Green Parties – Grassroots Movements Formally organised “Green Parties” follow a coherent ideology that includes not only environmentalism, but also other concerns such as social justice, consensus decision-making, and pacifism. Greens believe that these issues are inherently related to one another as a foundation for world peace. The best-known statement of the above Green values is the Four Pillars of the Green Party, adopted by the German Greens since their founding in 1979-1980.

Green movements call for social reform to cut abuse of natural resources. Examples include Green Parties as well as Greenpeace, which was founded in the 1970s concurrently with many Green Parties. Its aims agree with those of many green movements, though it approaches its objectives in different ways.

The first Green Party to achieve national prominence was the German Green Party, famous for their opposition to nuclear power, as well as an expression of anti-centralist and pacifist values traditional to greens. They were founded in 1980 and have been in coalition governments at state level for some years. They were in federal government with the Social Democratic Party of Germany in a so-called Red-Green Alliance from 1998 to 2005. In 2001, they reached an agreement to end reliance on nuclear power in Germany, and agreed to remain in coalition and support the German government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in the 2001 Afghan War. This put them at odds with many Greens worldwide but demonstrated also that they were capable of difficult political tradeoffs.

In Finland, in 1995, the Finnish Green Party was the first European Green party to be part of a national Cabinet. Other Green Parties that have participated in government at national level include theGroen! (formerly Agalev) and Ecolo in Belgium, Les Verts in France and the Green Party in Ireland. In the Netherlands GroenLinks (“GreenLeft”) was founded in 1990 from four small left-wing parties and is now a stable faction in the Dutch parliament.

Around the world, there has been an explosion of Green Parties over the last thirty years. Green Parties now exist in most countries with democratic systems: from Canada to Peru; from Norway to South Africa; from Ireland to Mongolia. There is Green representation at national, regional and local levels in many countries around the world. Links to all the Green Parties around the world can be found at Most of the Green Parties are formed to win elections, and so organize themselves by the presented electoral or political districts.

Most successful was the Latvian Green Party, who supplied the Prime Minister of Latvia in 2004. In 2004, Latvia became the first country in the world to have a Green politician become Head of Government, but in 2006 the Green Party received only 16.71 of the vote. In the Estonia 2007 parliamentary elections, the Estonian Greens won 7.1 percent of the vote, and a mandate for six seats in the country’s parliament, the Riigikogu. In the 1986 Austrian parliamentary elections the Green Party started off with 4.82% of all votes cast and entered parliament with eight National Councilmandates. In the early elections to National Council in 2002, the Green Party nationwide received 9.47% of votes, and won 17 mandates to the National Council. At that time, it was the highest number of votes garnered by any European Green party. After the 2006 elections the Greens gained 4 seats and ended up with 21 seats and became the 3rd largest party in Parliament however did not have enough mandates to form a coalition government with either the ÖVP or SPÖ and became the largest opposition party while the SPÖ and ÖVP formed a coalition government. 2008 – 10.4%!!’90/The_Greens Alliance ’90/The Greens (German: Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) is a green political party in Germany, formed from the merger of the German Green Party and Alliance 90 in 1993. Its leaders are Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir. In the 2009 federal elections, the party won 10.7% of the votes and 68 out of 622 seats in the Bundestag.

Bundestag Election year % of vote: 1980 1.5%; 1983 5.6%; 1987 8.3%; 1990 5%; 1994 7.3%; 1998 6.7%; 2002 8.6%; 2005 8.1%; 2009 10.7%. A grassroots movement (often referenced in the context of a political movement) is one driven by the politics of a community. The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it are natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures. Grassroots movements are often at the local level, as many volunteers in the community give their time to support the local party, which can lead to helping the national party.

Faking a grassroots movement is known as astroturfing. Astroturfing, as the name suggests, is named after AstroTurf, a brand of artificial grass. Astroturfing means pretending to be a grassroots movement, when in reality the agenda and strategy is controlled by a hidden non-grassroots organization. A show is made of individuals pretending to be voicing their own opinions. Grassroots democracy is a tendency towards designing political processes where as much decision-making authority as practical is shifted to the organization’s lowest geographic level of organization: principle of subsidiarity.  To cite a specific hypothetical example, a national grassroots organization would place as much decision-making power as possible in the hands of a local chapter instead of the head office.

About Alex Imreh 0742-669918
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