More signs of Green change from Germany

The Green Party’s election victory in the Baden-Wurttemberg state parliament highlights the emergence of the Green movement as a major political force.

For the first time in Germany the Greens will lead a coalition government with the traditional left party, the Social Democrats, taking the minor party role.

The road to political success for the Greens has been a long one. Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt dismissed the Greens saying, “They’re just environmental idiots who will have disappeared again soon,” and similar things have been said about us here in Aotearoa.

It isn’t surprising people around the world are rejecting this analysis and changing their vote to Green in big numbers. We currently face the triple threats of inter-connected environmental, economic and social problems of a scale unseen in human history. Climate change, peak oil, the global financial crisis, and massive social inequality all stem from the traditional political orthodoxy and the traditional political parties have no new ideas on how to fix these problems. As Einstein said, “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Green parties across the globe offer new thinking to address these problems we all face. Whereas ten years ago we may have been seen as fringe and the thought of voting for us a luxury, our issues are now at the centre of the political debate and our alternatives form serious policy options.

German voters have turned their traditional political structure on its head by voting Green in big numbers due to the failure of the traditional left and right parties to deal with the issues their country is facing. New Zealand voters face similar dilemmas. At our election in November we too can vote for real change by giving smart Green ideas the big tick at the ballot box.

9 Comments Posted

  1. Hopefully its a sign of the times.. globally moving toward being Green.
    Baden-Wurtenburg Greens polled about 25% & I believe that nationally Germany is at about 14%, sounds like something for NZ Greens to strive towards.. Kia-ora

  2. Metiria; good post I will get a copy and post it on the local notice board, lets hope the Greens will get the same result in their national elections at Berlin.

    I hope we catch the same bug and ditch the old parties here I think that people round the world are waking up to globalisation.

    Check out what is happening in Wisconsin with what the new governor Walker is doing to that place! He will get his comeuppance a Green one I hope.

  3. Make way for the future o ye rapists!

    Britain shut down 75 nuclear plants some years ago (some of of us even READ the news)
    Now why would that be exactly – and why are senior nuclear engineers declaring the date of reason long gone?

    I’ve been washing this piece of coal for two years now – it’s still black.

    [frog: Mark, please don’t use the term “rapists” in that context. I know where you are coming from, and agree with what you are trying to convey. But using that term in that context trivialises the horrendous experiences of women who have been raped.]

  4. The thing heartens me most about the German Greens’ win is that it shows a real return for them after losing power in the Bundestad in recent years. Shows that the Green political movement can survive a downturn in support and is here to stay.

    And a big welcome to Frank!

  5. The shift in Germany is an encouraging one and it is great to see the Green movement shift from being viewed as a fringe political movement to something mainstream and worthy of calling the shots.

    After dwelling on the idea of joining a political party as a member for many years and struggling to decide where to place myself – the Greens in the last week became my choice. I chose the Greens because it is the political party that most reflects my own values as a human being, citizen of planet earth, husband, father, Christian, Kiwi and a worker in the NGO community serving the world’s poorest. No one political party will ever do it completely, but the Greens get the closest to who I am and the vision being played out by the party is a long term one rather than a short one based on the political cycle and the political game.

    The Greens give the sense that the political apparatus of our nation is simply a tool to achieve a greater aim and it’s that greater aim of a better, healthier world that we share. The more people grasp that bigger picture and long term thinking, the more the Green movement will gain traction in the political arena.

  6. Some pundits are suggesting that this result is just a reaction in a country with a high level of concern about nuclear power to the Japanese nuclear disaster. That theory is pretty much debunked here at Spiegel Online:

    Polls, though, had been predicting Kretschmann’s rise for months, well before Fukushima and well before Libya. The impressive vote total in Rhineland-Palatinate was likewise forecast by survey after survey. Indeed, the party could end up winning a second state election this September when voters in the city-state of Berlin cast their ballots.

    In short, the country’s political landscape experienced a profound shift over the weekend. Germany is no longer a country firmly in the hands of the SPD and the CDU. As of Sunday, the Greens have crashed the party. And before long, they might be sending out the invitations as well.

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