Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions.
Brand New Bundestag
Brand New Bundestag (BNB) is a grassroots organisation in Germany that seeks a new generation of courageous and inspiring decision-makers and supports them in entering our parliaments.
The initiators of the organisation are Eva Thurnhofer, Maximilian Oehl and Daniel Veldhoen. Soon after the start, Alisa Wieland was an early and important supporter of the project. Our team is growing daily and is made up of many committed people. They share our vision and the desire for change. They are ready to give advice and support to the organisation, the candidates and the operational team.
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 as a maxim for action in all areas. A policy that promotes and constantly redefines a just world on an equal footing with other regions.
Our first 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 should be emphasised. For us, it is important to apply these values to current issues. Our focus is, among other things, on an inclusive society that enables participation for as many people as possible, and the protection of natural resources, including 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. We strive for a society that is democratic and inclusive, that thinks sustainably and takes action locally and globally.
You can see our concrete demands here.
You can find out more about our team here.
Our demands are the result of many talks and discussions with experts, partners and advisors from very different areas of society. In addition, the results of studies and citizen surveys as well as demands from academics 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 points of content, please send us an email to [email protected].
Brand New Bundestag was initiated by three friends based in Cologne, Berlin and Munich. Max is now the executive director of the initiative. Daniel and Eva continue to support BNB in an advisory capacity. Together with four coordinators, Max Walles is responsible for everything that happens at BNB. This includes volunteer and candidate management, strategic orientation, fundraising, the 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.). They also participate in the election campaigns of the NBB candidates, depending on their needs and interests. The work strands are brought together within the framework 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 decentrally and digitally. We also have an office based in Berlin. The association is based in Munich, the cooperative in Berlin.
You can contact us at [email protected]
It all started with the realisation that something had to change, that our political system needed an upgrade. Especially given 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 institutionalised politics.
We actually owe the concrete idea in part to a certain large American streaming service. When the documentary “Knock Down the House” about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (“AOC”) was released, 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 team of initiators 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 organisation, diversity is particularly 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 the structure of our organisation, the volunteer teams and our network, we make sure that Brand New Bundestag becomes more and more diverse. Among other things, we are helped in this by the “Volk und Vertreter” project of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, which we see as a yardstick. To the Article
If you have any questions or suggestions on the topic of diversity, you can write us a message at
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. Apart from that, we are not bound to any political or other advisors – except when needed for legal or other organisational/accounting questions.
We are currently making the central organisational decisions together in the course of the bi-weekly Community Call. Anyone who is involved in BNB can take part 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 almost all decisions together, as a team. We organise our non-profit activities in a cooperative-democratic way. In order to make qualified decisions, we draw on our large network of partners, supporters and various civil society groups. Candidates are selected by our jury, which is made up of a diverse group of civil society actors. We strive for transparency in our decision-making processes. Everyone 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 flat hierarchies including the clear decision-making structures described in more detail above.
The basic idea comes from the USA. Our friends from Brand New Congress have already successfully brought a number of progressive candidates into the US 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 institutionalised 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 organisation 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 stand up for the demands of civil society and remain independent of large donors. Help us - every contribution counts!
Involvement with Brand New Bundestag
If you share our values and vision, you are 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 via 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 register here directly as a volunteer! We are looking forward to meeting you!
In view of the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic, communication currently takes place mainly online via our Slack. Each person can contribute what they want. This can be in the area of public relations, social media, organisational development, fundraising, networking or similar. The coordinators will work with you to see what support is needed and where you can make the biggest impact. If you have ideas on how you would like to get involved, just write to us at [email protected]
Candidates: Selection and supportzung
Brand New Bundestag offers candidates strategic advice, workshops on political issues, training on personal skills and organising and campaigning know-how. In regular meetings with one of the BNB contact persons, there is room for reflection and assistance with strategic and organisational questions. This exchange enables BNB to identify and meet acute needs for support. 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 aim of all BNB’s activities is to support candidates to be politically successful. It is a question of the individual case which offer of support 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 fulfil 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 centres! Together with our respective candidates, we will then consider which mandate suits them best. After the 2021 federal election, we have continued our work at state and local level.
We contact each nominated person and ask whether they would like to stand at all. We also find out 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 last step, a jury put together by us selects the NBB 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 parties on the ground etc. While the responsibility for the respective election campaign lies with the candidates, 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 und Parties
We want to update the political system. The best way to do this is together with the political parties. That is why we are looking for trusting, constructive cooperation. The prerequisite for this is in any case the willingness and the will of the respective party to go new ways and to open up to civil society. The concrete cooperation can then look very different. For example, we can forge election alliances together, the local supporters’ team can organise 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.