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on the Bard College Berlin Student Blog

This an article that covers the main themes of Taun N. Toay’s “Trumponomics” Lecture which includes his insights on polling, the working class, the appeal of Trump, the economic effect of his policies and his view on the resistance. Then the article continues with my personal experience of an anti-Trump protest that I attended and my reflections about what this type of dissent means.

Trumponomics lecture poster (Credit: Bard College Berlin)

Trumponomics lecture poster (Credit: Bard College Berlin)

On the 2nd of February, in the times of pre-judicial halts of Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban Executive Order, the students and faculty of Bard College Berlin had the pleasure (and discomfort) of listening to Taun N. Toay’s lecture “Trumponomics: How the United States Accepted Authoritarian Populism”. Taun N. Toay is the Annandale-based Managing Director of Bard College Berlin and of the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College. Armed with his economic background, Toay aimed to give a crowd of concerned U.S. and non-U.S. citizens an economics-centered explanation of this political phenomenon that most of us mention at least once a day now, because, honestly, how can we not?

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The Anti-War Museum around 1925

The Anti-War Museum around 1925

On April 16th Irit Dekel, instructor of the Past in the Present: Collective Memory, Politics and Culture class, led a trip to the Anti-Kriegs-Museum (Anti-War Museum) in Berlin. Opened by Ernst Friedrich in the 1920s in the working class district of Wedding, the museum was closed for many years before it was re-opened by Friedrich’s grandson, Tommy Spree, in 1982. Mr. Spree kindly agreed to give us a personal tour of the Anti-War Museum to talk about both its historical and present-day activities.

The SA take over the Anti-War Museum (1933)

The SA take over the Anti-War Museum (1933)

The Anti-War Museum is a contested space, and nowhere is this more evident than through the history of the building itself. It was taken over and destroyed by the Sturmabteilung (or SA, the Nazi storm troopers) in March 1933, and although Ernst Friedrich managed to move most of his archive to Belgium and establish another Anti-War Museum, the original museum on 29 Parochial Street was turned into a notorious torture chamber for the SA, and later for the Gestapo.

Although I can only speculate, I imagine Ernst Friedrich was a witty man. He was a renowned author of political pamphlets, and the fact that such an internationalist and erudite man opened an Anti-War Museum on Parochial Street is not without irony. And along with his courage, most clearly evident in joining the French resistance (although he was a pacifist and would not fight, he wanted to oppose fascism), he must have also possessed great élan, since he allowed soldiers to enter his museum for free, and announced this on the front window – a practice Tommy Spree continues to this day.

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