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Open Letter to the German Greens
New York State Greens
We read with great dismay of your party’s recent decision to support the US bombing campaign against Afghanistan, and in fact to participate by sending German military personnel. We are dismayed that both your party organization and your Parliamentary group would choose to seek the short-term advantage of remaining in the governing coalition over the long-term goal of fighting for your/our principles.
Our disappointment mounts when we recall the global leadership provided by the German Greens in recent years. Many of us, in New York and elsewhere, began our activism as Greens with your shining example as inspiration. We are greatly disappointed that you have chosen to abandon your and our long-standing commitment to non-violence and mutual respect among nations. This is a tragic betrayal of Green principle.
Our dismay and disappointment threaten to turn to despair as the realization dawns that you may be doing this in our name. As active Greens in New York, as direct witnesses to both the events themselves and to their longer-term consequences, and yes, as some of the immediate victims of the atrocities of September 11, we implore you not to perpetuate the cycle of violence. This war can have no good consequences, only vastly increased suffering and more terror and other forms of “blowback.” In addition, your party’s support of Bush’s war increases the likelihood of new attacks on other countries (Somalia, Iraq...). Please do what you can to reverse your party’s recent decision to support Bush’s war.
The attacks of September 11 were not acts of war but crimes…
We have watched the discouraging development of the US war aims, from “justice” to “vengeance” and on to the same old petrochemical/geopolitical fantasy which has become such a part of our world in recent years. The attacks of September 11 were not acts of war but crimes, albeit of great magnitude, and should be prosecuted as crimes in some relevant jurisdiction. The invocation of Article 5 of NATO is foolish and incorrect, and most likely the act of men who have ulterior motives. War is not the answer, not in our name, not in your name, and not in the name of our Earth.
Don’t be fooled—after the patriotic/militaristic binge comes the hangover and the morning after when nothing has changed except that the world seems somehow grayer and less welcoming. Please, change your direction, renounce this war, and reclaim your leadership position among the Green Parties of the planet. We reach out especially to those German Greens who may have originally opposed the war, and to those who are having second thoughts as the war goes on.
Thank you from ground zero,
New York State Greens
February 16, 2002. Goshen, New York.
Since the publication of S/R 28, die Grünen/Bündnis 90 in Germany held their Party conference in Rostock. Eighty percent of delegates voted to support staying in the coalition. The GPUSA statement on Green government officers’ support for the US war (their words were “critical solidarity”) were not shared with delegates.
This 80% support is not only because the Green parliamentary delegation had already voted and members had left. They did not want to lose out on important concessions they have won on other issues. Since Bush’s “axis of evil” statements, European politicians have begun to show something besides the “unrestricted solidarity” that the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, offered right after the bombings in the US.
Though they remain in the coalition for now, German Greens are facing trouble. With the next election in September, recent polls show them under the 5% threshold required to hold any seats in the federal parliament. This is because former Green voters are either moving toward the Party for Democratic Socialism (although many of their leaders held office in East Germany they are clearly against the war) or to the Social Democrats (because Greens in government office keep telling everyone that the SPD is right). I hope they hold on, but they won’t do it without showing German voters what makes them unique, including a commitment to peace.
Frankfurt am Main, Germany