Green party members and grassroots democracy : a comparative analysis

Rüdig, Wolfgang and Sajuria, Javier (2018) Green party members and grassroots democracy : a comparative analysis. Party Politics. ISSN 1354-0688

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    Abstract

    When green parties emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, their political project included a strong commitment to a new type of internal party organisation, giving power to the 'grassroots'. With Green parties having become well-established in most West European party systems, has the vision of ‘grassroots democracy’ survived the party foundation stage? What drives the ongoing or waning commitment to grassroots democracy? Analysing party membership survey data from 15 parties collected in the early 2000s when many green parties had for the first time become involved in national government, we find that it is the social movement oriented, pacifist, left-wing membership that is most committed to grassroots democracy. It is the current involvement in social movements rather than past activity that is most important. Support for grassroots democracy is also stronger in "Latin Europe" and Greece but weaker in parties which have become established in parliament and government.