D.he kindest greetings to the digital federal party conference of the Greens come on Sunday morning from the CSU of all places. In the Corona crisis, the Greens are “the much more reliable partner” compared to the FDP, said Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder of “Picture on sunday“. And this is exactly how the Greens see themselves in the Bund: As a party that is on the verge of conquering power in the capital.
More than 800 delegates have been connected to Berlin via the Internet since Friday, where the party leadership and presidium of the Greens sit in the Kreuzberg Tempodrom. The Greens are negotiating their new party program: There were almost stacks of amendments beforehand, two and a half years of discussion, now one vote chases the other. In the end it should be around 60 pages be able to read what the Greens actually want, on which principles the now more than 100,000 members can agree.
In the end, as planned, it turned out to be a left-wing program; but one that offers connectivity to all sides. As expected, the focus is on combating climate change; The party’s closeness to science is emphasized. When it came to genetic engineering, it was much more difficult for the delegates.
The proponents of an extensive opening of the Greens to genetic engineering in agriculture could not prevail. But they hadn’t expected that themselves. After all, their proposal received 27 percent of the delegate’s votes. The platitude “genetic engineering – no thanks” is no longer part of the program. The ban on growing genetically modified plants has been lifted. Women in particular had campaigned in the party to finally rely on scientific knowledge on this topic and not to repeat old, populist slogans.
A few years ago it would have been “tied to a hemp rope”, says Dorothea Kaufmann WELT. The Greens works in Heidelberg as a molecular biologist, and had driven the debate in the party in the past weeks and months. The fact that the technology is no longer demonized as such, but rather the opportunities and risks are debated, is already a success. The Greens like to push social progress; But change is often the hardest thing for them, regardless of research evidence. After all, the homeopathic community also failed with an application. The Greens are now rejecting sugar globules as a cash benefit.
Probably the most passionate debate at the party congress revolved around nationwide referendums. The demand barely failed in the end; Party leader Robert Habeck had argued against it and instead campaigned for the establishment of citizens’ councils. Referendums would polarize, he warned. His federal manager Michael Kellner held against it. It is important that people are not only allowed to make decisions every four years. The former parliamentary group leader Jürgen Trittin also warned that freely elected MPs should compete with referendums.
The debate was honorable and devoid of the pastoral tone that permeates many green discussions. The fact that the leadership of a party that was still debating basic and council democracy 40 years ago is now largely behind the parliamentary system with its checks and balances is worth a historical footnote.
The conflicts over genetic engineering and referendums were the highlights of the party congress. The federal board then suffered a severe setback on Sunday afternoon with the unconditional basic income. The Greens have been arguing about this for years, the dividing lines running across the wings.
On the other hand, the (green) trade unionist Frank Bsirske had argued that state aid, like the federal executive board, only wants to distribute among the people when necessary. Claudia Roth had pleaded for a “modified version” of the unconditional basic income. The demand is now “as a guiding principle” in the basic program, to the horror of the party leadership.
The battle of interpretation begins immediately after the vote
With the Union as a possible coalition partner after the federal election in 2021, concrete implementation would not be possible, if only for reasons of financial feasibility. Shortly after the announcement of the result, top groups of the Greens were already discussing how to prevent the demand from being included in the election manifesto. From the point of view of the federal executive committee, this showed the disadvantage of the digital party conference. With an analog vote in a hall, emissaries would have run through the rows of delegates and tried to prevent the faux pas.
The struggle to interpret the resolution began immediately. One should not be mistaken, tweeted MEP Reinhard Bütikofer. The unconditional basic income in the basic program is a “vision. So ‘UBI now’ is not green policy! ”Of course, one can doubt whether the winners of the vote see it that way. In this case, after the party congress means: Before the next battle vote.
Most conflicts were, however, usually resolved in advance by phone, zoom or Skype – or slowed down. The Greens want to attack in the super election year – and not produce any party congress disasters at the start. “I see a federal executive who, in important votes against motions from the ‘left’, can rely on the willingness of leading representatives of the left to hold counter-speeches. This cooperation is crucial ”, analyzed Bütikofer, former federal manager. The Greens are currently emphasizing above all: Alliance.
The climate revolution is “as crazy as a home loan and savings contract” – not crazy at all. To reorganize the economic system means “no overthrow, but is pure self-protection”. In fact, the Greens in the eleven state governments in which they are involved have so far not attracted attention with socialization plans. Anton Hofreiter visited one industrial group after another in the summer, Winfried Kretschmann, the Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, attaches great importance to good relationships with Daimler’s headquarters in Stuttgart.
The Greens are still a left-wing party
But there is still a rumble in the belly of the party. It became clear in the debates that the Greens are a left-wing party. There were even fight votes on chapter headings. The party represented a “socio-ecological market economy” was formulated by the federal executive committee. This formulation also prevailed with 54 percent of the votes. But at least 41 percent would prefer to speak of “socio-ecological management”. This formulation leaves a lot of room for eco-socialist fantasies, which haunted the local groups among the Greens as early as the 1980s.
The Greens have a much more relaxed relationship with internal security, especially with the police, than they did 20 years ago, where the focus was primarily on “the repressive side of police work”, as Robert Habeck recently admitted to WELT. The party has long since opened a new chapter on the subject, and of course police officers are now involved in the ranks of the party. The fact that the Greens also want to win a Ministry of the Interior in the coming year – whether in the federal government, in one state or both – is no secret, but the declared goal of the party leadership.
But in the military, in the Bundeswehr, the old, clumsy pacifist reflexes are still wide awake. The position “Bundeswehr out of schools”, even the exclusion of youth officers from career-oriented events, did not find a majority. But at least 37 percent of the Greens voted accordingly. For a party that has sent German soldiers twice into combat missions around the world (Kosovo and Afghanistan) that is a bigoted rate. During the debate about the internal use of the Bundeswehr, one speaker was not too happy to draw a historical line up to the Kapp Putsch and the suppression of the revolution in 1848. Your application has been denied.
The Greens and the Federal Republic have always been a race to influence each other. “We have thoroughly civilized this republic,” said Antje Vollmer, green founder, in the 1990s. The other way around it will probably be a shoe as well. However, there is still a huge excess of utopia fermenting in the party. The party leaders from Annalena Baerbock and Habeck are trying to tame and channel it. But sometimes they also surf this wave.
Shortly before the final vote on the entire program, Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Kretschmann spoke a few words of warning. The video message over the roofs of Stuttgart had been recorded beforehand. It is a rocky road from scientific knowledge to real change, he said. “We can only achieve majorities if we offer attractive solutions.” And he emphasized: “We are not the eco-app of any other party. We want to lead this country. ”With these words he dismissed the green caravan into the coming super election year.