With our project, Demokratie? Eine Frage der Verfassung! (Democracy? A Question of the Constitution!) we use the constitutional anniversaries (100 years since the Weimar Republic Constitution, 70 years of the Basic Law and 30 years since the Peaceful Revolution) in Germany for a social debate on the foundations of our democracy.
How democratic is our Basic Law? In what shape is our democracy? In this series of talks, we are discussing with citizens across the country what kind of state we are in today as a historically evolved society – and where we want to be in the future. Six interactive events were actually planned across Germany for this purpose. Due to the Corona pandemic, we replanned in the spring of 2020 and instead launched a survey on the restrictions of fundamental rights by the measures taken to combat the virus and evaluated it in a study. We also held an essay contest on the topic. An event on the topic of voting rights and the Basic Law was able to take place in Bielefeld in October.
Project progress to date:
Survey and study: Freedom in Uncertain Times
In spring 2020 we developed a questionnaire that looked at the restrictions due to the Corona pandemic and the Basic Law during the first lockdown in Germany.. The survey was completed on 31 July 2020 with almost 3,000 participants. Over 2,000 people completed the questionnaire in full. Dr Sebastian Rottinghaus analysed the results for us in a study.
We published his report in December 2020.
Project manager Uta Rüchel discussed the results of the study in her essay „Trust in Uncertain Times“ in our online magazine. Sociologist Amel Ouaissa wrote about community and managing the pandemic in the context of the study’s publication.
On January 27, 2021, Uta Rüchel and Sebastian Rottinghaus presented the results of the survey in the podcast of the digital colloquium „Sociological Perspectives on the Corona Crisis“, followed by a highly recommended interview with the two sociologists in the feuilleton of the Berliner Zeitung.
„The virus is a democratic imposition“
On February 25, 2021, we held the panel discussion „The Virus is a Democratic Imposition“ on Zoom to discuss the results of the study with Ulrike Guérot, Armin Nassehi, Stefan Hans Kläsener, and Silvio Witt. The talk is now available on Youtube.
„Du hast die Wahl!“ – Democracy workshop in Bielefeld
With „Du hast die Wahl!“ WIR MACHEN DAS held an event in Bielefeld shortly before the local elections in North Rhine-Westphalia in September 2020. Youths and young adults had a lively exchange on the topic of elections. In the context of the event, historian Dr Claudia Gatzka (University of Freiburg) published an essay in our online magazine at the beginning of November 2020 in which she discusses why voting is not everything.
Essay competition: Forty essays submitted, four have been published
#Corona pandemic: What is the foundation of a good constitution in difficult times? And under what circumstances are we voluntarily prepared to give up individual rights? In the framework of our project Democracy? A Question of Constitution! we have been sent around 40 essays dealing with the foundations of democracy and freedom. We have selected four essays and published them here.
The German Basic Law (Grundgesetz) and the corona virus – Documentation of a debate
From mid-March to the end of May 2020, we spent ten weeks documenting the intensive debate on the political reactions to the corona pandemic and the German Constitution with selected contributions. The more than 60 texts provide impressive evidence of how controversial this debate was. And they show that a resilient democracy needs a resilient constitution.
The documentation of the debate
A project from WIR MACHEN DAS in collaboration with Bielefeld University and the Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft, supported by the Federal Agency for Civic Education.
The Robert Havemann Society is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media and by the Berlin Commissioner for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship.