'Capitalism is not our homeland'


ANGELICKE WERGNER, a member of the Greens executive committee in Bochum and a supporter of Left Forum, told Green Left that the Realos want to establish a hierarchy. They want to reduce the rank-and-file members' role to casting postal votes in plebiscites. The structure would become more exclusive and more difficult for newcomers to break into because they would be denied access to information and resources.

"Unfortunately, we have already moved a long way in that direction, so some people say, 'De facto we already have this. Let's stop fighting it and recognise it in our constitution.' Others think that we can fight against this tendency if we maintain our original aims and constitutional safeguards.

"Antje Vollmer and New Direction people are keen to see the party in the east absorb or be absorbed by the citizens' movements there. [The citizens' or civil rights movements formed in the GDR in the months before the fall of the Stalinist regime. While some, such as United Left, are radical, the larger movements tend to be quite conservative.] This would make the party much more electorally powerful and would strengthen support within the party for Antje's view that the system we live under is the best of all possible variants.

"Many Realos think that we live under capitalism, so we have to learn to work within it. We on the left deny that capitalism is our homeland. We say it is possible to get socialist views back into the discussion.

"In the area of foreign policy and defence, these different approaches are clear. The left want to get rid of our missiles. The Realos say we have them and so we must work with them, in a humanistic way of course. The logical conclusion of their position is that, if we had a re-emergent fascist society, they would want to work within the bounds of fascism."

During the Gulf War, some Realos said that Germany had the responsibility to act militarily as befits an emerging superpower. "This is absolutely horrible, because one of our main platforms is that we are a pacifistic party.

"One problem for the Greens is that we have very few people who take a real interest in foreign policy. There were only a few people this weekend who pointed out the importance of the New World Order and Germany's role within it. Petra Kelly said it was one of the biggest challenges facing the European peace movement in the 1990s. So too did Ludger Volmer, who mentioned the meeting of the IMF in Germany next year and the need to do something about that."

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