Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

News & Supplemental  

Pirate Party’s Electoral Success in Germany, Americans Elect and the Muslim Brotherhood Spring

COMMENT: As expected, the German Pirate Party did well in the recent state elections in Germany. A recent New York Times article highlights some considerations raised by the party’s recent meteoric rise. 

We supplement these with some of our own ruminations:

  • Part of the group’s appeal is transparency, facilitated by use of the Internet as a vehicle for political networking.
  • Transparency is certainly desirable, however superficiality has its drawbacks. I would note that Peter Ackerman, partner of convicted junk-bond king Michael Milken, associate of intelligence elements connected to the supposedly-spontaneous “Arab Spring,” is the driving force behind Americans Elect, an Internet/electoral organization that seeks “greater transparency” in political nominating using the Internet.
  • Americans Elect has been very kind indeed to the overtly Nazi-linked Ron Paul, who, in turn, is joined at the hip with “the verMITTler,” as I call him–Mitt Romney. (“Vermittler” is the German word for “agent.”) Ron Paul’s Super PAC has  been heavily capitalized by ultra-right winger Peter Thiel, one of the driving forces in the high-tech field.
  • Although “anarcho/Utopian” in political  outlook,  the Pirate milieu (Pirate Bay and the closely linked Pirate Parties) don’t seem to have figured out the fascist sugar daddy Carl Lundstrom (the chief financier of Pirate Bay) or the WikiLeaks operation, a far-right, Nazi-linked entity whose anti-U.S./anti-Western stance endeared it to elements of the so-called progressive sector.
  • Will  the Pirate Party ultimately become a German version of Americans Elect or the “Arab Spring”? The latter, as we saw in FTR #’s 733 through 739, was an intelligence operation, begun   during the latter days of George W. Bush’s administration and continued by the Obama administration. As predicted in that series, the event has become the “Muslim Brotherhood Spring.”
  • Will the Pirate Party make the same mistake the followers of the increasingly destructive “Occupy Wall Street” movement have made–overlooking the fascist/right-wing elements present at their birth?  
  • One of the dynamics fueling the Pirate Party’s rise to prominence is the resentment on the part of the German people over having to bail out other EU countries. (They are overlooking the fact that Germany’s relative prosperity has come from the introduction of the weak EURO, whose appearance has also wreaked much of the havoc on other European nations that has plunged them into their current dire straits.)
  • Might the German resentment metamorphose into a fascistic dynamic? “Deutschland Uber Alles.”
  • Although not included in the online version of the New York Times article presented here, a printed version mentioned that many of the German Pirate Party’s supporters are ethnic Danes. In the 1990’s, even as Germany was touting “volksgruppenrechte”–the rights of Native Peoples and the rights of “Threatened Peoples” the Federal Republic suppressed the linguistic identity of the North Frisians and the Sorbs–an ethnic Danish minority and a Slavic minority with their own languages. (The Sorbs should not be confused with the Serbs of the former Yugoslavia, another Slavic group). Are the Danes referred to in the article part of the Frisian linguistic minority? What role might their linguistic suppression have played in their gravitation toward the Pirates?
  • We certainly hope that the Pirate milieu–the Pirate Bay folks, the associated Pirate Parties, the overlapping Chaos Computer Club and Anonymous milieu and related elements–will use the information presented on this website to educate themselves and steer clear of the fascist pitfalls that await any and all who would stray from the beaten political path. Listeners/readers may want to make it a point to get some of this information to them.

“Upstarts Continue to Hijack Votes in Germany” by Melissa Eddy; The New York Times; 5/8/2012.

EXCERPT: When the results in Germany’s most recent state election came down, the Pirate Party cued up what could be their new theme song: “We are the Champions” by the rock group Queen blared from the speakers as exit polls showed the young party entering the third regional legislature in three elections.

The 8.2 percent share of the vote the Pirates won on Sunday in Schleswig-Holstein, the largely rural, northernmost state, solidified the presence of the upstart party in Germany’s political landscape, proving its ability to attract voters beyond the Twittersphere who are fed up with a political bureaucracy they view as disconnected from the people. The Pirates drew thousands of voters from the traditional center-right and center-left parties, an analysis of the results showed, in addition to about 10,000 voters who cast ballots for the first time. Their next challenge comes this Sunday, when an election will be held in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia.

Although the Pirate Party, formed six years ago in Berlin, has dropped recently in the polls, it looks poised to earn enough ballots to clear the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats in the state legislature there as well. Such a showing would be an important milestone for the party, given that nearly a quarter of the German population calls the state home, and it would undoubtedly add a new dimension to the political pressures heaped on Chancellor Angela Merkel as she tries to navigate the competing domestic and European-wide demands about how best to address the euro crisis.

“If the Pirates can do well in an unfavorable environment, like North Rhine-Westphalia,” said Oskar Niedermayer, a political scientist at the Free University in Berlin, “then it is a good reason to say that they have a strong chance in the next general election.” The Pirates have built their success on little more than a vague platform of greater openness in government, using technology.

Though they have failed to offer their own solutions to the Continent’s economic crisis, the Pirates have succeeded in attracting protest voters, an angry share of the electorate that is expanding even in Germany, though for reasons opposite those of many other parts of Europe. Weary of the pains of austerity, voters in France on Sunday elected the Socialist François Hollande, who has promised to make growth Europe’s new priority. In parliamentary elections, Greek voters, too, balked at the heavy costs of the belt-tightening that Ms. Merkel has demanded.

Germans, on the other hand, appear increasingly wary of the costs that the bailouts and pro-growth policies advocated by Europeans elsewhere may end up costing them. The Pirates have expanded their base by tapping into those fears, as well as addressing the feeling among many Germans that decisions regarding the euro crisis have been made over their heads, in ways not fully transparent. Many feel that Germans, unlike other Europeans, did the hard work of reform for themselves in the 1990s and that the troubles of their neighbors now threaten to strip them of the rewards. . . . .

. . . . One of the biggest problems they face is a lack of concrete positions on heavyweight issues, like the euro crisis or military deployments abroad. So far the party’s leaders have ducked this problem, arguing that they have not yet had the time to come up with a clear position. What they do know is how to rally voters around the idea of increased transparency and direct voter participation through technology and the Internet.

Issues are to be developed, debated and amended directly by party members through Liquid Feedback, an open source platform developed in Berlin. A local branch of the Pirates in the southwestern region of Trier held their first decentralized party congress last week, linking members in three different locations via video conference, while the leading Pirate in Kiel, Torge Schmidt, wants all of the legislature’s committee meetings to be streamed live over the Internet.

Those changes in favor of greater openness, many now argue, cannot be ignored. “The Pirates have brought about an important value system by saying, we want a very transparent political system, and we want citizens to participate in this,” Mr. Niedermayer said. “That is what has electrified many voters.” . .

EXCERPT FROM HARD COPY VERSION OF SAME STORY, 5/9/2012. p. A10. . . . . The upstart Pirates formed only six years ago in Berlin and made up partly of ethnic Danes, are expected to win at least 5 percent of the ballots, . . .

Discussion

One comment for “Pirate Party’s Electoral Success in Germany, Americans Elect and the Muslim Brotherhood Spring”

  1. Another angle to the involvement of Peter Ackerman, a top Americans Elect official, in the involvement of so many revolutionary acitivities is that influential billionaire Pete “austerity” Peterson is now at the heart of Americans elect:

    4/23/2012 @ 12:33PM |619 views
    Peterson at Center of Third-party Election Drive

    Although he has no official position with the organization, former Blackstone CEO Peter Peterson is now at the heart of America Elect’s efforts to field a third-party presidential candidate.

    A group called “The Committee to Get Walker Running” has announced a drive to nominate former Comptroller General David Walker.
    d
    Walker is the former chief executive of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. He now heads the Comeback America Initiative, a nonprofit advocating fiscal responsibility in government, funded primarily by the Peterson Foundation.

    Six of the Americans Elect advisory board members are directors of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, chaired by Peterson and funded in part by his foundation.

    So it’s interesting that we now have the Pirate Parties being described as one of the big political beneficiaries of the anti-austerity sentiments sweeping the EU and yet I can’t find any Pirate Party opposition to Berlin’s austerity-fetish. That appears to be the case even in today’s elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, where the Pirate Party was polling at 8% going into’s today’s vote. Maybe I’ve just missed it and the Pirate’s have a clear position on these matters, but I doubt that’s the case:

    DW
    Politics
    Pirate Party’s economic policy agenda remains vague
    Date 27.04.2012

    The Pirates support free markets and reject patent protection. But other than that, the party has little to offer when it comes to their economic policy agenda. German business representatives are watching them closely.

    A look into the party platform usually tells you a lot about how the party works and what it stands for. Under the headline of economic policy, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) says, “work must be worthwhile financially.” The Social Democrats (SPD) want “progress and justice” while the Green Party would like to “generate growth without adversely affecting the ecology and society.” The Liberals (FDP) want to push on with the privatization of companies, while the Left Party wants to reign in excessive profiteering.

    But if you flip through the platform of the Pirate Party, there are no such statements anywhere. Economic policy only gets mentioned in the form of bullet points. But you have to cut the party some slack, says Bernhard Rohleder, CEO of Bitkom. Bitkom is the economic alliance which represents the German IT, telecommunications and new media sectors.

    Rohleder says the Pirates need to be given time to position themselves and agree on their stance in areas that are not their core topics.

    “Remember that the Pirates had a pretty messy birth process and they have only just stepped into the political arena now,” he says. “So of course nobody is expecting them to have something relevant to say in every field. That’s simply impossible – nobody would be able to do that.”

    Deconstruct monopolies

    But there are some economic guidelines the Pirates have already put on their agenda. They favor free markets and want to support small and medium sized companies. They are against subsidies for ailing firms – which is what was discussed in the case of insolvent German drug store chain Schlecker.

    German enterprises listen particularly closely to what the Pirates have to say when it comes to the protection of intellectual property. The Pirates are in favor of free copy and usage, and reject patents as “limiting common welfare in an artificial way.”

    That’s not something that business representatives agree with, according to Achim Dercks, deputy CEO of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK). But he’s still not worried that patent protection in Germany could be in danger.

    “With their success at various elections, the Pirates have managed to give a wake up call to all the established and traditional parties,” he says. “These topics are now on the agenda of all parties, and they give them the attention they deserve.”

    Chambers of Commerce in focus

    But what is true for the politics of the Internet is not necessarily true for other parts of the party platform, at least not in the eyes of business representatives. The Pirates are calling for the “abolition of forced membership in chambers or associations like the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) or the Chamber of Agriculture and Small Trade.” This goal doesn’t apply to lawyers, notaries and doctors, say the Pirates.

    Well that’s interesting, the Pirates don’t have an economic platform beyond opposition to patent laws. At all. And yet they’re surging in the polls across the EU as anti-establishment sentiment over economic poilicies grows. Oh, and the Pirates also oppose forced associations in groups the like the Chamber of Commerce. But, of course, we don’t really get to know how that ideological stance actually translates into policies. Given the Pirate Party’s eery similarity to the US Libertarian Party, I’d be curious to know how that opposition to forced associations applies to the Pirates’ views on labor unions because “Freedom of Association” is sort of a Libertarian anti-union rallying cry.

    It’s also worth noting that the economic turmoil being unleashed upon the EU by the austerity regime may, indeed, give Pete Peterson & friends exactly what he needs to ensure austerity comes to the US. That’s because a meltdown of the eurozone – not just the eurozone economy but an actual breakup of the eurozone itself with nations dropping the euro – could be enough of a jolt to the global economy right now to send US back into a recession. And don’t forget that the big US banks have been particularly enomored with european bank debt of late and any renewed economic turmoil in the US invites that inevitable protest vote against “the establishment” and “out of control deficits” could propel Romney to victory in November. As Pete Peterson surely knows, nothing will do more to ensure austerity comes to the US than GOP success at the ballot box. The odds of a eurozone meltdowm affecting the US elections may not seem likely since there’s less than six months to go. But as Krugman points out today, that meltdown could happen any month now:

    NY Times
    May 13, 2012, 1:11 pm
    Eurodämmerung
    Paul Krugman

    Some of us have been talking it over, and here’s what we think the end game looks like:

    1. Greek euro exit, very possibly next month.

    2. Huge withdrawals from Spanish and Italian banks, as depositors try to move their money to Germany.

    3a. Maybe, just possibly, de facto controls, with banks forbidden to transfer deposits out of country and limits on cash withdrawals.

    3b. Alternatively, or maybe in tandem, huge draws on ECB credit to keep the banks from collapsing.

    4a. Germany has a choice. Accept huge indirect public claims on Italy and Spain, plus a drastic revision of strategy – basically, to give Spain in particular any hope you need both guarantees on its debt to hold borrowing costs down and a higher eurozone inflation target to make relative price adjustment possible; or:

    4b. End of the euro.

    And we’re talking about months, not years, for this to play out.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 13, 2012, 7:24 pm

Post a comment