German Green: Nader goes too far

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Nov 2 09:57:44 MST 2000
November 1, 2000
German Green Warns Against Nader Threat

A founding member of the Green Party in southern Germany calls Ralph
Nader's U.S. Green Party campaign "immature" and an "alarming" threat that
could put into power a Republican who is "a certified polluter" opposed to
the ideals of Greens on both sides of the Atlantic.

In a statement about Nader's impact on Campaign 2000, Martin Kilian, who
helped found the German Green Party in Konstanz in 1979, said the
winner-take-all electoral system in the United States differs dramatically
from the German political system. Under that system, the Greens could gain
seats in parliament by winning 5 percent of the vote or more.

"Back in the 1970s, we too had felt that we always voted for a 'lesser
evil,' the Social Democrats in our case," Kilian said. "Yet we were lucky.
Germany has a parliamentary government and a proportional election system.
No vote for us was lost as long as we got up to 5 percent."

Kilian, now a journalist living in Charlottesville, Va., noted that the
Greens in Germany used their seats in the parliament to join the coalition
government of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a Social Democrat. Joschka
Fischer, a Green, is Germany's current foreign minister.

"The American situation, alas, is very different," Kilian said. "America is
not a parliamentary democracy and proportional representation doesn't exist
- the winner takes all. Under this scenario, Ralph Nader, the Green
presidential candidate, could throw the American presidential election to
the Republicans - a highly alarming prospect.

"The next American president would be a certified polluter and a man who
couldn't be further from any ideals the Greens here and on the other side
of the Atlantic espouse.

"As somebody who has voted Green since 1979 in Germany, I don't understand
the reasoning behind Nader's position. The bottom line of all progressive
politics is the improvement of people's lives and the protection of the
environment. George W. Bush, on both accounts, would be a step back. Just
look at his tax cut or a Bush energy policy.

"The position of the American Greens is highly questionable and outright
immature, if you ask me."

Louis Proyect
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