The OV Washington: "A telling example of innovative green grassroots democracy"

The German Green Party: What is characteristic for it? What might explain its success in Germany's politics? The Sociologists Andrei S. Markovits and Joseph Klaver have researched on these questions, and have recently published their new study "30 Years of Bundestag Presence: A Tally of the Green's Impact on the Federal Republic of Germany's Political Life and Culture" (english / german).  The study has been presented on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Green Party's first entry into the Bundestag (the German parliament) on March 6, 1983.

The two scientists paint the portrait of a party which has entered "mainstream politics" and has secured its place within these institutions without sacrificing its uniqueness or forgetting its roots. They describe a party which represents grassroots democracy and innovation capacity, looks beyond the horizon of national politics and includes global coherences into its policies.

According to Markovits and Klaver, the OV Washington is a "telling example" of how this Green Party works: "unconventional and cosmopolitan".  The Ortsverband (local branch) has broken new ground by pursuing its goals: integrating German citizens living abroad into the events happening in their native home, and building bridges for green politics into the US society and politics. This innovative pioneer enterprise underlines the party's "out-of-the-box" way of thinking and the salience of its agenda's global dimension.

It had been Petra Kelly's heartfelt wish to foster transatlantic cooperation. The peace activist and founding member of the German Green Party wanted to establish the institutions necessary to enable a dialogue between the green milieus on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. About 40 years after Kelly had studied at the American University in Washington D.C., and had worked for Senator Robert F. Kennedy's campaign for President, a corner stone for this dialogue was created. On April 13, 2008, the OV Washington was founded. It is the first local branch of a German Party within the United States, and the first one of BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN outside of Europe.  In the words of Markovits/Klaver:  "This is a telling example as to how the Greens in general have become institutionalized in the conventional and 'normal' manner while also maintaining their historical commitment to the salience of an organizational structure anchored in their commitment to grass-roots democracy."

The study "30 Years of Bundestag Presence: A Tally of the Green's Impact on the Federal Republic of Germany's Political Life and Culture" has been published by the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at John Hopkins University and the Heinrich Boell Foundation Washington D.C. You can download the entire study here (english / german). And you'll find the segment on the OV Washington on page 13.