German Greens an obstacle, says Ditfurth

July 10, 1991

By Mary Merkenich

HATTINGEN, Germany — The German Greens are no longer a vehicle for social change, according to Jutta Ditfurth, the prominent "Fundi" who led a walkout from the party's congress in April.

Speaking to Green Left, Ditfurth slammed the Greens for having changed the meaning of political responsibility from responsibility for humans and nature to submission to the logic of being in coalition with Social Democrats (SPD).

The Fundis decided to quit the party at a meeting in Frankfurt on May 11. About 350 members of the Forum of Radical Ecologists, ecological socialists and feminists voted to leave and establish a new organisation, Ecological Left.

Ditfurth, a member of the Greens for 11 years, said that changes in the party's program and structure (such as ending rotation of offices and the separation of party and parliamentary positions) convinced her there was no longer a place in the party for the left. She believes the Greens have become a new middle-class party, which she thinks in the future will probably form coalitions with the conservative parties.

She says that skyscrapers are easier to build under the Green-SPD alliance in Frankfurt than under a Christian Democratic Union government. Green today "stands for the destruction of the ecological foundations" just as the CDU does. She accuses in particular the Realos faction of having adapted to the capitalist system: they sanction projects the Greens originally opposed to prove they are "market friendly".

Ditfurth said one lesson from her experience in the Greens was the importance of trying to popularise radical politics and being prepared to make alliances. She wants Ecological Left to be an alliance based on ecology, feminism, ecosocialism, ecoanarchism and grassroots democratic ideas.

The collapse of the Stalinist models of bureaucratic socialism in Eastern Europe gave her a feeling of relief and liberation. She adds that although some people believe this means capitalism has won, it certainly does not mean that capitalism is right.

Politics for her is creating situations that allow people to take control of their interests themselves and begin to understand that the conditions under which they live do not need to stay as they are. One object of Ecological Left will be to help isolated groups get together to build an effective extraparliamentary opposition.

Ditfurth believes that there are many possible alliance partners, from left sections within the Party of Democratic Socialism (the former Communist Party) to people who are still inside the Greens but dissatisfied with the path of the Realos. She estimates that several thousand are still about to leave the Greens, and hopes they will join the new organisation.

Issue