A battle exists within Berlin, as a small group of people known as the Community Land Trust is growing in huge numbers to fight for their homes. Spearheaded by a man called Andre Sacharow, the aim of the Trust is to save communities by slowly but surely buying up the homes of residents so that they can keep renting in peace without worrying about ever-increasing rentals.
The Community Land Trust brings together people who are fighting for a similar cause by preventing landlords and capitalists from excessive rents and buying out their buildings. One of their success stories features a beloved shop in one of the communities which prevented the construction of a highway and buildings near and on the premises of the Prinzessinnengarten. Their effort is enormous and one is able to understand how much it means for the community to maintain communal land and to prevent capitalists from making more money at the expense of the residents.
Another success of the Community Land Trust is the ‘Lause’ in Lausitzer Strasse near Oranienstrasse, a popular street in Berlin filled with homes, cafes and bookshops. But within the walls of the vibrant community lies the struggle to keep their inhabitants’ homes. Several members of the Lause share their feelings about being at risk of losing their space including business space, some of which they have occupied for more than five years. From the shared experiences of friends and allied communities at the Lause, a beautiful movement was born: The Last Shirt – a protest against capitalists where members of the community hang up their shirts on the windows to express their pain at losing their homes. The Last Shirt movement is a symbol drawn from German tradition and the German saying according to which someone would give anything to keep their homes and businesses, even if it means giving off their last shirts.
In an effort to raise their concerns to the public, the Lause residents usually organize protests, which puts faces to the community members’ efforts in fighting for their survival in a world determined to bring them down. This passionate, but powerful story is one that is meant to jumpstart a global movement. The question, however, remains: Where will they go in a city where affordable housing is difficult to find?
This multimedia documentary is part of the 2018/19 training cycle of the "Young African Journalists' Accelerator Program" (YAJAP) facilitated by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation South Africa and JournAfrica!.