Here you will find answers to our most frequently asked questions.
Brand New Bundestag
Brand New Bundestag (BNB) is a grassroots organization in Germany that seeks out a new generation of courageous and inspiring decision-makers and supports them in entering our legislatures.
The founders of the organization are Eva Thurnhofer, Maximilian Oehl and Daniel Veldhoen. Soon after the start, Alisa Wieland was an early and important contributor to the project. Our team is growing daily and is made up of many dedicated people. They share our vision and desire for change. They are ready to support the organization, the candidates and the operational team with their advice and support.
We fight for a society in which people shape their future together and courageously. For a society that includes all people. We fight for a right to equal opportunities and individual participation. For a society that reflects on its own actions and is aware of its global significance. We fight for a European society that protects diverse identities and is open to everyone. For a European policy that understands sustainability in all areas as a maxim for action. For a European policy that understands sustainability in all areas as a guiding principle for action, and that promotes and constantly redefines a just world on an equal footing with other regions.
Our top priority is to preserve our free democratic basic order and the values formulated in the Basic Law. The values of freedom, peace, tolerance and dignity deserve special mention. For us, it is important to apply these values to current issues. Among other things, our focus is on an inclusive society that enables participation for as many people as possible, and the protection of natural resources, even from a sprawling national economy.
We demand that politics be made again for those for whom it is intended: for you and me. For all of us. In doing so, we strive for a society that is democratic and inclusive, that thinks sustainably, and that takes action both locally and globally.
You can see our concrete demands here.
Learn more about our team here.
Our demands are the result of many talks and discussions with experts, partners and advisors from a wide range of social sectors. In addition, the results of studies and citizen surveys, as well as demands from scientists, have been incorporated into the drafting process. We will continue to include as many opinions as possible and constantly update our demands. If you have suggestions for topics or other content-related points, please send us an email to [email protected].
Brand New Bundestag was initiated by three friends based in Cologne, Berlin and Munich. Max now serves as executive director of the initiative. Daniel and Eva continue to support BNB in an advisory capacity. Together with four coordinators, Max is responsible for everything that happens at BNB. This includes volunteer and candidate management, strategic orientation, fundraising, expansion of the supporter network, press and public relations, data analysis, website programming, events and much more. This happens in a close exchange with our volunteers, who work in a specific team (volunteer management, fundraising, etc.). In addition, they participate in the election campaigns of the BNB candidates, depending on their needs and interests. The work strands are brought together in the context of video calls of the individual teams, the Coordinators Team currently meets once a week. In addition, a community call takes place every two weeks (currently every second Thursday), in which joint votes are taken and decisions are made.
Our team basically works decentralized and digitally. We also have an office based in Berlin. The association is based in Munich, the cooperative is based in Berlin.
You can contact us at [email protected]
It all started with the realization that something had to change, that our political system needed an upgrade. Especially in light of the current social and environmental challenges, we want politicians in parliament who are willing and able to progressively shape and change our future.
Most of us have been involved in civil society for a long time. Time and again, we have come up against the limits of the political system when it comes to implementing our concerns. This might partly explain our motivation to create a “channel” between engaged civil society and institutionalized politics.
We actually owe the specific idea in part to a certain major American streaming service. When the documentary “Knock Down the House” about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (“AOC”) appeared, it inspired our team of initiators to sit down together and think about how the approach of “Brand New Congress” or “Justice Democrats” could be implemented in Germany.
The founders consists of one woman and two men. We were all born and raised in West Germany. Since we initiated Brand New Bundestag as a grassroots civil society organization, diversity is especially important to us. The current circle of supporters is West and East German, POC, queer, with and without migration experience, with and without physical disabilities, with and without higher education. In building our organization, volunteer teams and network, we make sure that Brand New Bundestag becomes more and more diverse. Among other things, the project “People and Representatives” of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, which we see as a yardstick, helps us in this. To the article
If you have any questions or suggestions regarding diversity, please send us a message at [email protected]!
Basically, every person who enters into dialogue with us advises us. That is the idea of our movement. We welcome every opinion and every feedback. Otherwise, we are not bound to any political or other advisors – except if needed for legal or other organizational/accounting questions.
The central organizational decisions are currently made together in the course of the bi-weekly Community Call. Anyone who is involved in BNB can participate in this call. The team of coordinators and executive Director Max have veto powers in certain areas that affect the basic direction of the project. In practice, however, we make pretty much all decisions together, as a team. We organize our non-profit activities in a cooperative-democratic way. In order to make qualified decisions, we rely on our large network of partners, supporters and various civil society groups. Candidates are selected by our jury, which is composed of a diverse group of civil society actors. We strive for transparency in our decision-making processes. Every person who participates in BNB can contribute their own ideas and get actively involved. But of course, our BNB activities also need to be coordinated, especially because otherwise we would not be able to accomplish the big tasks, such as successfully implementing a campaign. For this purpose, we have agreed on hierarchies with clear decision-making structures, as described above.
The basic idea comes from the USA. Our friends at Brand New Congress have already successfully brought a number of progressive candidates into the U.S. House of Representatives. A similar project related to the Democratic Party in the US is Justice Democrats. Another project that seeks to link civil society with institutionalized politics exists in the UK in the form of Momentum, which works closely with the Labour Party. In Spain, there is the “Podemos” movement, which as a grassroots movement has now become a political party and as such is represented in parliament.
Our organization was initiated by private individuals and is also supported by them. It is important to us that everyone has a voice and can contribute. We do not create rigid structures and want to act unbureaucratically and quickly. We want to reach as many people as possible from society – carried from below – and change politics “bottom-up” from this strong network.
We support the demands of civil society and remain independent of major donors. Help us - every contribution counts!
Engagement with Brand New Bundestag
If you share our values and vision, you’re already part of it. You can become part of our social media community, discuss issues, promote candidates, and most importantly, talk, talk, talk. We also provide updates on issues through our newsletter. If you want to get actively involved, nominate people yourself or crowdfund for them, you can find everything else here. Let’s build a Brand New Bundestag together!
Do you enjoy bringing people together? Are you creative? Are you passionate about politics or an expert on a particular topic? You would like to get involved, but don’t know how? Then get in touch with us and work with exciting people in one of our local teams or across Germany. Depending on your time availability, we will find the right engagement for you! Just write to us at [email protected] or sign up here directly as a volunteer! We are looking forward to meeting you!
In view of the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic, communication currently takes place primarily online via our Slack. Each person can contribute what they want. This can be in the area of public relations, social media, organizational development, fundraising, networking or the like. The Coordinators will look with you to see what support is needed and where you can make the biggest impact. If you have ideas about how you’d like to get involved, just write to us at [email protected].
Candidates: Selection and Support
Brand New Bundestag offers candidates strategic advice, workshops on political issues, training on personal skills and organizing and campaigning know-how. In regular meetings with one of the BNB contact persons, there is room for reflection and assistance with strategic and organizational issues. This exchange enables BNB to identify and meet acute support needs. BNB supports the candidates in communication campaigns and on social networks and arranges press contacts and interviews. In addition, BNB works to raise funds for the candidates through crowdfunding campaigns. The goal of all BNB’s activities is to support the candidates to be politically successful. It is a question of the individual case, of which support offer the candidates make use of.
You can nominate any person who shares the values of the movement, is willing to bring them to life and is politically committed to them. In addition, the candidate must meet the applicable legal requirements. Together we are looking for the decision makers of the future!
In principle, you can nominate all people who you think absolutely belong in the political decision-making centers! Together with our respective candidates, we will then consider which mandate suits them best. After the 2021 federal election, we continued our work at the state and local level.
We contact each nominated person and ask whether they would like to run at all. We also determine together whether we stand for the same values. This is followed by a longer exchange phase in which we get to know the candidates better by means of a video, a questionnaire and several calls or personal meetings. In the final stage, a jury put together by us selects the BNB candidates from the nominees.
This question is answered individually with the candidates. The basis for this is, of course, to achieve a democratic majority. First, we define the concrete goals of each candidate with them. Based on this, we jointly develop a strategy for a successful election campaign. As part of the strategy, we determine the conditions in each candidate’s constituency. This includes the composition of the electorate, the activities of the local parties, etc. While the responsibility for the respective election campaign lies with the candidate, the BNB team is available as a sparring partner and supports the implementation together with BNB volunteers. Whether the respective candidate applies for a direct mandate or aims to enter parliament via a party list, will be decided by the team in consultation with the respective parties. We want to make a special effort to build alliances between progressive forces from civil society as well as from the party landscape. For example, our nominees could run as joint direct candidates of this progressive alliance – and thus increase their chances of election.
Brand New Bundestag and Parties
We want to update the political system. The best way to do that is together with the political parties. That is why we are looking for trusting, constructive cooperation. The prerequisite for this is, in any case, a certain degree of readiness and willingness on the part of the respective party to break new ground and thus open itself up to civil society. Concrete cooperation can then look very different. For example, we can forge election alliances together, the local supporters’ team can organize the election campaign together with the respective party branch (e.g. local association), or we can use joint networks to share resources.
We work together with all political parties that are fully committed to the free democratic basic order, respect the dignity of every human being and share our trust in parliamentary democracy. Parties that tolerate fascists in their ranks are naturally not part of this for us. Of course, the party should be open to the progressive goals of our candidates.