The color green is not usually associated with anger. But a fair number of leaders of the Green political party in
Then there was a split between the so-called Fundies – the fundamentalists, who insisted on leftwing goals and slogans like socialism – and the Realos, the realists, the pragmatic wing of the party. The latter won out, and many leftists quit. They were partially replaced by members of the “Alliance 90″ from East Germany, made up of intellectuals who had been active in bringing about the downfall the East German government and who were hardly leftist in their views.
It became easier for the Greens to move upwards in the political scene, winning seats in provincial legislatures and then in the Bundestag. In 1998, when the Social Democratic Party (SPD) needed a junior partner to gain a majority in the Bundestag, the Greens became part of the government coalition under Gerhard Schroeder, and were granted three Cabinet posts, including the important Foreign Minister job held by Joschka Fischer.
Sadly, their years in office, lasting until 2005, robbed them of any last claims to political virginity. They made one compromise after another, joining in economic reforms which were devastating to millions of the jobless and even supporting the bombing of
Like Schroeder they did oppose the war in
All members of the new Left party in the Bundestag opposed sending German warriors abroad in any military mission, pointing out that the German constitution permitted armed forces only for the defense of Germany. The other four parties supported the move, but a number of independent Greens and Social Democrats defied party pressure and also voted against sending the planes. According to then Defense Minister Struck (a Social Democrat), the defense of
Now the military mission in
While The Left continued its opposition to both – and organized a demonstration on Saturday saying “Get Out of Afghanistan” (and “No War in
Then came the big surprise. A virtually unknown party member named Robert Zion made a motion insisting that when the issue comes up next month the Green deputies should oppose any motion which involves keeping Tornado fighters in
The Green leaders, amazed by such impertinence, were outraged and some said they might defy the decision. The other parties immediately began a sharp attack on the Greens, who had “removed themselves from political relevance” to quote one gentler statement. They were accused of supporting the ostracized positions of The Left party, which would now no longer stand alone in the voting. They clearly fear this may encourage more independent Social Democrats or even some from the conservative parties to buck the government’s commands.
There will hardly be enough votes to alter the decision, but there should be enough to prove a great embarrassment to those powerful elements in
The decision was a triumph for the growing grass roots opposition within the Green party and for the sentiments of a majority of the German people, who want the billions in taxpayers’ money to be spent for urgent needs back home, not wasted in ever bloodier military adventures abroad.