Although the emergence of Green and Alternative parties has posed a threat to the SPD and other established groups, it has served an important func tion in integrating the various strands of the Green Movement. Thus many people who have 1 opted out1 of capitalist society have found themselves voting for a party which has become directly involv ed in the political machinery of the democratic, capitalist state. For instance the Alternative List in Berlin recruits most of its voters from the ’alternative scene1 which comprises projects and autonomous groups that practise an alternative life style. The press spokesperson for the party exp lained that part of this ’scene1 wanted nothing at all to do with the Alternative List because it felt that ’politics is rubbish’. The party therefore had to play an integrative role:
We don’t condemn that because we can under stand how people can have such ideas...we only criticise it politically and try to tell these people that we too basically want the same things as them, only one cannot step out of politics. If we want to change anything we must get involved in politics.(l)
Many supporters of the Green Party take this role for granted and, as I showed in the previous chapter, still look towards the SPD to take new initiatives on the issues raised by the Green Movement and to co-operate with it. Despite the ideological barriers between the two sides, the relationship between the Green Movement and the established groups may be much more grateful than one might think. This may also be true of alternative groups which are ’fundamentally’ opposed to the prevailing system.