• Germany's news in English

Study: Older, educated Germans fill protests

The Local · 2 Feb 2013, 12:37

Published: 02 Feb 2013 12:37 GMT+01:00

The “Institute for Democracy Research” sent investigators out to the occupy movement tent cities and to the Stuttgart 21 anti-railroad protest as well as to citizen’s initiative protests against construction projects and to anti-nuclear energy demonstrations, said newspaper theFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The group found that engineers had replaced social workers in demonstrations and more often than not the activists were male, pensioners or about to be, well educated and either not religious or at most protestant. The group released its report on Wednesday.

“Protestors in Germany come from those who do not have children,” the report said. It said this group was expected to expand between 2015 and 2035, as hundreds of thousands of highly motivated and educated pensioners take to the streets.

The study showed that protests – except when they are about educational topics – are dominated by men. Whoever expected protestors to mainly include those from the lower ranks of the socio-economic rankings would be disappointed.

The researchers found that the average German protestor is “above all a person with a high level of education, with a regular, normally good, income with good social connections and often with a challenging career.”

More than half of those queried were university graduates. It was hard to find the so-called underprivileged, the researchers said.

This is quite different than the protest scene of the 1970s, which was dominated by social science professions. The institute theorized that since many of today’s protests deal with energy, city planning and construction projects, people with technical professions, like engineers, are more likely to protest.

They can show up not only as objective experts, but through their training can produce confident and precise alternatives to what is trying to be pushed through, the report said.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:36 February 2, 2013 by pepsionice
In a perfect society, why would anyone bother to protest?

If you walk around a hundred Germans....ninety of them would have almost no reason to protest anything. The remaining ten? The folks might protest on something like Stuttgart-21, or taxes, or expansion of the Frankfurt airport, or foreigners in the country, or jobs....but that's just about it. The under-21 crowd have little to complain about.
13:47 February 2, 2013 by smart2012
Pepsionice is Deutschland über alles. There are plenty of things to complain in Germany. Work conditions got worse and worse, and temp agency and 400 euro jobs are crap. Money are less, and housing price is so high that u can hardly survive.

Dictators always tried to keep their people uneducated. Cause they knew that te problem could be represented by educated people. This easily explains the article.

Second, Germans are not a protestor country, as they just follow. This is good for the politician, not good for the people. Example. Hitler
13:50 February 2, 2013 by Eric1
Only people with too much time on their hands, living on the labor of others, have time for such non-sense.
21:33 February 2, 2013 by melbournite
"Second, Germans are not a protestor country, as they just follow."

You obviously have never heard of the Rotfrontkämpferbund or the Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund or know that the German Greens were the first Green party in the world in government
00:13 February 3, 2013 by smart2012
Melbourneville, sorry but it is a fact that Germans are followers, history told it already many times. And if 70% of Germans read Bild without telling Bild is crap there will be a reason
00:16 February 3, 2013 by GuidoGoth
Pensioners are the only group with enough time to protest.

01:51 February 3, 2013 by yllusion
@smart2012 These arguments that date back to Hitler are starting to be unfair and outdated, since today's generation has little to do with people from those times. And the world has changed quite significantly since. It is fairly clear to me that the germans are a very proactive society compared to others in Europe. I see gatherings, reunions, manifestations and protests about many different topics, even morally questionable topics such as the one we have seen recently here at the Local about zoophiles. In many other countries people just sit on their couches and say "meh.. this is the country we have, life sucks". And that is exactly the reason why they are lagging behind countries like Germany.
04:17 February 3, 2013 by vonSchwerin
"more likely an older, well-educated engineer or scientist"

Maybe they are bored '68ers and young pensioners, looking to spend their silver years trying to recapture the enthusiasm and idealism of their youth.

Meanwhile, German Gen-Xers are busing working hard to establish themselves in their jobs, raising families, and dealing with the everyday issues.
08:35 February 3, 2013 by melbournite
@smart2012 I just gave you three examples of years long struggle by Germans against their government (including one against the NAZIs), and you just gave an unsupported assertion. As if people anywhere are in control of their governments. Are Italians to blame for Mussolini, or the Spanish for Franco?
10:57 February 3, 2013 by raandy
melbournite or martin, those were good examples, thanks for the info.
19:32 February 3, 2013 by Englishted
Sadly nearly every protest in German is a green issue ,and judging from who they say protest no wonder social issues don't get a look in.
05:25 February 4, 2013 by RainerL
Yeah! Obviously out of a Job or being paid to do nothing but being neusance. If these People where earning their crust then they would not have the time to do what they are doing.
22:47 February 4, 2013 by zeddriver
If they feel guilty about their success. They should buy their neighbor a Prius.

Of course they have a lot of time on their hands. Don't they have about 2 months worth of holidays here. Nobody seems to be at work in August.
Today's headlines
Don't give Pegida the rope to hang themselves
A guillotine at a Pegida demo on Monday. Photo: DPA

Don't give Pegida the rope to hang themselves

6 hours ago

Pegida is a reactionary and xenophobic movement. But applying double standards to the group and belittling its followers is only scratching an already infected wound, argues The Local reporter Jörg Luyken.

Rushdie: 'free speech is a part of human nature'
Salman Rushdie. Photo:DPA

Rushdie: 'free speech is a part of human nature'

7 hours ago

All attempts to curb free speech are "an attack on human nature", British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie said Tuesday at the start of the world's biggest book fair in Frankfurt.

Brexit referendum
German business, public back UK EU reform plan
UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo: DPA

German business, public back UK EU reform plan

9 hours ago

Two separate surveys published on Tuesday show that the German public and business community see the positive side of UK Prime Minister David Cameron's push to reform the EU ahead of his 'Brexit' referendum.

Volkswagen scandal
Disgraced VW CEO gets Harvard thumbs-up
Look who made it into Harvard Business Review's list of best CEOs. Photo: DPA

Disgraced VW CEO gets Harvard thumbs-up

9 hours ago

The Harvard Business Review has just released its global index of the best CEOs. One Germany entry stands out for all the wrong reasons.

Volkswagen scandal
Troubled VW cuts annual investment by €1 billion
Photo: DPA

Troubled VW cuts annual investment by €1 billion

11 hours ago

German auto giant Volkswagen said Tuesday it would slash its annual investment budget by €1 billion for its main VW brand in the wake of the pollution-cheating scandal.

Fault forces Germany to stop Eurofighter orders
The Eurofighter Typhoon. Photo: DPA

Fault forces Germany to stop Eurofighter orders

12 hours ago

The German defence ministry has suspended orders of new Eurofighter Typhoon jets after finding further flaws in the troubled and expensive warplane.

Germany extends border checks to halt refugees
Border controls in southern Germany. Photo: DPA

Germany extends border checks to halt refugees

13 hours ago

Germany, facing a record migrant influx, will extend temporary border controls until the end of October, with a special focus on the Austrian border, the interior ministry said Tuesday.

Navy rescues angler after 27 hours adrift in Baltic
The corvette Braunschweig leaving Rostock for a deployment in Lebanon in 2014. Photo: DPA

Navy rescues angler after 27 hours adrift in Baltic

13 hours ago

The German navy rescued a fisherman who had been stranded in the Baltic Sea for 27 hours, after spotting him by chance while on exercise on Monday.

DiCaprio to make movie about VW scandal
Leonardo DiCaprio. Photo: DPA

DiCaprio to make movie about VW scandal

13 hours ago

Leonardo DiCaprio is set to make a movie about Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal, after his film company bought the rights to a book on the subject.

Pegida: Merkel 'Europe's most dangerous woman'
Pegida demonstrators in Dresden. Photo: DPA

Pegida: Merkel 'Europe's most dangerous woman'

15 hours ago

Germany's anti-Islam party Pegida stepped up its attacks on Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, slamming her as "the most dangerous woman in Europe" and demanding she resign.

Are the German public too happy to see Hitler?
The secret to more travel for less
Government blocks plans for Berlin 'cannabis cafes'
'Der Klassiker': no classic at all for Dortmund
Dortmund fans' bad behaviour in Thessaloniki
UK Ambassador wants more young Brits in Germany
How Snoop Dogg dissed Munich hip hop scene
More wind power generated so far in 2015 than all of 2014
Rent a nuclear bunker near Berlin for just €3,000 a month
German universities leap up world elite rankings
Business & Money
What to do if you own a cheating Volkswagen
Homeland star's fave Berlin spot is Berghain
Why Dresden Buddhists won't be using the swastika symbol
Mystery of 'murdered' student found alive after 31 years
What wearable technology might look like in the future
Why vegetarian food is more German than a Bratwurst
The very best of traditional German vegetarian food
The first glimpse of Neptune - from an observatory in Berlin
How VW was rebuilt from nothing... by an English army officer
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd