NY Times Notices That The Pirate Party May Be Changing Politics

from the slowly,-but-surely dept

We’ve talked about the growing success of The Pirate Parties in Europe, with particularly strong growth in Germany. While some continue to dismiss the phenomenon as unimportant, it appears that more and more people are realizing why it is important. I don’t think more than maybe a handful of people actually believe The Pirate Party will ever become a significant political party on its own… but what it can do (and is already doing in some areas) is changing how politics works. Even the NY Times is taking notice, publishing a fascinating piece by Steve Kettmann about how The Pirate Party in Germany is having a much wider impact. He notes that the official platform — and what many people associate the party with — may be niche, but the overall goal is something much bigger:

But their real goal, and the root of their success, is more meta: using the Internet to create a new structure of politics that can solve the problem of how to energize citizens — not only for the excitement of a campaign but also the often dreary realities of actual governance.

And he gives an example of how The Pirate Party is experimenting with technology to get the public much more engaged. They’re not fighting back against the system just by talking — but they’re actually trying to hack the system from within:

Using a software package they call Liquid Feedback, the Pirates are able to create a continuous, real-time political forum in which every member has equal input on party decisions, 24 hours a day. It’s more than just a gimmicky Web forum, though: complex algorithms track member input and generate instantaneous collective decisions.

Of course, on some level Liquid Feedback is a gimmick, an effort to get young people interested and involved in the humdrum of German politics, outside the campaign season and even off line. Whatever it is, it works: late last month some 1,300 members trekked to the small northern city of Neumunster to elect a new executive board.

And the real point in all of this: there’s no reason that others can’t learn from what The Pirate Parties are doing, and make use of them to make all politics much more engaging and inclusive:

There’s no reason the party’s lessons couldn’t be applied elsewhere, including the United States. One of the biggest problems for President Obama has been to maintain the vigorous online following that Candidate Obama generated in 2008. But while the Obama campaign at least gave the impression that he was influenced by input from his supporters, they have been shut out of the White House.

If Mr. Obama had followed the Pirate method, he would not only have sent updates via Facebook and Twitter, but he would have involved larger numbers of supporters in an extensive dialogue and given them an actual say in determining such priorities as which issues to pursue in his first months in office and how much to reach out to conservatives.

Indeed, the Obama administration did at least try to do some of that with various online tools, but it rarely seemed to take them very seriously, reverting to politics as usual, rather than actually doing much with what information the public sent in. It was a step in the right direction, but hardly a full step. If The Pirate Party’s one big success is convincing other major political parties to be more responsive to the public, rather than special interests, I’d argue that it would be a massive success.

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Comments on “NY Times Notices That The Pirate Party May Be Changing Politics”

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:Lobo Santo (profile) says:


The public… involved in politics?

It will never work.


One of the things I’ve actually remarked upon often lately: Humans as a species have reached a point of technical competence where it is entirely within the realm of feasibility to have a REAL direct democracy–all of a nation’s people being directly involved with national decision making process.

Realistically, the ‘powers that be’ will never embrace democracy (unless they’d sufficiently subverted it first), as it would put them out of power.

Anonymous Coward says:

There is a point where perhaps the political party is avoiding responsiblity, by making the process so democratic that it becomes almost meaningless. Moreover, they open themselves up to be the victims of those who yell the loudest (or post the most often) rather than the mainstream.

Basic rule of life is that 90%+ of people never will complain about anything, at least in an official manner. So any political party basing their decisions on what people are saying are dealing with the noisy 10%, and ignoring the majority.

Sometimes, the choices will match what the majority wants. But often enough, it will be a miss. Does this really help anyone out?

Anonymous Coward says:


So, you prefer the system we have today, in which, if you have no money, you have NO vote in the matter at all?

Government is a hard thing to get right, but I believe that a system where everyone can voice an opinion, and where that opinion can be judged by everyone on it’s own merits, is a step in the right direction. It’s not perfect, but it certainly is more Democratic than what we have today.

Anonymous Coward says:

i think the Pirate Party is going to surprise a lot of people in the various elections, particularly in the EU. i also think that if the ‘recognised’ parties dont take more notice of what the Pirate Party stands for, what it’s agenda is, they will lose a lot more votes to them, not just to ‘the other side’

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:


Mob-rule never works. And a true Democracy is nothing more than Mob-rule. The US is not now nor has it every been a Democracy because the founders understood basic facts about people.

1. People are emotional and will decide more quickly based on emotion than they will via reasoned thought.

2. Because emotion is not the best way to decide the laws and actions of a country the founders knew that they needed to provide a way for people to have a voice, but not be able to shout opposition down.

Thus we have a Representative Republic and not a Democracy.

Anonymous Coward says:

[…] and how much to reach out to conservatives.

Yes, of course, because that’s worked out so incredibly well in the past, and will continue to work effectively in the future.

Obama could reduce unemployment to 3%, bring democracy to Afghanistan, balance the federal budget, and miraculously heal the rift between Wolverines and Buckeyes…and there would still be a crowd of Fox “News”-driven morons (ah, but I repeat myself) ranting mindlessly about he’s an Islamocommunosocialifascist plant.

And by the way, the correct term is now “regressive”, not “conservative”. There are no “conservatives” left, not in any sense that someone like Barry Goldwater would recognize. There are only racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-science, religious fanatics.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Emo rules!!

9/10 – You forgot to attack somebody’s character or argument.

It sounds as though you’re advocating a nanny state —

“The rights of the group supersede the rights of the individual, therefore you have no rights.”

“There’s no point in letting you decide what’s good for you, you’d just do something stupid anyway. I will decide for you and you will do what I decide.”

By the way, you’re ‘fact 1’ is a flawed premise, meaning your conclusion is inevitably flawed as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Emo rules!!

no, he is right

our founders knew the people could not rule by democracy, that is why our government IS NOT a democracy, you need to learn that first

fact N#1 is not flawed at all, people will always let emotion rule the way they feel about something, and in a true democracy, they could whip up enough mouth breathers to vote for thier rule of choice

you are on track with the nanny thing, but that is what you get if the majority ruled, i.e. true democracy, the majority vote always wins, so little things like, oh slavery, all citizens have the right to vote not just land owners, prohibition, women voting, women owning land, gay marriage would still be illegal, and would probably still be going on, since the majority didn’t care one way of the other, in those case’s the minority yelled very loud and got things passed

getting those changed were good things, but would probably never have been changed in a true democracy

Anonymous Coward says:


I do think the pirate party is getting more and more in tune with short term mentality politics, playing to to the masses who are easily distracted by one shiny thing after another. The real question will be if they are able to articulate a full on political platform that addresses things in a more global manner, and shows their real longer term agenda.

Socialists are fairly popular in Europe. Europe is also going broke. Anyone want to speculate on the connection between the two?

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:


While this is mostly true, you can’t forget that it works the same way in reverse too. When Obama adopted all of Bush’s terrible policies, both the Republicans and the Democrats just flipped their opinions overnight. The Democrats are suddenly all for military intervention overseas and the Republicans are suddenly worried about the massive increase in presidential power.

It’s all just a game. People cheer for their political party like they cheer for football teams. Consistency and rationality need not apply.

Hell the two parties are so “different” these days, the Republicans are about to nominate Obama-lite as their candidate. Talk about a choice.

Anonymous Coward says:


“they open themselves up to be the victims of those who yell the loudest”

No, that’s how our current system works. People like you, and corporations, who simply yell the loudest and pay the most in campaign contributions and revolving door favors, get your way against the interests and will of the public. That’s why we have 95+ year copy protection lengths.

Anonymous Coward says:


“Socialists are fairly popular in Europe.”

Well, what we currently have is a system of corporate socialism where the government provides corporations with assistance through monopoly rents (ie: IP). That needs to change.

IP abolition is free market capitalism, what we have now is the very antithesis of free market capitalism. One of the entire basis of free market capitalism, what Adam Smith sought to show, is that government established monopolies are bad for society. It’s econ 101, economic courses spend a ton of time explaining why monopolies (especially government established ones) are bad exactly because that’s what Adam Smith in his book explains.

Government established monopolies increase prices and reduce aggregate output. They, IP, are the very antithesis of free market capitalism and they are exactly what the concept of free market capitalism sought/seeks to discourage.

Anonymous Coward says:


The very definition of free markets is that the government doesn’t establish monopolies. When the government insists that it can be the only one to produce x, it’s established a monopoly. When the government insists that only a given institution can produce x or has complete control over who can produce it and can charge what it wants, its establishing a monopoly. In free market capitalism, prices are determined by supply and demand, not by government established monopolies.

I’m mostly a free market capitalism, which is why I’m often in favor of IP abolition. I know, incumbent businesses only claim that they want free market capitalism to the extent that it favors them but when it comes to the aspects of free market capitalism that disfavors them, like IP abolition and the abolition of other anti-competitive laws that favor them, they are against it. Their every position just so happens to be best for their profit margins, not because it’s best for society (of course that’s how they must market it), because it’s not, but because they are purely self interested.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:


I’ll paint a more complete picture now.

France: (easily Europe’s biggest country and historically incredibly socialist) had Nicholas Sarkozy at the helm, guess on what side of the coin he fell? That’s right conservative right-wing. Granted, currently there are elections in France, and it seems that the socialist opponent Hollande is winning. But the race isn’t over yet.

Speaking of Holland.
The Netherlands (historically a very left-wing liberal and accepting nation of all sorts of different cultures): up until recently it had a right wing government (it fell just a few days ago) with right wing xenophobe of the century Geert Wilders as a spider in the middle of that particular web.

Britain: For the first time ever it has a coalition government, of mostly conservatives together with liberal democrats (and with not the more socialist labour party)

Germany: led by Angela Merkel, leader of the conservative party CDU/CSU. Second biggest party is the social democrat party (SPD), which is not socialist anymore, but a modern social-democratic party working within capitalism.

Switzerland: current biggest party: Swiss People Party, a right wing national conservative party.

Spain: Prime minister: Mariano Rajoy, leader of the People’s Party of Spain, a center right conservative party.

Italy: biggest coalition is the Silvio Berlusconi coalition a center-right coalition.

AC, you want to try again?

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:


Humans as a species have reached a point of technical competence where it is entirely within the realm of feasibility to have a REAL direct democracy–all of a nation’s people being directly involved with national decision making process.

True enough but it’s a terrifying idea. Stop and think for a moment about the number of people who vote on American Idol vs the number who can explain how tariffs affect international trade or how tax policy affects the economy. The majority of the public are either stupid or willfully ignorant of most political issues and you think it would be a good idea to have them voting directly on important issues?

At best it would be a tragedy of the commons on a scale orders of magnitude greater than the world has ever seen.

DanZee (profile) says:

Not too Democratic

Well, you don’t want things to get too Democratic! After all, if you have a pure democracy, people could just vote themselves free healthcare, free education, free housing, free food, free transportation, and a weekly pension, and bankrupt the country much faster than Obama is doing! Government is already doling out huge amounts of wealth transfer “because people want more services.”

Anonymous Coward says:


“rather than the mainstream.”

and who establishes the ‘mainstream’. Retards like yourself? Those idiots who control the mainstream media who don’t know

1: Economics

2: Physics

3: computer science

4: Math

5: Science

6: Biology

7: chemistry

Or basically anything beyond serving their own agenda because they are too lazy and dumb to actually learn anything? Those morons who’s entire ‘success’ is predicated on government assistance in the form of anti-competitive laws and who get their anti-competitive laws passed not based on the public interest or any long term future vision, but who get their purely self interested laws passed (ie: 95+ year copy protection lengths) solely based on behavior that completely disregards morality (ie: revolving door favors and campaign contributions in return for anti-competitive laws and back door dealings and secretive meetings where only incumbent industry reps are invited while the public is left out, lies and more lies like Hollywood accounting and inflated numbers).

When the public is locked out of negotiations like ACTA while industry reps are being invited and while politicians conveniently find jobs with these incumbent businesses after their terms are over, these negotiations aren’t being made based on any ‘long term’, evidence based, vision of the public interest. No, they are being based solely on short sighted selfish decisions. That’s what our current IP, and anti-competitive, laws are a product of, short sighted profits for a few incumbents at the expense of the short and long term prosperity of the country.

These decisions aren’t based on what’s best for the public, they are based on what’s best for the politicians that make these decisions, what do they get in return in terms of campaign contributions and revolving door favors, and what’s best for the short term gain of the government-industrial complex.

Uncle Scary says:


You are so wrong about conservatives, there are lots of us out here, we are just not in the media so you don’t know about us. We are fiscal and constitutional conservatives and NOT social conservatives. We don’t care who or what is gay or who marrys what, we don’t care about race or ethnicity or gender. We are NOT really religious and have not been to church in years. We are just working people who are not liberal democrats and do not like free loaders who want the government to be our nanny. They used to call us the silent majority, then the religious right took the media spotlight, so uniformed people think we are all that way. If you meet some people out side of the city, maybe you will like us. Cheers

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Let's test all proposals with a Sims-type game

Perhaps if we did some simulations for each proposed idea, we could view the results in advance to see if they would work. However, we have so many people who will throw out anything that doesn’t support what they already believe that perhaps even facts no longer matter. We’re sort of in a new “Dark Ages” where myth and rumor are embraced more than anything tested and verified by the scientific method. If the facts don’t fit the belief, repudiate the process by which they were discovered.

Also, I have been curious whether it would help to take out personalities and only talk about specific ideas without linking them to people or parties. We have all seen cases where the idea is considered great if someone from one party supports it, but the same idea is trashed when someone from the other party supports it. Politics has become a career path where those involved in it will say anything to get elected.

Francisco George (profile) says:


Stop thinking the “old way”. Really we were compelled to be a “Party” and become “Politicians”. It is fun to hack the system from outside the system but it is more usefull to hack it from inside. We may have proposals but it is up to the citizens to approve or throw them out. Until our main goals: Direct Democracy, full respect of Human rights, Government transparency, Privacy on the Net, Free access to Culture(not as “free beers”)and proliferation of Open Source Software are not met there will be Pirate Parties. Once those achieved we will go back to a Citizen movement in charge of maintaining a permanent surveillance on what has been achieved so nobody could revert what has been gained.

John Fenderson (profile) says:


it is entirely within the realm of feasibility to have a REAL direct democracy

I think this would be a terrible idea. The reason we don’t generally have direct democracy in the US isn’t because of technological limitations, it’s because direct democracy leads to the tyranny of the majority, where the rights of people who are in the minority get infringed on by majority rule.

This brings up a deeper point, I think: any “pure” governmental form is undesirable. Pure democracy, pure socialism, pure communism, pure anything — they will all devolve into something tyrannical. The strength of the US system is that it’s mongrel, taking (ideally) the best ideas from each “pure” philosophy. It’s a bit like dogs: the purebreds have lots of physical problems, and the mongrels are the most robust and healthiest.

John Fenderson (profile) says:


Uncle scary, you’re describing real, historical conservatives. I know they exist, I’m even friends with many of them.

The problem is that they have no power or influence in government in general, or the Republican party in particular. They’re a bit like liberals in the US: sure, they exist in the population, but are essentially nonexistent in political offices or races.

Anonymous Coward says:


I think the reason is almost entirely a technology limitation, but also a bit of a social one. Try designing a voting system. You need to verify the identity of the voter. You need to maintain their privacy. You need to ensure that they only vote once. And probably most of all, you need the people to trust that the system isn’t rigged or dropping legit votes.

Do they still put mechanical arms on digital slot machines so people feel better that it is truly random?

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:


This is a very interesting article about how today’s “conservatives” aren’t, in a traditional sense.

The American Conservative — Marx?s Tea Party: “Conservatives have been doing this since the fifties. In order to enhance the popularity of their cause, they pretend to be the ideology of low-taxes and decreased spending, espousing the many benefits of austere government. Then, as soon as they are in power, they quickly forget all about the ideals of small government and focus on what really matters to them: nationalism, war, and doling out the spoils of political victory to their friends.”

Anonymous Coward says:


Give that man a cigar…he’s hit the nail on the head.

There are no liberals in politics at the national level. None. There are certainly people who are called that, usually as a form of derision, but speaking as a liberal, there’s nobody that I recognize as one of my own.

There are also precious few conservatives left. They’ve been replaced just about entirely by the regressives that I described upthread. I expect the few remaining to suffer the same fate in this or the next election cycle.

This is a problem, for liberals and conservatives and for the country. I didn’t like Barry Goldwater and he certainly wouldn’t like me, but given everything I’ve read about him (which is rather a lot, actually), I’m pretty sure that we could sit down across a table, agree to dislike each other, discern the facts, argue about policy, and eventually come to some sort of rational compromise about how to get shit done. Probably wouldn’t be the best thing (according to either of us) but it would at least make some sense and represent some kind of forward progress.

This is not presently possible. Even conservatives know it’s not possible, and they know who’s to blame: Let?s just say it: The Republicans are the problem. – The Washington Post. The regressive faction of the Republican Party now is the Republican Party, in terms of who wields power/controls money, and their idea of compromise is “do it our way”.

If I were a long-time Republican, I’d be furious. Where the hell were the grown-ups in the party when Newt Gingrich (racist, bigot, xenophobe) and Rick Santorum (misogynist, homophobe, insane religious fanatic) were actually allowed to campaign for the presidency under the GOP banner? (And by the way: I’m not a Democrat. I’ve never been a member of any political party. And I’ve smacked the Dems down equally hard, elsewhere, for THEIR crap, including the lack of liberals in the party, see above.)

But as a citizen, I’m pissed, and more than a little concerned. Our broken political system barely hobbles along as it is, and one party is now devoted full-time to breaking its kneecaps. This won’t end well — for anyone.

John Fenderson (profile) says:


I think the reason is almost entirely a technology limitation, but also a bit of a social one.

It’s exactly the other way around. The founders debated the idea of direct democracy pretty extensively. The objection to it (which won out in the end) was the social one. The founders overtly feared the “tyranny of the majority” (their term) and designed representative democracy as a safeguard against it.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:


There are no liberals in politics at the national level. None. There are certainly people who are called that, usually as a form of derision, but speaking as a liberal, there’s nobody that I recognize as one of my own.

A defining publication in my life was the Whole Earth Catalog. There was a lot of DIY ethic. And sustainability, back-to-the-earth, localization types learn a lot of the same skills as right wing survivalists. So there’s more commonality on both ends of the spectrum than many realize.

But when you have people telling you that sustainable practices (e.g., bike riding, generating your own renewable energy to go off-grid) are a worldwide Communist plot, then you end up with people not seeing how much they might have in common.

I’m comfortable with big government because that’s what I grew up with. My father was career Navy and the government gave us housing, medical care, schools, places to shop. etc. It was as government-owned as you can get and it was a good life.

However, at this point I’d be happy to go to a system of community governance. The place I live, Boulder, is more liberal than most. One nickname is “The People’s Republic of Boulder.” I think we’d be happy to run our own little world without having to deal with crazy people in DC.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike fully shows his true colours, radical progressive socialist. When one claims to be libertarian and then tells the obama camp how to win in 2012, well I don’t think any Libertarian who fully embraces the true original intent of the constitution and the bill of rights could in any way support obama.
Government and obama are stripping away our liberties on an hourly basis, and Mike is now helping them.

The shame!

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:


When one claims to be libertarian and then tells the obama camp how to win in 2012, well I don’t think any Libertarian who fully embraces the true original intent of the constitution and the bill of rights could in any way support obama.

I’ll repost this link for you, too. Most of the anti-Obama camp is no more libertarian or “conservative” than anyone else.

The American Conservative – Marx?s Tea Party : “The Tea Party types also tend toward a patriotic love of many of the state?s ‘public servants.’ Beck, Palin and Limbaugh question Obama?s domestic politics, but they always encourage us to trust the police, the prosecutors, and all who serve in the military. But under radical class analysis, if welfare bums and teachers are on the public dole, so too is everyone who carries a gun for the regime. While some libertarians and conservatives envision a limited state where soldiers and cops would be among the only legitimate government employees, today conservatives simultaneously describe the state as tyranny while worshipping those who carry out its orders.”

Anonymous Coward says:


While true conservatism has nothing to do with the political abominations you are seeing in almost all countries in the world, it is not pro war in it self conservativism is about.

The definition of a conservative is a person who supports slow and gradual change. Economically that is no change in taxes and absolutely not lowering taxes. Lower taxes is, well, the true liberal stand, which is pretty ironic for americans.

Nationalism is a conservative creation, since it can be so easily used to show any kinds of changes as the enemy threatening the nation.

Doling out is actually something conservatism does not frown upon in itself since it started under real monarchies…

Anonymous Coward says:


Marcel, honestly it’s too late. A few shorts years is not enough to change a society away from it’s central government giveaway and support everyone systems.

It’s odd to that some of the countries with the worst problems of piracy or that have weakly applied IP laws (yes, looking at your Spain) are also facing the worst economic problems.

Europe suffers right now because of poor fiscal policies, of poor work rules (most French people get a full salary and work 30 hours or so a week), and subsidized everything. Combine that with a population that doesn’t feel the need to pay any taxes (looking at you Greece!) and you have a recipe for disaster.

Perhaps political parties who are willing to make everything good for the people, no matter what, are just hurrying their own downfall.

Anonymous Coward says:


Marcel, it’s not the current person or party in power that makes the difference – it’s decades of policies that make it different.

Short work weeks, long support for unemployment, huge government give outs… they are all going broke for a reason. Those are socialist policies, the ones that cost a fortune, and the ones that hurt an economy in the end by creating artificial blockages towards growing the economy.

As Yoshard said, compared to the US (or Canada), Everything in Europe is pretty much left wing. The current conservatives in place would be liberal democrats in the US – and when they were the opposition, those in power would have been so far left as to fall off the political scale in the US>

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:


tone: rather ticked off.

Yes, left wing, but for the last bloody time; not socialist! (please read the god damn post the AC made, and then see my post in that perspective)

Compared to Europe, the US is more like the German Third Reich just before the second world war (burning books? removing science material from schools? Inflicting weird ideas of ‘democracy’ onto other nations? Invading countries?). But I won’t be calling all of you nazis, because you aren’t. Because there are differences in ideologies there.

btw, you have an awful American view on European policy. It’s much more nuanced than what you are painting. Most of us are glad to be paying taxes, because we know that there is a safety net in case something goes bad.

Socialist programs don’t hurt an economy nearly as much as robbing the poor and the sick blind. My heart goes out to those people who are losing their homes because they had to go to a hospital for a broken leg.

We are glad that we get some money from the state, in case we lose our jobs. Yes, it’s a burden on the state, but it’s carried by all citizens. We are glad that our health care doesn’t cost thousands of dollars for just an x-ray scan. (more like about a hundred euro)

But blaming our current economic woes on socialism, which is what AC was doing, is wrong, thickheaded, and plain stupid. Especially since most of the nations right now haven’t been socialist for a number of years! So what we’re seeing here isn’t socialism eroding our economy, it’s conservatism.

Indeed, compared to the US, our conservatives are left wing, but to our way of life, it isn’t. And they certainly are NOT socialist! And neither is your bloody president.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:


Too late? And meanwhile you have people in the US blaming President Obama for the mess that President G.W. Bush left behind.

You are funny, trying to find a correlation between poor IP laws and the current economic state of those nations. As if Hollywood has any influence on a nation’s economy. (hint: it has none)

Europe is suffering because of the mess that American banks made. And yes, Greece of course. BTW, not paying taxes can hardly be considered socialism.

Wanna talk shop about the US? Which is further in debt than gets reported. It’s on the cusp of becoming a third world nation with the disparity between rich and poor.

Jonathan says:

You funny

“Free market”, aside from being an oxymoron, is a euphemism for “law of the jungle”. Free markets are neither orderly nor civilized. Players in free markets can refuse to sell because the prospective buyer is too dark-skinned, or female, or won’t have sex with them. This is not conducive to social order, without which you wouldn’t even have the toys with which to make use of IP.

Play Nicely says:

Reception in Germany

I am a german citizen and I follow the success of the Pirate Party closely.

Unfortunately and despite their success in the polls i am a bit concerned.

First of all, their reception in the media is somewhere between mixed and pretty bad. Initial sympathies were usually just a device to get the desired media narrative going (first a phenomenal success, then confronted with reality, final act: the bitter conclusion).

They are painted as a party for “protest voters” who don’t really have a political agenda. Their political points are usually (and successfully) misrepresented as to be about “free content” (free as in free beer), “no privacy” (twisted from transparency) and “internet” (twitter and facebook, only superficial uses of the net). Unfortunately some of their public members behave naively in talkshows and interviews, which supports the misconceptions.

The public discourse is pretty far removed from the actual points and sadly their public figures have kind of accepted how the debate has been framed. They have been made to acknowledge that they have a “lack” of specific political positions all the way from social policy to fiscal policy to foreign policy, when they should have insisted to be about certain well-defined goals (such as stopping certain censorship schemes, abolishing copyright in its current form, dismantling priviliges for gema and the lot) on the one hand and about principles such as transparency, civil liberties and participation on the other.

The intellectual property debate has been framed as to be about “pirates vs creators” and they feel the need to “justify” their anti-ip position as if the onus was on them to provide an alternative legal framework to compensate the creators for their “lost income”. The fact that ip law has only expanded over the last 200 years, the absurd consequences of ip law, the supposed goal of it (to be about public benefit, not a source of income for creators): None of the really important points are being mentioned and thus their position looks pretty empty.

I would love to see the usually good reasoning of techdirt in the public debate in germany, but i fear this isn’t going to happen to a sufficient degree. This is why i am not as euphoric about the whole thing and why i don’t think it is indicative of a real change in public attitude. I am still going to vote for them, but i don’t think i will see gema dismantled anytime soon, for example.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Reception in Germany

The intellectual property debate has been framed as to be about “pirates vs creators” and they feel the need to “justify” their anti-ip position as if the onus was on them to provide an alternative legal framework to compensate the creators for their “lost income”.

My superficial image of them is a group associated with free music, which I think is an inconsequential issue in the greater global economy. That’s why I keep pointing people to the P2P Foundation, because it has a much bigger goal, which is to change the entire structure of the world economy to one that is more sustainable. Whether or not one thinks the ideas of the P2P Foundation are workable, at least there is something in depth there to read and discuss.

My primary interest is in sustainability, so that trumps anything to do with IP laws for me. Now, it is entirely possible for those issues to be tied together, as the P2P Foundation does, but if the Pirate Party is primarily about getting rid of IP laws, but another group is developing workable sustainability economics, it will be the latter group I would support.

When Capitalism Ends and P2P Markets Thrive: “What we are advocating is a system which comes down to three core components, the first is the community and the commons, where free information is available for the common good but yet there are costs to maintain such infrastructure. While the community provides content, code and designs, the second component required is the foundation, a new type of nonprofit. In Wikipedia’s case the Wikimedia Foundation raises money to fund the infrastructure. We then complete the system with the final component, the ‘entrepreneurial coalition’; this is where we take care of the livelihood of the people.”

Play Nicely says:

Reception in Germany

I agree that a sustainable economy is a more important goal than dealing with ip-laws in particular.

My point was just that the Pirate Party, politically inexperienced as they are, made a strategic mistake: Instead of discussing why and how ip-laws could be knocked back into shape (reduction of terms, protection of legitimate and noncommercial use, return to due process, no 3rd-party-liability, no excessive punishment), the Pirate Party finds itself on the defensive. This goes so far that they feel compelled to discuss alternative schemes to get the artists paid (“Kulturflatrate”), which would ultimately mean yet another collection society and which really misses the point.

It is impossible to get the message across in the media if you have to invent or explain a whole alternative economy every time. This wouldn’t be necessary, since the anti-ip-agenda has lots of easily presentable reasons and goals in and of itself.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Reception in Germany

It is impossible to get the message across in the media if you have to invent or explain a whole alternative economy every time. This wouldn’t be necessary, since the anti-ip-agenda has lots of easily presentable reasons and goals in and of itself.

Not being close to the situation at all, I’ll speculate that they are saddled with a branding problem. The Pirate Bay is associated with music “piracy” and a political party using the word “pirate” tends to reinforce that association.

Personally I “get” Occupy Wall Street, even if they haven’t well defined what they are trying to do. They are also not a political party, and if they were, I’d expect them to become more specific.

Another group that has tried to arise is the Tea Party, but from a political point of view, their goals often seem unworkable. They don’t want anything taken away from them, but they also don’t want the taxes to pay for it.

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