The film "Bürger.Macht - mehr direkte Demokratie?" tells the story of the German pilot project Bürgerrat Demokratie. It is the citizens themselves who lead through the film as protagonists and draw a mood picture of the state of the nation from German living rooms. The TV premiere of this film documentary took place on 25 October 2020 on MDR.
In 2019, 160 Bürger:innen were randomly selected from the population registers throughout Germany. The aim was to involve the people in decision-making processes outside of elections. Under the chairmanship of former Bavarian Prime Minister Günther Beckstein, 160 citizens discussed the future of democracy in Germany over four days in September in Leipzig.
But what form of democracy does Germany want and need? Through the question of direct co-determination, the film becomes an indicator of current political positions in Germany.
The experience of being heard and empowered to have a say in one's country changes a person. The film shows what participation does to politically engaged people, but above all to sceptics, angry citizens or those unwilling to make decisions: whether it is the young, reflective student from Dresden, the apolitical Harley Davidson enthusiast from Schleswig-Holstein who now wants to be in the front row to complain, the avowed AfD voter from Nuremberg or the shooting queen from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania who has always been interested in politics. They and other citizens are representative of different milieus and opinions throughout Germany, and in the film they provide an insight into their private lives and openly and frankly share their personal opinions on the major political issues.
They are not the only ones who have their say in the film. There is also room for the views of the initiators, organisers and politicians. What started as a pilot project of a civil society association ended after about 18 months on 18 June 2020 with the decision of the Council of Elders of the German Bundestag to actually introduce a new form of citizen participation in Germany! This new citizens' assembly, this time under the patronage of Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble, was to present its citizens' report on Germany's role in the world to the German Bundestag in the beginning of 2021.
Bürger.Macht - mehr direkte Demokratie? not only shows that change is possible at the large political level, but also tells of the very personal success of the participating citizens: Co-determination can not only change opinions, but offers a level at which a divided society can meet again!
The documentary can be found in the ARD media library.