Dave Trott: If you can't stop it, steer it

Each year a group of neo-Nazis march through a small German town.

They march to the grave of Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy.

The townspeople hate the neo-Nazis and the march.

They’ve tried everything they can to get the march stopped.

They asked the local council to ban it.

They’ve tried protest marches of their own.

Nothing works.

Neo-Nazis still come from all over to march the kilometre to the cemetery.

Fascist groups are a real problem in Germany, they attract the angry and disaffected youths.

The kids who have no jobs and no prospects.

This is a major worry for their parents and friends, who feel powerless to stop them joining.

So the local community has formed a group called EXIT, to help educate and de-radicalise young people, to encourage them leave the group and help them find better lives.

But EXIT needs funding.

So the townspeople have decided, since they can’t stop the neo-Nazis marching, to use the march for their own ends.

Instead of resisting the march they are now encouraging the march.

Because they are using the march to raise money.

For every metre the neo-Nazis march, local businesses are donating ten Euros to EXIT.

So the neo-Nazis will now be marching to fund EXIT.

The further they march, the more money EXIT gets.

If the neo-Nazis don’t like it they can stop marching.

Whichever way they decide, it’s a result for the local community.

Whether the neo-Nazis march or not, the little village wins.

The inhabitants now treat the march as something to enjoy and have fun with.

Every 100 metres there are signs stencilled on the ground, thanking the marchers for the money they’re raising:

YOU HAVE RAISED 1,000 EUROS FOR EXIT.

YOU HAVE RAISED 2,000 EUROS FOR EXIT.

YOU HAVE RAISED 3,000 EUROS FOR EXIT.

And so on.

By the time the neo-Nazis reach the cemetery they’ve marched a kilometre, which means they’ve raised 10,000 Euros for EXIT.

So there is a huge rainbow sign thanking them, and the locals throw rainbow confetti over them.

The locals also have fun at the neo-Nazis’ expense.

Halfway along the march there is a huge table of bananas as snacks for the marchers.

Above it is a poster saying "Mein Mampf" (this means ‘my hunger’ and is a play on Hitler’s autobiography "Mein Kampf" meaning ‘my struggle’).

Because the situation has been reversed, the neo-Nazis are now marching against themselves.

The beauty is it’s all perfectly legal and non-confrontational.

If the marchers carry on doing what they want, the village wins.

If the marchers stop doing what they want, the village wins.

The villagers couldn’t stop them marching, so they changed what they’re marching for.

They took a problem they couldn’t solve, got upstream and changed it into a problem they could solve.

That’s predatory thinking.



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