Wednesday, March 10, 2010
[ Town hall meeting ]
The Grünen office that I work at in Göttingen is a kreisverband büro – essentially serving as a local satellite for representative politicians that travel between the capital and their home regions. Daily work includes reading newspapers and compiling important articles, formatting these documents, contacting other party members, sending emails, letters, posting flyers etc. preparing for meetings and discussions in the area central to the Green party’s motives and ideas.
[ I don´t know if it is just a Green party thing, or a German thing, but I find the beer at a meeting discussing political agendas and treasury issues quite funny ]
The other day was the Kreisvorstandsitzung which was similar to a party meeting at the Grünenbüro to prepare for the Kreistagsitzung wich is a local parliament meeting or town hall meeting, a political assembly I was also able to attend. All local politicians in the area ranging from the CDU, SPD to the Linke were circled in the room, a podium set up for speeches and delegations over topics.
For being local politics, the debates were still heated, and the remarks and speeches passionate. Upon subjects such as reducing the size of regional factions in order to create more efficient bureaucratic government had its fair share of scoffs, outburst, and even laughs when some views resulted in being too ridiculous for the sitting majority. The long procession of hand raising and debating was admittedly hard for me to follow – I caught the pieces that I could, but the rapid debate with some specific German vocabulary had me limited and constantly striving to understand. Other topics included the idea of building a new highway in south Göttingen - definitely opposed by the Green ideals - as well as further discussion on the ever-debated issue in current German politics, the Harz IV bill. This policy will regulate how much social welfare assistance unemployed citizens will receive from the government and has become a very interesting debate revealing much about what the German people expect from their government.
The experience to visit and sit in the observers rows amongst other prakikanten, co workers of other party’s, public views as well as the press, was an interesting one. For one thing, I definitely came out of the Neues Rathaus with a new perspective on my host city, and the government that takes place within it. Ready to head home after the work day, one of the chefs – bosses – at the SPD Büro that I had met while visiting Herr Oppermann caught my attention and had an offer for me. The SPD party was making a party-sponsored trip to Berlin the following week for three days to introduce current party members to the government and representative politicians in a city tour. There was an extra spot now open – travel and hotel included – and being the PPPler represented by Herr Opperman, the offer was now being givin to me. 3 days in Berlin, travel and hotel paid, visits to the governments buildings with speeches and behind the scenes looks – I don’t think I have to give much of a foreshadowing to explain the next adventure coming up for me in a week!