This post will deal with Germany
In the 2009 German federal elections the pirates ran for the first time on a federal level and reached 2%.
In terms of numbers 2% is not that much. Some people were even disappointed over the outcome because of the Pirate Party hype that took place prior to election night!
However, what most of those people forgot was that in 1980 a party which was in a similar situation ran for the first time on a federal level too! That party was the Green Party of Germany (Bündnis ’90/Die Grünen) which reaced only 1,5% of the total votes.
When I observed the elections and looked a little back in history I found some interesting parallels between the two parties!
The most striking one was the Green party adressed a problem that, virtually, none of the then governing parties adressed, which was environmental protection. The relatively young environmental movement was beginning to put things like sustainability of the economy, nuclear energy questions and of course protection of the environment on the political agenda. In doing so, they achieved a change in mindset of other parties on the importance of such topic (even the conservative forces in the Bundestag have a opinion on the environment nowdays).
The Greens were a party founded out of the necessity to get the topics they were standing up for into the Bundestag to change the policies that were regulating those.
So did the Pirates!
We live in a time where the internet is getting more and more important in the lives of people. While major parties (in Germany) are still failing to see the vast social potential it offers and mainly view it from an economic side. This of couse leads to great discontent amongst the people who do realize what can and will be done with the internet in a few years. They realize that the future of the internet is directly intertwined with the future of society. Just like the future of the environment has a direct impact on the future of the economy and – as we now realize – the future of the entire planet.
“Netzpolitik” (roughly translated net politics => internet policy) is a topic that is now starting to enter the Bundestag in a way that is percieved as not adequate by many people in the German internet, because the laws that are passed are resticting, policing and inhibting the possiblities of the net and they are passed by parties who do not realize the importance of a free internet and pirvacy for the future. (Interestingly, one of the first parties who had any kind of position on internet questions were the Greens, wo are, as of today, the party after the pirates who are the most active in this field.)
Another interesting similarity is the organization of parties!
Unlike any other party in the Bundestag, the Greens are (still) employing the concept of grassroots-democracy to organize (further reading).
The Pirate Party has another approach which they call “liquid democracy” (actually, this is used in Germany aswell. Sometimes it’s also called Direkter Parlamentarismus.) The concept itself would deserve an entire blogpost for it’s own I guess…but here is the gist of it. (If you do not speak German: I highly suggest you make use of GoogleTranslator or similar because the english language version of the page is rather thin and incomplete).
Both kinds of organition differ significantly from the usual inner-party structure that German parties usually have.
The question arises: Are the pirates the “next” Greens only with a somewhat different topic?
Do the nerds/geeks succeed the hippies/environmentalists in the spirit of bringing a new approach to issues of utmost importance into German politics?
I sure hope so :)!