As all the votes have been counted, the Pirate Party has won seats in the Saarland parliament, finishing at 7.4% in today’s election. This is an enormous feat that the Saarland Piratenpartei has achieved: having a re-election dropped in your lap with a post-it saying “elections in 60 days” is tough. It’s a near-impossible stunt to succeed with for a challenger activist party. The Saarland Pirate Party has not just beaten the 5% threshold, but passed high above it in style.
With all of the districts counted, the Piratenpartei in Saarland has achieved 7.4% of the vote, way above predictions of 5-6 per cent. SEVEN point FOUR!
There are 51 seats in Saarland’s parliament. With all the votes counted, we see that the Piratenpartei has won four seats, twice that of the Green Party. The FDP party has been effectively eliminated, clocking in at a mere 1.2%, which will pose problems for Angela Merkel’s CDU next year.
This is the third parliamentary success of the Pirate Party, after the Swedish Piratpartiet’s success in the European Elections in 2009 under my leadership at the time, followed by the Berlin Piratenpartei’s success in its state elections last year.
Saarland is Germany’s smallest state, located in the southwest, against the border of France. It has just over one million people and is a typical industrious region. Germany is a federation of sixteen such states, bringing the total between them to 82 million people and Europe’s largest country.
What do we learn from this?
First, Saarland pirates rock, being able to pull this off. That is all. Overall, the German Piratenpartei appears to have found very solid footing. If the Pirate Party can win in this area and under these tough circumstances, there’s quite simply nowhere we can’t win.
Second, this is the third parliament that the Pirate Party movement takes seats in, winning over five per cent of the vote in proportional elections. That shows that we’re very far from a flash-in-the-pan phenomenon, but are building our strength as a political-power-to-be over the coming decades.
Third, this will change technology policy and net legislation in a progressive direction. Not just in Saarland and Germany short-term, but also in all of Europe mid-term, as the other political players realize that they need to change their policies to not lose more votes to the Pirate Party.
Fourth, would all those who keep saying that the Pirate Party can impossibly succeed because of its a) name, b) post-industrial policies, c) transparent, non-hierarchic, inclusive culture, or d) all of the above or onion soup – would all of those people please leave the stage now, left or right, as per your own choice: just leave. While you were complaining it can’t be done, we were busy taking seats in parliaments. Saarland clocking in this high above the threshold in the face of such difficult circumstances shows that there’s absolutely nothing we can’t do.
Fifth, this means the Pirate Party movement gets an influx of very welcome resources. Every person who can work full-time enables thousands and thousands of more activists in the pirate swarm. Before the European Elections, there were three full-time pirates in Sweden: myself, the now-party-leader Anna Troberg, and now-MEP Christian Engström. After the European Elections, there were six: myself, Ms. Troberg, Mr. Engström, his on-site assistant Henrik Alexandersson, and the chairman and secretary of the Swedish Youth Wing, Ung Pirat. (To be honest, I’m not sure exactly when they were hired, but it was somewhere around there.) Then, there were the Berlin elections, and the second Swedish MEP took office with her assistants. Overall, from 2008 to 2012, we’ve increased the number of full-time pirates from 3 to about 45. This comes with a corresponding scale growth in the surrounding swarm. The Saarland success brings another ~10 full-time pirates supporting the overall swarm, plus funding.
(With full-time here, I mean that food and rent is not a worry, meaning that you’re free to focus on political activism as much as you like. The Berlin parliament is formally part-time, for example, but with a part-time pay that appears to be enough to pay for food and rent for full-time activism. We’re all doing this 60-100 hours a week anyway, so the part-time concept is kind of a bad fit.)
Heute sind wir alle Saarländer. Klarmachen zum Ändern!