Skip to comments.Will the Pirates democratise Europe?
Posted on 04/12/2012 10:27:39 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
Overnight the Pirate Party has become a third political force in Germany, and has become much more than a dragnet trawling protest voters. According to Die Welt, the Pirate Party could be the pioneer of a new democracy in the post-industrial era, and indeed throughout Europe.
The jury is still out on whether from the Pirates will prove to be more than a footnote to European democracy. But if the pirates are not crippled by growing pains they stand a good chance of formally transforming democracy in the 21st century, mastering the end of the era of growth, achieving a sharing of burdens between the generations and becoming the first genuinely European party.
The concept of representation through mass organisations is as old and outdated as the industrial age. The unbundling of once neatly wrapped-up packages has already hit the music and tourism industries, and a similar fate is now staring political parties in the face. Online systems such as the Liquid Feedback of the Pirates can break down, and with great efficiency, those bundled-up politics of the old days of minimal democracy (Paul Nolte).
In politics too, then, the strict separation between producers and consumers will be nullified, as it has been in other areas. That has been particularly evident in the media sector, and its currently underway in the power industry, where intelligent grids in which households can both produce and consume electricity are breaking down the quasi-monopoly of the existing electricity giants.
Transparency and citizen participation
Just as with the German power utilities like RWE and E.On, political parties like the SPD [social-democrats] and CDU [Christian-democrats] must, given the new situation, reinvent themselves. As advocates of competition on the playing field of the former monopolists, the Pirates will make sure this actually happens.
Many political experts up till now have believed this to be a race to the bottom, or amateurisation of politics. But it may be the best chance to ride out the coming economic crash with a functioning democracy. The problem is that the existing political systems of the West, although reasonably well suited to organising a society with a growing national product, quickly run into heavy seas when it comes to dealing with a steadily shrinking domestic product. The riots in Greece and the strikes in Spain are a foretaste of what happens when, after years of austerity and cutbacks, there is still no light at the end of the tunnel.
In the ongoing Age of Less (David Bosshart) there will be no return to the old economic growth model, and that reality requires a new political model. If it is to remain democratic, this model must be more transparent and involve more citizen participation than the mainstream parties, in Germany and throughout Europe, are willing to grant.
Transparency and citizen participation are the best ways forward out of the crisis of the European currency and the European Union. The issue here is how democracy can ride out the foreseeable failure of the technocrats. The solution will probably not come from the Pirates themselves. But the path towards the solution might.
A willingness to choose something different
And so, across Europe, the youth of the continent a group currently on the outside, to all intents and purposes could be integrated into society and its decision-making procedures. Almost everywhere in Europe the economic crisis has led to a disproportionate rise in youth unemployment, peaking in Greece and Spain at more than 50 percent. The baby-boomer generation of parents are holding on tightly to their jobs and their positions of power; their children have only the street. It is these young people who are the core target group of the Pirate Party.
This generation of losers tried out its first rebellion in 2011. It began in May that year with the sit-ins of public squares by the Indignados in Spain, and spread across the continent as the Occupy movement. The movements followers were united by a shared feeling of opposition, but failed to come up with any concrete goals. With no possibility of joining the political process, this feeling will intensify and could be discharged in destructive actions. To involve this movement constructively in the political system, one would have to invent something like the Pirate Party. If it didnt already exist.
For a breakthrough at the European level the party now has a window of two years: namely, until the European elections in the spring of 2014. Thats enough time to develop an effective international party structure. The scale of the elections is big enough to make a brilliant showing.
Elections are also seen by many Europeans as so unimportant that the willingness to choose something different may be huge. So far, European elections have been seen as a test run for new parties at the national level. 2014 could be the first time that a new political party makes the breakthrough at the European level.
Translated from the German by Anton Baer
Arrrrr! We could use a Pirate code here.
Boy, that is as vague and meaningless as a horoscope reading.
Any details on exactly what these folks are going to do? No, I thought not.
“Every revolution evaporates leaving only the slime of a new bureaucracy” ~ Sartre
Another movement dedicated to keep the socialist gravy train rolling?
We've already got "Pirates" like that here - they call themselves "Democrats".
Pirates take what doesn’t belong to them. That isn’t democracy. Thanks bruinbirdman.
You got that right. Sheesh, it's like reading, and then pretending, Chairman Mao's little Red Book makes perfect sense.
It sounds very much like more idolatry of that false god of Progress, under a different banner. More tall-grass collectivism for scared and irresponsible people to hide in. Few can accept that we can never be sufficiently prepared for the wholly new. This is seeing a pattern where none exists.
The author is hoping for street theater to provide an antithesis to the thesis of bureaucratic plutocracy. I wish Herr Gurtler a great deal of luck with that one - he's going to need it.
I saw your comment and then read the article. I couldn’t figure out what the heck the article was talking about! That is usually a sign that it is some liberal line of B.S.
Back to your comment - pirate ships were pretty democratic with votes taken on what to do, etc., and it was a welcome change from the Monarchy for the pirates. And then they would rob and pillage and plunder. A lot like the S.S. Obama.
What a vapid group of losers. This reminds me of the Monty Python sketch about the Silly Party.
Socialists are such idiots. So there is a fixed number of jobs "x" which magically exist as a given, and the question is to whom to allocate the fixed number of jobs?
Correct. That kind of government is known as a kleptocracy. In this case, an open kleptocracy.
The idea that the world is a zero-sum place is well-enshrined in Leftist economic thought (think Thurow’s The Zero Sum Society).
Such thinking is completely bankrupt, of course.
Thanks for reading it, so we don’t have to. From the comments it sounds like die Piraten are just the Occupy movement rebranded, only not quite so intellectually coherent. They aren’t anything new, just Rousseau in a new wrapper.
LOL. You could hardly be more wrong.
For what it’s worth, Die Welt is basically the conservative Springer group’s leading paper, a kind of German Wall Street Journal (or The Times). So the suspicion of liberal tendencies is unfounded.
As for the Pirates, well, there are already three parties in Germany occupying the whole liberal/socialist spectrum - the Social Democrats, the Greens, and the “Left” (i.e. the former east German communists).
Believe it or not, the Pirates stand somewhere else.
Hope and change.......... They hope for change
I see it all the time here from the Buchananite trade protectionists...
I bet September 19th is very popular with this bunch!
“Believe it or not, the Pirates stand somewhere else.”
Like the article, your post does nothing to enlighten.
Where do they stand? What do they believe?
I’m capable of assessing where on the political spectrum they reside.
I think the name should be taken quite literally at face value. This group does not bode well for Germany.