In the middle of Berlin’s greenest and hippest neighborhood, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Sibylle Schmidt is running for the AfD – as an independent.
Party-less as AfD direct candidate in Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg: Sibylle Schmidt Photo: private
When Sibylle Schmidt posters for her direct mandate with the AfD in the Berlin district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, she does it at night. "Hey, Kanacke, take down that Nazi poster!" someone shouted at her husband the other day. Others shook the ladder. That’s when Schmidt’s Kreuzberg nature comes through, as she says, and she shouts back. She is actually at home in middle-class Dahlem.
There, she might have better chances as an AfD direct candidate. Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is considered the heart of the alternatives. The district wants to be creative and multicultural, and the Greens are the main party here. In the last federal election, they came in at 40 percent, with the SPD and the Left behind them, and the AfD came in at just 2 percent.
But Kreuzberg was Schmidt’s home for 32 years. "I wouldn’t know where else to run," she says. She opened several punk clubs, was part of the squatter scene, even worked for the marketing department of the taz at one point. She had to leave Kreuzberg because she could no longer afford the apartment there, she says, and Gorlitzer Park infected her youngest son. "Drug policy was also the main reason for my candidacy with the AfD." It’s not exactly the party’s core program. But Schmidt also openly admits that she sees the lifestyle of many Muslims as a burden on Germany.
The 53-year-old jumps from one topic to another, terror, drugs, women’s rights – full of contradictions, just like herself. She describes herself as a hardcore feminist and wants to found the association "Frida," Women in the AfD. Even if the AfD wants to abolish almost all measures for gender equality. That’s not a contradiction for them. "I think a German craftsman can be more emancipated than a social pedagogue from Kreuzberg."
AfD as a true opposition? – Nonpartisan nonetheless
She was with the SPD for a long time, which she now calls the "civil servants’ party." For Schmidt, the AfD is the only opposition party that names problems. Nevertheless, she is running as a non-party member; she is not a member of the AfD. She is also not on the state list. "I probably would have had to hit the ground running more." Schmidt’s only chance of getting into the Bundestag is therefore the direct mandate.
This is not hopeless, she says. People would also have voted for Hans-Christian Strobele rather than the Greens. The SPD could also be weaker this time, "after all, many Turks have moved away." It just has to click in the district, says Schmidt. "People need to understand that I’m already further along than they are. I’m thinking about the future."