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.
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, . . .