The German Greens

Paradox between Movement and Party

edited by Margit Mayer and John Ely
Book Cover

PB: $39.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-516-8
Publication: May 98

HC: $91.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-515-1
Publication: May 98

352 pages
6 x 9
17 tables, 8 halftones

Critical essays analyze the crucial tensions shaping the first ten years of the German Greens


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 Greens—where 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 Greens—including their raucous public arguments and their innovative campaign tactics—are 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." Environmental History

Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction
1. Success and Dilemmas of Green Party Politics – Margit Mayer and John Ely

Part II. Emergence and Characteristics of the West German Green Party
2. A Brief History of the German Green Party – Horst Mewes
3. From Competing Factions within the Green Party to the Rise of Realos – Roland Roth and Detlef Murphy
4. Who Votes Green? Sources and Trends of Green Support – Lutz Mez

Part III. In Parliament: Green Principles in Real Politics
5. What Happens to Green Principles in Electoral and Parliamentary Politics? – Lilian Klotzsch, Klaus Könemann, Jörg Wischermann, and Bodo Zeuner
6. Green Feminism in Parliamentary Politics – Claudia Pinl
7. The Phantasm of Grassroots Democracy – Alex Demirovic

Part IV. Positions in the Debate: How to Resolve the Paradox
8. From Youth to Maturity: The Challenge of Party Politics – Claus Offe
9. A Party Is Not a Movement and Vice Versa – Joachim Hirsch

Part V. Beyond Germany
10. Green Politics in Europe and the United States – John Ely

Part VI. Documents
11. Founding Documents
12. Position Papers of the Main Factions within the Green Party
13. New Themes in Old Parliaments: Parliamentary Speeches and Party Statements
14. Programmatic Texts and Resolutions

Selected Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Publications
Selected Annotated Bibliography of German-Language Publications
About the Contributors

About the Author(s)

Margit Mayer is Professor of Politics at the Free University of Berlin. She has also taught at the New School for Social Research and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

John Ely is a long-time commentator on social movements in Germany.