The Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many is a par­ty democ­ra­cy; polit­i­cal par­ties are the heart of Ger­man pol­i­tics. But since the 1970s, the estab­lished par­ties have lost mem­bers — espe­cial­ly because young peo­ple no longer join.

Since the elec­tion of Trump, Brex­it and the rise of right-wing pop­ulism, many young peo­ple have flocked to the par­ties and become more polit­i­cal­ly inter­est­ed than they have been for a long time. The SPD alone has 15,000 new mem­bers since the begin­ning of the year. How­ev­er, when young peo­ple enter par­ties, they encounter old par­ty struc­tures, often dat­ing from the 1970s. It is there­fore no won­der that the par­ties can hard­ly inspire poten­tial junior mem­bers and even the new­ly won young par­ty mem­bers often and quick­ly become “pas­sive mem­bers” again. As a result, the par­ties are age­ing as well as rep­re­sent­ing the inter­ests of young peo­ple less and less. A vicious, yet not irre­versible cir­cle. A fun­da­men­tal change is need­ed to keep the par­ties from run­ning out of steam.

For FRFG it is there­fore clear that the par­ties must again be more inter­gen­er­a­tional­ly just and act accord­ing­ly. In its posi­tion paper, the FRFG makes eleven pro­pos­als to the par­ties:
1) All pow­er to the members
2) An inter­me­di­ate lev­el between mem­ber­ship and non-membership
3) Open­ing of the structures
4) Sim­pli­fy­ing structures
5) Become a Think Thank
6) Dis­solve location-dependency
7) Reform par­ty conferences
8) Enable online cooperation
9) Rota­tion of posts
10) Finan­cial sup­port for candidates
11) Allow (cul­ture of)failure

If the estab­lished polit­i­cal par­ties do not want to keep pace with the younger gen­er­a­tion, they should heed the points men­tioned: Open struc­tures, more oppor­tu­ni­ties for par­tic­i­pa­tion, dig­i­ti­za­tion and the financ­ing of up-and-com­ing young can­di­dates make par­ties attrac­tive for young politi­cians,” says FRFG Ambas­sador Yan­nick Haan. At the same time, the par­ties could coun­ter­act their loss of mem­bers and win the votes of young vot­ers. Haan: “Dear par­ties: Become sustainable.”

The SRzG has sent its 11-point plan to the state and fed­er­al lead­ers of the Ger­man par­ties. The com­ments are sum­ma­rized in a report.