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Piracy Politics

Pirate Party Wins Seat In Berlin 241

Posted by samzenpus
from the walking-the-plank-of-the-people dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Pirate Party won its first seat in the Berlin state elections with almost 9% of the vote. From the article: '"We will get right to work," top Pirate candidate, Andreas Baum, told ZDF television. "This is all new for us."'"
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Pirate Party Wins Seat In Berlin

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  • Maybe... (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @03:32PM (#37435492) Homepage

    ...others can copy their strategy?

    • by hoytak (1148181)

      ...others can copy their strategy?

      as long as they don't patent it as a business method.

  • But where (Score:4, Funny)

    by dlb (17444) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @03:35PM (#37435510)

    is the Ninja Party?

  • .... considering how "cool" it is becoming in Germany to associate anything and everything with "Piraten". Pirates are in baby.
    • by Andy_R (114137)

      I blame the MPAA.

    • Uhm, no? The name "Pirate Party" works much better in Sweden, which has Pirates in their history and a population that knows enough English to know the term "software piracy".
      In Germany, pirates are usually associated with Somalia and the German equivalent for "pirated software" translates as "robbery copy". There was a lot of debate about weather or not it's a good idea to even call it "Pirate Party", in the end it was decided that a consistent name across all countries has more value than having names tha

      • by multi io (640409) <olaf.klischat@googlemail.com> on Sunday September 18, 2011 @07:11PM (#37436760)

        Uhm, no? The name "Pirate Party" works much better in Sweden, which has Pirates in their history and a population that knows enough English to know the term "software piracy". In Germany, pirates are usually associated with Somalia and the German equivalent for "pirated software" translates as "robbery copy". There was a lot of debate about weather or not it's a good idea to even call it "Pirate Party", in the end it was decided that a consistent name across all countries has more value than having names that better match the local culture.

        tl;dr In Germany, "Pirate" is a meaningless, valueless (or bad) word when used in politics.

        Not exactly true; "Softwarepiraterie" (literally "software piracy") is a well-known german term that's used in public discussions about the subject quite frequently [microsoft.com].

        • Not exactly true; "Softwarepiraterie" (literally "software piracy") is a well-known german term

          Glad to see that. Even the abbreviated version of the previously used term,
          unbefugte-oder-illegale-kopieren-und-weitergeben-urheberrechtlich-geschützten-materials
          was really slowing things down.

      • by Nursie (632944)

        You might want to explain that to the edelweiss-piraten movement, who resisted the Hitler Youth.

        Really trying not to godwin this, it's just an example of the use of the term pirate in German, and pre-dating software piracy by a long way.

      • by Tom (822)

        tl;dr In Germany, "Pirate" is a meaningless, valueless (or bad) word when used in politics.

        It's not the best word, but then again most of the other party names are just as meaningless. Whether or not you can give them meaning is what counts, and the Pirates have done a pretty good job at that, sticking with the pirate theme but adding word-plays to it that makes it political.
        For example, one of their slogans is "klarmachen zum Ãndern" (get ready for change), which is a word-play on "klarmachen zum entern" (ready to board enemy ship), but also clearly states that the Pirate Party wants to mak

      • In my experience, a large percentage of Germans speak very good English (certainly better than my German) and they tend to have a lot of exposure to American culture due to the US forces TV being shown over there.
  • Not just one (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shoe Puppet (1557239) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @03:36PM (#37435516)

    They haven't just won one seat but about 14-15. Interestingly, more seats would have been mostly useless to them as they have only nominated 15 candidates -- if they gain more seats than that or if they have to replace a member mid-term, they will have to leave that seat empty.

    • Re:Not just one (Score:5, Informative)

      by Asic Eng (193332) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @04:13PM (#37435736)
      Yes their original goal was "merely" to get over the 5% hurdle. German state and federal elections are run with a proportional voting system, but there is a 5% cut-off. So if you have less than 5% of the votes you will not get any seats, even if your proportion of the votes would amount to one or two. (Leaving out some details here, but that's the gist of it.) So getting over that hurdle is a big deal for a new party.
  • Not just one (Score:5, Informative)

    by BitterKraut (820348) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @03:36PM (#37435520)
    Chances are that everyone on their list, which comprised only 15 candidates, will win a seat in the Berlin senate.
  • Between the Greek bailout fiasco, ethanol fuel fiasco, atomic energy extension then reversal, FDP falling on their swords, Stuttgart 21, etc., I don't think any of the mainstream political parties have any credibility with the German voters left. Maybe the Green party has some, but they'd blow it after a couple of years in power. I think Mrs. Merkel is looking for a new coalition partner, maybe she should advertise on one of those in search of web sites.
  • by tp1024 (2409684) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @04:09PM (#37435696)
    The funny thing is of course how the other parties reacted. When it became clear that the Pirate Party would likely get into the parliament (predicted to get 6.5% at most), they were already scandalized, how anybody could vote such loonies. Now, I must confess I haven't watched all the reactions of other parties, but after the election both SPD and CDU were dismissive to the point of insulting those who voted for the Pirate Party. (Whose voters are more educated than the average of the electorate.)

    A representative of the Left party pointed out that having to few members nominated than the seats they won indicated that they must have overestimated themselves (sic!). Green Representative Renate Künast claimed that her party got the most gains of all parties - the Green Party gained 4.5% more votes than during the last election in 2006 ... but the Pirate Party gained about 6% over that result - reaching 9%. Also none, none of the other parties saw fit to even mention the name Pirate Party even once. They all skirted the issue by saying something like - those others, a new party in the left spectrum or whatever.

    Aloofness abounds among established parties, caring about their claim to power first, other parties in the government next and the people ... oh ... well what? The people? Who's that?
    • by vlm (69642)

      Now, I must confess I haven't watched all the reactions of other parties, but after the election both SPD and CDU were dismissive to the point of insulting those who voted for the Pirate Party.

      So, in my homeland, the Pirate Party is kind of the equivalent of Dr Ron Paul?

    • by Knuckles (8964)

      On ARD in the election show Claudia Roth congratulated the Pirate Party and said she's looking forward to a tough but good collaboration, and that the PP result shows that the Greens will have to strengthen their position on citizen rights.

    • by Dr. Hok (702268)

      [...] - the Green Party gained 4.5% more votes than during the last election in 2006 ... but the Pirate Party gained about 6% over that result - reaching 9%. [...]

      Actually the pirates gained 9% WRT the latest election, because they hadn't participated back then.

      The funny thing is of course how the other parties reacted. When it became clear that the Pirate Party would likely get into the parliament (predicted to get 6.5% at most), they were already scandalized, how anybody could vote such loonies.

      Actually, the representative of the pirate party just admitted on TV that they don't have a stance on many points yet, so it doesn't take much not to take them too seriously. But that's not a big issue IMHO. They'll be able to focus on their core issues first, then mature over time. OTOH, from my POV they don't seem to differ much from the green party (grassroots democracy, individual freedom, intellectual-ish

      • by tp1024 (2409684) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @05:54PM (#37436332)
        Most parties have firm opinions on all sorts of matters. Often contradictory opinions both within one party and with other parties. In order to make those opinions seem to be substantial, they cite experts whom they know to support their opinions in the first place. Or they hire experts or "scientists" or statisticians to write up some scientific seeming study with preconceived conclusions.

        Given that, I prefer a party that limits its opinions to things it (and me) truly believes in. And tries to use its own best judgment and explicitly that of its voters on those points where it doesn't - instead of stubbornly staying with a party line it is keeping only because it has adopted some opinion to some point for some reason in the past and now can't change it, because of they've already backed those random opinions up with heaps and heaps of lies and propaganda that would fly in its face if it were to change even some of those opinions.
        • Given that, I prefer a party that limits its opinions to things it (and me) truly believes in.

          I'd extend that to 'and admits to know nothing (or haven't formed and official opinion yet) about topics they really have no clue about (right now).

          To paraphrase Lt. Commander Data: "Sometimes the scientifically most accurate answer one can give is: I don't know."

      • by mmcuh (1088773)
        Why would they need to "mature" by adopting "stances" on every political issue? If their current program is important enough that 9% of the voters want them to work on the issues presented in it, maybe they should just keep doing that.
    • by henni16 (586412) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @06:42PM (#37436612)

      Sorry, but this is simply not true.
      Except for "When it became clear that the Pirate Party would likely get into the parliament (predicted to get 6.5% at most), they were already scandalized, how anybody could vote such loonies."

      I'm not sure what you've watched, but it certainly wasn't the coverage by ARD or later the local RBB. Or not a lot of it.

      Other parties had no problem naming them and dis so frequently as the success of the Pirates and the catastrophic result of the FDP were the main topics of most discussions.
      Yeah, of course they also called the Pirates "new", but so did the Pirates themselves.
      During a talk with representatives of all parties (that matter), they even did a little "special" analyzing where the pirates' 9% came from and asked everybody's opinion about that and why their parties didn't manage to get those votes.

      Some politicians from the "established" parties even congratulated the Pirates. I remember people from the Greens and the Lefts doing so.
      And they certainly didn't say "Congratulations to those others".

      And I don't remember a Left party guy talking about "they overestimated themselves".
      But I do remember one pointing out how the Pirates _under_estimated their own chances and that the Pirates obviously were surprised by their success as much as anybody else, citing (almost) not having enough candidates listed to fill the seats they won as a proof.
      And he wasn't alone, several Pirate candidates repeatedly stated how they were "baff" (perplexed) or "still a bit in shock" in view of their success.

      I also have no problem with Künast claiming they gained the most as those gains and losses are calculated in comparison to the last state election in 2006 and the Pirates weren't yet on the ballot back then.
      If you say the Pirates gained 6% to reach their 9%, you're comparing their result today to the 3% they got in Berlin during the last national election in 2009, i.e. you're comparing apples and oranges because
      a) people vote differently in state and national elections and
      b) the gains and losses of the other parties were based on the results of a different election.
      Yeah, technically the Pirates gained the most since they went from nothing to 9%, but I don't blame her for ignoring the n00bs when the main intent is to show how they are more awesome than the sucktitide that's their traditional enemies or their (realistic) competitors when it comes to building the government.

    • Green Representative Renate Künast claimed that her party got the most gains of all parties - the Green Party gained 4.5% more votes than during the last election in 2006 ... but the Pirate Party gained about 6% over that result - reaching 9%.

      To be fair, she said "most gains of all parties already presented in the Berliner Abgeordnetenhaus". Which is the truth.

      Just because we (yeah "we" - proud member of German's Pirate Party here) made it into the parlament, doesn't mean we have to immediatly

    • by Xest (935314)

      "but after the election both SPD and CDU were dismissive to the point of insulting those who voted for the Pirate Party. (Whose voters are more educated than the average of the electorate.) "

      Political anti-intellectualism in Germany? What could possibly go wrong!

      The 1930s called, they want their politics back.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's much more a technically aware party that does lots of things right where other 'conservative' parties just still behave like 40 years ago ..

    For me the name 'Pirate' ist the worst part of the party, as this is probably why lots of people won't ever take them serious .. even if they have good ideas. (Just like the Chaos Computer Club (CCC)... )

    • You're somewhat right, but "Bündnis 90/Die Grünen" (= official name of the German Green Party) isn't that much more appealing either. And I bet that unfortunately a good amount of people don't even now what "Bndins 90" stands for and what's the story of that part of the name.

      Or ÖkoLinX-Antirassistische Liste [wikipedia.org]

    • by sFurbo (1361249)
      Names change meanings, especially the names of political parties. Who actually thinks about democracy and republics when hearing the names of the US parties?
      In Denmark, we have The Left, which is a right wing party, the Radical Left, a center/left party and the Danish Peoples Party, a socialist/conservative party. When I think about the names, they are hilarious, but nobody thinks about what they mean in normal conversation. If the pirate party survives 10 years in the main stream, it will be the same thin
  • big win (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tom (822) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @04:19PM (#37435780) Homepage Journal

    This is a huge win for the german Pirate Party, as it puts it on the radar of all the mainstream press, even those that tried to ignore it so far.

    By this time tomorrow, everyone in Germany will have heard about the Pirate Party. That one of the old, established parties has been decisively kicked from parliament (~2% of the votes, with 5% being required to enter parliament) only strengthens this perception, as the Pirate Party is called a "replacement" in some circles - the party kicked out is the Liberal party, which aside from being strictly capitalistic also used to ride on the tickets of things like freedom, liberty, individualism - stuff that is close to the Pirates as well.

    Also, the PP has gotten through other important barriers straight away: They're officially a faction, with all the rights (an office in the parliament building, etc.) of the old parties. It will be receiving campaign money (Germany has a system where the parties receive tax money to cover their expenses during the campaigns, based on the number of votes they got, but you need a certain amount to receive any at all. The purpose of the system is to make sure not only the rich can afford campaigns, and parties don't need to rely on contributions from lobbyists/companies/etc. to campaign).

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      I'm hoping that stuff like this means saner candidates and third-party candidates will have a better shot in the 2012 elections in the States.

      • by mcelrath (8027)

        Unlikely. For comparison, the threshold for getting a party into congress is 50% compared to Germany's 5%. Second, we have no such enlightened system of using tax money to fund campaigns, we prefer our congressmen to be bought. Investing in the underdog is not a good business strategy. These two things, which generally go under the headings "electoral reform" and "campaign finance reform" require constitutional amendments. It's unlikely in the extreme that 2/3 of the sitting congresspeople will vote fo

      • by Kjella (173770)

        When has the US ever cared about European political systems? Here in Europe parties come and go, merge and split all the time while the US has ignored it for well over 100 years. If I was a bookmaker I'd give lower odds on a muslim ladyboy becoming President than a third party getting any power. The whole system is rigged that way and both parties love it because they can never "lose", the voters will pass the ball between them but they always return in a few years.

        • by speedlaw (878924)
          All our election laws are so written as to make it nearly impossible for a third party to get on ballot. The tea party is running as R to avoid this problem. Even Perot, with unlimited $ had a hard time and the big two "graciously" withdrew objections as not to permanently upset the apple cart. Add to this the corporate control of mass media and we get an illusion of choice. O has gone far to the right and not getting Medicare for all when the D had both houses and the presidency, rather we get a bill p
      • by Tom (822)

        Not likely. The US has a two-party system and a majority or first-past-the-post voting system. Germany has 4-7 major parties (depending on how you count) and a proportional voting system.

  • This be happenin' on a most auspicious day, me hearties! Haul anchor!

    [2011-09-19 00:17 local time]

  • Pirate Party is basically libertarian.

    Here is from wiki:

    The party supports the preservation of current civil rights in telephony and on the Internet; in particular, it opposes the European data retention policies and Germany's new Internet censorship law called Zugangserschwerungsgesetz. It also opposes artificial monopolies and various measures of surveillance of citizens.

    The party favors the civil right to information privacy and reforms of copyright, education, computer science and genetic patents.

    It promotes in particular an enhanced transparency of government by implementing open source governance and providing for APIs to allow for electronic inspection and monitoring of government operations by the citizen.

    It is aimed at minimizing government involvement into some specific areas, but anything that is aimed at minimizing government involvement is anti-establishment and may just be a special case of libertarian movement.

    • by nzac (1822298)

      That's a stretch. There is defiantly a mistrust of government and established corporations there but as to making any attempt to force libertarian values onto the citizens or change the role of the government I don’t really see it.

      Increased privacy and government accountability and the destruction of IP monopolies are not really core political policies. I guess they might develop into libertarians but they could just as easily be a centrist (status quo) party with these views. I think the party core v

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The german pirate party supports a basic income guarantee (social security with less stigma and pressure to get a viable job). That puts them way out of anything an American for instance would recognize as "libertarian".

      • by nzac (1822298)

        I would just like to add that when i though more about it; I think they are (making up the term) "youth conservatives".

        They want the internet to the 90s where no one policed it, IP laws working for the benefit of the creators as it was intended and as far as I know originally worked and they want business being subservient to government as previously has been.

        They are wanting to reverse some the 'negative' changes of the past few decades rather than moving towards some abstract idealism of "piracy".

    • The copyright and education reforms are aimed at creating and nurturing a public good (ie. knowledge), and privacy laws are directed at corporations at least as much as government institutions. Also, I have heard no Pirate argue for tax reductions on business.

      While conservatives might label them as anarchist for their civil rights views, many self-styled libertarians in the US would therefore call them socialist. In other words, most of them are in the south-west quadrant on the Political Compass (which, ke

    • by horza (87255)

      I don't see how preventing government from massively expanding its powers into realms it has never had it before is "minimising government". Also, preventing abuse of copyright is just as much of a job as helping its abuse, it's just too many governments are misdirecting their resources into the long term destruction of society.

      Phillip.

    • by chrb (1083577)
      Not really. Libertarians would not want any government restrictions on the activities of ISPs, as they are private corporations. The Pirate Party wants to limit ISPs by outlawing activities such as monitoring, recording, sharing and selling data, and interfering with communications (p2p blocking), etc.
    • It is aimed at minimizing government involvement into some specific areas, but anything that is aimed at minimizing government involvement is anti-establishment and may just be a special case of libertarian movement.

      "Libertarian", in modern English (and excluding groups such as libertarian socialisms, which are fringe even within the fringe libertarian movement), is a person who is against state/society intervention into and regulation of both social and economical activity.

      All points that you've listed point towards them being "social libertarians". However, their economic policy - outside of curtailment of copyright and patents - is not a libertarian one by any measure, and, to the extent that it is fleshed out, in f

  • I will run as a candidate for sure, but it's in 3+ years :-/
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Unfortunately, the Canadians are the victims of the so-called "first past the post" riding system, which is very anti-democratic. This means you will have to pick your riding very carefully.

  • by JayAEU (33022)

    As much as I'm for keeping the established parties on their toes, the pirate party certainly will not be able to do so. Has anyone bothered following their top candidate in television? Be my guest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-cDewZk7wo [youtube.com]

    Berlin has bigger problems than anybody in the pirate party could possibly handle or let alone help solve.

  • In case anyone is wondering I think this success is unlikely to translate to such a success nationally. Remember that Berlin is not only a city state but also a fairly hip one !! The PP are not likely to get this level of support in, for example, more rural areas !!

    • by RogerWilco (99615)

      I'm not so sure. I think it's a sign that more and more of those who grew up on MP3s, basically the Napster Generation and beyond are now old enough to vote.
      It might be slightly lower in rural areas, but in general youth culture is quite connected especially since the Internet came along. This victory will give the PP credibility that voting for them can get them past the 5% rule in Germany. 9% in Berlin could well translate to 5+% in at least some of Germany's states.

      Of course it also could be a blip, but

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