances and promises, which include things like ending summer and prolonging winter, as well as a decrease of the voting to 12.
This year, they’ve decided to participate in the campaign slogan fun by posting signs that simply say ‘A Nazi Could Also Hang Here’, which is certainly toeing a line in terms of tastefulness, considering the sensitivity of the subject within the German capital.