Item Details

The Trade Unions and the Green Movement in the Federal Republic of Germany : The New Politics and the Split Within the Left in Advanced Industrial Society

Baun, Michael Joseph
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Baun, Michael Joseph
Schmitt, Hans
Cafruny, Alan
Evans, Robert
This dissertation addresses the issue of the split within the Left in advanced industrial societies through a study of the trade unions and the Green movement in West Germany. Based on some prominent theoretical approaches to explaining the "new politics" in Western democracies, three hypotheses concerning the sources of conflict between the labor movement Old Left and the postindustrial New Left are developed. These center on: 1) disagreements over the relative priority of material and nonmaterial political goals; 2) divergent political-cultural norms and values; and 3) conflicts between established and nonestablished political groups. The validity of these hypotheses is then examined with respect to relations between the trade unions (the Old Left) and the Green movement (the New Left) in West Germany in the 1970's and 1980's. After a brief descriptive review of the structure and organization of the trade unions, and of the principal contours of the Green movement, the dissertation focuses on the response of the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB) and its member unions to environmentalism and the movement against nuclear energy. It then analyzes relations between the unions and i extraparliamentary protest movements and citizen initiatives, as well as the role of the unions in policy making on ecology and nuclear energy issues within the social Democratic Party (SPD). The relations between the trade unions and the Green Party are also examined. Based on the findings from the West German case, the dissertation concludes that disagreement over the relative priority of material and nonmaterial ''quality-of-life" goals is a greatly exaggerated source of conflict between the two Lefts in advanced industrial societies, and that other important factors have played a large role in promoting the split within the Left. These include conflicts between established and nonestablished political groups, which are exacerbated -- as in West Germany in the 1970's and early 1980's -- in certain political contexts (i.e., the Left in government). Most important, however, are the divergent political-cultural norms and values of the two Lefts, which are reflected in different concepts of political participation, attitudes towards authority and established institutions, and views on how decisions are made and who should make them. Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.
Date Received
University of Virginia, Department of Government and Foreign Affairs , PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 1988
Published Date
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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