At regional elections at the end of April, they got 8% of the vote, enough to give them seats in the state parliament of Schleswig-Holstein, in the far north of Germany. It is the third state in which they now have people in parliament, making law. In Berlin, they have 15 members of the legislature.
The ambitious Pirates are now moving onto the next frontier: Europe. All over the continent, discontented voters are turning to the Pirates to vent frustration with the status quo.Germany’s Spiegel has the story:
200 pirates who traveled from 20 countries to Prague over the weekend, where they called for new forms of democracy and citizen participation in the digital age. They shared their experiences and ideas from home as well as the goal of establishing a pan-European network. There is even talk of creating a European Pirate Party (PPEU) for the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Organizers said the Prague event had been intended as the “first step towards a coordinated program for the European Elections in 2014.”Such aspirations are kept deliberately vague, however, since the creation of a pan-European Pirate Party still remains a distant dream. There are a growing number of Pirate Parties in Europe, but most are still in their infancy. In Prague over the weekend, PPI incorporated Pirate parties from Greece, Tunisia, Croatia and six other countries into the umbrella organization. The members are united by a vision of a networked pirate movement which crosses national boundaries.
Germany’s Pirates remain the most organized, but even they struggle for a unifying agenda. They may have seats in regional legislatures but so far, that’s all they have. Maybe sometime soon that will change.If they do make it into Parliament, the party will have to develop some stands and make some choices fairly quickly. One will be on a party foundation. Under the German system, political parties that make it into parliament get a publicly financed political Stiftung or foundation (with money awarded based on their percentage of the vote) to hold conferences, do policy work and advocate democracy abroad. The conservative ruling party has the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung named for the great postwar German chancellor, the Social Democrats have the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, named for an early hero and leader of the democratic forces under the Weimar Republic and so on. Who will the Pirates name their foundation for? The Bluebeard Stiftung? The Captain Hook Stiftung?We can’t wait to find out.