»The foundation promotes the professionalisation of protest« – Interview with Dr Brigitte Knopf

How did you get to Bewegungsstiftung?

»I got to know the foundation through a newspaper article and I found the idea very exciting. I had inherited myself and for a long time I didn't know how to deal with it because I consider the principle of inheriting deeply injust. Thanks to Bewegungsstiftung a new idea of how to use my heritage came to my mind.«


Why did you get involved precisely with Bewegungsstiftung and not with some other foundation?

»Because the issues convinced me. Social justice and globalisation - I have been interested in these topics for some years now. Then I noticed that a lot of initiatives often fail because small amounts of money are missing. That's why funding is so important. Moreover, the concept of the movement worker has convinced me. Most people who are involved in social movements do all that in their free time which costs a lot of energy. I think it's fantastic that the foundation supports selected activists and thus promotes a professionalisation of protest. The opposition is not lacking professional work neither.«

Are you active in social movements yourself?

»Not that much at the moment, but in the past I dealt a lot with the topics basic income and working society, and I worked with a Berlin-based initiative. Now I have two small children and not that much time any longer to get involved politically. Therefore, Bewegungsstiftung is for me also a way of staying close to current issues. That's how I notice what's going on. I hope that soon I can become more active again.«

What does your life outside the foundation look like?

»I am a scientist and work in Potsdam at a scientific institute. I am occupied with the challenges of climate change: How do we manage the transition to an zero-emission society? How can we achieve climate justice?«

Is climate change also the issue where you see the biggest need for action?

»No, rather in the social issues. In Germany you can observe how the social gap continues to open. The scissors between rich and poor drift more and more apart, also from a global perspective. That's what I find scaring. The climate change aggravates social inequalities and injustices even more.«

Looking at these social inequalities, do you see it as a burden that you are - in contrast to many others - wealthy?

»In the past I saw my inherited money as a burden indeed. Nowadays I can handle it and see it as a chance to create something with it. And of course, the money gives me security. I can choose my job that's already a big privilege. But what I noticed during the financial crisis is: I am not clinging to my money. Of course I looked at what happened at the stock markets, and wondered what this meant for my assets. But this topic doesn't control me. I'm free of it.«


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