25 Aug 2020, 13:29
David Reay

Splits as Fridays for Future activists run for parliament

taz/ Süddeutsche Zeitung

Several members of Fridays for Future (FfF) Germany have declared their intention to run for federal parliament, exposing divisions within the non-partisan climate movement, taz reports. Jakob Blasel, one of the organisation’s spokespeople, and Urs Liebau, an activist, both said they would run on a Green Party ticket in federal elections next year. The 19-year-old Blasel, a Green Party member who has become a public face of FfF in Germany, said it was the “logical step” for him. But the move drew criticism from other leading members of the group, whose campaign has been spearheaded by the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. They argue that Green Party policies, such as demands to keep global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5°C, do not go far enough, and that all political parties are open to compromise. “An incredible number of compromises have to be made, which we cannot afford in terms of climate protection,” said FfF activist Leonie Bremer. She and others would like to see the movement continue its policy of street protests and public pressure for climate change.
The activists think that climate protection knows no compromise, writes Michael Bauchmüller in a separate article in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “But painful as it may be to them, it is precisely [Blasel’s] tenacious search for compromise” that FfF needs. But that shouldn’t mean an end to the movement, he adds. “Without them, without their massive protest, many a compromise would have served the climate less well.”

Thunberg started FfF with a school strike in 2018 and since then the grassroots movement has attracted millions of mostly young members. The public demonstrations have in recent months been stymied by the coronavirus crisis, however. Critics accuse FfF of having no plan, but FfF argues that high-profile meetings with world leaders get their voices heard.

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