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At the heart of culture lies creative recursion: re-applying creative practices to artifacts resulting from previous creative practices. Remix culture could then be defined as processes of creative recursion that make this recursion as such recognizably visible. This is what makes a remix reflexive, as is explained by Eduardo Navas over at remixtheory.net:
[remix] allegorizes and extends the aesthetic of sampling, where the remixed version challenges the aura of the original and claims autonomy even when it carries the name of the original; material is added or deleted, but the original tracks are largely left intact to be recognizable.
As a result, works of remix communicate always and simultaneously on at least two levels: the asthetics of the remix as a new work and its status as a remix, referencing the remixed works. A nice example of the communicative power of remixing as recognizable creative recursion is provided by the most recent election campaign of the Pirate Party of Lower Saxony in Germany. To communicate ‘piracy’ as a brand, the pirate party creatively ‘pirated’ prominent brands. Find below several of the respective campaign posters, all of which can be found on the campaign portal ideenkopierer.de (“idea copiers”; some of the translations are taken from Torrentfreak):
We may not have Alps in Lower Saxony, but we want to ensure that students continue to know that cows are not purple. Read the rest of this entry »
Sigrid Quack and Leonhard Dobusch comment on the recent developments in the German “Piratenpartei” around the Pirate Party Convention 2012.
With the German Pirate Party continuously rising in national polls – currently ranging between 10 and 13 percent (see Figure below) – media attention on the party’s convention last weekend had reached a new height.
And this media coverage is increasingly becoming transnational. Germany’s largest weekly Der Spiegel devoted an extensive feature article in English to the phenomenon, trying to explain questions such as “Why the Pirates Are Successful”:
“This is precisely the Pirates’ biggest attraction: transparency and participation, as well as a healthy dose of freshness and otherness. This sometimes makes the Pirates seem childishly naïve and chaotic, and yet they seek to make do without back-room backslapping and conventional political smoothness.”
But also criticsm is voiced in the recent coverage. The Economist, for example, calls Pirates in its recent printed edition “slightly barmy” and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung published a series of articles on unfortunate comparisons of the Pirate Party’s rise with that of the NSDAP by the secretary of the Berlin Pirate caucus (German article) and some right wingnuts in the party who among other statements denied the Holocaust (German article). Read the rest of this entry »
This post is provided by our guest blogger Moritz Heumer.
The winning streak of the German Pirate Party is continuing with the latest success of entering the Saarland parliament. Recent polls for the national election suggest that the pirates might reach 11 percent of votes. The continued success of the pirates raises doubts about claims of their gains being entirely based on protest voters. What are the supporters of the Pirate Party then voting for? In this blog I will argue that the Pirates are addressing highly topical issues that are not dealt with by other parties. By doing so they appeal to primarily young voters, especially the digital natives. Based on an analysis of the German Pirate Party’s wikis, I was able to trace its links to other actors which are part of a social movement with transnational scope. This social movement is aiming for policy changes in different fields that are connected with issues arising from the digital revolution. The formation of parties is one element of the mobilization repertoire of this movement. The rise and diffusion of Pirate Parties, itself a transnational phenomenon, therefore cannot be understood without connecting to the frame of reference that was created by other actors who previously dealt with similar issues.
While the big win of the German Pirate Party in Berlin was big news, reported even by the New York Times (see also “Boarding Berlin“), yesterday’s win in the state of Saarland had already been expected and thus received less international attention. However, the success is remarkable. With 7,4 percent of the votes, the Pirate Party will receive twice as many seats in Saarland’s state parliament than the Greens. Even more importantly, the Saarland results refute two common explanations of the Berlin victory. First, the success in Berlin was no one shot wonder. Second, Pirates can also win in more rural areas outside of city states .
As a result, media commentators turned to another narrative, attributing the Pirate Party’s success mainly to collecting protest votes. I think this is wrong. While protest does play a role, several indicators suggest that this is not the dominant one.
Strong membership base: Fueled by local election successes, the German Pirate Party reports growing membership numbers all over the country (see Figure below). However, becoming a member can be interpreted as a sign of identification with an organization and differs from mere protest that is directed against the so-called “established parties”.
Returning to Berlin from the Creative Commons Global Summit 2011 in Warsaw (see live-blogposts on the event), the political landscape of the city has been shaken by a Pirate Party election success. Two years ago, the German Pirate Party won 2 percent in the German federal election (see “Pirate Parties: Transnational mobilization and German elections“). Today, they boarded Berlin’s state parliament with 8.9 percent of the votes and 15 seats (see English Wikipedia). This is the first time the German Pirate Party was able to enter a state parliament, proving that the 2009 election results were not just a flash in the pan.
The dimension of the win was completely unexepected even for the Pirate Party, which is best illustrated by the following fun fact: the Berlin Pirate Party had only nominated 15 candidates for the state-wide election, all of which are now members of the parliament; had the Pirate Party won only one more seat it would not have been able to fill it.
The following Q&A is meant to give some background information to a non-German-speaking audience.
Is the success of the pirate party in Berlin only a regional exception?
Yes and No. Yes, because at least so far the German Pirate Party has only succeeded in urban areas and not at all on the state level – even in city-states such as Hamburg it had not gotten more than 2.1 percent (see graph below). For now, the dimension of the election success of the Pirate Party in Berlin is a regional peculiarity.
No, because the German Pirate Party is part of a transnational movement critical of the prevalent regime of strong intellectual property rights protection (see, again, “Pirate Parties: Transnational mobilization and German elections“), which manifests in currently 22 official registered and about 25 still unregistered national pirate parties. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the things that make blogs particularly interesting are series. In this blog, for example, Phil features a series on “microcredit myths“. The “series” series recommends series at related blogs. This time I introduce the series “Party of the Week” at the official blog of the “Pirate Party International“.
While the website “pp-international.net” had been online for quite some time before, the official umbrella organization of 22 national pirate parties called “Pirate Party International” (PPI) was founded three weeks ago in Brussels:
“After a tour of the European Parliament and a speech of Swedish Pirate MEP Christian Engström on Friday April 16th, 32 delegates from 18 countries gathered in Brussels to discuss the statutes of the PPI. An easy way to follow the conference had been arranged for those who were cut out of Brussels completely, as all Pirates worldwide could follow the sessions over a video stream and take part in the group discussions over chat. Shortly after 22h00 on Saturday April 17th the delegates and remote participants accepted the statutes of the Pirate Parties International.”
Yesterday, the PPI started a new series on its blog entitled “Party of the Week“, which will “present one Pirate Party from one country, ask questions, publish the answers, promote their website, twitter accounts etc.” each week. For researchers interested in transnational and Pirate Party related copyright activism this sounds quite like a great service to get an overview. Probably due to the upcoming Britisch elections, the first national party to be presented is the Pirate Party UK. Questions answered include “Tell us why the Pirate Party of the United Kingdom is participating in the current elections?”, “Tell us more about the inner structure of PPUK” or “What is the message?”. Regarding the latter, the response reads as follows:
“To us, Pirate politics is fundamentally a civil rights question about liberties which were hard-won in past ages and – shamefully – need to be defended again in a Digital Age. Copyright is simply one facet of this – the attempt to enforce 19th Century concepts of copyright and “intellectual property”, by 20th Century business interests in the 21st Century result in a direct clash with people’s freedoms to communicate and share information.”
I am personally looking forward to reading about and thereafter comparing the different national Pirate Parties, especially with regard to differences in organizational structuring and how they define their mission.