28 November 2012, 20:00

Pirates: how not to be drowned in politics

Pirates: how not to be drowned in politics

The Pirate Party of Germany is seriously preparing for parliamentary elections in 2013. At its congress last weekend the party adopted its election programme covering practically all important life spheres.

Experts point out that a growing number of alternative movements appear on the world political arena and gradually steal votes from traditional parties.

The first Pirate Party appeared in Sweden in 2006 as a protest movement of Internet users who protested against tough copyright protection measures. Gradually, Pirates spread to over 40 countries in the world. At present, the Pirate Party International (PPI) unites its supporters in almost 90 countries on all continents. Common aims of international pirates are the right to a private life on the Internet and free exchange of intellectual information.

German ‘Piraten’ won a seat in each of the city councils of Munster and Aachen, and almost got into the Bundestag. In 2011, Pirates obtained 15 mandates in the Berlin Landtag (territorial parliament) and in March this year they won seats in the Landtags of Saarland, North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig Holstein. According to different estimates, between 10 and 13% of voters supported the German Pirates at the beginning of 2012. Pirates gained even more popularity due to their promise of free education and free use of public transport.

In his interview with The Voice of Russia Professor of political science Gerd Langguth from Bonn University said:

“The present-day society is characterized by great individualism. People mostly do not care for the far-reaching objectives of large political parties. People want to achieve their individual aims through new parties. Why do they choose the party of pirates? It is different from other parties in its style, it wants to fight against everything. At the beginning there was the effect of suddenness. It was something new and everybody liked it. However, this party has no chances on the federal level.”

The popularity of pirate parties, in particular in Germany, goes through ups and downs. The number of ‘Piraten’s supporters in Germany has dropped from 13 to 4% by the end of the year. One of the party’s weak points is the lack of a clear-cut political platform. On the 25th of November, ahead of the election campaign to the Bundestag, the congress of the Piratenpartei Deutschland adopted an impressive programme covering the spheres of foreign policy, economy, social security and provision of pensions, protection of consumers and environmental protection. Probably, their most revolutionary demand is providing a guaranteed minimum of subsistence to all citizens. It will be interesting to watch the attitude of the protest electorate to this programme until September next year.

Experts point out that, in general, European voters cannot see the difference between traditional parties, their programmes and activities. Europe as a whole is characterized by fatigue from everyday political routine. However, we should not forget that, for example, the Green parties were once a real alternative to both the right wing and the left wing, until they dissolved in big politics.

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