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NRW-May13-2012

German Pirate Party Scores Fourth Consecutive Election Win

49

Germany

Germany

Today, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany went to the polls. This election is always closely watched in Germany, as it is the country’s most populous state. As expected, the Pirate Party won seats and entry into parliament – again – making this the Piratenpartei‘s fourth consecutive win.

After Berlin (8.9%), Saarland (7.4%), and Schleswig-Holstein (8.2%), the time had come to Nordrhein-Westfalen. As the exit polls were just presented, it is clear that the German Pirate Party has achieved its goal and secured seats in a fourth parliament: the exit polls indicate 7.5%, well clearing the five-percent hurdle for entry, and predicting 18 new Pirate Members of Parliament.

As the night progresses, and the actual votes are counted, this number will adjust somewhat. But the exit polls are always precise enough to give the end result with at most one percent unit of deviation in either direction.

This has a number of interesting ramifications. The immediate question is whether the expected weakening of the FDP, Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partner, will cause Germany’s government to collapse prematurely. That’s still too early to say – and with them staying in both the Schleswig-Holstein and Nordrhein-Westfalen parliaments (exit polls indicate 8.5% here), the risk of a premature collapse has lessened somewhat.

So we’re realistically looking at one more state election – Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) – before Germany, Europe’s most populous country, goes to elect its parliament in late summer of 2013.

(Germany is a federation of 16 states, each approximately the size of a more normal European country or a typical American state. The state voting today, Nordrhein-Westfalen, is the most populous of them with about 18 million people.)

This leads us to the interesting question – why did Germany of all countries have such breakthrough success with their Pirate Party? I can see five reasons.

The first reason is that the German Piratenpartei was long-term from the get-go. Where most pirate parties are started like any internet project – “we’re going to change the world come next weekend” – the Germans knew they would be around for a long time, and invested early in the organizational foundation for that.

The second reason is timing and ripples on the water. When the Swedish Piratpartiet had its breakthrough in the European Parliament, and was in media all over the world, the German Piratenpartei was able to exploit that momentum when a local minister named Ursula wanted to create a net censorship to fight CP. T-shirts with the name “Zensursula” were common, zensur being German for censorship. The goverment did not win the narrative on that one, and the idea of censorship was abandoned while the Piratenpartei raked in new members. I’d say that this was the breakthrough in activist critical mass.

The third reason is Germany’s federal party support. Having won 1% in the European elections and 2% in the federal elections in 2009 entitled the Piratenpartei to considerable governmental funding, which is paid out to all parties that beat the half-percent mark in elections. This has allowed the Piratenpartei to buy themselves the appearance of an established party out in the streets – their posters and banners are everywhere on paid billboards, as well as on streetlights and more activist-associated locations. But all of it looks professional, yet with a new message. It looks electable, which is key.

The fourth reason is the Piratenpartei‘s early broadening of the party platform. In Sweden, we learned the hard way in 2010 that not enough people will vote a party with a narrow platform to the general parliament. The European parliament was fine, but not the Swedish one. While we were busy running an election campaign, the German pirate party were busy discussing if – and if so, how – their program should be broadened. This was rewarded with 15 seats in the Berlin parliament, which leads me to…

The fifth reason is Berlin and the breakthrough there. In hindsight, Berlin was the perfect breakthrough location. With its characteristics of a melting pot between the government-suspicious East Europe and the progressive West Europe, mixed with a dash of political forward-thinking in the city culture itself, it would have been an obvious election to bet on for a breakthrough. But when it happened last September, it changed the game – and the media spotlight was taken so well care of, that the Piratenpartei managed to convert the progressive Berlin votes to enough votes in the industrial and traditional Saarland to enter into that parliament too. The Berlin victory of 8.9% was the definite breakthrough into mainstream awareness, and here we are.

Comments? Anything obvious I’m missing from the analysis?

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About The Author: Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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49

  1. 1
    DavidXanatos

    I think there is an important sixth reason:
    In Germany the most pirates ware f***ed over by the MAFIAA.
    due to their some one unique legal instruments, like “abnahnung” and “störerhaftung” booth this things don’t exist in the rest of Europe.

    Germany basically puts in civil cases often the burden of prove on the defendant.

    For example in Germany a woman was convicted for file sharing despite not having an active Internet access, she had one she quit and send back the DSL modem, but the contract run for some more months.

    And due to an obvious error some ware she was sent an “abnahnung” and went to court and lost.
    As she couldn’t prove her innocence.
    and thats not the only case their are really many such insane cased in Germany.
    http://www.gulli.com/news/17738-bettlaegerige-muss-auch-ohne-pc-filesharing-abmahnung-bezahlen-kommentar-2011-12-20

    David X.

  2. 2
    egal

    I was laughing when one of the first projections was shown on WDR and the moderator said accidently (?) “primates” instead of “pirates”.

    It’s great the pirates got it into the NRW parliament. Can’t wait for 2013 and I hope there will be no more scandales, because the german voters are very easy to manipulate by the media. Before they defamed the pirates as a nazi party they were at 8-11% in NRW at exit polls.

    I think another important point the pirates are that succesfull is they are pointing more rights to minorities like homosexuals, foreigners, and so on. No other party expect of the NPD (but of course in the opposite – lesser rights for minorities) is doing that in public (e.g. per posters).

  3. 3
    ForskarGurra

    Wunderschön! 4 done, 12 to go! :D
    Very exciting development, I’m watching this from Sweden via live-streams and wishing I was in Germany drinking a bier right now :D

  4. [...] Party founder Rick Falkvinge has a detailed analysis on why the Pirates are doing so well in [...]

  5. 4

    Awesome that we’ve entered yet another parliament!

    Honestly, seeing Berlin, I thought it would get much attention for like a couple of weeks, and by next election, everyone would have forgot about it – just as Sweden’s Piratpartiet did: in the EP election spring 2009 we gained huge attention, but in Sweden’s elections to national, regional and local parliaments autumn 2010, we had close to none. However, this was not accounting for the fact that the state parliaments in Germany have elections *a lot more spread-out in time* than Sweden (where EP elections are in spring every fifth year and all other elections in autumn every fourth year). That meant that the attention from Berlin could keep up until the next election, and thus, Piratenpartei were still on people’s mind when next polls arrived. Actually, I would say that this could be included as part of the “timing” reason.

    Another thing to add to your analysis is the huge issue that Google and such has become – e.g., that thing where Google Street View collected information about wireless networks actually became quite a scandale. However, since I don’t know German I’m not completely sure about this myself, unfortunately – but according to a German friend (who’s middle-age and was not active in Piratenpartei) this gained huge attention. And it seems the data retention directive has gained a lot of attention as well.

  6. [...] Party just won its Fourth State Election. Looking at these news, Rick Falkvinge gives his own five reasons why “Germany, of all countries, has such breakthrough success with their Pirate [...]

  7. 5

    I believe that you overlooked a ZEROETH reason, that is the precondition for all the five you mention (which for the record seem plausible to me) to matter: http://stop.zona-m.net/2012/05/reason-n-0-why-the-pirate-party-won-in-germany/

  8. 6
    ForskarGurra

    I think another zeroeth reason is that Germany has had surveillance societies very close and very real for their current population. DDR as well as Nazi Germany… They understsand the dangers of surveillance and they’re not gonna accept a “Stasi 2.0″. Other western countries are not really aware of how terrible it can be living in a surveillance society gone bad…

  9. 7

    My question is simple: what is your advice for other countries, with still no funding ?

  10. 8

    German pro-engineering culture that respects genuine understanding and knowledge about things also helps. There is a saying about the difference between German and Anglo-Saxon culture: “Tell your English host you’re an engineer he will show you his washing-machine. Do the same in Germany and he will show you his daughter. ” Sort of sums up the differences in culture. It may also be the reason that most UK car brands are now owned by German companies.

    I’ve been watching some of the political talk-shows in the run up to the election on youtube and the level of debate is so much better than in most Anglo-Saxon oriented countries. Hosts ask actual questions and then allow ample time for real answers. Different participants in the debates even seem to actually listen to the other person sometime (as opposed to just waiting untill they can speak again from prepared talking points). Not that TV media is wonderfull but there is a qualitative difference is the way these shows seem to actually enlarge the understanding of their vieuwers. As opposed to US/UK/Dutch TV that assumes their audience has a 90-second attention span and the IQ of a jelly-fish.

    So maybe that makes a bit of difference as well.

  11. 9

    German pro-engineering culture that respects genuine understanding and knowledge about things also helps. There is a saying about the difference between German and Anglo-Saxon culture: “Tell your English host you’re an engineer he will show you his washing-machine. Do the same in Germany and he will show you his daughter. ” Sort of sums up the differences in culture. It may also be the reason that most UK car brands are now owned by German companies.

    I’ve been watching some of the political talk-shows in the run up to the election on youtube and the level of debate is so much better than in most Anglo-Saxon oriented countries. Hosts ask actual questions and then allow ample time for real answers. Different participants in the debates even seem to actually listen to the other person sometime (as opposed to just waiting untill they can speak again from prepared talking points). Not that TV media is wonderfull but there is a qualitative difference in the way these shows seem to actually enlarge the understanding of their viewers. As opposed to US/UK/Dutch TV that assumes their audience has a 90-second attention span and the IQ of a jelly-fish.

    So maybe that makes a bit of difference as well.

  12. [...] report has exit polling showing that the German Pirate Party won 7.5% of the vote in the largest state of [...]

  13. 10
    Gaiapunk

    I would say the success of Liquid Feedback also drew in new members and makes the German Pirate Party stad out from other Pirate Parties.

  14. 11
    N.N.

    The state seems to be called North Rhine-Westphalia in English.

    They do well in Germany, because their message is less narcissistic than their competitors or peers. Narcissism in politics sells only to a fraction of right or very left. A typical (leftie) narcissistic mission statement is: “Let’s save the work next weekend!”.

    A typical right wing narcissistic mission statement in politics would be: “We know it all!” The message of German Pirate Party is the exact opposite of that.

  15. 12

    I don’t agree with point four.
    Pirate Parties should stay focused on IT-related questions of copyright and personal integrity. That’s the only way to achieve a cross-ideology reach! It was with deep distrust we had to see how eg the Swedish Pirate Party (for no pirate-party reason) sent a delegation to the failed “climate” meeting in Copenhagen 2009.
    All those who doesn’t agree with the environmental fanatics, who shall they vote for if they are for personal integrity?
    A “broadening program” is taking sides in issues that has nothing at all to do with Pirate Party essentials, and will scare people away.
    I remember how Mr Falkvinge in the beginning declared that the Pirate Party would vote in questions that was important for the party and abstain in other issues, alternately vote with those who promised to forward PP issues. Where is that now? Taking sides prematurely outside PP issues is throwing away a bargaining chip.
    No, sticking to PP essentials, and not running around in unpredictable directions – THAT’S the way.

    –Ahrvid

    • 12.1
      NingúnOtro

      Maybe that has been one of the biggest failures of the Swedish Pirate Party.

      Under the present sociologic conditions, their “Vågmästarställning” is a plain pragmatic delusion.

      When they pragmatically said they wouldl be trustworthy partners of the highest bidder towards the fulfillment of their core values… they fucked up big time. As nobody knows beforehand who this highest bidder may be… left-wing people do not vote Pirate because the highest bidder may be right wing, and right-wing people do not vote Pirate because the highest bidder may end up being left wing. In the end, only those that only care about Pirate Party core values or the advantages those would bring them… vote Pirate.

      In 2009, it being European Elections… people issued a protest vote, because those are the only kind of elections where people can cast a protest vote without fear of forfeiting a domestic equilibrium (like when half of the left votes protest… and right wins because all right votes right, or vice-versa). The Pirate Bay trial highly collaborated towards pushing this protest vote in the direction of the Pirate Party.

      But since then, they lack a proper analysis of the situation, and they’re clueless.

      • 12.1.1

        I think this analysis is spot on, at least with regards to present-day situation. I’m not at all sure that we would have had the initial critical mass of activists if we hadn’t been as narrow focused at that point in time.

        • Scary Devil Monastery

          True. And as forskargurra stated, the Germans still have both DDR and the second world war in living memory.

          I lived in Germany for a year at a very young age and one thing that struck me was that german grade schools at the time taught warnings about the third reich extensively. Many families had kept old nazi pamphlets and copies of “der stürmer” which they showed their own children saying “beware of things like this”.

          Add to that the ever-present wall against east germany and you have a situation where a great many people today in their 30’s-40’s have definite views on mass surveillance and superstates.

          Whereas in Sweden and most of the rich parts of western europes, we instead grew up overprotected. We’ve been taught since early childhood that some authority or other will deal with all of our problems so we don’t have to ourselves.

          From that grows the current widespread belief and naíve trust in a strong state doing everything right. And that’s why I think the german pirates have a far easier time of it than they do in Sweden.

        • A strategy that works in one country may not be appropriate in another. If we want to be successful, we need to be more agile and more adaptable than the ossified parties we are facing.

          Here in the United States, we need to copy the German Pirate Party’s example of extending the platform of Pirate politics beyond three core issues. We have a different system in which 50% of the vote is needed to elect a candidate. So an 8% showing in the polls would be impressive, but would not result in any seats under the US system. For this reason, we absolutely need to have an answer to every issue on the mind of voters.

          The objection to doing this is well-taken: we are broad coalition and we want to avoid losing half our members in the process. But the pirate wheel and the underlying principles of the pirate platform offer some guidance in developing new policies. For example our positions on patent reform and copyright have a lot of positive implications for the economy and health care reform. Our position on government transparency addresses the question of government corruption. Our position on open culture has implications for immigration. It is in certain other areas such as taxes, energy policy, education and foreign policy that we don’t have a clear answer. We should be cautious on those issues.

    • 12.2
      Vik1ng

      “A “broadening program” is taking sides in issues that has nothing at all to do with Pirate Party essentials, and will scare people away.”

      And sticking to IT-related questions won’t get you any new voters.

      The accusation the German Pirate Party has to deal the most with it that they don’t have a program and no answer for certain issues. In the end one of the members even got the domain kein-programm.de (no-program) which redirects to their actual manifesto.

      Overall the German Pirate Party gained a huge amount of voters ONLY because they expanded their program. Many people vote for them because of social issues and not because of their stance on copyright reform.

      • 12.2.1

        Overall the German Pirate Party gained a huge amount of voters ONLY because they expanded their program.

        This is definitely my impression, too.

      • 12.2.2
        NingúnOtro

        I believe you are wrong about the Pirate Party essentials. When the Pirate Party was founded, its intentions were to get new people in parliament that would pay attention to the issues the people care about, something that, for reasons not many can understand, is not done anymore by the already existing parties (I’d suggest to have a look at their past campaign debts and their need to kneel down before the bank to get the next ones funded), no matter what ideology they seem to claim as theirs.

        Politics and people being such a mess, as always when mass dynamics play games and the majority is never the union of the cleverest people… they were lucky to organize through the internet and to benefit thus from a “natural” selection process… only those smart enough to be online and find them could join. Not a big surprize thus that when they talked to each other personal liberties and internet related stuff is what they most had in common and could most easily agree upon as a program.

        Yes, trying to agree on more would have become more conflictive, and would have also attracted the attention and the want to participate of an awful lot of undisciplined people that would have brought inside the party the traditional shitstorm culture.

        Since then, access to the internet for all has been more or less democratized, and the undisciplined people that bring the shitstorms has been able to climb aboard, so that advantage has been lost.

        That is why it does not serve any useful purpose to restrict oneself to the initial core Pirate values anymore… now the troubles are inside and it is irresponsible not to handle them properly.

        Now, we need to be smart and elaborate a complete program with a clever reinterpretation of the world situation that positions us Pirates as the clever solution to get out of the useless left-right divide and face the real problem: the psychologically troubled elites that are feeding the cannons for their battles with the savings generated through the austerity programs they impose on us.

        (p.s.: thanks for giving the option not to be tracked by gravatar ;) )

  16. 13
    Colin

    The ‘tightly focused or general political platform’ debate raises interesting questions. To get the initial attention requires lot of focus on the core arguments. But looking ahead, lets hope the German Piraten Partei eventually becomes part of a ruling coalition. Suddenly there is a crisis and Andorra is threatening to invade Germany (unlikely I know) but if the Piraten Partei has no policy on foreign affairs, (or public health, or transport); they will not be an effective coalition partner. Voters will recognise this and not vote for them in sufficient numbers to make them a major part of the government.
    But if they become a ‘normal’ political party and lose their focus on copywrong isssues, their core supporters will lose faith and, again, the party will suffer at election time.
    I think the Buddhist faith preaches the concept of the Middle Way, not too far to one side or the other…

  17. 14

    It is important to say the aims of the Pirate Party do not stop at national borders. Like the Greens, the pirate party seeks to address global issues. There are many regimes in the world where supporting the aims of the Pirate Party could get someone in jail (not here in the UK, yet).

    I also think the Pirate Party has better methods of addressing things like GM food and mobile phone radiation than some Greens: The Pirate party is for full disclosure of the technology, including flaws and pitfalls, whereas Greens often just oppose the use of newer technologies.

  18. [...] var på plats på valvakan i Düsseldorf tillsammans med Rick Falkvinge och  Gustav [...]

  19. 15

    First, an update on the results after counting: 7.8%, resulting in 20 seats. (This is because the voting system is a mix of direct-candidates, one per district, winner take all, and proportional assignment of the rest of the seats. If a party gets more direct seats than its proportion (e.g. scoring 51% in all districts wins 100% direct seats), it may keep them, but the other parties get extra seats to bring the house closer to the proportional distribution. Hence the two extra seats).

    Next, on the broadening of the party program. We German Pirates have had long debates on this issue, and they are still going on.There are some principles, like prevention of surveillance, or transparency about government, that can be applied on all levels of parliaments, but e.g. in a state parliament like NRW there will never be laws on copyright, patents etc. to be voted on, so you have to “eat what comes on the table”, as we say.

    Many pirates are active now in many fields of politics. I myself, for instance, have prepared Liquid Feedback motions on topics like
    – mandatory pension insurance for self-employed
    – reforestation as preferred means of CO2 sequestration
    – possibility of voting misbehaving mayors etc. out of office
    – transparency about public wage subsidies (companies, not individuals)
    – device sovereignty (the right to inspect, modify and configure one’s electronic devices)
    – liability of parliament members who voted for a law that is later found unconstitutional
    – budget balance requirement before parliament members’ pay raises

    Colorful mix, isn’t it? Luckily, the swarm intelligence of other Pirates notifies me of mistakes, and proposes alternatives.. I am not an elected politician, but I enjoy doing these grass-roots politics whenever I have time :^)

  20. [...] první Pirátské strany Rick Falkvinge se zamyslel nad úspěšným volebním tažením v Německu. Úspěch vidí v pěti bodech. [...]

  21. [...] week after its third straight win in local state elections, the German Pirate Party appears to have won a similar percentage of votes in the country’s largest region, North Rhine-Westphalia. The estimates are that it will end [...]

  22. 16
    Bogs

    Me, here in North Rhine-Westfalia living, will congratulate you and hope, that this success will move on in Germany and Europe. Could be only good to get closer again after all this negative news about crisis., fears and hates.
    Maybe a Pirate Conference from all Parties allover Europe can start up an new Age, MAYBE, who knows?

    The Attention is Yours, use it!

  23. 17
    Hans J

    One other factor I think is worth noting is that in Sweden the Piratpartiet fought a countrywide election wheras in Germany Piratenpartei has yet to fight such an election. The polls shows now that Piratenpartei would get 11% of the votes in an election in all Germany but that is after having had time to build the organization allover Germany. In Germany there is a domino effect that puts focus on Piratenpartei from state to state. Even Piratenpartei in Austria benefits from this. In Sweden there was only one shot and no reservs to call in. No refinement of the campaign was possible.

    As I understand it, in Sweden the partys national budget is still around 5000 euro per month and almost no broad campaign is possible with such funding.

    • 17.1
      NingúnOtro

      Oh, with a little imagination there is an awful lot that can be done.

      For instance, instead of simply spending 5.000€ on whatever… you could come up with a much bigger communication campaign that tries to autofinance itself (personnel included)… and allow it to have 5.000€ of deficit each month ;) until it breaks even and does not need that money anymore or it is discontinued because it needs more than 5.000€ subventions each month.

      The trick is that… while it runs, it moves in total much more than the 5.000€ you have.

      And if it is successful… it could inverse the stream of money and finance the Party.
      .

  24. [...] week after its third straight win in local state elections, the German Pirate Party appears to have won a similar percentage of votes in the country's largest region, North Rhine-Westphalia. The estimates are that it will end up with [...]

  25. 18
    André

    There is actually several more reasons, some of them very specifically German, so not something that can be easily emulated by other countries.

    6th reason: the German Pirates consider themselves “Social-liberal”, which basically means we are both about solidarity while being about individual freedom. This specific political orientation only existed in the 70ies in Germany in the shape of out liberals, FDP, but they became neo-liberal in the 80ies. So they left a huge void, people very often voted for Social-Democrats or Greens, some still voted for the FDP, because it was the only party defending civil liberties. In other countries there are existing parties which cater to those kind of voters. In Germany there was none, so the Pirates offer this for the first time in 30 years. (this is the reason I joined the Pirates)

    7th reason: sheer luck after Berlin to have the right person(s) for the job.
    With people like Christoper Lauer from Berlin and more importantly Marina Weisband as political chief executive there were somewhat attractive, young and eloquent people representing the PPDE in the media for a few month. Especially Marina was just very likable and quick-witted. She became the friendly face of the party which – as sad as it may be – is quite important in a superficial society. Her successor, Johannes Ponader, though he is quite different from her, is another very fine choice, super-smart, eloquent, vegan, polyamourous, calm and always to the point, his presence alone makes other politicians furious.

    8th reason: voter frustration or protest votes
    Voters in Germany are very angry at the moment, as they don’t really feel like they have a choice. Voters can’t find a political home, as the conservative christian-democrats have become more and more social-democratic and lobby-serving, our (neo-)liberals are just catering to their clientele (rich people and big business), the greens are way too mainstream , the social-democrats have delved into neo-liberal and neo-con Realpolitik and our Linke is still way to connected to their DDR-pseudosocialist past. No matter what they vote for, the day-to-day politics stays exactly the same. It has become very obvious that the lobbyists are actually running the country.
    The result being, that there is a lot of protest votes, about 2/3rd of the votes for PP are just votes against the other parties.

    9th reason: Abstention – People chosing not to vote is another result of voter frustration.
    Where this is in general not a good thing for democracy, the PP benefits. With a turnout of less than 60% of people voting, PP can have 7% to 9% in state elections, if more people voted, it could be a problem for the PP, as we would not make the 5% hurdle.
    Admittedly, it might be the other way around, if we manage to activate more of the abstaining voters. In the first 3 elections the PPDE managed to activate more abstaining voters than any of the other parties. With the election in NRW the SPD was able to activate more than the pirates, which probably has cost the PPDE 2% of the vote.

    10th reason: the other parties and their PR machines did not understand the Pirates.
    The way the party works might be very easy to understand once you are inside the party. But from the outside it is a complete mystery. So very often they did not know how to attack the Pirates. And even if they understood something specific, they not necessarily understood that this was irrelevant to the voters.
    As an example, what just recently happened, there were several attacks on the shortcommings of LiquidFeedback and a few on the underlying idea of LiquidDemocracy. But the public did not care about that at all, as they did not understand the specifics either. The public understood, that there is a technical solution that makes direct democracy and participation possible and they liked the idea. Actual quote: “I don’t understand your policies or your software, but I like that you want to get the citizens involved.”
    The other parties are thinking about how to adapt the software and the pirate processes for their own benefit. This might be a problem for the Pirates, but it might also give us an opportunity. When the big parties with their shitloads of money explain the principles to the masses they might involuntarily explain what the pirates are all about.

    So, will the German success be something unique? Probably not. But it very much depends on the stamina of the other Pirate Parties. You need the time to build a certain critical mass of active party members. Once it is there, the rest becomes a lot easier. The good news is, that the German Pirates are very willing to help the other Pirate Parties, once we are in the Bundestag, we have enough money to actually help out. (This is the only thing I would partially relativize: the federal money was crucial in building the IT and other things for the german Pirates, but a lot of the campaign posters were paid with money from donations. The campaign was only possible, because a lot of people gave a lot of their private money. The federal PPDE only pays one person so far, the press officer, everybody else still works for free.)
    The question then will be whether the other parties will be willing to accept help from the Germans. Understandably there is still quite some resentment towards Germans in general, the Merkel austerity nonsense not really adding any sympathy points to our balance sheet. Let’s wait and see. In 5 to 10 years there might be Pirate Parties in most European parliaments.

  26. 19
    Arne

    I mostly agree with André above.

    Three more:

    11. The transparent bottom-up approach (“Liquid Democracy”), and its consistent application. Connected to that: the lack of pre-fabricated opinions on every possible matter.
    It was very new for German media to have a party head telling them that he has to wait for a decision of the basis before stating “the opinion of the party”; and thus it repeatedly made quite a story. “Upper ones” actually listening to “lower ones” sure brought points. “Let us think about it first” too (Yes, it did also cost points; but I think it was a major net gain. Common sense instead of a standard “I know instantly” ritual is a good image.)

    12. Lack of dress code. The utter diversity in appearance of Berlin’s elected pirates is a great TV-suited symbol for “representing all people”, for personal credibility, for contrast to the (mostly) uniformly clad other parties. Having also suits among them rounds out the picture, and secures “electability” – wouldn’t have worked without.

    13. Since some years, German elections are more about “who loses most” than about “who wins most”. All of the existing parties regularly have their corruption scandals, which in the meanwhile affects their images. So a new party logically has the advantage that it just can’t yet be stained by that.

  27. [...] tillsammans med Rick och Christian på valvakan i Düsseldorf. Piratenpartei gick fram med 7,8%. Det är fjärde [...]

  28. 20
    Rafinius

    I still think that one reason why the German Pirate Party is doing better than other ones (like the Swedish one) is that they are actually much more moderate concerning intellectual property amongst other things. The main reason for that is that while the German Pirates, while having the same roots as the other ones, concern themself much more with direct democracy and voter inclusion. They talk about these things much more than about copyright laws and such. This allows the party to develop in the direction the majority wants it to (providing they actually participate) and thus both easily gets active people with their own ideas on board and also their friends/followers and the majority in general.

  29. [...] week after its third straight win in local state elections, the German Pirate Party appears to have won a similar percentage of votes in the country’s largest region, North Rhine-Westphalia. The estimates are that it will end [...]

  30. [...] German Pirate Party is having a breakthrough success in Germany’s state elections, after winning access to Germany’s largest state of North Rhine-Westphalia, its fourth consecutive state parliament [...]

  31. 21
    BigD

    I am a first time Piratenpartei voter this year in North-Rhine-Whestphalia, and i came to the Piratenpartei through their support for the unconditional basic income movement, which I had supported since end 2010, and which is gaining traction right now in Germany and Switzerland. several known activists and many less known activists for the “BGE” as it is acronymed here “invaded” the last programmatic convention of the Piratenpartei, and gave very convincing and informative speeches for a nationwide debate about this model(which is actually many models) of social participation, and that yielded the necessary 2/3 support for this initiative on this convention, in the context of both the recent success in Berlin and also the looming Europe wide austerity and banking crisis. This realistic engagement for the propagation of a new and better suited social model made me switch my support for the left party to the Piratenpartei. After that I discovered, that the practical participatory options with this movement is far better and more direct than with any other political force. I have been enjoying the diversity of discussion with supporters of Piratenpartei on Facebook a lot, and also learnt a lot about swarm intelligence and practical solutions, and direct feedback instead of ideological debate. Also when watching the elected “figureheads” in TV shows, sitting with the typical “concrete heads” the we know, they(almost) always deliver quality instead of “sound bytes” as the others do. I am convinced that they are going to continue with their success, because they attract very intelligent people into leading positions which act and talk very compatible to the current new anti-figurehead direct democracy paradigm, and bring the will of the normal person to the fore.

  32. [...] German Pirate Party is having a breakthrough success in Germany’s state elections, after winning access to Germany’s largest state of North Rhine-Westphalia, its fourth consecutive state parliament [...]

  33. [...] example, in May 2012, in Germany in North Rhine-Westphalia, the new Pirate Party again fares very well. In France, the results of the first round of the Presidential elections [...]

  34. [...] German Pirate Party Scores Fourth Consecutive Election Win – Falkvinge on Infopolicy [...]

  35. [...] Party founder Rick Falkvinge has a detailed analysis on why the Pirates are doing so well in [...]

  36. 22
    dave te tohunga

    Wonder, i do, if the SWATting of Megaupload hero and German national Kim Dotcom by thugs of the muppet NZ govt on behalf of the FBI and the MPAA may have influenced German voters to send a message to their american muppets?

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Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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