A 'hierarchical, centralist, dogmatic' party

May 22, 1991

On the last day of the convention, JUTTA DITFORTH announced that she and other members of the Fundis would leave the party because it has moved too far from its original aims and principles. A group around her called Ecological Left was to hold a meeting in Frankfurt May 11-12.

"The Green Party has changed completely", Ditforth said. "It has changed its internal structures so there is no basic democracy but a very hierarchical, centralist, dogmatic structure like any other authoritarian party.

"The members are no longer allowed for example to take part in meetings of the executive committee. There is no openness and no rotation any more. Our original feminist principles have been scrapped for a Social Democratic women's policy.

"Recently some radical right-wing groups have entered the party in Hamburg. Their election manifesto contains a clear anti-Semitic and racist bias.

"Three years ago the Green party would have thrown out people like this, but because they are useful in the fight against the left, nothing was done about them."

Ditforth did not see the election of two left-wing spokespeople or the decision to maintain the separation of parliamentary and executive powers as great victories.

"The new Council of States will be more important than the executive committee and will contain all the state functionaries, so there will be a breaking of the separation of the powers anyway. We have no Bundestag [federal parliament] fraction at the moment, so they still have time to work for the changes they want within one or two years."

It is not clear what form Ecological Left will take, "but at the moment we are going to organise ourselves on the national level. We are not interested in becoming localised or atomised. We see ourselves as a social counterpower. We draw the lessons from the errors of the dogmatic left and recognise there will be no fundamental change without radical ecology and feminism."

Ditforth does not think Ecological Left will form direct links with the Party of Democratic Socialism, the reformed Socialist Unity Party (Communist) of the former GDR. First it will try to organise all those leftists who have already quit the Greens or who are active within the social movements.

"Then we will watch what happens within the PDS. It is a party of different political milieus, Stalinists, radical left groups, some feminists and many who just can't wait to be part of the Social Democratic Party. I don't think they can remain in one party for long."

The Greens "will have no social influence any more. They will no longer be a source of interesting political discussions that will be taken up in the broader society. All that is over.

"The right has this party in its hands. They are mainly frustrated and cynical ex-leftists who are out for their own careers.

"We never wanted to impose our left positions on the whole party, but we wanted to be a part of the party alongside others. The Greens were never a left party but a party that made left policies possible."

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