Football party kicks into gear

November 29, 1996

Footballing philosophy is breathing new life into the ailing world of student politics in Germany, where Marx and Lenin once topped the league.

The St Pauli Party is standing in student elections at Hamburg University on the manifesto: "We are ecological and feminist and we support FC St Pauli. We are against the right, the young socialists and SV Hamburg."

And like the local football team whose name they have borrowed, they should never be underestimated: in last year's elections, the first time the party stood, they won 4.5 per cent of the vote.

They now have two representatives on the student parliament and a third member holds an executive post as student union spokesman.

Their opponents have written them off as one of the many spoof parties flourishing in German student politics, reflecting students' disinterest and cynicism about politics in general.

Other successful "fun parties" have included Lars Vegas in Bremen which promotes "Schlager", a homespun brand of German pop music, and the Anarchist Pogo Party at Munich University campaigning on the ticket "3,000 marks student grant for all".

But Katharina Dufner, a St Pauli spokesperson, says there is a serious political message behind their party. FC St Pauli is Hamburg's second football team, behind the more successful SV Hamburg.

But its fans have a reputation for being an alternative, leftish and friendly crowd.

The St Pauli district of Hamburg, known for its red-light area, its music scene and relaxed atmosphere, also conjures up a positive image, the St Pauli Party says.

Unlike the student left or the Greens, who are "arrogant and snobbish, like HSV" and all talk and no action, the St Pauli Party works for ordinary students. They campaign for cheap student travel, a university kindergarten - and cheaper tickets to St Pauli games.

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