Drawing on recent research on the internal politics of the Belgian ecology parties, Agalev and Ecolo, this work demonstrates how political careers in contemporary social movements lead to activism in left-libertarian politics and influence political ideology. Beyond the European Left is the first comprehensive survey of ecology parties in Europe that presents detailed empirical information on the careers, organizational practices, and political beliefs of the activists involved.
The authors employ a new research methodology-surveying party militants-that is better adapted to the study of micropolitics than are expert interviews. Herbert Kitschelt and Staf Hallemans show that European Green party activists express an egalitarian and libertarian vision of a desirable social order that builds on, but radically transforms, ideas of the traditional socialist European left. The authors then examine the debates and disagreements among militants on political objectives and the consequences of conflicting views for party organization and strategy. Their findings illuminate the unique dynamics of left-libertarian politics in a number of Western European countries with obvious relevance to current developments in Eastern Europe.