Learning Democracy II

Democracy thrives on discourse carried out not only on the parliamentary level but also in public space. What have these places already seen? spotlights Vienna’s demonstrations from 1918 to 2018 and links the following spheres through four events: the changes in political self-image, the concrete site, the question of how a demonstration challenges a city, and the picture of society conveyed through film.
Each political system is based on a canon of values which, rather than reflecting a fixed system, is discussed and changed. The majority of our attitudes were defined during the Second Republic in Austria—including on the streets—and are still today perceived as a matter of course.
For the workshop of the project “Learning Democracy II,” we invited participants to discuss and learn democracy on site as part of real “values training,” which all migrants and refugees are obliged to attend. This workshop is framed by a contemporary Austrian film that clearly shows the disparity between the state-financed ideal and actual political emancipation. In discussion with experts, employees of the public transit network Wiener Linien report on how demonstrations impact their day-to-day work and are available to answer questions.
Just three days after the ceasefire, students and teachers gathered on April 16, 1945, at the Institute of Egyptology and African Studies. They newly founded the University of Vienna and then pointedly formed a ring to remove debris from the main building. These demonstrations and the subsequent election of the academic senate just a few days later signified the first democratic processes after the years of terror, murder and displacement, war events and crimes at the fronts and the destruction at home. With the declaration of independence issued on April 27, 1945, Austria was faced with the challenge of rebuilding the country. The paradoxical situation arose that the past was repressed and forgotten, while at the same time the memory of the country’s division was present to such an extent that a compensation approach became a central motive of Austrian domestic policy during the Second Republic. During the first twenty years, hardly any sociopolitical changes or shifts in values were evident, a state of affairs that slowly but surely changed starting in the early 1960s, with demonstrations assuming an almost archetypical function. For example, a golden thread can be traced from the 1946 demonstrations demanding more women’s rights to today’s referendums for women. Austrians of both genders loudly and publicly called attention to their situation and, through the pressure exerted on the streets, triggered legal, social, and ethical changes. A great part of our canon of values—largely taken for granted today—originates from this period and is thus the theme of our workshop for “Learning Democracy II.”
The event is free of charge. To participate in the workshop, please register by email (plaetze@mvd.org). Funded by the Science Council of the Cultural Department of the City of Vienna in the scope of “Republic in Austria – Democracy in Vienna.”
A project by MVD Austria and the Institute of Jewish History in Austria with the support of future.lab and Displaced: Space for Change at Vienna University of Technology.

Year 2018
Address Karlsplatz, Vienna
Date, Time, PlaceOktober 24th, 2018
ExpertTo be announced
FilmTo be announced
ModerationTo be announced
SponsoringScience Council of the Cultural Department of the City of Vienna within the framework of „Republik in Österreich – Demokratie in Wien“
A project byMVD Austria
Institute for Jewish History of Austria
In cooperation withfuture.lab, TU Vienna
Displaced. Space for Change, TU Wien
Links www.facebook.com/events
MVD Benjamin Grilj, Helene Schauer, Madlyn Miessgang, Michael Rieper