1st Edition

Green Parties in Transition The End of Grass-roots Democracy?

By Paul Lucardie, E. Gene Frankland Copyright 2008

    When green parties emerged in the 1980s, not only did they question established ideas about nature and economic growth, they also challenged the 'iron law' of Roberto Michels that all parties inevitably follow a similar path towards informal concentration of power and oligarchy. Grass-roots democracy was both an ideological tenet and an organizational project for practically all green parties. These days the greens have lost their glamour and innocence. They have grown up and even joined governing coalitions in several countries. Did they leave grass-roots democracy by the roadside on the way to power? This book investigates to what extent green parties have remained true to their identity or have been transformed. Country specialists analyze the development of green parties in 14 countries across the world - not only Western Europe but also Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. These analyses also offer clues on broader questions about party types and party change in contemporary democracies.

    Contents: Preface, Benoît Rihoux, Paul Lucardie and E. Gene Frankland; Part 1 Introduction: From amateur-activist to professional-electoral parties? On the organizational transformation of Green parties in Western democracies, Paul Lucardie and Benoît Rihoux. Part 2 Green Parties with National Governmental Experience: The evolution of the Greens in Germany: from amateurism to professionalism, E. Gene Frankland; The French Greens: changes in activist culture and practices in a constraining environment, Bruno Villalba; The Finnish Greens: from 'alternative' grass-roots movement(s) to a governmental party, Jukka Paastela; Belgium: Ecolo and Agalev (Groen!): 2 institutionalized Green parties with parallel but different stories, Jo Buelens and Pascal Delwit; The Irish Greens, George Taylor and Brendan Flynn. Part 3 Green Parties with a National Parliamentary Relevance: Switzerland: the Green Party, alternative and liberal Greens, Andreas Ladner and Michael Brändle; Struggling to become competitive: the organizational evolution of the Austrian Greens, Volkmar Lauber; Sweden: Miljöpartiet de Gröna, Jon Burchell; Amateurs and professional activists: De Groenen and GroenLinks in the Netherlands, Paul Lucardie and Gerrit Voerman. Part 4 Green Parties with Little or No National Parliamentary Presence: Experimental evolution down under: 30 years of Green Party development in Australia and New Zealand, Christine Dann; Green party organization in Britain: change and continuity, Wolfgang Rüdig; The Canadian Greens: veering away from grassroots democracy so soon?, Jacqueline Sharp and Anita Krajnc; Greens in the USA, John C. Berg. Part 5 Conclusion: Conclusion: the metamorphosis of amateur-activist newborns into professional-activist centaurs, Benoît Rihoux and E. Gene Frankland; Index.


    E. Gene Frankland, Ball State University, USA, Paul Lucardie, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands and Benoît Rihoux, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium.

    'Greens have, in the space of three decades, emerged from the margins of politics to become legislators and sometimes participants in government. This book illuminates the various ways in which Green parties have organised to resolve the tensions between radical democratic principle and the exigencies of practical politics. It is a valuable and timely contribution to the literature.' Christopher Rootes, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK 'Not "just another book" about Green parties! Country chapters on change in these new parties of a few decades ago cohere around a common set of important questions. Together with the truly cross-national analysis of the concluding chapter, they give guidance to future work on Green and other "newer"parties undergoing change. Required reading for students of the Greens and those interested more generally in the topic of party change.' Robert Harmel, Texas A&M University, USA 'At a historical juncture in the development of global environmental politics this excellent collection takes stock of the state of Green Parties. Internationally renowned experts provide detailed analyses of the most successful Green Parties in Europe as well as more marginal family members in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. This book is a most valuable extension to Green Party scholarship.' Ingolfur Blühdorn, University of Bath, UK 'This book should appeal not only to those interested in green parties but also to those with an interest in party types and organisation... The research design proposed by the authors in the introductory chapter brings coherence to the analysis of the case studies. This enables the reader to make comparisons within the cases. Another asset of the book is the division of the analysis of the parties into parties with governmental experience, with national parliamentary relevance, and with little or no national parliamentary presence.This gives readers the chance to compare between these groups even though making distinctions between the parties belonging to these groups is not always easy.' Political Studies Review