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POLI 212 - APRIL 2.docx

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Political Science
POLI 212
Hudson Meadwell

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 of class.  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 opposition.  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 factors: 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
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