The Pirate Party’s cornerstones are; the right to privacy, culture must be open/free and that patents and private monopolies hurt society.
Secrecy of letters should apply to all forms of communication, including digital.
No data retention and no surveillance without substantial prior crime suspicion.
No anti-terrorism legislation, current legislation is sufficient. New legislation risk being used as a tool of oppression.
The individuals right to control ones own personal information must be strengthened.
Respect for human rights without exceptions.
Freedom of information:
Swedish freedom of information laws, access to government documents and communications, should be applied to the EU.
All government archives and documents should be available in open formats.
Use of open formats and open source in the public sector, including schools, should be encouraged.
Copyright should be reasonable, balanced and with societies best in mind.
The copyright holder’s commercial monopoly should be limited to five years.
You should have the right to remix copyrighted works, with some clearly stated exceptions.
All non-commercial distribution, consumption and remixing of copyrighted and non-copyrighted works should be legal and encouraged.
Trademarks should be kept.
The successive removal of all patents, including software and medical patents.
Patents force scientists to keep research findings secret instead of sharing them.
Competition should be based on innovation, consumer benefit, and quality.
The Pirate Party has very clear views on civil liberties and human rights for everyone, regardless of religion, ethnicity, sex, age, sexual preference, handicap or political view. Most political analysts actually think that The Pirate Party, with its large number of youth votes, prevented the right-wing nationalist party in Sweden from reaching the European Parliament.
Currently I only know of two people who work for the party full-time. The party founder Rick Falkvinge, an former entrepreneur who quit his job to devote himself to the party. When his money ran out he asked the members for contributions and gets a small amount from a large number of members each month. The other person who works full-time with the party is Christian Engström, also an entrepreneur who sold his company for a profit and spent five years as unpaid activist at the FFII lobbying against software patents. He is the party's first pick for the European Parliament. The party also gets founding from several other sources. Some of Sweden's "Internet Icons" publicly supports the party.
It would be really interesting to see what all the great American entrepreneurs could do if there was a chance for a smaller party to actually get seats.
If they can push honest and realistic discussion of the issues, however, that could have a lot of impact. We all like to laugh at the publishing industry (music, then movies, now newspapers) for being unable to keep up with the times, but just as the web has introduced post-scarity to publishing, so will nanotech destroy the goods industry, robotics destroy the services industry, and, eventually, AI destroy info work. My hope is that we can learn from what is happening now (and try to understand the success of e.g. Trent Reznor, and determine whether his model would work if not for its novelty), and be better prepared for the future. But no one is talking about it...ideally, the Pirate Party will change that, rather than just explain to old dudes why torrent indexing isn't illegal.
Certainly, they also believe that copyright and patent law needs to fundamentally change.
And certainly, preserving the right to privacy on the internet — to the same standard that it is guaranteed through other means of communications — would make it pretty much impossible to shut down piracy. But that's a side-effect, not the expressed goal of the party.
I'm Swedish myself, I've studied their platform closely, and I voted for them. Not because I want free stuff — but because I feel that the EU parliament needs more people in it who are viciously opposed to the idea of destroying our basic civil liberties.
Many other candidates from other parties are sympathetic to this (as opposed to their respective party platforms). But — only a vote for the Pirate Party would shake the "old parties" up sufficiently in order to make personal integrity the party platform. And I think we're going to see exactly that kind of progression in Sweden across party lines.
I think, as the PP gains vote share in Sweden and elsewhere, many of the other parties are going to steal their policies. Which is good.
This might be a lost-in-translation thing, but I don't know what you mean by this. Integrity means something like honesty and strength of character, which, obviously, the RIAA et al have no control over. Could you clarify? Do you just mean privacy?
And okay, I believe you that the party's platform involves privacy rights more than anything else. And that is good, and even important, but I still think it's hyperbolic to call their election "the greatest thing to happen in european politics in a long time" simply because they support web privacy. I get the impression a lot of people conflate privacy intrustion with Big Brother, which doesn't seem sound.
I'm curious about the distinction between Big Brother and large-scale logging/filtering/monitoring in electronic systems without court orders by the government. Maybe I've misunderstood the term "Big Brother"?
Whether you think the result is "the greatest thing to happen in European politics in a long time" clearly depends on your political views. It could be seen as an indication that a number of people make at least some effort to stand up for civil liberties (an issue I hear some consider more than "important"). Also, "long time" is not particularly well defined.. ;) I'm just guessing here of course, joel_feather didn't say much about why he thought this was such a great thing.
Well, the distinction I'm making is between keeping logs/records and abusing those logs in order to infringe on other civil liberties, a la Big Brother in 1984. What was evil about Big Brother was not the monitoring/recording, but how it was used. I know some disagree with me on this, but I do think there's a distinction.
If you want, surveillance on that scale makes the system unstable.
Sweden has a history of a government that registers details about those with views not aligned with the sitting government without legal or, I would claim, moral right to do so: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IB_affair. More recently, there was a potential leak from FRA http://www.thelocal.se/12778/20080702/ - as in the recently passed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FRA_law. Of course, illegality does not imply immorality/misuse, but it might explain why Swedes are weary of what lines their government might cross.
The activities have not verifiably, as far as I know, been seriously misused in Sweden (in the sense that people have been killed, tortured, or wrongfully imprisoned), though one other European country comes to mind where that did happen, most seem to agree, in the 20th century.
Thus, my guess is that many people assume logging/monitoring personal information implies misuse of that information because they consider the risk*potential cost of the latter unacceptably high, even though it's not strictly an implication. The assumption should be explicit though, so I agree on the importance of making the distinction.
From the wikipedia article on EU: "The EU has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws which apply in all member states, ensuring the freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital. It maintains common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development. A common currency, the euro, has been adopted by sixteen member states constituting the Eurozone. "
The problem is that for the common man in the various member states EU is seen as a monolithic bureaucracy placed in a country far away. Many don't realise it's power. This is the problem that the members of parlaiment face.
Of course, as you say, a single representative from the Pirate Party will only have marginal effect. Those are the rules of a democracy.
Given its inability to propose legislation, it is hamstrung compared to a typical national legislature, not to mention being riven by petty disputes of language nationalism and so forth. With the best of intentions, how is the new Pirate Party member going to bring about a provocative debate on the meaning of copyright and intellectual property when everything has to go through a tabling committee and debates normally impose a 1 minute time limit for speakers. Hell, I'm an ardent europhile and even I think it's politically moribund.
One upside of this, though, is that I ever move back to Europe I'll consider running for a seat...I figure it ought to be relatively easy to get elected given the general public apathy that prevails around euro elections :)
(keep in mind: they were polling around 5%, and many dismissed them, claiming that their key demographic of <30's "doesn't vote" - instead they performed better than the polls indicated; that's going to scare a lot of politicians into rethinking their stance)
It's also bound to make a lot of people think seriously about trying to get equivalent platforms in place in other EU countries.
It's an amazing showing for a "single issue" (not really, but almost) party running in only a single, small country.
"Serving in Europe's Parliament Is A Cushy Job, but What's the Point? ... Pay, Perks Are Good, Powers Not So Much; Struggling to Get Voters Interested"
We're looking at a strong conservative EU parliament as far as I can tell. I fear the PP will have little impact (I confess I am not a huge fan but they do stand for some issues I believe strongly in).
Personally I saw the results as horrible (even the BNP got seats) but the Pirate Party win was at least a little beacon of light, though I mostly see their win as a kick in the ass for the other parties that will hopefully see them starting to reform their own copyright platforms or risk losing the rest of the youth vote too.
Your right, it does validate copyright reform as a political platformn important to the people.
"That Sir, is a seismic result, and a big warning to a very large number of vested interests."
The Pirate Party and friends are, in many ways, the new face of the libertarian left in Europe.
The Pirate Party and friends are, in many ways,
the new face of the libertarian left in Europe.
In other words, the content corporations have probably lost the ability to take away our Internet from us, or impose any new restrictions on digital technology, throughout the EU. And there may be a rolling back of existing restrictions, such as the ban on circumventing DRM.
I'm curious: What distinguishes "libertarian left" from plain old libertarian?
Take issues like gun control, social welfare, environmentalism... the modern European hard left is, in general, strongly in favour of all of the above. Their platform's libertarian in that it's mostly against government intervention in personal lives, and therefore pro-marriage equality, drug decriminalisation, liberalisation of copyright, etc etc etc. You'll find a lot of anti-globalisation fellow travellers too.
The influences are much more things like anarcho-syndicalism, Christiania (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freetown_Christiania), that kind of thing.
European libertarians, coming from the background you describe, much more often find themselves on the left than the right.
But it's muddy - the UK Liberal Democratic Party, for example, was founded by a merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party (splinter from Labour).
Europe does however have self-proclaimed liberal and libertarian spanning the spectrum from centre-left to far right, and a bunch of far left parties that strongly adhere to large parts of libertarian ideologies.
In fact, personally during school I was campaigning for a Marxist party and during a school debate I almost reduced a "far right libertarian" to tears by agreeing with him at very inopportune (for him) moments. He was horrified at being associated with someone far left, and just plain didn't understand that the majority of our party platforms were aligned - it was almost only on the issue of protection of property rights to means of production that we disagreed, and the fact that I was for a far more drastic reduction of government power.
I regard myself as a left libertarian -- I think the government needs to get off people's backs, that people are usually better at making decisions for themselves than faceless bureaucracies are, that the people should control the government and not the other way round.
I also think government should govern for the benefit of everyone, not just the rich, and that the government's attitude to the poor shouldn't be "tough shit".
Will be interesting to see if this spawns copycats throughout Europe. At the very least the established parties should take notice. Infopolitics is here to stay.
Is there an EU equivalent to Congressional Quarterly (http://cq.com/)?
(I must apologise for my countrymen btw, I never thought it would actually happen :()
It's to be expected, of course, with an economic meltdown. Nothing brings votes to right wing extremists like a crisis and someone else to blame it on - this time it's the muslims who get the blame for everything that's wrong in the world.
Is it the best country to live in? One where people don't come across bigger problems in their daily life?
Or is it that all standard political parties in Sweden crossed the line which many parties in any country are very close to - not doing anything, having every possible populist claim in their programme, getting old...
I used to vote green and might do so again, but I have lost faith in "eco power" - I just think some things that are labeled eco these days don't deserve it, and I am not sure if the greens understand it.
Ultimately I figured I am working in the IT industry, and therefore the pirate party is closest to my interests.
My view of democracy has become a lot more cynical, too (not only because of the extreme wasting of tax money in the wake of the recent economic crisis). That reminds me: transparency is another huge, huge point I expect from the pirate party - I think they want to make politics more transparent (employing modern digital means), and that seems to me to be the best way to create a sane society and reduce tax payer exploitation.
I think democracy is just another "war" - it is not about finding a common goal for society, it is about members of society struggling to get the most out of society (that is, exploit society a ka the other members to the max). So why not vote to get "my share".
In such a system, it's not uncommon to see a few seats go to minor parties. In the US, we'd surely see some Libertarian and Greens in congress if we had such a system. However, the US system is more conducive to 2-party politics because of the way the rules are defined, which is why we see it here and not so much elsewhere.
So, its a surprising result if you're used to 2 parties, but not so unexpected when multiparty politics is the norm.
I was just wondering why it happened in Sweden of all countries... was The Pirate Bay court case really the trigger, or is it connected to how Swedish people act, or was it something else?
That's probably key to their success - they can take voters from across the spectrum who don't have a voice at all in large parties (the closest in Sweden perhaps being the socialist/communist Vensterpartiet - Left Party - which also wants to significantly limit copyright) but who have liberal tendencies.
This has been brewing for a while, and it'll likely spread outside of Sweden, limited by non-proportional voting in some countries. What is particular about Sweden is that Sweden had one of the most liberal policies on copyright in Europe to start with - non-commercial copying for "personal use" (including sharing with friends) was (is it still?) legal. This is a right that was ingrained. So when these rights are being taken away, it's natural you get a backlash.
Interestingly, in my own district of Berlin, probably the most left-leaning in Germany, they also polled at 3.4%, whereas the chancellor's party (Christian Democrats) only polled at 9%.
This isn't so much about the Pirate Bay as something that's been brewing for a while already. This was, in some senses, just a tipping point for the group as they'll now have a voice outside of Sweden.
To my mind this is similar to the ascendency of the The Greens in the 80s as they landed in their first positions of real influence. The particularly interesting thing there is that the effect of real power was an increasing pragmatism at pushing the original core agenda; I wouldn't be surprised if we see something similar evolving in the Pirate Party in the coming years.
(And the bloody fascists have got at least one MEP. Probably two. sigh.)
Sweden's Pirate Party, which wants to legalise internet file sharing,
They also got mentioned right after the far-right parties. I find it a bit worrying that mainstream media is still vewing them in this light. It smacks of not being taken seriously still - I wonder how that can be addressed?