The Pirate Party victories in Germany served notice that they have become a political force that will shape future governments and policy. It is also obvious they won't be going away any time soon. This phenomenon is not a fad. It has momentum, philosophically, politically and the youthful demographics almost guarantee growth in the future.
The two blog posts here on Sunday were intended to set the table for a report on Pirate Party counterparts, perhaps imitators, here in the U.S.
The U.S. Pirate Party exists, at least in cyberspace at us.pirate.is and lists member chapters in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Oklahoma and Washington. I'm not sure if the site will be updated soon, but it appears they can add California to the list as well.
The California Pirate Party website made its debut on May 15, 2012, the day after the speculative analysis here on its viability following the electoral victories abroad.
So the Great Pond between the continents won't stop this thing either, and I will continue to speculatively assert that this is not likely to fizzle out like the occupy movement. Let us review. The simple, unabashed, principles of the Pirate Party are exactly what many voters, European and American, have been looking for
The recent failure of American's Elect, the group that spent approximately $15 million to push a third party candidate in the upcoming presidential election, should not be construed as a condemnation of another third party in my opinion. The model was a clone of the dominant two parties, and wasn't distinctive enough to attract sufficient numbers of followers.
The Pirate model is completely different in almost every respect. First, it grew from an existing population of disillusioned youth that wanted to maintain a free Internet. While the Reds, Blues and most of the European counterpartss were trying to keep invasive, prohibitive Internet legislation like CISPA, ACTA and SOPA under the radar, the Pirates were properly focused on the future of the Internet
They understand better than anyone that the Internet will shape their future. If the Internet is not free, neither will they be. The average American voter seem only interested in how much personal information they can dump on the Internet using malignant social media abominations like Facebook.
American voters have never been accused of being especially forward-thinking either, usually demanding immediate gratification every two years without a lot of debate on anything beyond the next budget battle. Of course, they are often disappointed, and so remain disillusioned to the point of exasperation.
In case the rest of America missed it, the Arab Spring was a marvel of technological maneuvering and planning. The upheavals in eastern Europe preceded that, and one could argue that Internet freedom and the actual, tangible variety are almost interchangeable now.
But apparently the elders didn't understand that their notions of taxing or controlling everything in existence wasn't going to go over very well with the kids that grew up with Internet freedom. The Pirate Party was a natural phenomenon. I would have been surprised if it hadn't made an appearance in the wake of ridiculously misguided attempts to control, (read censor) the Internet.
The youth that have come along since the early 90's when the Internet became viable, are not going to give up those freedoms without a fight. So a political entity embracing these principles, the Pirate Party manifesto or something like it, was to be expected.
The backlash from misguided legislative efforts has fueled this phenomenon. The censorship of Pirate Bay has increased its views exponentially. The more you attack it, the more it grows, which is all you need to know about the future of this phenomenon. Nor does not bode well for stuck-on-stupid, old school politicians that ran out of new things to say long ago. Especially those that have underestimate the passion for Internet freedom that most of the younger generation demands.
So here's to the success of the Pirate Party here and globally, and without further comment, these are the guiding principles that will shape the future of the modern politics, and perhaps change the Red-Blue paradigm that has become the antithesis of everything these newcomers stand for.
1. Defend the Internet – It is our belief that the Internet has become an invaluable public good, and as such, the California Pirate Party will resist all attempts to censor, survey, wiretap, or regulate the Internet. We believe that the First Amendment protects an individual's right not to have their mail read over the Internet, and will push for legislation making illegal infringements on data privacy and anonymous communication.
2. Reform Copyright Laws – It is our position that current copyright Laws are imbalanced, and must be changed to respect the free flow of information made possible in the emerging digital society. Copyright should be limited to commercial use of a product, ending the campaign of repression aimed at users of digital file-sharing. Data is not stolen when it is copied. Data is not stolen when it is copied.
3. Reform of Election and Lobbying Laws – We find it disturbing the level of influence private concentrations of wealth and power are able to wield in our country's political process. The California Pirate Party will support legislation for campaign finance reform that curtails the effect of private wealth on the election process. We will push for more reasonable limits on the amount of private donations to any public official, and eliminate the revolving door by which lobbyists get appointed to the industries they are supposed to regulate.
4. Direct Democracy and Participation – We will defend the rights of individuals to protest the current government, to assemble in public space without the fear of repression. We will encourage the grass-roots political process, through debate and discussion both online and in our communities. The California Pirate Party is committed to fostering a new democratic community, open and transparent in its mechanisms, accessible to all.
5. Social and Economic Justice -- We value people over corporations. This necessitates a deep concern for civil rights, especially in light of increasing suppression of gay rights and immigrant rights in California. In addition, compounding income disparity and lack of economic opportunity for the population at large need to be addressed at the policy level. The needs and voices of the 99% can no longer be ignored, and we intend to be the party for them to voice their concerns.