Interview with Sarah-Lee Heinrich and Timon Dzienus

Mrs. Heinrich, Mr. Dzienus, the Greens are expected to be back in government after 16 years. Will the role of the Green Youth, of which you are the new federal spokesman, change?

Heinrich: We were an independent youth association in the opposition, we set topics ourselves. Nothing will change about that. Even so, our role is changing. The Green Youth has become a relevant actor in recent years. With the new position of the Greens, we are also paying a lot of attention. We have grown strongly in recent years and now have 27 members who have moved into the Bundestag.

Are you trying to influence these MPs?

Heinrich: We have a common goal, but different roles. Of course they are independent, but we are in close contact with them and fight together for a just future.

Dzienus: We see ourselves as a link to civil society. That continues to apply. We want to bring the protest on the street not only into parliament, but also into the government.

Heinrich: The Green Youth wants to get involved and work constructively to ensure that there is a federal government that improves people’s lives. We now have almost 20,000 members, the number has doubled in the past three years. This has increased our influence.

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And how do you understand your task at the head of the Green Youth?

Dzienus: The tasks are very diverse. On the one hand, we will interfere in day-to-day politics, as we are currently doing in the coalition negotiations. We never tire of calling for our demands on just politics. In addition, educational work is very important to us. As an entire association, we want to continually develop our comprehensive social analysis and make it the basis of our political positions and practice.

A social analysis? That sounds very technical.

Heinrich: We experience many injustices in our society. We experience racism, sexism, but also poverty and unfair working conditions. And many come to the Green Youth because they want to do something about these injustices. In my case, for example, I thought for a long time that it was my own fault that my mother and I were to blame for our poverty. At some point I understood: That’s not true. The fact that so many people have to live in poverty is a political problem. And we can tackle these problems together. That’s what it’s about: self-empowerment.

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