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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, . . .


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.
    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:

    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
    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

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