Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Portrait of a European Freedom Fighter
Daniel Cohn-Bendit: Publicist and politician, the Greens, MEP; co-president of the Greens/Free European Alliance Group in the European Parliament
I was born in Monatuban, France on April 4, 1945. I visited the "Odenwald-Schule" in Oberhambach which I finished with my exam in 1965. When I returned to France immediately after school, supported by a German reparation scholarship, I started my studies in sociology at the University of Nanterre, a suburb of Paris. I became known for being spokesperson and leader of the May-Revolution in Paris during the 60ies.
I kept my contacts with my leftist friends in Germany and almost three weeks after the student Benno Ohnesorg was shot in Berlin, I declared on June 13, 1967: "After this first victim in Germany you should not think that the potential for violence is smaller in other countries." In February 1968, I met Rudi Dutschke at the Vietnam-congress in Berlin. After the attempted assassination of Rudi Dutschke, the SDS-chairman Karl Dietrich Wolff accepted my invitation to speak in Nanterre. That was the upbeat of the May- riots in Paris 1968. After the riots, the French government expelled me from France. After 1968, I was active in Frankfurt - among other things also in the "Kinderladen"-Movement. I worked in a bookshop, took part in the establishment of a group called "Revolutionärer Kampf" (revolutionary fight) and together with Joschka Fischer I was a member of the Frankfurt Sponti-scene which was exercising the social revolution by means of squatting, street fighting, ad agitation in companies such as Hoechst and Opel.
The central organ of this scene was the alternative city-magazine "Pflasterstrand". Since 1978 I work as a publicist in Frankfurt. I have been responsible editor and publisher of the magazine "Pflasterstrand". I also belonged to the leading spokespersons, when the so-called "Scene" declared itself for the parliamentary system and supported the party of the GREENS (Die GRÜNEN). After my ban on residence in France was revoked in 1978, I decided to stay in Germany.
In 1984 I became a member of the Green party and there I was one of the most determined opponents of the eco-socialist fundamentalism. As a "Realo-Green" I supported the Minister for environmental affairs of Hessen, Joschka Fischer during his term. After the change of power in Frankfurt in March 1989, the newly elected red-green coalition under the Lord Mayor Volker Hauff, was a new challenge for me. Hauff called three representatives of the Green Party into his city council and I was given the responsibility of an honorary city councillor for the newly established office for multi-cultural affairs. During the political debates about restrictions of the constitutional right to seek asylum (1992), I pleaded for a clear immigration law and liberal rights and regulations for citizenship. At the party congress of Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNEN in November 1993, I was nominated to place 8 only on the party's list for the European elections which were held on June 12, 1994.
(Shortly before, I had advocated in favour of a military intervention to support the Bosnian Muslims. Now, this was what I got for it from the pacifist part of the party.) One of the two mandates for the Germany Greens, who achieved 10,1%, fell onto me. Also during my term as a European Parliamentarian, I remained honorary city councillor in Frankfurt.
From 1994 until 2003 I hosted the show "Literaturclub" for the Swiss TV station DRS.
In 1999 I became the leading candidate of the French Greens (LES VERTS) for the European Parliament. LES VERTS achieved 9,72% at the European elections. In 2004, I was candidate of the German Greens for the second time, and I was leading candidate of the European Green Party which was founded in Rome in February 2004.
Since January 2002 I am co-president of the Greens/Free European Alliance Group in the European Parliament. I am a Member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and a member of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs. I am also a substitute in the Subcommittee on Security and Defence.
Publications (among others): "Linksradikalismus-Gewaltkur gegen die Alterskrankheit des Kommunismus", "Agitationsmodell für eine Revolution" (1968), "Der große Basar" (1976), "Reden über das eigene Land: Deutschland" (1987 with others), "Wir haben sie so geliebt, die Revolution" (1987, 2nd edition 1998), "1968: Die letzte Revolution, die noch nichts vom Ozonloch wusste" (1988, together with Joschka Fischer, Alexander Gauland, and Jörg Twenhöven), "Einwanderbares Deutschland oder Vertreibung aus dem Wohlstandsparadies? (1991, with others), "Heimat Babylon: das Wagnis der multikulturellen Demokratie" (1992; with Thomas Schmid), "Petit Dictionaire de l'Euro" (1998 together with Olivier Duhamel), "Euro für alle. Das Währungs-Wörterbuch" (with Olivier Duhamel), (in various languages), "Une envie de politique" (1998, with Lucas Delattre and Guy Herzlich). "Xénophobies" (1998 with Thomas Schmid). My latest work, "Quand tu seras président", written together with Bernard Kouchner, will be published in April 2004.
Films: : "C'est la vie" (1991), "Juden in Frankfurt"(1993).
Honours: Honorary degree of doctor of the Catholic University Tilburg, The Netherlands (1997), "Révélation politique" (honorary degree for soecial political achievements, awarded by Trombinoscope) (1998).
I live with my wife, her elder son and our son in Frankfurt. My hobby is football