Avast! The new wave in the political sea – The Pirate Party

Pirate Party

The word ‘pirate’ conjures up many images for people. What it doesn’t bring to mind though, is a niche political party.

Today, there are pro-Internet freedom Pirate Parties around the globe, but few seem to be doing as well as the Pirate Party of Germany who saw an electoral victory on Sunday in Saarland, one of Germany’s 16 states. In the election, the party received 7.6 percent of votes allowing it to pick up four seats in the Saarland regional Parliament.

The German Party, founded in 2006, is also gaining ground elsewhere in the country. Later this month they’ll be facing elections in the country’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, and the numbers are looking promising. Poll numbers indicate that the party are achieving a high 13 percent, a number which would make the party the third most popular party in the country.

Not just file sharing

The traditional German political system is often seen as intimidating and bureaucratic. There has been a dizzying decline in voting numbers and party membership among young Germans. It’s the perfect time for the German Pirates.

While they do come with ideas you would expect like a strong stand against Internet censorship; much of their success is due to their real goal: using the internet to alter politics enough to excite and engage citizens. They want to bring the value of conventional politics out of the past and into the 21st century.

Using a software package, Liquid Feedback, the Pirates have created a complex political forum which allows every member to have equal input on party decisions around the clock. This forum could be considered to be a gimmick, but even if it is, it’s aided their cause and has young people interested in German politics.

Applying the Pirate Method Globally?

The success of the German Pirate Party has shown that elsewhere in the world there are lessons to be learnt about how politicians can utilise the internet.

United States President, Barack Obama, owed much of his election success to his extensive online campaign. He achieved a massive online following on Facebook and Twitter, thanks to the impression that he was a candidate the people could have a voice through.

Obama’s office maintains a strong online presence, but there is no dialogue with supporters. It could be said that this disconnection and lack of an easy channel for the American people to have their voice heard, led to movements such as Occupy and the Tea Party.

While the Pirate Party may have many idealistic views, they bringing forward the idea that politics needs to catch up with the progression of society, not just in Germany, but around the world.

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