Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 10:34:21 AM EST
It's not only the USA where conservatives maintain for anachronistic historical grudges.
In the leftist and most foreign-born district of Berlin, part of a street (Kochstraße) is to be renamed Rudi-Dutschke-Staße. Rudi Dutschke was the most vocal leader of the student movement in Germany in the Sixties, someone like Daniel "Dany le rouge"/"Red Danny" Cohn-Bendit, though more ideological. A failed assassination attempt on him by a right-winger in 1968 was a key event in radicalising the movement.
Dutschke is long dead, long hair is no more strange, nor the street protests or sitting blockades he organised, but the mighty right-wing Axel Springer Verlag media company and the Christian Democrats of Berlin-Kreuzberg still seem to remember Public Enemy No. 1. What priorities!
After a two-year tussle, they got a referendum on blocking the street naming, held on Sunday. They failed 42.9% to 57.1%, and Dutschke won majority in all but two of the 88 precints...
Some detail on Dutschke.
He only organised nonviolent protests and discussions, chiefly against the Vietnam War. Nut he was provocative in words and looks, and the local Sun equivalent (Bild Zeitung), owned by the mightly Axel Springer Verlag (a bit like a German Murdoch), picked him as the personification of the student movements that should be character-assassinated. Soon he was called 'Public Enemy No. 1' by the Right (and Bild).
On 11 April 1968 in West-Berlin, a right-wing worker shot three bullets into Dutschke's head. He survived, but never fully recovered. (He would write letters to his shooter, paralleling John Paul II's practice a decade later, but his guy committed suicide in prison.)
Still, he continued his political activism and studies. In the seventies, he argued for a socialism without adherence to Moscow, he even showed activism for dissidents in the East Bloc, but got in trouble for a speech at the funeral of a dead left-extremist terrorist, though (for ideological reasons) he rejected the terrorism of the Rote Armee Fraktion (='Red Army Faction', in English known under the misnomer "Baader-Meinhof gang"). Though he was one of those jargon-heavy ideologues, he could organise, and was among those fostering the rise of the Greens.
In 1979, one of the epileptic fits he had since the assassination attempt struck him in the bathtub, and he died.
That the Axel Springer Verlag itself had the gall to participate in the campaign against the street renaming is breathtaking, even if,
as you can see on the pictures above, they have a HQ near the street to be renamed, and a crossing street named for their founder.
And the issue is still not over, the last overture will be private lawsuits against the renaming, including one by the media company.