Re: Will these men change Germany? The Left Party surges
Yes. To me, that's the most depressing constant in German politics. Remember that "Green" in East Germany means "Neues Forum", "Demokratie Jetzt", and all these other organizations that brought democracy to East Germany.
Its not that simple. The days of Bundnis '90 are gone, and even Bundnis '90 united only part of the revolution's groups.
The people of Neues Forum, for example, split up over the decision to join Bundnis '90. Some refused to go into B'90 because they thought the new group too politically narrow, too clearly running as "the small left", so to say, when in the revolution Neues Forum had acted as a kind of idealist but very pluralist mass movement.
A significant other group refused to merge in because they did not believe the political party system was a good vehicle for political change, or even a healthy basis of democracy. There was the whole anti-party / anti-politics current back then, if you remember, shaped by the revolution's idealism of the day and the distrust of anything called "party". (Note how rarely, in most Central European countries, a group coming from the opposition taking part in the elections of 1990 actually sported the word "party").
In the Neues Forum and general '89 movement, there was a group that really believed that the revolutions of '89 would yield a different way of shaping society, with social movements and bottom-up citizen action taking the place of the repudiated institutionalised parties that were mere interest group machines. Vaclav Havel's writings from the time were among those idealising civic action as alternative to institutionalised parties. Of course, the rejection of cohesive, unitary and top-down organised parties is what had most of the intellectual post-dissident movements swept away, if not in the first, then in the second round of elections, in both the Czech and Slovak parts of Czechoslovakia for example.
This idea of representing bottom-up and pluralist civic action rather than party programmes had more people from the '89 movements peeling off still when Bundnis 90 eventually decided to organisationally merge with the federal Green Party.
Then there were separate groups that did not join Bundnis 90 from the start. Demokratie Jetzt did, yes, but Demokratischer Aufbruch joined the CDU list. Like the CDU, the FDP-East list also attracted a dissident group (forget the name) as well as one of the former regime's "block parties". The refounded SPD that of course merged with the national SPD also attracted its share of '89 activists and dissidents. And finally there were those former dissidents who had opposed the "real existing socialism" of the GDR, but had wanted nothing more than a "true" socialist system, and actually ended up joining the PDS - like Stefan Heym.
Then a few years later again, several of the remaining prominent former dissidents in the Greens/Bundnis 90 deserted the party in protest over what they saw as its insufficient repudiation of the PDS. They crossed right over into the CDU.
So all in all, the current Greens/Bundnis 90 list in the East represents really only a small part of those dissident/revolutionary movements of back then.
The bottom line here however should be a different one. The Greens failed in the East in the 90s, and do so even now, because they have not offered a platform or a direction that appealed to East-German voters and did not address the concerns that those voters had.
The revolution was a time of great and abstract, philosophical idealism, about political culture, new ways of organising, etc. But soon after the unification, East-Germans simply faced a bracing social, economic and political storm that turned their life upside down. A time that screamed for answers, for ways to make sense of it all, ways to find some certainties, some hope, or at least some sense of comfort in it all.
The right had a clear vision on offer: embrace the change, and believe that you, too, can be a winner of this change. That's something that provides the voter with a grip, with something to hold on to in the storm. The PDS provided such a grip too: the grip of disappointment, of - often justified - resentment, of (Ossi) group solidarity, and of increasing nostalgia.
The Greens offered no such grip. The East-German Greens retreated into pure ecologism, which just doesnt feel as an immediate priority if you dont have a job, dont have money, and everything around you has changed, mixed in with equally post-materialist civic issues. It became a self-consciously intellectual group with a culturally elitarian outlook. On the major issue of the day - how to survive, or even approach, this socio-economic transformation, it had no audible answer.
Then there was the way the East-Greens became completely unrecognizable as tiny minority in a West-German party. The Greens certainly could have done more to provide the East-Greens with visible positions. As it was, the Greens were largely felt to be the most West-German party of them all. Not just that, it was a West-German party catering for a specific, quasi-generational cultural hinterland - the 68ers and the squatters and peace activists and the like of the 80s - that simply did not exist in the East.
The Greens failed in the East because it, itself, failed - it can blame nobody else for it. If the PDS picked up a left-of-the-SPD vote larger than any the Greens ever gathered in the West, it was simply because it actually voiced the feelings and concerns of a large group of East-Germans, and because it represented East-German-specific social and cultural identities, while the Greens never did either, and really never even tried to do.