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In the evening by the fire…

In the evening by the fire…

… anyhow, in order to retain conspiracy, the exact location of the lake will not be revealed …

They want to live as they please.

Their country’s new doctrines make them uneasy. They want to be free, singing songs and playing the guitar.

They don’t make a fuss about their outfits, as they disdain the masks, they reveal their faces.

And that takes courage, because the somewhat discreetly announced meeting is immediately thwarted by the police and the public order office, who conspicuously ask for students who want to gather. An alternative meeting place has to be agreed on in a hurry.

A secret fire is lit there. There is stick bread and guitar music. A watchful eye is always kept on the darkness that surrounds them. They don’t want any undesirable riffraff to find their way into the conspiratorial circle.

The parallels to historical models are unmistakable to learned eyes. The more unsophisticated are certainly and understandably unsettled after the sneering mockery of cultural high-jinks like Jan Böhmermann. In 2020, the latter rpreached his sermon on „Jana from Kassel“ when she dared to make an admittedly somewhat historically naïve comparison to Sophie Scholl.

A critic might object that the comparison with the resistant youth movement in the Nazi oppression would also be somewhat daring.

But the comparison stands its ground: the self-chosen form, the musical activity to escape the imposed conformism, show authenticity. And the gatherings are undoubtedly illegal; being discovered results in repression with the potential for violence by goon squads, or at least in expulsions and administrative offence proceedings. By now, this has been sufficiently documented in the media.

In times when flâneurs are criminalised – at the latest(!) here – free-minded conspiracy may in good conscience feel connected to the resistance in the (beginning) Nazi era, which was mainly bourgeois: The clientele gathered here is also deeply bourgeois. Some only really become aware of their bourgeois milieu in the conspiracy. They are interested in preserving what is worth living for – without foreign regimentation. Actually they are quite bourgeois-conservative, with a dedicated aspiration for a change.

And that also existed much earlier:

„The Free German youth wants to shape its life according to its own destiny, before its own responsibility, in inner truthfulness. It stands united for this inner freedom under all circumstances.“ (Meißner Formula 1913)

The conspirators, of course, are usually not even aware of their profound heritage – their work and its radiance, on the other hand, is timeless, for the simple reason that the underlying motives arise from deeply human needs such as sociability, joy and beauty.

From what I have experienced, I wish for even more courage and originality to stand up against the grotesque ugliness of our time with the beauty of speech and action.

Sven Stemmer

Arnold Welsch