Radical wing gains upper hand in West German Greens party
The struggle for control of the environmentalist Greens party between those who believe in fundamental opposition and those who seek cooperation with other political groups has sharpened after a weekend national convention. The Fundi (fundamentalist) left wing, which rejects cooperation with other parties, swept to victory in elections at the convention of a new executive committee.
Spokesmen both for the Fundis and for the Realos (realists) warned that the vote at the Duisburg convention makes conflict with the Greens's parliamentary group in Bonn inevitable.
The Realos, who believe in seeking cooperation with other parliamentary parties, control the Bonn legislative group as they also control the party in the state of Hesse, where Greens and Social Democrats formed a governing coalition for two years until it fell last month.
The Fundis won eight of 11 seats on the national executive committee, and all three of the co-chairmanships.
The new co-chairmen - called ``speakers'' - are Jutta Ditfurth, a radical ecologist from Frankfurt, Christian Schmidt, an ecological socialist from Hamburg, and Regine Michalik, a feminist from Bonn.
Voting was preceded by a report from Lukas Beckmann, a former speaker, who said the party must seek cooperation not only with Social Democrats, but also with Christian Democrats and Liberals. He said protection of the environment was a deeply Christian concern that might make Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democrats more suitable partners for the Greens than are the Social Democrats.
Mr. Beckmann said that cooperation with other parties was the key to the Greens boosting their stands in the polls.
In an election in the state of Hesse on April 5, the Greens increased their poll from 5.9 percent to 9.4 percent, supplanting the Liberals as the third largest party.
But the Social Democrats, with whom the Greens had formed their first governmental coalition in West Germany, dropped six percentage points in the vote. For the first time in 40 years, the Christian Democrats were able to form a government in Hesse.
The Realos claim the Greens' increased standing in the polls shows they are on the right path. The Fundis looked at the fact that the Greens are out of government and drew the opposite conclusion.
The convention passed a resolution calling for a boycott of the national census planned for May 25, arguing that the data will be abused and alleging that ``the census of 1939 provided the basis for the registration and later the murder of hundreds of thousands of German Jews.''
Much of the three-day convention was spent in bitter argument between feminists and women delegates who wanted to establish a separate commission to deal with mothers' problems.
Waldtraud Schoppe, a member of the Green parliamentary party, was upset when feminists distributed stickers comparing her proposals to those of the Nazis. When she eventually got the floor, Schoppe reminded her critics that ``feminists ... can discover themselves to be mothers, too.''