Anti-Party Discourses in Germany: Three Essays

Bevan, Ruth; Probst, Lothar and Scarrow, Susan (March 1995) Anti-Party Discourses in Germany: Three Essays. Former Series > Working Paper Series > IHS Political Science Series 22


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Abstract: Susan Scarrow: The paper argues that there is a logical link between types of party criticisms and types of proposed remedies. It distinguishes three main variants of anti-party discourses - Pluralist, Rouseauian, and Statist - and identifies corresponding remedies. It uses examples from German history to clarify the proposed typology, and to demonstrate the plausibility of the argument.; Abstract Lothar Probst: Following up to the deliberations of Ernst Cassirer and Murray Edelman onthe importance of political myths in the twentieth century, this local study examines specific forms of communication and their contents of symbolisms used by the right-wing populist German People's Union (DVU) to communicate with their voters. The author starts from the assumption that, in overly bureaucratic procedural democratic societies, the failure to create affective bonds and to instill a feeling of identification causes a trend toward the use of symbolic forms in politics. Such a trendis, to a certain degree, the result of the inability of political institutions to solve problems. The political propaganda and the holistic ideology of the DVU suggest that the problems of fragmented societies could be solved by a new identifying social system . Without providing a capability of solving problems, the DVU latches on to a policy filled to the hilt with symbolism's by contributing their own images, pictures and symbols, to successfully reach certain groups of voters. In doing so, the DVU uses simple and populist symbols following the basic pattern of a binary code such as the top/the bottom or we/the others to establish a communication in symbolic forms with their electorate, which is made up of socially intimidated voter groups that are cultural outsiders, politically disinterested and have a below-average education. This study demonstrates with concrete examples, that this type of communication of symbolic forms fulfills at least three prerequisites for creating political myths: (1) It reduces the complexity of political problems to "simple solutions." (2) It satisfies the need for a clear friend-foe definition. (3) It gives disgruntled voter groups the image of a concept they can identify with.; Abstract Ruth Bevan: Petra Kelly's antipolitical credentials normally find validation in her association with the German Greens "antiparty" which she co-founded in 1979. Kelly's rupture with the Greens in 1990 demonstrated, however, that Kelly was in fact antipolitical while the Greens were not. The irreconcilable difference between the two was her antipolitical renouncement of political power in favor of permanent opposition. She argued that no truly independent opposition exists to check state power. Her antipolitical efforts were directed at creating an independent opposition in the name of civil society and at establishing centers of what she called "counter-information". Creating this permanent opposition was Kelly's paramount dilemma of power.;

Item Type: IHS Series
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2014 10:36
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 06:45

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