what in god’s name happened to the Green Party of Germany??

Steven Welzer
2 min readApr 20, 2024

We know that the Green Party of Germany started out as a peace party. It now has become a supporter of arms to Ukraine and arms to Israel. A good citizen of NATO militarism.

WTF??

What happened is simple to explain: After years of existing at the margins of political life it has been enticed by a chance to become part of the mainstream.

During the 1980s and 1990s the vote-share of the German Greens hovered just north of 5%. In that country 5% is the threshold for parliamentary representation. Votes for your party hardly count if you can’t get to the representation threshold. The Greens sometimes received less than 6% and were continually worried that they might fall below 5%. They struggled to grow their support. They were successful, but only very gradually and with much effort.

Once they got their vote-share into the 8–15% range after about 2010 they saw a chance to become recognized as the third most significant party after the establishment Christian Democrats and Social Democrats. There was then a dynamic whereby they strove to appear more moderate in hopes of achieving a more general appeal. They got 15% of the vote in 2021 and became part of the governing coalition. They then kind of leaned over backward to seem extremely “with the program” in hopes that the majority of the electorate would would stop thinking of them as radical and marginal: “Hey, we’re pretty centrist now, y’all can rely us to be a solid part of the political establishment. How about giving us 20% of the vote next time (and forever after)?”

If they had formerly been perceived as too-peacenik, well, now they’ve forcefully, very ostensibly, shown otherwise.

Which only goes to prove that mainstream enticement is almost irresistible.

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Steven Welzer

The editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a movement activist for many years (he was an original co-editor of DSA’s “Ecosocialist Review”).