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What America needs now is …. Pirates??

Logo of the United States Pirate Party

This Pittsburgh hometown girl is already there.  My first complete sentence was “Beat’em Bucs!”

Many of us might have missed this little bit of hopeful news, what with our seasonal preparations for the next GOP presidential candidates’ debate already underway, but it appears there has been what is being called a rout in the political makeup of the German parliament.  The Pirate Party won enough seats in parliament in the elections a couple of days ago that now they have to be taken seriously.  Even the Pirates were surprised:

As Berlin election results came in on Sunday evening, sweaty members of the Pirate Party danced arm in arm beneath a disco ball at popular club in the city’s Kreuzberg district. The smell of marijuana spread through the informal party, where guests made their own sandwiches and drank bottled beer.

“I can’t believe it,” said newly elected parliamentarian Christopher Lauer as he fell onto a sofa, sending a message of thanks out via his Twitter account for the 8.9 percent of voter support. “It is breathtaking, a surreal feeling, because there is nothing that compares to this.”

Standing before the television screen, the leader of the Pirate Party, Sebastian Nerz, called the historic moment “cool.”

“It’s the first time since the 1980s that a new political power has come onto the stage,” he said.

Indeed, the support for the party — founded in 2006 on a civil liberties platform that focused on Internet freedoms — was sensational. Not only will the Pirate Party enter a regional government for the first time, but its results far surpassed the five percent hurdle needed for parliamentary representation. The success was so unexpected that the party had only put 15 candidates on its list of nominations. Had their support been just a little higher, some of their seats would have remained empty because post-election nominations of candidates isn’t allowed.

With the addition of the unexpected victory of the Pirate Party in Germany to the unexpected victory of the NDP in Canada, we have two points towards a correlation.   Is it too early to predict a break in the stranglehold that traditional party systems have in many countries?  We may also be seeing the demise of the Green Party.  It doesn’t seem to be able to break out and, let’s face it, when it comes to voting next year, do we really want to vote Green?  They pick candidates that no one has ever heard of and their platform is almost alien to many American voters.  I still consider myself a Democrat, albeit one that is in exile.  I’m quite proud of the Democrats that preceded the current bunch.  But this current bunch is scared of its own shadow and after years and years of choosing the least offensive, machine candidates to run, we have a very uninspiring and ineffective party.  The Pirate party could provide  that little bit of random craziness and energy that we need in the political landscape.

And think of the possibilities.  The Pirates are tech geeks.  They’re into net neutrality and expanding access to digital media.  Could we also expect an American Pirate party to put modernization and de-monopolization of broadband on the top of its agenda?  Who’s to say that’s not the right thing to focus our attention on?  We spend so much time on deficits and social spending but maybe what we really need is to protect our first amendment rights from the relentless creep of corporatization.  How many times have we gnashed our teeth in frustration that the media wasn’t covering something we felt was important or had the ability to slow our messages down or curtail them altogether?  If you want to change your country and create a movement, you have to first be able to spread your message.  So, maybe the Pirates are on to something.  Keep it simple, stupid.

The other cool thing about having an American Pirate party is that it might be easier to find it on a ballot where third parties can not land in a consistent position from county to county.  The name and concept are easy enough to grasp that a motivated voter wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time looking for it.  It could appeal to the very people the parties are trying to reach but who are now disaffected – those of us who were young enough to have spent much of our working lives in the high tech and internet age.  We’ve given up on the old fogeys who are running the Democratic party, along with their weird attitudes towards women, and have a hard time reconciling the Republican party with, um, reality as we know it.  It’s time to go marauding for big political booty.

There is a Pirate party in the US.  It’s in its infancy and is currently represented by the Florida Pirate Party.  It’s registered as a recognized party in Massachusetts and Florida but considering how low the bar is to getting on the ballot in many states (even if you’re relegated to an obscure location on it), starting a legitimate Pirate party movement here in the US isn’t as crazy as it sounds.  It just might work.  And 8.9% of 535 is, hang on, let me get my calculator… 47.6.  Round it up to 48 to include the arms and head of one representative.  48 is a number that should put fear into both parties.  Works for me!

 

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17 Responses

  1. Wait to see how the American print and broadcast media react. If they ignore the German Pirate Party’s success it means their corporate masters might be worried. All the money they spent buying republicans and Obama-crats will have been for naught if the idea of a third party catches on.

    • Why wait? Our political system needs an infusion of something fresh and totally different to shake things up. I can’t really get behind the Greens. They just aren’t doing it for me. But I can kinda see where the Pirate party is coming from. I would prefer something like the NDP but if all I can get is a Pirate…

      • I’m there!

        If the outcome of the election is guaranteed to suck – we might as well have fun.

        • Not just fun. These people are serious. They just had no idea how much their message would appeal to the public. But it kinda makes sense.

      • You must mean the Canadian New Democratic Party because over here the NDP is either Nouvelle Droite Populaire, French far right nationalists, or Neue Demokratische Partei, German far right nationalists. We need some new TLAs

  2. I thought the Pirate parties WERE in chrage already…

  3. Well, RD, just a little personal note here, all my kids wore number 21 in the high school sports they competed in, to honor a true sports “hero”. Been a Pirates fan longer than you’ve been on this earth, kind of hard here in Phillies land, but we had a great first half of the season this year, here’s to next year!

  4. The success of the Pirate Party in the election to the Berlin parliament – not yet the Bundestag – apart from their platform: direct democracy, transparency and online data protection, was due to their approach to the voters/ citizens, who they see as intelligent and who they encourage to take active part in the process.

    This manifested itself in the election posters. Instead of just depicting smiling faces of the candidates, they spoke directly to the concerns of the voters:

    “We are the ones with the answers.
    You are the ones with the questions.”

    “I want to love the way I am.”
    (Lieben=To love. Leben=To live.)

    “Health politics instead of drug wars.”

    “Right to vote for all Berliners
    Independent of age or origin.”

    “Privatize religion now.”

  5. I would think DandyTiger would be all over this!

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