Transcript: Green: A New Political Colour | Feb 27, 1985

Theme music plays.

The title “Realities” appears on screen as fast clips show pictures of the hosts. With Robert Fulford, Richard Gwyn, and Naomi Loeb.

Clips show different city scenes.

Then, Naomi Loeb appears sitting in a television studio. She’s in her late thirties, with short brown hair. She’s wearing a green and black wide-necked sweater and silver earrings.

She says HELLO, I'M NAOMI LOEB.
SEVERAL YEARS AGO, THE
GREEN PARTY IN GERMANY
CAME TO PUBLIC PROMINENCE
BY GAINING SEATS
IN THE GERMAN
PARLIAMENT.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED
TO THE GREENS
IN THE INTERVENING YEARS?
IS THE MOVEMENT STILL
A UNITING FORCE
FOR ECOLOGISTS AND PEACE
ACTIVISTS, OR HAS THE ELECTION
OF THE GREENS TO THE
BUNDESTAG PROVED A SOURCE
OF NEW FRICTION
WITHIN THE MOVEMENT?
TONIGHT'S GUEST, JEAN COHEN,
DISCUSSES THE GREENS
IN GERMANY WITH
ROBERT FULFORD.
JEAN COHEN IS A POLITICAL
THEORIST, AT PRESENT,
WITH COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.
SHE'S THE AUTHOR OF
CLASS AND CIVIL SOCIETY.
THE INTERVIEW WAS
TAPED IN YORK CITY.

(music plays)

A slate with the title “Realities” flashes by, and then Bob Fulford and Jean Cohen appear in an office overlooking Central Park for the interview.
Bob is in his sixties, clean-shaven and balding. He’s. wearing large glasses, a gray three-piece suit, pink shirt, and red tie.
Jean is in her thirties, with shoulder-length wavy brown hair. She’s wearing a beige sweater and silver pendant earrings.

Bob says ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS OF THE
LAST FEW YEARS IS THE GREEN
PARTY OF WEST GERMANY.
TO WHAT EXTENT IS THAT
A NEW PHENOMENON
IN WESTERN EUROPEAN
POLITICS?

Jean says WELL, I THINK IT'S NEW,
AT LEAST CERTAINLY
IN WEST GERMANY,
VIS-A-VIS THE EXISTING
POLITICAL PARTIES
BECAUSE THE GREENS,
IN TERMS OF THEIR OWN
SELF-UNDERSTANDING,
CALL THEMSELVES AN
ANTI ANTI PARTY.
I'M SORRY, AN
ANTI-PARTY PARTY.
AND DON'T WANT TO BE
ASSIMILATED TO WHAT
THEY UNDERSTAND THE
BUREAUCRATIC STRUCTURES
AND POLITICAL DEALS OF THE
NORMAL GERMAN POLITICAL SYSTEM.
ON THE OTHER HAND, IF YOU
WANT TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN
THE GREENS AND MOVEMENTS
THAT PRECEDED THEM,
NOT JUST IN WEST GERMANY,
BUT IN WESTERN EUROPE,
I'M THINKING OF
THE NEW LEFT,
THAT'S A DIFFERENT
KIND OF QUESTION.

Bob says WELL, HOW DID THE
GREENS COME TOGETHER?
WHO MADE UP THE GREENS
IN THE FIRST PLACE
WHEN THEY FOUNDED
THEMSELVES?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Jean Cohen. Political Theorist."

Jean says WELL, THE GREENS
CONSISTED ACTUALLY, OF,
FINALLY IN THE END,
A COALITION OF AN ARRAY
OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS THAT
WERE ACTIVE IN THE '70s.
FIRST OF ALL THE
ECOLOGY MOVEMENT.
SECONDLY, SOMETHING
CALLED THE CITIZEN
INITIATIVE MOVEMENT, WHICH
CONSISTED OF LOCAL GROUPS,
IN CITIES AND IN
SMALL TOWNS,
TAKING THE INITIATIVE, IN
TERMS OF ISSUES OF HOUSING,
TRANSPORTATION AND
POLLUTION ECOLOGY.
AND BY THE LATE '70s,
THERE WERE SOMETHING
LIKE 2 MILLION MEMBERS
OF THESE GROUPS,
WHICH SIMPLY BYPASSED THE
PARTIES IN PARLIAMENT,
AND BASICALLY
ACTED ON THEIR OWN.
SO THEY ALSO FED
INTO THE GREENS.
THEY WERE ORGANIZED
IN A LOOSE,
NATIONAL CONFEDERATION.

Bob says WHAT HAPPENED TO THE
GREENS WHEN THEY DID THIS?
WHEN THEY STOPPED BEING
A DISPARATE GROUP
OF MORE OR LESS FREELANCE
PARTIES, EACH WITH THEIR
INDIVIDUAL CAUSE, AND
BECAME A UNITED MOVEMENT.
HOW DID THAT CHANGE THEM?

Jean says I WOULD REVERSE IT.
I WOULD SAY THEY WERE
FREELANCE MOVEMENTS
WITH THEIR OWN CAUSE, AND
THEN BECAME A UNITED PARTY.
AND THAT'S, IN A
SENSE, THE POINT.
BECAUSE THERE'S A REAL
TENSION IN THEIR BEING,
IN THE NOTION OF THEMSELVES
AS AN ANTI-PARTY PARTY.
THE ANTI-PARTY ASPECT,
AGAIN, REFERS TO THE
ANTI-BUREAUCRATIZATION
ASPECT, AND THE FACT THEY
DON'T REALLY TAKE SERIOUSLY
THE PARLIAMENTARY
RULES OF THE GAME, BUT THEY
WANT TO APPEAR IN PARLIAMENT
FOR THE SAKE OF PUBLICITY.
ON THE OTHER HAND,
IN PARLIAMENT,
THEY HAVE TO TAKE THE RULES
OF THE GAME SERIOUSLY,
AND ENTER INTO
COALITIONS AND BARGAINS.
THAT'S A PROBLEM
WITH THEIR CHARACTER
STILL AS A MOVEMENT.
THE ANTI-PARTY PARTY
DESIGNATION ALSO MEANS
THAT THEY ARE STILL A
DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT.
AND THE PROBLEM IS FROM THE
STANDPOINT OF THE MOVEMENT,
THERE ARE ISSUES ON
WHICH THE MEMBERS
OF THE MOVEMENT WOULDN'T
WANT TO COMPROMISE.
FROM THE STANDPOINT OF
A PARTY FUNCTIONING
IN PARLIAMENT, YOU
HAVE TO COMPROMISE.
SO THERE IS A VERY
SERIOUS TENSION THERE.

Bob says BETWEEN WHAT?
BETWEEN THE FUNDAMENTALISTS
AND THE REALISTS,
OR WHATEVER THEY
CALL THEMSELVES?

Jean says YEAH.
WELL, THE GREENS CAN BE
BROKEN UP INTO ABOUT FOUR
FACTIONS, ALTHOUGH THIS
IS SOMEWHAT ARBITRARY;
THERE ARE PROBABLY MORE.
AND I WOULD SAY,
ON THE ONE HAND,
THERE ARE THE
FUNDAMENTALISTS,
AND THIS INCLUDES
ECOLOGICAL FUNDAMENTALISTS,
AND SOCIALIST
FUNDAMENTALISTS.
AND ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE
ARE IS SO-CALLED REALISTS,
WHICH WOULD INCLUDE
ECOLOGICAL REALISTS,
AND SOCIALIST REALISTS.

Bob says WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO
BE A REALIST IN ECOLOGY,
AS OPPOSED TO BEING A
FUNDAMENTALIST IN ECOLOGY?

Jean says OKAY.
THE ECOLOGICAL
FUNDAMENTALIST REALLY WOULD BE
THOSE WHO FOCUS AROUND
ONE ULTIMATE VALUE,
WHICH IS THE
VALUE OF LIFE.
AND ARE REALLY QUITE
ANTI-MODERN, ANTI-INDUSTRIAL,
ANTI-URBAN, ANTI-MODERN.
THIS IS THE NEO-ROMANTIC
SIDE OF THE GREENS.
AND THEY ARE FUNDAMENTALISTS
IN THE SENSE OF
UNWILLINGNESS, NOT
ONLY TO COMPROMISE,
BUT ALSO TO RELATIVIZE
THE VALUE OF LIFE,
REGARDING ANY OTHER VALUES,
FOR EXAMPLE, FREEDOM.

Bob says IN OTHER WORDS, THEY
WOULDN'T SAY THERE
ARE MANY GOOD THINGS
ABOUT INDUSTRY BECAUSE
IT GIVES PEOPLE A CHANCE
TO DO THIS AND THAT.

Jean says NO.
I THINK THE EXTREME EXAMPLE
OF THAT IS RUDOLPH BARRO.
HE REALLY HAS VISIONS OF
DEPOPULATION OF THE CITIES,
AND QUITE SERIOUSLY
GOING BACK TO A-

Bob says NATURE LIVING,
LIVING ON THE LAND.

Jean says YEAH.
AND THERE IS
ONE OTHER POINT.
THE NOTION OF LIMITS THAT
THE GREENS FOCUS ON -
ALL ECOLOGISTS
FOCUS ON THIS,
TO EXPLOITATION OF
NATURE - ARE UNDERSTOOD
IN A VERY
NATURALISTIC WAY.
IT'S NATURE ITSELF
THAT IMPOSES THE LIMITS.
WHEREAS THE SO-CALLED
ECOLOGICAL REALISTS,
AGAIN, TERM REALIST IN
QUOTES, THEY REALLY
HAVE A MORE SOCIAL VIEW.
LIMITS ON, FOR
EXAMPLE, INDUSTRY,
TECHNOLOGY, DEVELOPMENT,
EXPLOITATION OF NATURE,
COME FROM WHAT WE
WANT AS A GROUP.
WHAT'S GOOD FOR US,
NOT FOR SOME VISION
OF NATURE IN ITSELF.
AND SO THESE ECOLOGISTS
ARE NOT NECESSARILY
ANTI-INDUSTRIAL, BUT WANT TO
BRING IN OTHER CONSIDERATIONS.

Bob says WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
THESE TWO FORCES MEET
WITHIN THE GREEN PARTY?

Jean says THEY CLASH.
THERE ARE SERIOUS
DISAGREEMENTS AND TENSIONS.
BUT IN THE MOVEMENT OUTSIDE
OF THE PARLIAMENTARY
STRUCTURE, THAT'S NOT
SO SERIOUS BECAUSE
THERE IS ENOUGH ROOM
FOR VARIOUS OPINIONS.
IT'S MORE SERIOUS IN THE
PARLIAMENTARY STRUCTURE
BECAUSE, FOR EXAMPLE,
IN THE STATE OF HESSEN,
THERE IS AN AGREEMENT
TO WORK WITH THE SOCIAL
DEMOCRATS AS JUNIOR
PARTNERS NOW.
IF IT'S A FACTION THAT'S IN
CONTROL THERE THAT REFUSES
TO COMPROMISE, YOU CANNOT
WORK WITH THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS.

Bob says ON SOMETHING LIKE
INDUSTRIAL POLICY,
OR SOMETHING OF
THAT KIND.

Jean says YEAH.

Bob says WELL, HOW FAR HAVE THEY
LITERALLY GONE TOWARDS
BECOMING A PARTY NOW?

Jean says THIS IS A PROBLEM
RIGHT NOW, THEY ARE IN
THE BUNDESTAG, THE
FEDERAL PARLIAMENT.
THEY ARE IN SEVERAL
REGIONAL PARLIAMENTS.
AND IN FACT, THERE IS
SERIOUS DISCUSSIONS
AND DEBATES RIGHT NOW
OVER, FOR EXAMPLE,
THERE IS A RULE THAT THE
GREENS HAVE TO ROTATE
OFFICE EVERY TWO YEARS.
IN OTHER WORDS, ALL THE
ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES
HAVE TO LEAVE
AFTER TWO YEARS.
IT'S NOT EVEN CERTAIN
THAT THAT'S LEGAL.
BUT THERE IS A GREAT DEBATE
BECAUSE SOME OF THE PEOPLE
WHO HAVE HAD EXPERIENCE IN
PARLIAMENT NOW REALIZE THAT
TWO YEARS IS JUST ABOUT
ENOUGH TO FIGURE OUT HOW
TO ACT IN PARLIAMENT,
AND THEY ARE RESISTING
THE ROTATION PRINCIPLE.
SO THERE IS
TENSION OVER THIS.
AT THE MOMENT, THE WAYS TO
DECIDE IS THAT EACH REGIONAL
PARTY ORGANIZATION CAN
MAKE UP ITS OWN MIND.
SO THERE IS THAT.
THERE IS ALSO THE ISSUE OF
THE IMPERATIVE MANDATE.
EACH REGION HAS THE
RIGHT TO LITERALLY BIND
THE DELEGATE TO
ARTICULATE EXACTLY
WHAT THE REGIONAL
ORGANIZATION SAYS.
WHICH MEANS THE DELEGATE
CAN'T FUNCTION ACCORDING
TO HIS OR HER OWN
REASON IN PARLIAMENT.

Bob says NOR MAKE DEALS.

Jean says NOR MAKE DEALS.
SO IT'S HOW FAR
THEY'VE BECOME A PARTY.
THESE ARE THE HOTTEST
ISSUES RIGHT NOW,
AND THEY HAVEN'T
BEEN RESOLVED.
AND IT'S UNCLEAR WHETHER
THE GREENS WILL GO
IN THE DIRECTION OF BEING A
MOVEMENT, OR BEING A PARTY.
AT THE MOMENT, YOU
MIGHT SAY YOU HAVE
THE WORST OF
BOTH WORLDS.
YOU HAVE A PARTY
MOVEMENT.
AND THE HISTORY OF PARTY
MOVEMENTS IN THE WEST,
HAS BEEN VERY BAD.

Bob says IN THE SENSE WHEN THEY
START OUT AND THEY SAY,
WE ARE NOT A PARTY LIKE
THE OTHERS, REALLY.
AND THEN THEY EITHER BECOME
A PARTY LIKE THE OTHERS,
OR THEY VANISH.

Jean says YEAH.
OR THEY REMAIN A
MOVEMENT.
THERE ARE
ALTERNATIVES.
THEY COULD COME INTO SOME
AGREEMENT WITH THE SPD,
THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC
PARTY, AND BE,
THEY COULD AFFECT THE
SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY
SUCH THAT THEY COULD HAVE
A REALLY SERIOUS
OPPOSITION PARTY AGAIN
IN WEST GERMANY;
THAT WOULD
ALREADY BE A GAIN
WHILE MAINTAINING THEMSELVES
AS A MOVEMENT OUTSIDE.
BUT NOT THE SAME
ORGANIZATION.
THAT WOULD ACCOMPLISH A
LOT BECAUSE AS A MOVEMENT
WITHIN SOCIETY, YOU WOULD
COME UP WITH CERTAIN ISSUES
AND GOALS AND MODES OF
ACTION THAT ARE VERY
IMPORTANT, THAT A PARTY
SHOULDN'T OR CAN'T DO.

Bob says WHAT WAS IT THAT MADE THE
GREENS COMPLETELY IGNORE
THE OLD PARTY STRUCTURE
IN WEST GERMANY?
THAT IS TO SAY, THEY
DIDN'T GO INTO THE SOCIAL
DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND
TRY TO REFORM IT,
THEY SET UP ON THEIR OWN.
WHY WAS THAT?

Jean says IN GERMANY, IN THE '70s,
THERE WAS THE SENSE THAT
THE POLITICAL SYSTEM IS
REALLY CLOSED TO OUTSIDERS.
ON THE ONE HAND,
IT WAS CHARACTERIZED,
VERY MUCH, BY BARGAINING
AMONG ELITE CORPORATE
GROUPS, INCLUDING
THE TRADE UNIONS.
BEHIND THE SCENES,
OUTSIDE OF PARLIAMENT,
TO BASICALLY
DECIDE POLICY.
AND THERE WAS THE FEELING
THAT, FOR A LONG TIME,
SINCE '59, WHEN THE SOCIAL
DEMOCRATS DECIDED THEY
WERE NO LONGER MARXIST,
THAT THERE IS NO SERIOUS
POLITICAL OPPOSITION IN THE
PARLIAMENTARY STRUCTURE.
THERE WAS ALSO THE CRITICISM
OF BUREAUCRACY THAT CAME
FROM THE NEW LEFT ON
THE PART OF THE GREENS.
AND CERTAINLY THE EXPERIENCE
OF THE ECOLOGY MOVEMENT.
AND DESPITE THE FACT THEY
WERE QUITE SUCCESSFUL
IN STOPPING THE BUILDING
OF MANY NUCLEAR PLANTS,
THERE WAS TREMENDOUS AND
VERY SERIOUS REPRESSION
ON THE PART OF
THE GOVERNMENT.
SERIOUS VIOLATION
OF CIVIL LIBERTIES
ON THE PART OF
THE GOVERNMENT.

Bob says SO THEY COULDN'T
FIND THEMSELVES
A PLACE WITHIN
THE SYSTEM.
THEY HAD TO CREATE THIS
SORT OF PARALLEL SYSTEM.

Jean says THAT WAS THE FEELING.
AND THIS WAS EXPRESSED,
NOT ONLY IN THE GREENS,
BUT BY THE MOVEMENT
THROUGHOUT THE '70s
OF WHAT'S CALLED THE
CITIZEN INITIATIVES.

Bob says IN THE MUNICIPALITIES.

Jean says IN THE MUNICIPALITIES.
IN EVERY CITY
THERE WERE LOCAL,
SPONTANEOUS GROUPS THAT
WOULD ORGANIZE AROUND
VERY PRAGMATIC ISSUES
LIKE HOUSING,
OR HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION,
OR ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES,
AND BYPASS THE PARTIES
AND PARLIAMENT,
AND EXPRESS THEIR
VIEWS, AND ACTUALLY
ACT POLITICALLY.
AND BY THE END OF THE '70s,
THESE CITIZEN INITIATIVE
GROUPS HAD MORE MEMBERS THAN
ALL THE PARTIES COMBINED.
SO CLEARLY, THERE'S A
FEELING THERE IS SOMETHING
ABOUT THE POLITICAL SYSTEM
THAT DOESN'T ALLOW EITHER
SERIOUS PARTICIPATION,
OR THE ARTICULATION
OF DIFFERENT VIEWS.

Bob says IT'S BEEN CORRUPTED, OR IT'S
BEEN BUREAUCRATIZED?

Jean says MORE BUREAUCRATIZED, AND A
FEELING OF EVEN TECHNOCRACY.
NOT SO MUCH CORRUPT.

Bob says AND THIS IS WHAT THE GREENS
SET THEMSELVES AGAINST.
AS THEY WENT INTO THIS, WERE
THEY HEAVILY INFLUENCED
BY MARXIST THINKING?

Jean says NO, NO, ON
THE CONTRARY.
THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT DISTINGUISHES
THE GREENS FROM THE
GERMAN NEW LEFT.

Bob says THE GERMAN NEW
LEFT OF THE 1960s.

Jean says OF THE '60s AND
EARLY '70s,
ESPECIALLY THE EARLY
'70s WAS QUITE MARXIST.
AND IT IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT
FROM THE AMERICAN NEW LEFT.
BUT THE GERMAN NEW
LEFT WAS QUITE MARXIST.
AND THE GREENS UNDERSTAND
THEMSELVES AS INITIALLY
BEYOND LEFT AND RIGHT.
THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND
THEMSELVES AS MARXIST
OR SOCIAL, EXCEPT FOR CERTAIN
FACTIONS IN THE GREENS.
ONE OR TWO FACTIONS
OF THE GREENS WANT
TO COMBINE RED
AND GREEN.
BUT THE VERY TITLE
OF THE GREENS, GREEN,
INSTEAD OF RED, OR
SOCIALIST, IMPLIES
THEY ARE BEYOND
THESE IDEOLOGIES.

Bob says THEY'VE MOVED
PAST ALL THAT.

Jean says THEY'VE MOVED
PAST ALL THAT.
ESPECIALLY VIS-A-VIS MARXISM
BECAUSE FOR THE GREENS,
ALTHOUGH MARXISTS CRITICIZE
CONSUMER SOCIETY,
AND CAPITALIST FORMS OF
PRODUCTION, EXPLOITATION,
THEY ARE STILL
PRODUCTIVIST.
THEY STILL ENVISION A
SOCIETY OF ABUNDANCE.
THEY STILL THINK
DEVELOPMENT OF PRODUCTIVE
FORCE IS A GOOD THING.
AND THE GREENS CRITICIZE
INDUSTRIALISM ALTOGETHER,
AND EMPHASIZE LIMITS,
NOT ABUNDANCE.
SO THE MARXISM AS
AN IDEOLOGY DOESN'T
HAVE VERY MUCH
TO SAY TO THEM.

Bob says THE FACT THERE ARE ALL
THOSE MARXIST STATES VERY NEAR
TO THEM, TOO, DOES THAT
HAVE A LOT TO DO WITH IT?

Jean says WELL, NOT REALLY, SINCE IT
DIDN'T AFFECT THE NEW LEFT.
BUT OF COURSE, THE NEW LEFT
IN GERMANY WAS MARXIST,
HOWEVER VERY, VERY CRITICAL
OF COMMUNIST REGIMES.
THEY WANTED A
DEMOCRATIC MARXISM.
THE GREENS, THEY DON'T
ADDRESS ANY OF THIS, REALLY.
AND IN A SENSE, NO, IT'S NOT
BECAUSE IT'S A COMMUNIST,
EAST GERMANY, OR COMMUNIST
SYSTEMS NEAR THEM,
THAT'S NOT WHY.
IT'S REALLY BECAUSE THEY'VE
GOT A VERY DIFFERENT
CULTURAL EMPHASIS, WHICH
IS BASICALLY ECOLOGY,
LIMITS, PEACE.

Bob says THE WEST GERMANS, AND
PARTICULARLY THE WEST BERLINERS,
WHEN YOU VISIT THERE,
AND YOU TALK TO THEM,
IT SEEMS THE EXISTENCE
OF EAST GERMANY,
AND A SEPARATION OF
GERMANY INTO TWO PARTS,
AND THE DIFFERENT
POLITICAL SYSTEMS,
THESE ARE THE THINGS AT THE
VERY TOP OF THEIR MINDS.
SO IT SEEMS.
AND I THINK IT'S TRUE
IF YOU READ THE PRESS.
BUT I THINK YOU ARE
SUGGESTING THE GREENS
DON'T THINK ABOUT
THESE THINGS AT ALL?

Jean says OH, NO, THIS ASPECT
THEY THINK ABOUT.
I MEANT ON THE
IDEOLOGICAL LEVEL,
THEY ARE NOT
IDEOLOGICALLY MARXIST,
OR EVEN ANTI-MARXIST.
BUT IN TERMS OF
THEIR CONCERNS.
WELL, FOR EXAMPLE, THE
WESTERN PRESS OUTSIDE
OF GERMANY HAS
CRITICIZED THE GREENS
FOR BEING NATIONALIST.
AND THEY EVOKE IMAGES
OF THE TERRIBLE GERMAN
NATIONALISM OF THE WAR.
I THINK THAT'S
SOMEWHAT UNFAIR.
BECAUSE ALTHOUGH THERE IS
THE THEME OF POSSIBLY
SOME KIND OF UNIFICATION,
AND THERE IS A STRESS
ON NATIONAL IDENTITY, WELL,
IT'S PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE
FOR GERMANY TO HAVE
A NATIONAL IDENTITY
SINCE EVERY OTHER
COUNTRY DOES.
HOWEVER, THE QUESTION IS
WHAT FORM WOULD THIS TAKE?
THE CONCERN WITH EAST
GERMANY IS A CONCERN
TO MOVE BEYOND YALTA.
THE GREENS DON'T
ACCEPT THE LEGITIMACY
OF THE DOMINATION OF
EITHER SUPERPOWER
OVER WEST AND EAST.
ON THE OTHER HAND, THEY
DON'T DISTINGUISH ENOUGH
BETWEEN THE FORMS OF
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
SOVIET UNION, EAST GERMANY;
UNITED STATES, WEST GERMANY.
I THINK THAT'S A
SERIOUS PROBLEM.

Bob says WHY IS THAT A
SERIOUS PROBLEM?

Jean says BECAUSE ONE COULD ARGUE
THAT THE RELATIONSHIPS
BETWEEN THE TWO SUPERPOWERS
AND THE TWO GERMANIES
ARE NOT QUITE
SYMMETRICAL.
WEST GERMANY IS FAR MORE
OF A SOVEREIGN STATE
THAN EAST GERMANY.
IT ISN'T SIMPLY A COLONY
OF THE UNITED STATES.
IT HAS A GREAT DEGREE OF
AUTONOMOUS MANOEUVRE,
AND IN FACT, IT HAS
THE GREEN PARTY,
WHICH YOU WOULD NOT
FIND IN EAST GERMANY.
AUTONOMOUS MOVEMENTS AREN'T
POSSIBLE IN EAST GERMANY,
AND EAST GERMANY IS A
PART, LITERALLY A PART,
OF THE SOVIET EMPIRE.
SO THERE IS A CERTAIN DEGREE
OF LEGITIMACY TO COMPLAINTS
THAT WEST GERMANY IS TOO
MUCH UNDER THE DICTATES
OF THE UNITED STATES.
AND THERE IS ALSO LEGITIMACY
TO THE DESIRE FOR A MORE
COHERENT GERMAN POLITICAL
OR NATIONAL IDENTITY.
BUT ONE OF THE PROBLEMS THAT
I FIND WITH THE GREENS
IS THEY ARE STRESSED SO MUCH
ON THE ISSUE OF LIFE
AND PEACE, SOMETIMES
TENDS TO UNDERMINE
THE CONCERN FOR FREEDOM.

Bob says IN FACT, THE
CONCERN FOR FREEDOM
IS REALLY NOT
THERE, IS IT?
IT'S NOT A BIG
ISSUE TO THEM.
THEY HAVE IT.
THEY'RE NOT WORRIED ABOUT
WHETHER OTHER PEOPLE HAVE IT.

Jean says WELL, THEY'RE NOT
CONVINCED, FIRST OF ALL,
THAT THEY HAVE IT.
IT'S SLIGHTLY AMBIGUOUS.
THEY'RE NOT CONVINCED
GERMANY HAS IT BECAUSE
THERE IS THE THEME
THAT GERMANY IS UNDER
THE HEEL OF THE
UNITED STATES.
ON THE OTHER HAND, SOME OF
THE THEMES OF UNIFICATION,
OF COMING TOGETHER IN ANOTHER
WAY WITH EAST GERMANY,
IMPLY THAT, WELL,
WHAT DOES IT IMPLY?
IN WHAT FORM WOULD THESE
TWO COUNTRIES GET TOGETHER?
WOULD IT BE A KIND
OF FINLANDIZATION?
IS LIFE ALWAYS
THE HIGHEST VALUE?
OR IS IT REALLY MORE
IMPORTANT TO FOCUS ON
SOME KIND OF VERSION
OF THE GOOD LIFE?
SO THERE'S A TENSION
THERE, THERE REALLY IS.

Bob says IS THERE A TENSION
WITHIN THE GREEN PARTY
ON THE ISSUE OF
PEACE, TOO?
ARE THEY ALL
AGREED ON THAT?

Jean says I THINK THEY
ARE ALL AGREED.

Bob says NO NUCLEAR WEAPONS
IN WEST GERMANY.

Jean says NO NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

Bob says AND HOW DO THEY SEE
THAT POLICY EVOLVING,
OR DO THEY HAVE A
SORT OF SCENARIO,
AN ALTERNATE SCENARIO?

Jean says WELL, THIS IS ONE
OF THE PROBLEMS.
IN FACT, APART FROM A VERY,
VERY, VERY SMALL NUMBER,
AND AGAIN, I COULDN'T
REALLY EVEN IDENTIFY
WHO THEY ARE, SOME
PEOPLE IN THE GREENS,
WHO REBEL AGAINST THE
IDEA THAT WEST GERMAN
SOVEREIGNTY IS CONTROLLED
BY UNITED STATES,
WOULD LIKE TO THINK OF SOME
FORM OF HAVING WEST GERMAN
SOVEREIGNTY BE IN THE
HANDS OF WEST GERMANY,
AND IMAGINE A
VISION OF A KIND OF
UNITED STATES OF EUROPE.
SO IT WOULD BE
AUTONOMOUS WEST GERMANY
WITHIN A FEDERAL SITUATION.

Bob says HOW DO THE GREENS
LOOK FROM EAST GERMANY?
DO YOU HAVE ANY
SENSE OF THAT?
ARE THEY
WELCOMED THERE?
SOMEONE TOLD ME THEY
WEREN'T EVEN ALLOWED IN.

Jean says WELL, OF COURSE
THEY'RE NOT ALLOWED IN.
EAST GERMANY DOES NOT
WELCOME ANY AUTONOMOUS
MOVEMENT BECAUSE THEY HAVE
AN OFFICIAL MOVEMENT.
BUT ON THE OTHER
HAND, OF COURSE,
THE EAST GERMANS
AND THE RUSSIANS,
AND EVERYBODY ELSE IN
THE EAST ARE DELIGHTED
THERE IS A MOVEMENT THAT
IS CLEARLY AGAINST NATO,
AGAINST THE STATIONING OF
NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN WEST
GERMANY, AND FOR
UNILATERAL MEASURES;
NAMELY, WE DON'T CARE WHAT
THE RUSSIANS DO WITH THE
SS-20s, WE WANT TO
STOP THE NUCLEAR-

Bob says CRUISE MISSILES AND SO ON.

Jean says HERE.
OF COURSE, THERE'S THE
DELUSION IF YOU STOP
IT HERE, THEN BY THIS
EXAMPLE, SOMEHOW,
THE RUSSIANS WOULD FEEL
SO TERRIBLE THEY WOULD
JUST WITHDRAW
THE SS-20s.
BUT I THINK FROM THE
STANDPOINT OF THE RUSSIANS,
THIS IS JUST WONDERFUL
THAT THERE IS THE GREENS.
BUT I WANT TO
SAY ONE THING.
ALTHOUGH SOME OF
THE THINGS THEY DO
MIGHT SERVE THE INTERESTS
OF THE SOVIET BLOC,
THE GREENS ARE NOT
CONTROLLED BY, IN ANY WAY,
COMMUNISTS, AND THEY ALSO
ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO THE
INTERESTS OF THOSE WHO ARE
IN FAVOUR OF SOME KIND OF
DEMOCRATIZATION OF
SOCIETY IN THE WEST.
SO WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL
ABOUT EVALUATING THEM.

Bob says THEY ARE IMPORTANT TO
DEMOCRATIZATION BECAUSE
THEY KEEP TESTING THE
GOVERNMENT, THE RULES,
THE COURTS, AND SO ON.

Jean says ALSO BECAUSE THEY'VE REALLY
CREATED A POLITICAL LIFE
IN GERMANY WHICH WAS
ABSENT FOR YEARS.
THEY MADE PUBLIC ISSUES,
THINGS THAT WERE
BEING DECIDED BEHIND CLOSED
DOORS, NUCLEAR WEAPONS,
ISSUES ABOUT INDUSTRIAL
POLICY, ET CETERA,
THERE REALLY IS AN ECOLOGICAL
CRISIS IN GERMANY.
THE WOODS REALLY
ARE DYING.
THIS IS NOT A KIND OF
FANTASY ON THE PART
OF LONG-HAIRED HIPPIES.
THIS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM.
AND NOT JUST IN WEST
GERMANY - EVERYWHERE.
SO THEY HAVE CREATED
A PUBLIC DEBATE,
WHICH HAS NOT EXISTED IN
GERMANY FOR YEARS AND YEARS.
SO THAT, IN ITSELF, IS
DEMOCRATIZING, IF YOU WANT.

Bob says THIS IS A VAST MOVEMENT
ACROSS WEST GERMANY.
RIGHT NEXT DOOR
IS FRANCE.
NOTHING LIKE THIS
HAPPENS IN FRANCE.
AND YET, THEIR
CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE WORLD
ARE NOT RADICALLY
DIFFERENT, ARE THEY?
I MEAN, IF WEST GERMANY
HAS A GOOD REASON TO WORRY
ABOUT ECOLOGICAL ISSUES,
FRANCE HAS A GOOD REASON
TO WORRY ABOUT ECOLOGICAL
ISSUES, AND SO ON.
AND YET NOTHING LIKE THIS
HAS HAPPENED IN FRANCE.

Jean says WELL, I HAVE
TO QUALIFY THAT.
FIRST OF ALL, I THINK THE
MOST IMPORTANT REASON IS
THAT FRANCE REALLY DOES
HAVE ITS SOVEREIGNTY INTACT.
FRANCE IS NOT PART OF THE
MILITARY ORGANIZATION OF NATO.
IT HAS ITS OWN NUCLEAR
WEAPONS, THE FORCE DE FRAPPE.
AND EVER SINCE DE GAULLE,
IT ACTS ON ITS OWN,
VIS-A-VIS THE TWO BLOCS.
THERE IS NO FEELING FRANCE
IS SOMEHOW - AMERICAN
TROOPS ARE NOT STATIONED
ON FRANCE SOIL, ET CETERA.
WEST GERMANY IS
NOT IN THAT POSITION.
WEST BERLIN IS STILL
DIVIDED BETWEEN
THE FOUR SUPERPOWERS.
WEST GERMANY STILL HAS
AMERICAN TROOPS
STATIONED EVERYWHERE.
THERE IS SOMETHING REAL TO
THE IDEA THAT WEST GERMANY
DOESN'T HAVE ITS
SOVEREIGNTY OR A REAL
NATIONAL IDENTITY
TO HAVE A STATE.
AND ALTHOUGH THE
PEACE MOVEMENT,
THAT'S NOT ITS MAIN
THEME, THE MAIN THEME IS
SUPPOSEDLY PEACE, BUT I
THINK IF THE POLITICAL
SITUATION WERE DIFFERENT,
THAT WOULD NOT BE SUCH A THEME.

Bob says YOU SAID MARXISM
RELIES ON ABUNDANCE,
AND THE GREEN
PARTY SEES LIMITS.
HOW DOES THAT WORK
OUT IN PRACTICE?
HOW DO THEY ARGUE IT OUT
BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM?
I'M SURE THIS MUST BE
A REAL FUNDAMENTAL
BONE OF CONTENTION
BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM.

Jean says IT IS.
AS I SAID, THERE IS A
SECTION IN THE GREENS,
THE SO-CALLED
SOCIALIST REALISTS.
IT'S A TERRIBLE TERM.

Bob says THAT MEANS A KIND
OF PAINTING TO ME.

Jean says I KNOW.
I SHOULD USE A DIFFERENT
EXPRESSION FOR THAT.
THE SOCIALISTS WHO
AREN'T FUNDAMENTALISTS,
WHO TRY TO COMBINE GREEN
AND RED ISSUES, I.E.,
THEIRS IS NOT A BLANKET
CRITICISM OF INDUSTRIALISM,
BUT SPECIFICALLY THE CAPITALIST
FORMS OF INDUSTRIALISM.
AND THEIR CLAIM, FOR
EXAMPLE, IS THAT, WELL,
MARXISM HAS ALWAYS WANTED
TO LIMIT THE WAY IN WHICH
PRODUCTION FOR PROFIT
JUST PURSUES PROFIT
AND VIOLATES ANY
BOUNDARIES, OR WHATEVER.
SO IN THAT SENSE, THEY
DON'T HAVE TO BE DIFFERENT
FROM EACH OTHER.
THE DIFFERENCE WOULD
REALLY, I GUESS,
BE FOCUSSED ON THE IDEA
THAT MUCH OF MARXISM,
ESPECIALLY IN THE '60s, THE
MARXIST NEW LEFT IN GERMANY,
EMERGED IN A PERIOD OF
TREMENDOUS BOOM AND GROWTH.
AND THEREFORE,
ASSUMED THIS.
AND ASSUMED THAT REALLY,
FOR A FREE SOCIETY,
YOU HAVE TO HAVE A CERTAIN
LEVEL OF PRODUCTION,
AND OF ABUNDANCE,
LET'S SAY.
THEREFORE, THEY DID
NOT FOCUS ON LIMITS.
THE THEME OF MARXISM
WAS REALLY FREEDOM,
IT WAS NOT LIFE.
AND WHAT'S NEW ABOUT
THE GREENS IS THAT
THE THEME IS
REALLY LIFE.
FOR SOME, IT'S
ALSO FREEDOM.
AND THAT MEANS LIMITS
TO WHAT THEY SEE
AS THE DESTRUCTIVE FORCES
THAT DESTROY LIFE.
AND THIS COULD RANGE FROM
INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION
TO NEEDLESS TO SAY, NUCLEAR
WEAPONS, AND IN FACT,
IT'S NOT SO DIFFERENT,
ALTHOUGH WE HAVE TO TAKE
THIS WITH A GRAIN OF SALT,
FROM SOME OF THE LIFE
MOVEMENTS IN AMERICA.
IT'S A VERY IMPORTANT
FACT THAT LIFE
AS A VALUE HAS COME UP:
RIGHT-TO-LIFE
MOVEMENTS,
ANTI-ABORTION MOVEMENTS,
ECOLOGY MOVEMENTS.
THIS THEME OF LIFE IS
REALLY, I THINK, QUITE NEW.

Bob says YOU SEE THOSE
AS PARALLEL?
THE RIGHT TO LIFE,
AND ECOLOGICAL?

Jean says YES.
ALTHOUGH THERE'S
QUITE DIFFERENT.
PEOPLE COULD TAKE LEFT
OR RIGHT DIRECTIONS.
IT COULD TAKE DEMOCRATIC,
ANTI-DEMOCRATIC DIRECTIONS.
IT COULD BE FOR OR
AGAINST FREEDOM.
THESE ARE THE ISSUES THAT
HAVE TO BE RESOLVED.
BUT LIFE AS A NEW VALUE,
IN AND FOR ITSELF,
IS SOMETHING NEW.
THIS ALSO RELATES
TO THE EXPERIENCE
OF TERRORISM IN GERMANY.
THE END OF THE NEW LEFT WAS
THE BEGINNING OF TERRORISM.
AND THIS IS A POSITIVE SIDE
BECAUSE THE BEST VERSIONS
OF THE GREENS WANT TO
EMPHASIZE DEMOCRATIZATION,
AND FREEDOM, AND ARE
UNWILLING TO ENGAGE
IN VIOLENT METHODS,
WHICH WAS NOT TRUE
OF THE NEW LEFT.
VIOLENT METHODS
WERE ACCEPTED.

Bob says THAT DIED AWAY, TOO.
EITHER BEING DESTROYED
BY THE STATE.

Jean says WHAT, THE TERRORISM?

Bob says THE TERRORISM.

Jean says OH, YES.
BUT IT HAD TERRIBLE EFFECT
ON THOSE WHO WOULD BE
INTERESTED IN
POLITICAL ACTIVITY.
IT WAS A
DISASTROUS EFFECT.
IT WAS REALLY
A CATASTROPHE.

Bob says IN A RECENT ARTICLE IN
THE NEW YORK TIMES,
MICHAEL HARRINGTON
WAS TALKING ABOUT
THE LEFT IN AMERICA.
AND HE SAID, THE
LEFT, YOU KNOW,
THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
IS NOT SO STRONG.
THERE IS NO NORMAN THOMAS
SOCIALIST PARTY ANYMORE,
THAT SORT OF THING.
THEN HE WAS SAYING, BUT
THERE IS A LEFT IN AMERICA;
IT'S STILL THERE.
THEN HE DESCRIBED THE
ECOLOGICAL MOVEMENT,
AND HE DESCRIBED
THE PEACE MOVEMENT,
AND HE DESCRIBED
THE FEMINISTS.
AND HE SAW THEM AS A SERIES
OF NETWORKS WHICH TOGETHER
MAKE A NETWORK, WHICH
IS THE LEFT IN AMERICA.
NOW, IF YOU TOOK A SENTENCE
HERE, AND A SENTENCE THERE,
HE WAS DESCRIBING THE GREEN
PARTY OF WEST GERMANY.
THAT IS A STRAND FROM HERE,
AND A STRAND FROM THERE
COMING TOGETHER.
YET, IN AMERICA, NOTHING
LIKE THAT HAS HAPPENED.
THERE HAS BEEN NO
COMING TOGETHER AT ALL.
ALL THOSE FORCES
ARE THERE.
AND THEY ARE THERE IN
CHICAGO OR LOS ANGELES,
OR BOSTON, OR WHATEVER, AND
YET THEY DON'T COME TOGETHER.
NOTHING LIKE THAT.
WHY WOULD YOU SAY
THAT HAS HAPPENED,
OR FAILED TO HAPPEN?

Jean says WELL, THERE'S THE OLD
THESIS OF AMERICAN
EXCEPTIONALISM, BUT
I ACTUALLY THINK
THE GREENS ARE
THE EXCEPTION.
I DON'T FIND A POLITICAL
PARTY OF THIS KIND OF NEW,
NEW, NEW LEFT ANYWHERE
ELSE EXCEPT IN WEST GERMANY.
THAT'S THE FIRST THING.
THE SECOND THING IS, I THINK
AMONG ALL OF THE MOVEMENTS,
NOT JUST IN AMERICA,
THERE'S A REAL DISTANCING
TOWARDS POLITICAL POWER.
THEY ARE NEW IN THE SENSE
THAT UNLIKE THE SOCIALIST
MOVEMENTS, UNLIKE THE
NATIONALIST MOVEMENTS
OF EARLY PERIODS, THEIR
FOCUS IS NOT STATE POWER,
OR TAKING STATE POWER.
THEIR FOCUS IS SOCIETY,
OR WHAT IS SOMETIMES
CALLED CIVIL SOCIETY.
THEIR FOCUS IS ON PROTECTING
SOCIETY FROM THE ECONOMY
AND THE STATE, THAT'S
ONE THING.
AND ALSO CREATING DEMOCRATIC
SPACES IN SOCIETY.
AND AGAIN, THE PROBLEM OF...
OF COURSE THERE IS A
PROBLEM BECAUSE IT WOULD BE
VERY NICE IF THERE WAS ALSO
A POLITICAL PARTY IN
AMERICA THAT WAS OPEN
TO THE VIEWS OF
THESE MOVEMENTS,
BUT THE GREEN SOLUTION,
AS I SAID BEFORE,
IS A PROBLEMATIC ONE.
BECAUSE SINCE THERE WAS NO
POLITICAL PARTY THAT WAS
OPEN TO THESE
ISSUES, THE GREENS,
OR THE PRE-GREENS,
FORMED THEIR OWN.
AND NOW THEY
HAVE THE SERIOUS,
SERIOUS TENSION OF ARE
THEY A PARTY OR
ARE THEY A MOVEMENT?
AND YOU CAN'T BE
BOTH, NOT NOW...
UNLESS YOU ARE BOTH IN A
VERY AUTHORITARIAN FORM.
AS I SAID, THE CLASSICAL
PARTY MOVEMENTS
ARE THE COMMUNISTS
AND THE FASCISTS.
AND THAT'S NOT WHAT THE GREENS
ARE INTERESTED IN OR ABOUT.
SO I GUESS THE QUESTION
IN AMERICA, WELL,
THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN
A PROBLEM CREATING
A SERIOUS THIRD PARTY.
SO THIS CAN'T BE TRACED BACK
TO SOME DISTINCT FEATURE
ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR...

Bob says IT'S NOT THIS ERA, OR
THIS PARTICULAR TIME.

Jean says NO.
ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE IS
THE ISSUE THAT, IN FACT,
IT IS IMPORTANT FOR
THESE MOVEMENTS TO TAKE
POLITICAL ISSUES SERIOUSLY.
NOW, I THINK THE
FEMINISTS ACTUALLY DO.
THE FEMINISTS HAVE
POLITICAL ORGANIZATION
IN THE UNITED
STATES, N.O.W.
NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF WOMEN
AND THEIR LOBBY ORGANIZATION.
THEY'RE NOT A PARTY,
BUT THEY DO ENTER
INTO THE POLITICAL SCENE,
THAT'S FOR SURE.
THE PEACE MOVEMENT HERE
HAS TO BE DIFFERENT
FROM IN GERMANY BECAUSE
IT IS IN THE HEARTLAND,
THE BELLY OF THE WHALE,
THE SUPERPOWER ITSELF.
SO IN A WAY, IT HAS TO
BE MORE RESPONSIBLE.
YOU CAN'T CALL FOR TOTAL
DISARMAMENT OF THE UNITED
STATES, IN THE SAME WAY
YOU CAN FOR WEST GERMANY
SINCE THERE IS, OF
COURSE, THE SOVIET UNION.
BUT WHETHER ONE SHOULD
FORM A POLITICAL PARTY,
WHETHER THAT WOULD BE
THE OPTIMAL SOLUTION,
OR WHETHER THE BEST THING
WOULD BE FOR A POLITICAL
PARTY TO BE SENSITIVE TO
THESE ISSUES, I'M NOT SURE.
BUT THE REASON WHY THERE
ISN'T A POLITICAL PARTY,
OR THIRD PARTY, I THINK
WOULD HAVE TO BE TRACED
BACK TO THE AMERICAN
POLITICAL SYSTEM ITSELF,
WHICH IS VERY BIASED
AGAINST THIRD PARTIES, PERIOD.

(music plays)

Now Naomi reappears in the television studio and says
JEAN COHEN IS A POLITICAL
THEORIST AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.
SHE'S AUTHOR OF THE BOOK,
CLASS AND CIVIL SOCIETY.
I'M NAOMI LOEB.
GOOD NIGHT.

Theme music plays as the end credits roll.

With Robert Fulford, Richard Gwyn, and Naomi Loeb.

Music, Gene Martynec.

Producer and Director, Moira Dexter.

Executive Producer, Stephen Patrick.

A Production of TVOntario. Copyright 1985, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Green: A New Political Colour