by A swedish kind of death
Tue Mar 7th, 2006 at 06:47:32 PM EST
As I wrote about in a comment a couple of weeks ago, the Pirate Party has been founded in Sweden in january and is running for seats in the swedish parliament. The election is on the third sunday of september. The Pirate Party started with the question of downloading (hence the name, the copyright lobby has succesfully coined the meme pirate-copying) and anger towards the EU data retention directive, which our justice minister has been a leading proponent of. There is a general feeling that governments and big corporation together are trying to control communications and culture. And in Sweden the government and the opposition are squibbling over the details of the surveilliance while passing the big things together.
The Pirate Party has a platform with the following questions:
The Pirate Partys chances of entering parliament
- Ensure the citizens privacy. By never implementing and working to revoke the EU data retention directive and instead making postal secrecy general (postal secrecy is very strong in Sweden) - a communications secrecy act - the Pirate Party hopes to stop and reverse the current trend towards more surveilliance.
- A cultural commons policy. Decriminalize copying, especially file-sharing. Limit copyright to a couple of years - say five. Note that this would enable vast digital libraries in any language as long as their server is parked in Sweden.
- Work to abolish patents, or at least make sure not more areas are allowed to be patented. No software patents, no patents on discoverys like DNA and so on.
The swedish electoral law states that to enter parliament you have to gather 4% of the votes cast (or 12 % in one district, but that is only relevant for regional parties). 4 % would be around 250 000 votes. The natural constituency of the Pirate Party is the people who download copyrighted material. According to the last survey of the swedish statistical central bureau (SCB) 1,2 million swedes download. Not all of them are eligible to vote (kids), and not all of those that are will vote for a Pirate Party, but there is enough left for a chance of entering parliament.
The curiosities of swedish politics
Why am I blabbering on about "entering parliament", what good can a party with 4-5 % of the seats do? Well, to understand this I have to paint a picture of current swedish politics.
Swedish parties are divided into two blocs, the right and the left. The right consists of the Moderate Party (conservative and neoliberal), the Peoples Party (european liberal, has moved a lot to the right recently and stolen votes from the moderates), the Christdemocratic Party (small, religious right party), the Centre Party (small, traditional country-side party).
The left consists of the Socialdemocratic Party (has ruled sweden all but 9 years since the 1930ies), the Left Party (former Communist Party), the Environmental Party (small, green). As all these are in parliament now, they will probably be so after the next election, because the big parties voters will support-vote for any that gets to close to the 4 % limit.
These two blocs are the real possibilities of government. Sweden has never had any big coalitions, and the last lasting midfield government (with opposition to the right and left) was in the early 1930ies. A right-bloc government would be a four-party coalition, a left-bloc government would probably consist of the Socialdemocrat in technical miority government with the Left Party and the Environmental Party supporting the government for concessions, or possibly an Environmental-Socialdemocratic coalition with support of the Left Party. (The Socialdemocrtic Party are mean at negotiations.)
As I have commented before there are signs of an ugly campaign starting up which will even more strengthen bloc-loyalties. The campaign is also very even right now with a small lead for the right bloc. The likely outcome if the Pirate Party enters parliament is that neither bloc can rule without its support, they will have what in Sweden is refered to as the-tip-the-scales-position. Thus they will have a great chance to get a lot for their support, especially as they are not bound beforehand to either bloc. By not positioning themselves in other questions they avoid limiting their choices.
So far so good
The Pirate Party collected with ease the 1500 signatures needed to register the party, in fact 2500 signatures was collected. The Pirate Party is building an organisation with right now over 1600 members and district organisations in the major cities.
The next step
In mid-april the ballots need to be done, so the party needs to decide their candidates and raise money for ballots. The swedish government provides and distributes any party in parliament with close to 12 million ballots, and also prints and distributes ballots for parties not currently in the parliament. But aspiring parties needs to pay for the ballots themselves.
The European perspective
The trend towards surveilliance is not a local trend, visibly shown by the United Kingdoms anti-terror laws and the french DADVSI law. We are also connected through the EU, the swedish government has apparently used its say in EU politics to drive increase surveilliance and the rights of big corporations. So to fight back against oppression anywhere is to fight it everywhere. That goes for the world to.
The Pirate Party campaign will, even if it fails to get the votes change the positions of the mayor parties as they triangulate for maximum voter support.
If you like to, you are very velcome to donate. If you do it would also be terrific if you end your sum with .03 € cents or something close to it (that would be .04 $ cents), so that what comes via the Eurotrib can be seen (Thanks to DailyKos for that idea).
Thruth in advertising: As suggested by lemonwilmot I have joined the party, so if I am not around here much it is because of all barricades I need to stand on and all buried treasures needed to be digged up. Mixing metaphores here, I guess what I am trying to say is that while the revolution may not be easy, it can at least be fun. Arrr!