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Photo by Anna Achon
Beni Richter, 28, Founding Member
So why ‘Überpartei’?
It’s a party for squatters. We wanted our party to be a unity party for all the different small squatters’ rights parties, so we called it Überpartei. Bergpartei was called that because they were born in that giant mountain they built at the Palast Der Republik in 2005. I helped found it as a way of politicizing my friends, to show other people there’s another way to think about things.
What are the first three things you’ll do if you’re elected?
1.) Make cars disappear from the city. 2.) Abolish property. 3.) Make sure that interns at magazines get paid well.
Where do you stand on tourism and gentrification?
Gentrification isn’t really anyone’s fault, except maybe the government or capitalists. Mediaspree is a much more damaging form of gentrification. I understand wanting to live in Berlin. If I hadn’t been born here, I would probably move here too. I think it’s cool to have different kinds of people.
What’s your stance on integration?
I don’t think that foreigners should have to integrate. I think Germany has a lot to learn from other cultures.
How would you deal with the Mediaspree issue?
We were part of the protests that forced the issue to a referendum, where about 90 percent of voters in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district voted against continued commercial development on the Spreeufer, and it looked like we won. But now the Berlin Senat has stepped in and is threatening to override the results of the referendum.
If you absolutely had to choose between Wowereit or Künast, who would it be?
I would rather choose exile. I’m only in Germany for the unemployment benefit anyway.
Number of members: 320.
Typical supporter: “Obi-Wan Kenobi in appearance. But really, anyone. Old, young, men, women, cats, dogs, plants...”;
Members: “We’re all on Hartz IV.”
Party Leader: Jan Theiler, aka Pastor Leumund, aka Pastor Reputation
Founded: 2005, Berlin (Merged with Bergpartei in April, 2011).
Claim to fame: Their TV campaign ad was rejected: “It was 60 seconds of us staring at the camera – they said it was irreverent to the democratic process.”
Slogan: “Time is relative, dreams are important.”
Likely results: “Realistically, 0-1 percent.”