Scenes from the Culture War

Berlin is a divided city: not a city divided between capitalists and communists, but instead a city divided between bohemians and yuppies. When the Berlin Wall fell, the eastern half of the city emptied out, and property was generally cheap. Artists, slackers, anarchists, and other bohemians filled in the void, and made the once-dreary east an increasingly area to live. And as everyone knows, once the starving artists make a neighborhood desirable, yuppies swoop in to buy property.

That’s exactly what’s happening in my Berlin neighborhood. Around the block from me on Schwedter Strasse, a gigantic, pricey, yuppie housing project known as Marthas Hof is going up.

This does not sit well with the pre-existing bohemians. One Saturday, protesters gathered outside my building for a march protesting Marthas Hof.

Personally, I think the party’s nearly over, and Berlin is destined to become a more bourgeois place.

Here’s what’s strange: the people protesting Marthas Hof (and other signs of change such as the redevelopment of the vacant land where the Berlin Wall stood) are actually the social conservatives. They’re the ones who don’t want Berlin to change.


textmarker said...
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organicgirl said...

A similar scenario in Portland - the West side has yuppies; the East side has "artists, slackers, anarchists, and other bohemians" plus queers and blacks. The river keeps the two sides neatly separated; most of the tension is on the East side where the artists/bohemians are gentrifying historically black neighborhoods, essentially forcing blacks and other minorities out into "The Numbers" (neighborhoods further from the city center).
~ Elizabeth

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