Submission: Against AfD – students of the HfBK Dresden occupy their library

Foto: Alternative Dresden News

Since 10 am students of the University of Fine Arts (HfBK) have been occupying their library. The occupation is in protest against the right-wing opinions of Barbara Lenk, head of the library and AfD list candidate. She had herself placed on the AfD list for the local elections in Meissen as a non-party candidate.

The StuRa had contacted the rectorate at the end of last week to express their disapproval. In an internal letter, Rector Matthias Flügge, Chancellor Jochen Beißert and Library Commissioner Constanze Perez then emphasised that they stood behind Ms Lenk and her abilities. This triggered great resistance among the students. At a plenary meeting on Tuesday evening, the occupation of the HfBK library was decided.

The squatters demand that Ms. Lenk immediately give up her job at the HfBK or her activities in connection with AfD. “HfBK or AfD, both are not possible” is written on the banner at the HfBK.

“We cannot imagine continuing to use a library run by a candidate from the AfD list. We ask ourselves how this is compatible with HfBK’s mission statement as a cosmopolitan, international and free university, which wants to stand firm against any form of discrimination,” says Julia. “What happens to our data and our book lists? The AfD keeps trying to compile lists of unwelcome persons. So the question is legitimate what happens to such data that indicates a politically unpopular opinion,” the young student continues to argue.

The students demand that the university management distance itself from AfD and their program and that Ms. Lenk resign. In addition, they want transparent participation in the decision-making process for new book purchases and book disposal.

In the light of the strong shift to the right and the shocking election results in Saxony in the European elections, in which the AfD came first, the students are very worried. “Not a cent for politically motivated art – an election slogan of the AfD, lets us suspect what awaits us if the AfD is able to expand its power in Saxony” was said yesterday at the general assembly.

AfD city councillor Gordon Engler explicitly speaks of cancelling all funds for the international cultural location Hellerau. A direct attack on the freedom of art!

But the students also reject the inhuman positions of AfD as a whole. “Whether the AfD is a party of the democratic spectrum or simply a right-wing extremist structure, I would be reluctant to leave this assessment to others. We must act now,” said another student.

After further talks with the rectorate this morning, there is no agreement. Instead of taking a clear position against inhuman attitudes, the squatters were asked to remove the banner from the façade, as it was a “crime of bullying”.