You want to power | TIME ONLINE

Paul Löser distributed only 24 posters in Sebnitz. But he knows exactly which lampposts are the best. This morning, the 18-year-old still has two free seats on the marketplace. Good location, the people who want to go to the vegetable stall and the bakery have to pass it right there. Later, he wants to drive out to the villages of Saxon Switzerland, to campaign for the state election on 1 September: "People should know that we are here too."

"We", that's just for now: Paul Löser, a lanky young man. The 18-year-old is the only Greens member Sebnitz currently has to offer. In February, Löser joined the party, after much sympathy. The final impulse was the Fridays for Future movement. "That's what mobilized me, too, environmental issues, climate change, it's all about me."

Löser is still a lone fighter in the 9,000-inhabitant city just before the Czech border. Here in the East German province has the AFD in May in the European elections 36 percent and in the local election 21 percent of the votes, the Greens both times five percent. You could see Paul Löser in Sebnitz so lost.

Not all in the AfD he considers right-wing extremist

He feels like a pioneer. As a small cog in the green upswing, which also covers eastern Germany for a while. His district association Saxon Switzerland / Eastern Ore Mountains currently has 81
Members – still no masses, but alone in the past months
have come a handful. Here were the new states, too SaxonyFor many years difficult to impossible terrain for the party. In the last elections, they barely made it above the five percent hurdle.

Meanwhile, the Greens in Saxony have about 2,300 members – almost twice as many as the last state election 2014. For comparison: The Saxon AfD, which has also grown strongly during this time, currently has about 3,000 members. In the municipal and European elections in May, the Greens in many East German cities have achieved high results compared to earlier times, gaining more seats in the councils of many rural communities. Polls for the upcoming state elections in Saxony, Brandenburg and Thuringia see the party at 11 to 15 percent.

Paul Löser loves his Saxon hometown. Although Sebnitz gives an ambiguous picture. On the one hand: pretty old town facades, several shops, a bit of culture, a well-known artificial flower manufactory. But many things are missing too. You can see more and more cleared windows, vacancy, sadness. The older ones dominate, too many boys move away. Also Paul Löser has just 50 kilometers away, enrolled at the Dresden University, for teaching math and civics.

Nevertheless, he wants to come home regularly. He also has to, because in the local elections in May, he was elected with almost 900 votes in the city council of Sebnitz. There he is by far the youngest. And more of an exception with his positions. The fractions of CDU and AfD are the biggest. "I do not understand the AfD," he says. "But I do not think that everyone in the party is right-wing extremist, and I often experience more value-conservative members who at some point had enough of the CDU." In the city council, he wants to make it clear that there are other political views. One of his first goals: to do something for the youth, to create new contact points, maybe something like a club.


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