The role of the greens in the local politics of West Germany
The study examines the contribution of the Greens to the changing nature of West Germany's local politics in the 1980s. The changes correspond broadly to the politicisation and parliamentarisation of a sphere of government traditionally perceived as being "unpolitical". Building upon theories of the New Politics, it is suggested that the varying pace of socio-economic change across the Federal Republic underlies the nonuniform development of its local party systems. The party systems of localities which have witnessed rapid social and economic change are found to be more susceptible to the emergence of a New Politics dimension than those of communities in which change has occurred less rapidly. The thesis continues by addressing aspects of the Greens' role in the development of local party systems across the Federal Republic. Despite the fact that marked differences in the Greens' approach to local political participation are registered in communities of varying socio-economic types, it is argued that the Greens are largely responsible for the introduction of a "New Local Politics" dimension into West Germany's local party systems. In a comprehensive study of the Greens' role in the Mainz party system, the conflicting styles and practices of the Greens and the established political parties in the city are depicted. The failure of the Green Party to form an alliance with the SPD in the city council is attributed to the cleavage between the Greens' New Politics and the SPD's Old Politics approaches. A detailed analysis of the parliamentary initiatives introduced by the four parties represented in the Mainz council between 1984 and 1987 also supports the contention that a New Politics dimension exists in the city's party system. This dimension is identified as representing a significant source of conflict during the period of analysis.