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Piracy Politics

Pirate Party Gaining Strength In Germany 242

bs0d3 writes "For the third consecutive regional election, The German Pirate Party has breached the five-percent mark needed to enter the state parliament, winning 8.2 percent of the vote in state of Schleswig-Holstein. From the article: 'The big winners on the night were the Pirates, an upstart party that has shaken up the staid world of German politics with a campaign based on more transparency in the political process and internet freedom.'"
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Pirate Party Gaining Strength In Germany

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  • Re:All the Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @11:12PM (#39912313) Journal

    I'd mod you flamebait but instead....

    All this shit that's happened is because a handful of uber rich fucks are in bed with a handful of uber powerful fucks. The pirate party is for exposing that and being more open. Why do we have dinosaur-lifespan copyright? Because Disney is in bed with the US congress. And every other country is in bed with US Congress, at least when it comes to copyright.

    So let's shine a light on what's going on between the sheets.

  • Incidentally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @11:17PM (#39912347) Journal
    While the assorted techie shenanigans of the previous thread are all good fun, this sort of (much more difficult, and much less entertaining) work is arguably a much better strategy to keep your intertubes open.

    Dodging the man is fun and all, and certainly can beat the alternatives; but playing cat-and-mouse with state power can be a poor long term strategy. You have to get away with it every time. They only have to catch you once...
  • Re:All the Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by colinrichardday ( 768814 ) <> on Sunday May 06, 2012 @11:18PM (#39912363)

    They also host Wikileaks. They have a broader view of internet freedom than merely downloading in violation of copyright.

  • Re:All the Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @11:31PM (#39912427) Journal

    And so was I. Look at the big winners in the housing market bubble. Who came out on top, and who lost? This was possibly the biggest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the uber wealthy in modern history. How many of the uber rich have lost everything? How many middle class people have?

  • Re:All the Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @11:43PM (#39912483) Journal
    I'm pretty sure that the parent's point is that the problems of transparency, regulatory capture, questionably-representative democracy, and such are also at play in the context of many issues aside from copyright. Given the involvement of those issues in such minor matters as the EU's ugly 'austerity vs. popular opinion' and 'web censorship and surveillance: awesome or mega awesome?' controversies, this isn't a hard point to argue for...

    (Also, in the context of a parliamentary system, it is much more usual to have assorted issue-focused parties that don't need to have an opinion on all matters because their expected outcome is to end up as part of a coalition government with one or more other parties that bring other positions to the table. Given voter inertia, it is as illogical as it is unproductive to form a new party with too significant an overlap with an existing one, so you expect upstart parties to be mainly focused on some issue they feel to have been previously unaddressed or mis-handled, with the assumption that whatever coalition they end up in will take care of issues on which they don't differ significantly from the mainstream.)
  • Re:All the Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @11:54PM (#39912543)
    The people who caused the copyright issues caused many (most?) of the other issues. Fix the people supporting copyright, and you'll fix many of the other issues.
  • Re:All the Crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 07, 2012 @12:35AM (#39912669)

    No, he said a lot of problems are caused by rich and powerful corrupting the political process, and then gave an example using copyright law.

  • by Telvin_3d ( 855514 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @12:41AM (#39912697)

    Honestly, direct democracy doesn't scale very well above a village level population, let alone a small city. The problem is that the issues quickly become complex enough and numerous enough that keeping abreast of them is a full time job. Yes, it is useful to get everyone's input for some major piece of infrastructure. But for direct democracy to really work you have to find a way to get the population just as engaged with reviewing the sanitary regulations.

    What you quickly get is a small class of 'professional' politicians who guide and control the general votes. But since it theoretically remains a direct democracy you get none of the necessary controls and safeguards intentionally built into any sane representative democracy. And since the full time politicians don't enjoy the same official position that they would in a representative democracy they typically find less official ways to compensate themselves.

    I'll take a well designed representative democracy built around proportional representation or preferential voting (or some mix of the two) any day over the nasty mess of a large scale direct democracy.

  • by rastoboy29 ( 807168 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @12:49AM (#39912723) Homepage
    The Pirate Parties are the only parties that support unlimited non-commercial file sharing, which is the only sane position on the matter.

    Personally, I think it's the most important IP issue we have, since, if we're shutting down websites for copyright infringement, we are shutting down websites.  And thence, we cannot discuss anything freely.
  • Re:Incidentally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamstar7 ( 694492 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @01:02AM (#39912761)

    Agreed. I've really been idling my brain with the idea of finding a viable third party idea that the dissatisfied 88% of the country can get behind, and I think that a party like the pirate party would do a good job. Unfortunately, the name is a serious problem for American voters...and at the same time there's no good way to get the publicity and initial support without the name.

    Nor is there any real substantial access to matching Federal funds available to any 3rd Party candidate. If you're not a Republicrat (and I use that word to mean both wings of the Party, Democrat and Republican, it's all the same anymore except for transient soundbyte generating fluff disguised as Vital Issues), you're pretty much out of the consideration, especially when the Party keeps saying 'If you vote 3rd party, you're wasting your vote!! Vote for us instead!'

    With zero options, and the Party finally being upfront about it, the 88% just doesn't vote anymore, they're smart enough to know there are no real choices, just different sets of meat puppets with the same set of hands up their asses.

  • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @02:22AM (#39913055)

    Honestly I think that may be going too far - there are good reasons for copyright even if it's gotten out of control in the last half-century. However there's a difference between supporting copyright and supporting draconian enforcement policies. And yeah, I think we need to simply accept that realistically there's no way to enforce it without trampling all over privacy and free speech.

    Still, if we gave copyright a realistic duration (Maybe 5-10 years? I'm betting the majority of profit has been made by that point) and made violation a strictly civil offense so copyright holders could hunt down and sue individual infringers if they were so inclined, but law enforcement wouldn't get involved, I think that would be enough to keep honest people honest. If you illegally host a lot of copyrighted data on your web server expect to be shut down and fined - AFTER a trial. But in an environment where it's understood that there's lots of alternate sources for that data I don't think they can make any sort of argument that you should be shut down prior to the trial to prevent ongoing damages.

    There are some issues there with unenforced laws degrading the respect for all laws, but that's an endemic problem hardly restricted to copyright. You don't see SWAT teams hunting down jay-walkers and litterbugs, but likewise you (hopefully) don't see a lot of folks flaunting those laws directly in front of an officer. In such a way does society declare a code of acceptable behavior and punish the worst offenders so that the code is obeyed by most of the people, most of the time, which is all any law will ever accomplish.

  • by bfandreas ( 603438 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @02:49AM (#39913167)
    You are quite off with your hot air remark. They do avoid this like the plague. In fact they remain silent if they don't have anything to say.

    Let me give you an example how this not having a stance on everything manifests itsself.

    In Germany a very popular question to ask a politician is his opinion on Israel. That's a political minefield. Anything you say will be used against you.
    Some media bozo asked the new head honcho of the PP. His reply was that they didn't need to have an opinion on Israel and that the voters wouldn't punish that. Shimon Stein(former ambassador for Israel in Berlin) went on record that this is potentially the right way to start a constructive public discussion in Germany and Schlömer does deserve credits for his authentic and and honest answer instead of giving the usual knee-jerk formulaic answer any hardened politician would give. Which would have been that safety of Isreal is important as is the end to the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

    Stein's original opinion piece(German):,1518,830968,00.html [] Honesty is a forgotten virtue in politics. It's nice if established politicians notice that. I wouldn't mind if this were common place.

    This weekend was a major election weekend throughout Europe. Of course there were lots and lots of political talkshows featuring the usual talking heads. One of those had Jo Ponader from the PP in it. He spent most of his time twittering and listening. The most noteworthy thing he said was that he only had to sit there and smile since the representatives of the other parties did all his campaigning and called them a garrulous lot.
    At the moment the PP gathers the votes of the disappointed and propably is a protest party. But over the past few months they have gained much substance and have the potential to become more than an experiment. At the moment they have a couple of teething problems. But the next few years will show what becomes of them.

    I'm willing to vote for the experiment. Any party you vote for potentially fails you, so I willingly went with the experiment. It does help that they lean into the social-liberal direction I prefer and interestingly there is no party in Germany that fits into that political spectrum. This has a lot of potential.
  • Re:All the Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fjandr ( 66656 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @03:08AM (#39913219) Homepage Journal

    It doesn't make sense to own your own home. Period.

    It (usually) doesn't make sense to own your own home as an investment. Otherwise, the above sentence is completely moronic, as most absolute blanket statements tend to be.

  • Re:All the Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrb ( 1083577 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @05:52AM (#39913773)
    What I find sad is that if you try explaining this concept to people, they think you are an idiot. Many times, friends have told me that they will be living a life of borderline affordability when they finally buy their new house. I suggest they carry on renting. Their usual line is "but if you rent you're throwing money away!". Oh really? And how is this different to your mortgage interest payments? "But at least you're on the ladder!". Right, so you are going to pay substantially more than you would to rent, just so you can be a "home owner". I know people who are paying 40% more per year in mortage interest compared to their previous rent, with flat house prices predicted for the next decade, and they are convinced they're doing the right thing, because society has convinced them that it is so. And then they complain that they have no money, despite having a combined income that is double the median for their area. If you're taking home double the median pay, and the numbers still don't add up, then you're doing something wrong.
  • Re:All the Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by muuh-gnu ( 894733 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @06:37AM (#39913873)

    Copyright issues is what made the pirates realize where _many_ problems, including copyright, originate: rich and powerful people (aka money) circumventing democracy.

    The copyright issue crystalized that even though the majority of people opposes today's copyright, there is no way to change it, because political parties are so much in bed with IP stakeholders (which in the US for example, openly make threats "touch this protection law with a pole, motherfucker, and I wont finance your next campaign."), that they make laws _against_ the population, for the benefit of the influential stakeholders. It is a sick, dangerous symbiosis, which shouldnt be allowed to exist. They effectively shield off copyright policy from _ever_ being voted on, because they know what the result of a popular vote would be.

    The pirates started out with copyright, then realized "oh fuck, this is just the tip of the iceberg" and are now mainly advocating total transparency, separation of money and state, and basic, direct democracy. If we the people have the means to vote on single issue, then we _should_ be able to directly vote on it, and not be forced delegate the vote to a "representative", whom we cant force to vote to our benefit.

    The representative system has a fatal bug: a representative can make promises, get votes first, win seats, then get money, and then vote for the money wants, not for what the voters wanted when they voted for him. The only thing we supposedly can "do" about this is to not vote for the same representative again, but we cant change his once made decision. But the representative we vote in next is still subject to the same exploitability that corrupted the first one, and there is no way for the electorate to do anything to stop this bug in the system to get constantly exploited by money. The only way, and this is what the pirates are actually attempting, is to fix this fundamental bug in the system by letting voters override policitician's decisions, switzerland style. Direct democracy.

    The copyright law nightmare is just a symptom of the fact that we cant directly vote on copyright law, while money can. Money gets what it wants and we dont. We can only vote on _who_ makes decisions, but money can vote on _what_ decisions he will make. So money already has a kind of direct democracy, and we dont. The goal is for us to get direct democracy, and to decrease the influence money has.

  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Monday May 07, 2012 @06:41AM (#39913883)

    I call BS! I am a Swiss and we have direct democracy and it works well, THANK-YOU!

    The idea that issues become too complex is another pile of BS! Issues are not complex, issues are simple. What is complex is when you tie somebody's "emotion". A representative democracy IMO is the BS because what it does is give certain people power above everybody else. Do things move faster in a direct democracy? No, it takes time, but that is good because I hate the knee jerk gotta do this now or the world will end type reactions given by politicians.

    The way Swiss direct democracy works is that the government are careholders and they carry out the day to day functions. It is the people who make the choices of what goes forward. This means that even though we have to ability to decide the sanitary regulations we usually don't. Our democracy does not run amoke because unlike a representative democracy, each person in parliament will not play party politics. For they know if they act like partisan eff heads then the vote will go to the people. And once it goes to the people it is out of their control!

    Case in point the 2 billion CHF fighter jets. The SVP wants it badly, and they want the extra monies. The other parties have said, "try it, and we will put it to the vote of the people." Then the SVP said, ok no extra money, but the departments will have to cut their expenses. Again the other parties said, "try it, we will put it to the vote of the people." The SVP completely backed down, and now is cutting their own expenses and saving the monies so that in 20 years they can buy the jets. In other countries like the US, what is Romney saying? Oh yeah cut everything, but don't touch the military! ssheeshhh...

    What I really dislike about representative democracies is that they are run by minorities. They are run by people who demonstrate enough, who protest enough, or who scream enough. Notice how in Switzerland there are so few protests? Answer, because the people know that if they don't like something and want it changed they just need to put it to the vote of the people. As a result many of the things that people in representative democracies scream about are not voted on because they would never reach majority...

    BUT the biggest and best thing I like about our democracy is that we like to keep our money. If something costs more money we don't vote it in because we know we have to pay for it with more taxes. We don't vote rich people tax breaks, but we also don't rip them apart either.

    So if you counter argument is California on how not to do direct democracies, I say, wait be careful. While California has its issues, it is also a place where people want to be. So in that vein California is not that bad. The difference between California and Switzerland is that California people like to spend, we don't...

  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Monday May 07, 2012 @06:48AM (#39913897)

    I call BS, BS, BS... As I commented in a previous post about direct democracy...

    You say representative democracy is better because the average voter does not have the time. Oh really? You mean the country they live in does not deserve a few moments of their day? After all it is not that important right? This is the attitude that I DETEST! Your country is your country because you can vote and live in it, and like a garden it requires care. Sure you can hire a gardener, but unless you are willing to look at the work done by the gardener your garden will look like crap!

    This is what has gone wrong. Citizens in a representative democracy have hired gardeners, pay them, but complain if a bleeding branch is in front of their window. The garden can go to heck in a hand basket, but heaven forbid a branch clutters their window. The only way to fix government is to have people vote on the issue when necessary...

    THis is an open source forum, and last I heard open source is good because there are more eyeballs looking at the issue and hence less bugs. Can this not be said about direct democracy as well? Sure not everybody votes on all issues, but you will have enough people looking and asking questions that if anything were bad it would be raised very quickly.

  • by muuh-gnu ( 894733 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @07:24AM (#39913961)

    For direct democracy to work you dont have to give up representative democracy, you can make direct democracy optional, like in switzerland, so that if enough people _want_ to vote on a topic they perceive important, they can.

    At the current representative level, we're basically not allowed to vote on copyright, becaue our "representatives" dont like the probable outcome of the vote. So they simply enforce their policy against the "will of the people", leaving us with a de facto dictatorship with respect to copyright. We cant vote on it, and those we voted in wont do as we want, leading to a situation where the law whether something is legal or illegal absolutely does not represent the public opinion whether something actually is right or wrong.

    In switzerland, representative democracy works as usual, but if enough people collect signatures, they have a way to vote to override politician's decisions. They can stop unpopular laws. In Germany, we cant. If our goverment decides to crack down on filesharing, we cant stop them. If our goverment decides to go to war against iran because of some "NATO obligations", we cant stop them. All we can do is wait for 4 years and then vote in somebody else and pray that he wont do the same, because we cant stop him either. The whole problem originates in the fact that our politicians, once they're in after making false promises, they _know_ that they're literally unstoppable and behave accordingly.

    What Pirates want for Germany and what the Swiss already have in Switzerland, is to make politicians stoppable and their decisions reversible, immediately by popular vote, not by waiting 4 years and then hoping their successors are going to reverse it like they "promised".

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein