No one expected much of the “Pirate Party” in the recent Berlin election. It’s an upstart, and the program of the young men leading the renegade political group — which focuses on “Internet freedom” as well as (alas) “free public transit” — might not seem to be ideally suited for widespread advance in the target environment, electoral politics. The party only offered up 15 representatives for Sunday’s vote.
But it won every seat it attempted, gaining 8.9 percent of the vote.
Meanwhile, the Free Democrats went down to ignominious defeat, garnering less than 2 percent. The establishment must be shuddering. If an allegedly pro-business party like the Free Dems get booted out of office by young men wearing Captain America t-shirts, and if the Green Party now becomes the dominate coalition party in the nation’s capital, what then?
Well, the Pirate Party does not appear to be a joke. The candidates are serious, even if they aren’t wearing the traditional suit-and-tie uniforms. They parlayed popular Internet activism into votes, and what they do might make a difference.
So, what are they up to?
They seek to defend Internet privacy of individuals while enforcing complete transparency in government. Proposing an online participatory system they call “liquid democracy,” they balk at the status quo in legislative method. There are alternatives, as one spokesman explained: “You can stand up, stand tall and write the laws yourself.”
If this be piracy, make the most of it.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.