Critical essays analyze the crucial tensions shaping the first ten years of the German Greens
The German Greens
Paradox between Movement and Party
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edited by Margit Mayer and John Ely, translated by Michael Schatzschneider
The Greens have been not only a political force and social conscience for Germany before reunification and after but also an inspiration to political groups and movements in many other countries. The Greens have raised the issues of ecology, gender, and grassroots democracy in protest against government. They have also had the rare opportunity to try converting themselves into a political party that works within the system.
This is a book about their paradoxical situation and about the dilemmas all advocates of change face when they become powerful enough to negotiate with the status quo. The critical essays by German social scientists and activists also provide a detailed picture of the dynamics of the German Greenswhere their support has come from, the nature of the competing factions, and the place of feminism. The editors provide a substantial introduction.
The flavor and texture of the Greensincluding their raucous public arguments and their innovative campaign tacticsare suggested by the political posters included in the book and by a whole section of primary documents.
The documents and the essays (except for one originally written in English) have been translated from German. The result is to make available to English-speaking readers a view of a complex movement whose very name and color have become synonymous with social action in favor of the environment and the empowerment of people.
"...virtually all [essays] provide useful treatments of important questions relevant to the movement-party 'paradox.' ...The German Greens merits the attention not only of students of Green and German parliamentary politics, but of anyone interested in a case study of the adaptation of an outsider group to insider and institutionalized status."
Part I. Introduction
Part II. Emergence and Characteristics of the West German Green Party
Part III. In Parliament: Green Principles in Real Politics
Part IV. Positions in the Debate: How to Resolve the Paradox
Part V. Beyond Germany
Part VI. Documents
Selected Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Publications
John Ely is a long-time commentator on social movements in Germany.