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Green showdown

Echte Grüne wechseln das Hemd, aber nicht die Überzeugung
A logo created by Green pacifists opposed to German participation in the
air strikes on Yugoslavia. It reads: "Real Greens Change Their Shirts, Not
Their Convictions." Photo: Source unknown

But for the opponents of the war, diplomatic efforts were not enough. Thus it came to a showdown at a party congress in Bielefeld:

For party pacifists, like delegate Uli Cremer, the purpose of the Greens' Bielefeld congress was to get its elected representatives to adhere to the positions that the Greens as a party had already agreed upon. "Throughout the entire 1990s a majority consensus in the party supported pacifist positions, every time," says Cremer. "We expected a Greens foreign minister to implement the party's foreign policy positions. This is why we voted for him. If he doesn't, then there should be consequences." According to Cremer, the government tried to "blackmail" party delegates by posing a vote against the party leadership as a death knell to the red-green coalition. "There was no reason the coalition would fall apart or have to step down," he argues.

Never had a Greens party congress experienced a security presence such as at Bielefeld. The tables had turned 180 degrees. Hundreds of riot police ringed the congress hall to protect the party leadership from Germany's disgruntled left. Skirmishes with far-left Autonomen and Serbian émigrés caused the congress to start late. Inside, the atmosphere was fetid. Long-time fellow veterans of the social movements weren't speaking to one another. Others engaged in shouting matches. As the speeches and the complex process of formulating resolutions began, so did the competing ovations and booing.

[p. 271]

Joschka Fischer and the Making of the Berlin Republic. 2007. [Oxford University Press]

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