Freitag, 16. Juli 2010

Latest news

The public services of Dachau have planned to support the construction of the coal-burning power plant in Lünen. On April, 6th a citizens' group, called „Bürgerinitiative Kontra-Kohlestrom-Dachau“, handed in a collection of 2.800 signatures demanding for a public decision. Only 2.100 signatures were necessary for this demand. The public vote whether to hold on to the plan to invest 2.000.000 euros in the project in Lünen or not was set to be on July, 4th.
To ensure that the result of the decision is valid 20% of the 31.484 habitants with voting power were supposed to vote for or against the investment.
10.799 people voted, which is about 34%.

The citizens of Dachau therefore decided not to support the coal-burning power plant in Lünen.

Comparison between GFL and american examples

As it becomes obvious, none of the smaller parties in the USA was ever able to achieve such a successful start as the GFL did. Some of the parties are existing for years and never even got on the ballot.

What could be the reason for this?


The USMJParty as well as the Workers Party are very restricted in their demands. They try to achieve their aims, which even partly sound ridiculous and unable to achieve. Take for example the demand of the Workers Party for secure jobs for everybody. This might be a good demand, but how is it achieveable? The USMJParty wants to legalize marijuana. But do they also care for other needs of the citizens? Who would actually vote for a party that only cares for legal drugs, especially in times of crisis?

Compared to the GFL there is a big difference in that. Of course, the GFL had their main aims as well, but they also care for other needs, listen to what people want and try to make life and politics as a whole better.

Caring only for ONE aspect or having a radical opinion about something (for example abolishing war as a whole, abolishing capitalism...) surely frightens off possible voters and excludes, right from the beginning, certain groups of people. It surely is no politics for everybody but only for a few, who share the same, drastic opinion.


It might also be negative, that those small parties in the US are not restricted to any local area but aim at the entire country right from the beginning.

It is compareable to a child, that is born and tries to walk immediately. Those parties are founded, but instead of trying to change life and politics in small steps, they immediately try to push their aims through: nationwide.

As the example of the GFL shows, they also disclaimed the option to take part in the mayor elections to be able to concentrate on the local elections, which was a better choice to fulfill their aims.

After all people don't seem to trust parties, which immediately reach too high. It might be a better idea to prove their abilities on a smaller basis so people can learn to trust.


It is great to have ambitious aims. But what does it help, if you do not have a good plan how to fulfill them? Some parties have great demands, some of them do even sound very reasonable. But if somebody only cries out what he wants but offers no plan HOW it is going to happen, nobody will vote for them.

See for example what Richard J. Rawlings, member of the USMJParty says: „I feel if we can raise the money needed to get on the ballot, we can get the signature's needed too!“

He „feels“ that they can do it anyhow. But how should people ever trust in someone who „feels“ they can do it, but never loses a word about „how“ it can be made possible? As a result, Rawlings was NOT able to raise any money:

The GFL, on the other hand, has concrete aims which are fulfillable, they are close to the citizens, are open for discussion and even make clear, HOW they want to change things.

This creates trust, as well as the competence they broadcast. To get a short impresssion of that, it might help to visit the various websites of the parties:


Workers Party:


As you can see, the USMJParty, as well as the Workers Party, have quite unstructured websites, full of propaganda. If you are really looking for information you are quite lost.

The GFL on the other hand provides a structured website that also gives a lot of detailed information which after all seems a lot more competent.

After all, the key to success seems to be competent, close to the citizen and, most of all, look out for aims that are fulfillable. Something, that even the big parties cannot handle and if they were not that big already, who knows if anybody ever voted for them.

Small parties and citizen groups in the USA - Workers Party

Another small left-wing party is the Workers Party. Their main aims are:

- abolish capitalism, especially monopoly capitalism

- a political system, in which the masses of people are able to participate directly

- in political decisions

- secure jobs and high standard for everybody

- free medical care

- secure pension

- right to housing, shelter ans food

- free and equal education

- abolish war

- withdraw all american troops abroad

The party was founded in 2003 and ever since then had no noteworthy successes. The leading member was Michael Thoburn, who died in 2007. He was also the editor of The Worker, a biweekly newsletter published by the party.

Another very important and interesting fact is, that there were many other american parties known by the same name, which only existed for some years all in all.

Those are:

- Workers Party of America, 1921 – 1929

- American Workers Party, 1933 – 1934

- Workers Party of the United States, 1934

- Workers Party, 1940 – 1949

- American Communist Party

Donnerstag, 15. Juli 2010

Small Parties and citize groups in the US - USMJParty

U.S. Marijuana party

One of the small parties in the USA is the U.S. Marijuana party. The party was founded in 2002 by Loretta Nall. Ever since they founded, the USMJParty tried to raise money for their campaigns and to get on the ballot. Though already existing for 8 years now, they never achieved that.

Of course, as the name tells, they try to legalize the use of cannabis for every citizen being over 18 years old. As they proclaim on their website, about 15 million citizens in the U.S. consume marijuana. All in all quite a big amount, but still the party is not successful at all.

Richard J. Rawlings ran for Congress in 2004, 2008 and even in 2010. As he states himself, he had not much help and even less money. At least the party is much more tenacious than it is successful.

Mittwoch, 14. Juli 2010

Possible reasons for the GFLs' success

It is stunning, that a party forms in 2007, takes part in the election of 2009 and already gets more than 13% of the votes. How is that possible?

There are many imaginable reasons for that.

First of all, the GFL formed, when many people were unsatisfied. The big issue, whether a coal-burning power plant should be built was very current and urgent. Many citizens were angry because they never wanted the power plant, but CDU and SPD insisted on their plans. The GFL, before they even were a party, organized meeting in the town hall, collected signatures and even tried to convince politicians of CDU, SPD etc. to join those meetings. None of them ever showed up, and all those aspects finally led to the foundation of the GFL as a party. There were also some other issues, like for example the swimming pools in Lünen, which were all planned to be closed so that one central swimming pool can be built. Nobody wanted this, but for financial reasons the politicians still insisted on their plans.

So maybe the biggest aspect why the GFL became that popular is that they wanted to create alternatives. They did not only think about financial aspects (which is ridiculous anyway, because those plans will produce more costs than they will earn money). The GFL care for what the citizens want and have, all in all, the same aims as most of the citizens.

Being formed of citizens, this is no surprise after all. Furthermore they show themselves close to the citizens. In contrast to many other parties the GFL tries to stay in touch with them, wants to hear their ideas, invites them to meetings, wants to discuss about issues and not only make decisions the citizens do not want. Everybody is invited to join the party and take part in important decisions.
Another possible reason for the GFL being that popular could be what the CDU calls: “propaganda”

During the election the GFL had aggressive posters, trying to show the citizens, how their future could be if they still voted for CDU and SPD.

Those posters were to be seen all around Lünen. They also had a very well organized website right from the beginning, where the citizens could get informed quite easily, where they proclaimed the errors of the other parties. The GFL was angry that nobody listened to the before, that powerful politicians ignored the voice of the citizens. Before and during the election they made clear, that they want change, that they want what democracy is made for: the CITIZEN is to decide.

This seems to have made such an impression, that, though the GFL is quite an inexperienced and young party, people seem to trust in them. Now they will have to show, whether they really deserve it or not.

How they organize themselves

There were several reasons for the GFL to found. They were not satisfied with the politics of mainly CDU and SPD. After the foundation they decided on main subjects – including more than only the power plant issue – and formed work groups. Every work group deals with different issues such as:

education and sports

makes suggestions about: new building, reconstruction or deformation of schools and sports facilities

citizens' service and social

budget, economy and energy

works on financial aspects, economic development of the town ...


deals with everything concerning youth, family and children

culture and free time

deals with issues concerning school, culture and free time: school sport facilities, leisure time facilities, touristic issues

security and order

fire control, public safety, declension, street cleaning, graveyards, traffic...

urban development

traffic, building new roads, grassed areas, garden plots, regional projects

Those work groups have decided on several main points they fight for. The people being active in those groups are normal citizens who decided to become active in politics, such as teachers, doctors but also pensioners.

Reactions to the result of the election 2009

In their first election, the GFL already achieved more than 13% of the votes. At the same time, the CDU lost about 14% of their votes. The CDUs' own comment on this was: „Maybe our politic was too clean.“ Isn't it weird to talk about being clean if they are in favour of a dirty coal-burning power plant, especially when they know that the citizens are against it? Furthermore the head of the town alliance of the CDU, Herbert Jahn, accused the GFL of having persuaded the citizens with aggressive slogans that are rather propaganda than fulfillable aims.
Another interesting aspect is the fact, that it was also the first election the UWG took place in. Still they only achieved 2,4%, which was quite disappointing. But it also shows, that the GFL did not only get that much votes because they are a new alternative, but because the really convinced the people.
After all, it were CDU and SPD who were the big losers of this election. Still they are quite confident for the future, because they do not believe in the aims of the GFL and are more or less sure, that the GFL will not be able to keep all their promises. Future will show, whether the GFL deserves the peoples' trust.