Various backdrops have been set up in the Berlin Tempodrom, Federal Managing Director Michael Kellner walks through the scene like an entertainer. A moderator duo has taken a seat on the orange sofa on a retro-look stage, with photos hanging on the wall. The Greens have invited to the digital party conference, but it looks like a TV show. Only when the agenda item Formalia is called does the typical party congress feeling arise.
The Greens actually wanted to meet this weekend in Karlsruhe to decide on their new basic program – in the city where the party was founded 40 years ago in January 1980. But the corona pandemic did not allow a meeting with 800 delegates.
That is why the Greens set up a kind of “broadcasting center” in the Berlin Tempodrom this weekend. In addition to the chairmen Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, there is a team of Green politicians who lead through the party congress and coordinate proposals and votes. The delegates are connected digitally from their living rooms.
“Every time has its color” is written on the wall behind the central stage. The bright green letters make it clear what color that is from the perspective of the party. The Greens are going to this digital party convention with excessive self-confidence. “We show that we can and want to take responsibility,” says Federal Managing Director Kellner.
The Greens have become the leading force in the center-left. “That’s why we’re fighting for the majority in this country next year and promoting the Union from the Chancellery,” he says.
One year before the general election, the Greens take part with their basic program a content-related position determination and redefine your value structure. The three-day deliberations also involve sensitive votes, for example on climate policy. Not only the climate movement “Fridays for Future” is demanding more radicalism from the Greens, even for some in the party the draft program does not go far enough.
For some, the Paris Climate Agreement does not go far enough
The handling of the Paris Climate Agreement is controversial, in which 195 countries committed to limit global heating to well below two degrees, if possible to 1.5 degrees. The Green leadership calls for a clear commitment to this goal. But others in the party do not go far enough. They want to make the fixed mark of 1.5 degrees the “standard of politics”.
Green leader Baerbock aggressively responded to this criticism in her speech on Friday evening. “Shaking the Paris Treaty – no matter how well it is meant – prevents us from finally filling it with life together,” she says. “Saying I’m the quickest to be carbon neutral – that might help you get through an election campaign,” she says. “But I don’t get through my life well with it.”
Part of honesty is that the Greens cannot build a socio-ecological market economy on their own – “not with 20 percent, not even with 30”. In a democracy, you need majorities, basic acceptance and the willingness of people to participate.
“We have to see the winners of change as well as the potential losers”
Baerbock demands understanding for the skeptics, for example at industrial locations such as Wolfsburg, Cottbus, Duisburg or Bitterfeld. “Change, innovation and movement are not a promise for everyone, but an imposition for many,” she says. “We have to see the winners of change as well as the potential losers.”
Part of the promise made by Paris is that change must work for everyone – “for the buddy as well as for the craftsman”.
Whether the delegates will follow Baerbock will be shown on Saturday when the vote on the climate chapter in the basic program. At least it would not be the first time that the Green leader is preventing her party from making decisions that she does not consider realistic.