German law provides for one of the most robust direct democracy initiatives of any country. If 50,000 citizens sign a petition requesting action by the Bundestag — Germany’s national legislature — it automatically gets placed on the agenda for consideration. In the US, a citizen-sponsored ballot initiative requires several steps to get approved and can take years to get on the ballot for consideration by voters.
Earlier this year, the necessary number of people signed a petition urging the government to stop taxing feminine sanitary products as luxuries, which put the topic on the Bundestag’s agenda. After consideration, the law was changed.
The lonely vigil begun by Greta Thunberg 18 months ago, when she decided to skip school to sit with her hand-lettered sign outside the Swedish parliament, has inspired millions around the world to follow her example. In Germany, Thunberg’s activism has led to the formation of the Fridays For Future Germany movement — a collection of climate advocates who engage in concerted efforts to force government leaders to take meaningful action to address the gathering crisis posed by a rapidly overheating planet.
Fridays For Future Germany has now inspired another group called 12062020, whose goal is to assemble 90,000 people in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on June 12, 2020. The plan is to get all those people to file petitions calling for immediate action on global heating and addressing a disturbing rise in racism around the world all within seconds of each other using their cell phones. The hope is that millions more throughout Germany will do so at the same time. Assuming each petition gets at least 50,000 electronic signatures, the legislature will be obligated by law to consider and act on each one.
There’s only one problem. According to Vogue, in order to rent the stadium, the organizers must raise €1.8 million. To do that, they turned to StartNext, whose mission is crowdfunding social activism. “With Startnext, we give founders, inventors and creative people the opportunity to present their ideas and projects, to finance them with the support of many people and to build a community. StartNext is now the largest crowdfunding community for ideas, projects and startups in German-speaking countries. We work with our team every day to bring new ideas to the path and to further develop StartNext together with our community.”
The 12062020 organizers decided to sell 60,000 tickets to the event for €29.95 through StartNext by Christmas Eve. CleanTechnica’s German correspondent Benjamin Schultz advises the online solicitation was oversubscribed, meaning the group now has the funds on hand to reserve the stadium for that date.
What is magic about June 12? According to 12062020, “Because our event takes place on the same day as the first match of the European Soccer Championships (comparable to the Superbowl in the US), there will be large screens set up in every city across Germany, on which the town hall meeting can be broadcast during the daytime.”
The group goes on to say, “Germany is one of the political, economic and social leaders of Europe and the world, If we make it happen here, it will have an impact on the rest of the world. We have the power to become a role model for others and scale this idea globally. Just imagine what would happen if people around the world start to rent huge venues to meet and discuss the problems of their village, city, country, or the entire world!”
Yes, imagine that. Participatory democracy that does not depend on intermediaries who can be bought off by special interest groups. What a concept! Expect so-called conservatives to push for legislation forbidding any such public displays as a risk to freedom and liberty. And they are right. Their freedom and liberty to cram their hateful ideas down the throats of those who dare disagree with their extremist views could be severely compromised, leaving them to be boiled in their own pudding with a stake of holly through their hearts. Bah, humbug.