APRIL 2, 2012:
Extra parliamentary opposition: In France, events of May-June 1968 are organized
around issues connected to class, materialism, economic distributions, and equality
of life chances. The events of May-June 1968 were rooted in the old left- the politics
The post-materialism of extraparliamentary opposition characterized the
opposition in Germany. Germany is relatively affluent society and is emerging as an
economic hub. Issue of economic distribution and equality never disappear, but are
not as important motivated of political innovation in Germany.
The late 1960s had a new generation entering politics that took economic stability
for granted. They become involved in politics around issue of quality of life (the
“new left”) and in a sense, the issue, self-consciously understood, was whether the
NSMs that emerged in the late 60s and early 70s would experience a different kind
of life cycle than that of the old left.
The left is Germany was part of the status quo. The left had been coopted and had
given up the ideal of radical socialism, and the extra parliamentary opposition in
Germany wanted to accomplish being important politically without compromising
their commitment (which is what happened in the life cycle of the old left).
The Grand Coalition in 1966- included the party of the nominal left and the nominal
right (Social Democrats and Christian Democrats). In part, because this political
generation comes to age at this time period o=in German politics, it doesn’t see
opportunities to express opposition in the legislature. They mobilize outside of the
legislature. This is the New Social Movement Sector or extraparliamentary
The focus of this sector will be ecology. This is apart of a larger criticism of German
politics. It is too consensual. German society was too bureaucratized and regulated
by the state. Also embedded in the politics of ecology is a kind of anti-elitism.
Policy decision by the grand coalition: they put in place a new kind of energy policy
for Germany and begins to move away from a reliance on coal and begins to
consider the use of nuclear energy. In addition, all European economies go through
the oil shock in the early 1970s, and that provides further incentive to move away
from coal/oil inputs into industrial manufacturing, and moving toward nuclear
power. This crystalizes extraparliamentary opposition.
The NSM sector is self-consciously diverse. It picks up ecology as a consequence of
changes of energy policy in the Grand coalition. What you see emerge is a green
social movement, not a green party. It is a social movement that wants to avoid the
fate of early 20 century social movements. It emerges in parts of Germany in
which nuclear sites are contemplated. It included relatively young and affluent
participants drawn from small cities in Germany in the hinterland, urban
professionals, well educated, with as well, individuals from the rural
sector/periphery who were relatively close to the potential nuclear sites. An urban-
rural coalition to challenge local and programmatic policy choices in Germany.
These NSMs fear the way that political power can corrupt. As a social movement
becomes institutionalized as a party, it may become corrupted or coopted. It was
debate whether or not to make the transition from social movement to political
party. This movement is a confrontation between fundamentalists (who fear the
consequences of a transition) and realists, who see advantages for the political program if they become institutionalized as a political party. (Just like the
purist/pragmatist issue in socialism)
The party is first successful electorally at the municipal level, and it then begins to
contest elections within the federal subunits of the German federation. It enjoys
some success at that level as well. Participation in municipal and federal politics
were a way of learning what they need to do when they eventually contest elections
at the national level.
Their path to national power is possible because of the following institutional
1. Germany is a federation- you can break through initially there before you
attempt a breakthrough nationally. This makes it easier for the greens to be
successful as a party at the national level.
2. The importance of the German electoral system, which includes elements of
proportional representation, which means relatively small parties can gain
access to the legislature.
This movement made the transition to political party status. How will this party be
organized as they make the transition? They don’t want to be