Germany will be holding elections in September of this year to vote for its next chancellor, Federal Parliament as well as a number of state legislatures. However, 2013 not only marks the year of exciting elections for the Federal Republic but also the thirtieth anniversary of the Green Party’s presence in the Bundestag, Germany’s federal legislative body. Other German political parties such as the Christian Democratic Union of Germany/Christian Social Union of Bavaria, Social Democratic Party of Germany, and Free Democratic Party, have been around since the founding of the Federal Republic in 1949, but on March 6, 1983, a “motley group of politicized hippies” was able to secure entry into ‘the Establishment” with its impressive electoral success.
Therefore, thirty years later, it would be fitting for Andrei Markovits, Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies, and his student, Joseph Klaver, to write an extended essay on how the Green Party remade the political landscape in Germany. In Thirty Years of Bundestag Presence: A Tally of the Greens’ Impact on the Federal Republic of Germany’s Political Life and Public Culture, Professor Markovits and Mr. Klaver discuss how the Green Party founded its platform on four pillars - ecology, feminism, pacifism, and participatory democracy - and “in doing so, ushered a fundamental change in German politics and society.” The essay also examines how the Green Party has been successful in demonstrating its appeal and electability to German voters, building coalitions at the state and national level, and influencing and enacting policies, especially in the areas of environmentalism, equality, and pacifism. In general, the Green Party exemplifies the way in which new political parties emerge and cultivate change in Germany.
Thirty Years of Bundestag Presence: A Tally of the Greens’ Impact on the Federal Republic of Germany’s Political Life and Public Culture is published by the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University as part of the AICGS’ focus on the 2013 German federal election and the broader political system in Germany. Also, the Heinrich Boell Foundation published a German version of the essay as a book entitled Dreissig Jahre im Bundestag. Der Einfluss der Gruenen auf die politische Kultur und das oeffentliche Leben der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.
Professor Andrei Markovits is currently an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and the Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies. He is the author and editor of many books, scholarly articles, conference papers, book reviews and newspaper contributions in English and many foreign languages on topics as varied as German and Austrian politics, anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, social democracy, social movements, the European right and left, and comparative sports culture in Europe and North America.
Joseph Klaver received his BA from the University of Michigan in the spring of 2012. He majored in Political Science and German Studies, in which he took courses with Professor Markovits. He recently completed a four-month assignment for an NGO in Salzburg, Austria and plans to continue his studies in the areas of international relations with an emphasis on Germany and Europe.