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Ta take an example I was involved in, the FRA law
The FRA law (FRA-lagen in Swedish) is a Swedish legislative package that authorizes the state to warrantlessly wiretap all telephone and Internet traffic that crosses Sweden's borders. It was passed by the Parliament of Sweden on June 18, 2008, by a vote of 143 to 138 (with one delegate abstaining and 67 delegates not present) and took effect on January 1, 2009.
It was proposed in 2006 and the Pirate Party campaigned against it in the election campaign, without much success.
In 2007 it was presented to parliament. The Pirate Party ran demonstrations together with all the youth organisations for the parties in parliament. Some media attention. The left party and the greens got the soc-dems to oppose it and in sprig 2007 it was minority tabled for a year.
In the spring of 2008 the Pirate Party continued to campaign against it, focusing on parliamentarians within the majority coalition that had opposed it in the election campaign. Without anything news media considered it uninteresting, but online the campaign got traction and with a month to the decision, fashion blogs and sports blog started to discuss it. Still uninteresting for the media.
On the day of the decision, 2000 people gathered outside parliament. This is a big demonstration in Swedish terms and did get media attention. Party whips ruled the day though, but in the months to come it remained one of the most discussed political questions.
So my impression is that people are in general interested, once the message is there and the organisation to carry it. Takes a lot of work though.
Turning opinion into policy is the next step, and our o so democratic systems are set up to prevent that, but that is another issue.
Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
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