Andreas Gross

Andreas Gross is a member of the Swiss Federal Parliament, and the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, where he leads the Social Democrats. Gross is also an advocate for transnational direct democracy in Europe. He came to Zócalo to discuss Zurich’s political system. Below, he answers our In The Green Room Q&A.

Q. What do you consider to be the greatest simple pleasure?

A. To be able to have an influence on the way you live, to know that life isn’t destiny.

Q. Where would we find you at 10 a.m. on a typical Saturday?

A. On the terrace of my home reading the paper and having coffee.

Q. What do you do to clear your mind?

A. I try to clear my mind every moment. But if you want to say, how do I rest my mind, I read, I lie on the couch, I look at nature, I walk on the waterside.

Q. What do you wish you had the nerve to do?

A. Be a little bit more patient when people are stubborn, and not become too quickly furious, or at least, to not show that I am furious.

Q. What music have you listened to today?

A. Today I had no choice. It was classical music on the radio, and country music and The Rolling Stones on the plane.

Q. What is your favorite word?

A. Freedom and justice.

Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A. I wanted to design racecars. During school lessons, I was always drawing racecar designs.

Q. If you could take only one more journey, where would you go?

A. Northern California or Norway.

Q. What is your most prized material possession?

A. My thousands of books.

Q. What should you throw away but haven’t been able to part with?

A. A lot of newspaper clippings, and a lot of papers. My wife says I should get rid of them.

Q. What is your favorite thing about Los Angeles?

A. This I can’t answer because I don’t know L.A. very well. I always go to Northern California. Normally, Los Angeles is too hot for me.

Q. Who is the one person living or dead you would most like to meet for dinner?

A. J.W. Sullivan, the guy who wrote the book on direct democracy in 1893. He was a New York journalist who went to Switzerland to look at what the Swiss did. The book sold tens of thousands of copies and it was the basis of knowledge for Californians and Oregonians who fought for direct democracy between 1890 and the First World War. Today, many criticize direct democracy as too influenced by money. I want to see what he would think, whether it corresponds with his hopes.

To read more about Gross’ event, click here.

*Photo by Aaron Salcido.