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Last week we started a small series of blog posts presenting our empirical findings of a study about the Pirate Party movement which Leonhard and I carried out in January 2012 (see “Transnational Pirates #1“). In particular we aimed at exploring the transnational context of the German pirate party. We understand transnationality as the combination of practices of actors who are simultaneously engaged in a global context and local network.

We operationalized the local context of Pirate Parties in three dimensions: the local roots of issues, the (inter-)organizational embeddedness in the local, and related to the latter the participation in elections (we will come back to that in Part 3 of the series). We intended to reveal how the parties build on various local opportunity structures and adapt to different local conditions. The following analysis focuses on our sample of 14 officially registered Pirate Parties.

The integration into both a global and a specific local network can be shown in terms of themes and issues pursued by the respective Pirate Parties. Asking for the rationale for establishing a national Pirate Party in the first place paints a rather consistent picture. While this was an open question, all 14 registered parties only refered to four main objectives:

  1. Pursuit of themes of the global Pirate Party movement in their respective countries (8)
  2. Transformation of political structures, towards more transparency and participation (8)
  3. To live up to earlier success and attention of Pirate Parties (7)
  4. To tie on concrete political issues in their respective countries (6)

Read the rest of this entry »

As Leonhard has written on this blog some days ago, the recent success of the Pirate Party in the Saarland state election in Germany is remarkable. The Pirates received 7,4 percent of the votes right from the start. Just days after the election, the party has even raised its acceptance on the federal level. Current opinion polls count them at 12 percent among German voters.

In addtion to its success in regional elections, the German Pirate Party also consciously operates within a transnational context. The transnational perspective of the German pirates can be illustrated with a recent statement of Bernd Schlömer, vice chair of Pirate Party Germany, who points out that his party is part of a global movement. This movement, Schlömer added, might help to develop international positions, for example, on Foreign Affairs and Security Policies issues, which then could be brought back into national politics.

This recent example illustrates the two perspectives of the transnational context of the Pirate Party movement, which Leonhard and I aimed to further examine in a study pursued in January 2012, which will appear as a book chapter in the German edited volume “Unter Piraten“.

We would like to present our empirical findings in three short posts, starting with a general description of the project, the data collection and first results concerning the state of the global Pirate Party movement. We will then move on to post #2 on Issues and Campaigning and post #3 on Global Movement and Local Networks. Read the rest of this entry »

This blog is supposed to deal with issues related to governance across borders. So why devote so much space to the results of a regional election in Germany? The answer is twofold.

Logo of the Pirate Parties International meta-organization

First, as mentioned already in yesterdays FAQ (see “Boarding Berlin“), the Pirate Party’s election win in Berlin would not have been possible without its relations to a much broader and transnational movement. For one, these are fellow pirate parties in over 40 different countries, most of which are members of the meta-organization (Ahrne and Brunsson 2008) Pirate Parties International. For another, the pirate party movement is itself only one of several related and partly overlapping social movements inspired by the new technological possibilities of Internet and digital technologies.

Most these movements address regulation that is considered incompatible or even harmful to new technology-related freedoms, often related to surveillance and intellectual property regulation. And all of these movements are transnational in both perspective and activism. Wikipedia, for example, lists five “movements” in the field of “Intellectual property reform activism”, namely the Access to Knowledge MovementAnti-CopyrightCultural Environmentalism, the Free Culture Movement, and the Free Software Movement. Prominent transnational organizations within these movements include, as pioneers, the Free Software Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation as well as more recent examples such as Creative Commons or the Wikimedia Foundation. In a way, the pirate party movement can be considered the political arm of these movements – even though not all of the movement members feel comfortable being associated with “Pirates” (see, for example, “Lessig on Abolitionism, Copyright Zealots & the Cultural Flatrate“). The similarity to the origins of the Green Party, which also emerged out of several interrelated envirnomentalist movements are in any case striking, not to forget that Jamie Boyle called for an “environmentalism for the net” already in 1997. 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.

(leonhard)

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
May 2019
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