Urban Citizenship

THE HAMBURG URBAN CITIZENSHIP CARD Who belongs in a city? It isn’t a difficult question. The simple answer: Everyone that is there. Yet the backlash following the Welcome Summer of 2015 strengthened and encouraged the reactionary forces that wish to establish and fortify borders and boundaries. AfD, Pegida and others successfully managed to intensify the discourse about ethnic affinity and borders in the established political parties. In doing so, the cause for taking refuge and for migration is ignored. The fact that many from Africa, the Middle East and Latin America are fleeing is a direct consequence of the neo-colonial politics of the global North. They render broad parts of societies in the global South precarious and keep military conflicts tense for their own selfish interests. However, resistance is increasing in more and more cities. Specifically, some Northern American cities are declaring themselves as places of refuge, “Sanctuary Cities”, and others as “Solidarity Cities” that are against deportation. These want to go the extra mile and enable those without papers to participate in the city life. A few US states have implemented this thought: They assign Urban Citizenship, “Municipal IDs”, to everyone in the city regardless of residence status. The IDs function according to the solidarity principle: If everyone possesses it, even those that have a “real” passport, then the “Municipal IDs” will be regarded as an identification that doesn’t discriminate anyone and will no longer be perceived as second-class. In this case, the national identity can become of less importance than the urban identity. The Hamburg network Recht auf Stadt addressed this idea before the G20 summit. During the G20 week, they began distributing the prototype of the “Hamburg Urban Citizenship Card” in the Arrivati park. The network wishes to initiate a debate in which urban belonging is rethought beyond the nation state, and that, ideally, results in a solidarity-based Hamburg that recognizes all of its citizens by an Urban Citizenship Card. If you are interested in and support the idea of a “Free and Solidarity City Hamburg”, then you can obtain your own card at the Millerntor Gallery.