My political junkie friend, Anders, called me from Finland a few days ago to probe the depths of my mind about a few topics. He has a way with words that always makes me smile. He wondered if something called “The Pirate Party” has made any kind of splash in the American Midwest.
I replied that I was probably one of the few people in my state who had even heard of it. I’ve brought the subject up a few times in conversation only to be met with blank stares. Some friends thought I was referring to pirate themed children’s birthday parties.
Anders chuckled about that comment. He mentioned that the US version of the Pirate Party is supposedly picking up steam, slowly but surely. By comparison, the Canadian party has been gaining some mainstream notice in that country’s political circles. He said the party has an active chapter in Finland that he’s been seriously considering joining.
I mentioned that I was aware that Sweden had a couple of members sitting in the European Parliament. Of course the Pirate Party was founded in that nation nine years ago. Sweden’s Rickard Falkvinge was instrumental in its formation. I had read that Falkvinge is a major voice opposing censorship and surveillance. His name has come up regarding copyright and patent law reform. I noticed that he is a major advocate of network neutrality, freedom of information, privacy, and transparency.
Anders gave me a link to the Finnish Pirate Party so I could look it over while we visited. http://piraattipuolue.fi/english I saw that their aims and agenda matched that of Sweden’s and the other countries I had investigated. The agenda is concise and jargon-free. It’s easy to understand why Pirates appeal to informed and younger voters.
The Pirate Party transcends the outdated right versus left politics that weighs down and distracts citizens away from work on issues that deeply affect them. The Pirates advocate safeguards and policies that address current big government and big corporation intrusions into private lives. Anders likes their stand on free expression and exchange of ideas and works within and outside of national borders. He said I should like their positions on equality and a “level playing field”.
I observed that Anders seems ready to join the Pirate Party. He said that he wants to do some more homework. He needs to find out more about how they can be effective outside of the traditional partisan ideologies that bind other political movements together.
I noted that, in the United States, the Democratic and Republican parties have a severe stranglehold on political discourse. Third parties have little or no say-so in our political lives. Unfortunately, most of the third parties in America get tied down to the libertarian, conservative or liberal mindsets.
There is certainly plenty of room for a party like the Pirate Party in the US. It will be interesting to see if the younger voters take up the Jolly Roger and make a real impact in the national discussion during the next election cycle.