Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fission fungus

What in English is sometimes called seed of contention is known in German as Spaltpilz. A couple of years ago Freiburg's Green Party was infested by the fission fungus when two members decided to leave the main stream forming an even greener party, the Green Alternatives Freiburg (GAF).

A green city needs more than one Green party
Recently the Green Party went to court demanding that the GAF abstains from using the word green in their party name including the G in their acronym. The Green Alternatives however claim that green is a generic word as used, e. g., in Gr√ľnschnabel (greenhorn), Green City and greenback.

While waiting for the court ruling I remind you that the fission fungus is a common infection in Germany's party landscape. The most spectacular fission occurred in 1917 when the Independent Socialists (USPD) - because as pacifists they refused to vote the World War One bonds - seceded from the Social Democrates (SPD). After the war the USPD was one of the germ cells of Germany's Communist Party (KPD).

It is interesting to see that political parties that were formerly separated and then became united are not immune against the fission fungus. Following some social unrest during the first years of the new century some left leaning party members of the Social Democrats together with other left minded people in Germany's West founded a new party called Work and Social Justice - the Alternative (WASG)  in 2004. It would have been a logical move to unite with the Party of the Democratic Socialism (PDS) - successor of the former SED in the East. Following lots of argy-bargy the two parties eventually came to grips launching in 2007 a united party Die Linke (The Left). Due to the many nostalgic people living in the East the new party got enough votes to be represented in the Bundestag and a few State Parliaments. However since the unification of the two left parties the fission fungus has become quite active trying to split Die Linke into fundamentalists and realists. Party members are fighting each other openly such that some of the supporters of Die Linke became fed up such that the party kept losing votes in some recent state elections.

It is quite noticeable that the fission fungus made it over the Atlantic infecting in the US both the Republican and the Democratic Party. Will the inherent healing forces overcome its attack?

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