The First Ten Years of the Pirate Party: Lessons Learned and Road Ahead

Supporters of German wing of Pirate Party (Piraten Partei) wave their flags during rally against state and corporate surveillance policies in Berlin

Exactly ten years ago, on January 1 2006 at 20:30 CET, the Swedish and first Pirate Party was launched by me setting up an ugly website. Since then, we delivered on the proof of concept on June 7, 2009, and the movement grew from there. We weren’t always successful, though, and it’s important to be humble and do a little retrospection.

The choice of January 1 wasn’t so much chosen as a symbolic date as it was done then out of necessity. I had worked on the ugly site over the Yule holidays, and had an ordinary day of work the next day, so I simply had to take online whatever was ready at the time. But once the word was out, it just snowballed. No, scratch that. Avalanched.

From there, I led the Swedish Pirate Party for its first five years, delivering on the primary mission of showing that activists can run for office and succeed when the party got elected to the European Parliament on June 7, 2009 under my leadership. It was a huge victory showing that the net generation didn’t have to take policymaking bullshit sitting down, but that we could run for office and kick offline-borns out of their nonperforming jobs. Many other successes from other Pirate Parties followed. I stepped down from the position of party leader exactly five years ago, five years after founding the party, choosing to go full-time international liberty evangelist, something I still enjoy doing. At the time, I also revamped this blog completely (and will revamp it yet again in the coming days to a new format again).

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The Mission

We’re at a crossroads with regard to information technology: who controls it? If the answer is “the government”, we’re in for a Big Brother society so horrible that books trying to describe it in the 1950s would have been discarded as too unrealistically dark. On the other hand, if the answer is “the citizens”, we’re in for a more innovative, creative, and transparent society than has ever existed. There’s enormous values at stake here.

Pretty much all of the incumbent powers are fighting to take control of the Net. While this is a problem that may solve itself once the net generation gets into power on a large scale, we risk having a Big Brother society by then that runs unquestioned by such future powerholders. Our mission was – and is – therefore to build a bridge of liberty between today and the time when the net generation gets into power on a large scale. It’s going to be some 30-40 years. Basically, the mission is and was to prevent a dystopia that would take centuries to undo.

What We Have Learned

We’ve grown and gotten elected in Sweden and Germany, and also became victims of our own success there (more on that later). We almost made it to the European Parliament from the Czech Republic in 2014. We’re currently polling at thirty-plus percent in Iceland, making it possible to hold the prime ministry there after the spring 2017 elections (though that’s pure speculation on my part; I don’t know the tactical game the Icelandic team has in mind and I only talk about the prime ministry based on the raw numbers – the PPIS is the largest party by far). We can observe that teams in different countries have consistently taken turns to pull the movement as a whole forward, making it overall viable.

We’ve learned how to get elected. Actually, scratch that. We’ve learned how to deserve getting elected. There’s a strong difference. But we haven’t learned deserving a re-election yet. We need to be humble on this point.

But the most important thing we’ve learned is that you don’t have to take repressive laws sitting down, but that it’s completely possible to run for office and kick digital illiterates out.

What We Have Accomplished

There’s a lot to say about what we have accomplished in this decade. For starters, the party is ten years old today, and we’re on our second term in the European Parliament. That kind of success borders on ridiculously impossible.

We brought a radical copyright monopoly reform proposal into the mainstream – the Pirate Party platform is now an integral part of the platform of the Green party group in the European Parliament.

We stopped Three Strikes and made it illegal across Europe, thwarting the copyright industry’s plans of shutting people off the net in the hundreds of thousands.

We were instrumental in stopping ACTA, working from inside Parliament while Anonymous and others were staging rallies across European cities.

Finally, there’s the Reda report, where Julia Reda – Pirate Member of the European Parliament, elected from Germany – was tasked with formally evaluating what works and what doesn’t work in the European Union copyright monopoly legislation, and who wrote a report on the matter and managed to get the Parliament as a whole to approve it. If somebody had told me a Pirate would be formally in charge of evaluating the copyright monopoly at the European level less than a decade after the Pirate Party’s founding, I’m not sure I would have believed them. But that’s what we’ve done.

What Has Changed in Ten Years

Depressingly little has changed in these ten years, actually.

Smartphones have arrived, so the tools have moved from desk to palm. Streaming has arrived (Pandora, Spotify, Netflix) and somewhat displaced torrenting as the media delivery mechanism of choice. People don’t torrent music any longer, but certainly torrent movies and TV shows.

Otherwise, the arguments from the copyright industry remain the same dumb arguments heard in 2003. What we’ve managed to do in that time is stave of the worst stupidities (notably ACTA and Three Strikes). It’s still illegal to use your own property, it’s still illegal to share interesting stuff with friends, it’s still illegal to do the most obvious good things just because old obsolete industries don’t like it. That’s Dumb.

I was joking the other day that I could probably re-run 90% of the articles on this blog, and they would still be as applicable as they were the day I wrote them.

This doesn’t mean we failed. It means that the power struggle is at least at a standstill, whereas before we came on stage, things were going the wrong way quickly.

Hard Lessons: Overapplying Democracy

One of the most expensive lessons has been in understanding democracy, what it’s good for, and when not to overdo it. The Swedish and German parties both fell on this point. I describe what happened in the Swedish party in detail in chapter seven in Swarmwise, but long story short, we created a youth section to get governmental grants, and had to structure it completely counter to net thinking. That was the death knell, right then and there. Once it was there, the values of the counter-net-thinking gradually took over the decentralized swarmthink of the main party, and the organization gradually bureaucratized, drove off activists and people who lead tech-style by building, making, and leading by example, and lost its delivery capacity. It went from being an organization that rewarded the best activism, to being an organization that rewarded the best procedural trickery. Hard to recover from that point.

Germany had a similar story. It had to organize in a certain (old-fashioned) way in order to be eligible for grants. Growing at a record pace, it was impossible to keep the original values when the member vote tenfolded and everybody got their pet projects into the party line. Simply put, it was not possible to keep a guiding star of a true free-information liberty ideology. Two factions – a liberal and a left-wing – crystallized, and the German party fell from there, having enjoyed as much as 13% in national polls (which is no small feat in a large country like Germany).

The lesson here is that democracy isn’t a solution that fits everywhere and on all levels. It’s constructed as a safety valve at the nation-state level and its primary benefit is that it replaces a regime before a violent revolution breaks out. But at the organization level, you have much easier means to escape the rules of a leader you don’t agree with – you just walk somewhere else. Taking this reasoning to its extreme, democracy is not how you run an organization where participation is voluntary in the first place, for it creates losers by definition of its very process, and losers are unhappy people who disengage. There are much better ways to run such organizations.

It’s hard to not look at the two most successful open projects here: Linux (the kernel) and Wikipedia. Neither of them vote, ever. Linux discusses until a technical advantage is evident for either option, and if agreement cannot be reached, Torvalds decides. Wikipedia discusses until it is determined what makes the better encyclopedia. There’s something very important to learn here, mixed in with our own experience: while democracy is preferable at the nation-state level, where the Law of Two Feet cannot be applied, it was grossly overapplied in the early Pirate Parties in a way that disengaged people at a huge cost.

So why did we overapply democracy in this way in the early Pirate Parties? Because we knew of no other way to organize, basically. “All the others did it like this.” It was a very expensive lesson, but we gradually learned to apply net organization to new political organizations. I wrote a book on that later.

Staying True to the Ideology, Even When Inconvenient

We’re champions of free speech. This means allowing nudity in the United States and hate speech in Germany, for example, despite being politically inconvenient and almost taboo. Actually, it goes beyond just “allowing” such expressions, but ferociously defending them, calling out people who want to restrict free speech as not having a single moral leg to stand on. Tearing such warriors of morality down from the high horses they pretend to be riding on, and doing so in full view of the public. We’ve failed to do this in some fear of public disapproval, and it’s come back to bite us pretty much every time. There are many other examples. If you don’t have free speech, you have none of the other liberties, either. It’s just because the thought is taboo that it must be challenged.

We’ve only just started. The average time for a new party to get one person elected is on the order of 25 years. We’ve got a lot ahead of us. But damn, what a ride it’s been these first ten years.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot.

Discussion

  1. Samedokan

    Best article ever…

    … to declare I am finally using my walking boots.

    There is no democratic way out of what you have let the Pirate Movement become… a damn #Idiocrazy™.

    The gods know I’ve done my best:

    https://samedokan.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/when-pirates-do-prefer-censorship/
    https://samedokan.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/pirate-kiddies-playing-court-of-arbitration-for-buddies/

    If I ever go politic again… I will have the perfect illustrated example of “what NOT to do”.

  2. Anders

    I still think the problem is a lack of vision and a lack of purpose. If we look at the other newcomer, the Swedish Democrats, they also clashed with their youth organisation over the vision part. (in their case who is and who can become a Swede) I think this is the same problem we saw with the pirateparty and its youth organisation.
    It says here its about free speech, but that was not stated in an understandable way. Many people love free speech until it is misused. And free speech is misused. And the misuse touches moral values that are more important than free speech in most peoples eyes.
    Currently terrorist recruitment is vital to stop or our society, friends and families will die. Free speech must be limited to protect other values according to most party people I met.
    The values, vision and purpose in this regard still remains to be settled for the pirate party.

    1. next_ghost

      Many people love free speech until it is misused. And free speech is misused. And the misuse touches moral values that are more important than free speech in most peoples eyes.

      There is no such thing as a “misuse of free speech”. There are, on the other hand, still plenty of “moral values” that are nothing but bigotry and prejudice, usually prescribed by some ancient and grossly overrated story book.

      Even preaching of pure hatred is still not misuse of free speech. It’s actually a very useful warning signal that there is a problem that needs to be addressed, otherwise it might grow into a huge tragedy. If you just silence the preachers of hatred instead of fixing the actual problem, the tragedy will become unavoidable and it’ll happen seemingly out of nowhere, but only because the hatred was growing for years in shadows rather than in plain sight.

      Currently terrorist recruitment is vital to stop or our society, friends and families will die. Free speech must be limited to protect other values according to most party people I met.

      You won’t become a terrorist just by watching some propaganda video. Terrorist recruitment is attractive only to a very specific group of people who are often actively looking for it. Trying to silence terrorist propaganda won’t solve anything, just like blocking The Pirate Bay won’t make the slightest dent in file sharing. It’ll only make it harder for police to monitor terrorists’ recruitment activities.

      The only solution that will work is to find out why terrorist propaganda is so attractive to its target group and fix THAT problem. Anything else is a pointless knee-jerk response that will hurt us all in the long run.

    2. Anonymous

      You know, I have never encountered “terrorist recruitment” except the one from my own goverment (army), alcohol and fireworks sellers and a lot of MLM schemes.

      Also for the number of death: “got killed by terrorist” is – in the “first world” still one of the most unlikely causes of death, even in Paris (town) alone.
      And even in terror-striken US it is more likely to club yourself to death with your own belongings (guns and cars not counted btw) then to be blown to pieces by terrorists.
      At the same time with the money going into “anti-terror” you could have saved about 1000 times the number of people terrorist have killed there if you count since and including 2001 WTC.

    3. greeniusveggie the hat snob

      “Terrorist recruitment”. I still haven’t met anyone who believes in that crap. We live in the safest of times. All previous generations have had world wars, famines, continentally spread diseases, holy wars, lots of shit. And 2015 we are willing to destroy freedom if a dozen of people out of 8 billion die because some small group of religious maniacs become murderers.

      Then we do not deserve democracy and we do deserve the most talented and skilled people who understand this insanity to become depressed and stop to do their best and start to voluntarily go to waste.

      You are likely doing your very best trying to lure them back on track. No? Well good luck with that. I think you will need it.

  3. Björn Persson

    We’re at a crossroads with regard to information technology: who controls it? If the answer is “the government”, we’re in for a Big Brother society so horrible that books trying to describe it in the 1950s would have been discarded as too unrealistically dark. On the other hand, if the answer is “the citizens”, we’re in for a more innovative, creative, and transparent society than has ever existed. There’s enormous values at stake here.

    And if the answer is “the corporations”?

    A generation shift in the parliaments will surely take care of the most draconian aspects of copyright and patent laws, and there seems to be a fairly widespread dislike for governmental mass surveillance, even if few people find it important enough to vote against. Corporate control, on the other hand, seems to be almost universally accepted. Even among pirates it seems quite popular to sell one’s soul to Facebook or Google, or play in Apple’s playpen. Only a small core of Free Software purists seem to be standing up for the right to remain in control of their own digital devices. To me it’s looking increasingly likely that an oligopoly of international megacorporations will have complete control of what people – including politicians – see and hear.

    1. greeniusveggie the hat snob

      A minority of “information cowboys” fighting for freedom in a dark cold virtual world ruled by megacorps with their own privatized police and security forces.

      Yes, I am a bit excited. Honestly who in here didn’t love those cyberpunk novels when they were kids?

    2. next_ghost

      To me it’s looking increasingly likely that an oligopoly of international megacorporations will have complete control of what people – including politicians – see and hear.

      They’ve had that control for the past what, 200 years now? Rupert Murdoch’s worldwide media empire also probably inspired a 1997 James Bond movie.

      So the only real change from the past century is that now your corporate overlords also watch your every step on the Internet. Therefore it doesn’t make much difference whether information technology will be controlled by “the government” or “the corporation”. The consequences will be almost the same.

  4. Samuli Pahalahti

    It’s best to think carefully what you are really trying to achieve here. The main objective is not to get politicians elected, but to change the laws.

    I would consider the pirate party as a failed project, because it only has managed to prevent a few bad laws. It has not managed to change any of the bad laws to better ones. Is it really worth it to run a party for ten years and get nothing else achieved? Maybe more efficient way of action would be to form some kind of lobbying organizations. It might be easier just pressure other politicians to change the laws than run your own party. On the other hand, people seem to be much more interested in taking a part in political party than in advocacy group.

    We can also look at the bigger picture. We want freedom of information and culture, right? Can we achieve that even without any changes to laws?

    The Pirate Bay helped the whole world to get better access to information, so that’s why I consider it way more successful project than pirate party. Maybe it would be best to go back to the roots of pirate movement and forget political action. Just build a new and better pirate bay.

    1. greeniusveggie the hat snob

      The party has provoked the opponents to waste money and making people aware of how to circumvent the new laws in ways which starve the opposition of money.

      A political objective is not always to change the law, but can be to educate or reshape society and/or to make the opposition waste their money. In this sense the pirate parties have been quite successful provoking lots of money invested on combating piracy and the pirate movement and as everyone knows, the wise people of any (newly invented) trade know to not make themselves unneeded.

    2. Lilburn

      I have to agree with the hat snob, a political project is not a failure because it has “only” prevented a couple of bad laws. That’s probably a success.

      It doesn’t have to be 1/0. ‘Piratebay is good/ Pirate party is bad’. They mutually reinforce each other. The true strength lies in the whole. Open your mind maaaan.

  5. Lorena

    Your article was OK, but it’s non applicable everywhere, because the scenarios are differents.
    Free of speech is one of the most important Human Rights, but it’s not the most important. The right to have a decent life is first.
    So, a party that want to have more than 2 or 3 Eurodeputies, that want to be goverment, should think in all the staff, not only about the Copyright.
    We lead in transparency those places where we have counciliors, but they should work in many things.
    That’s why many pirates prefer to be part of the Pirate Movement than work in the local parties. The reality of the people is bad, and we want to change the system and to apply for a new fair and equal environment for everybody.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Free of speech is one of the most important Human Rights, but it’s not the most important. The right to have a decent life is first.

      What? No, absolutely not. That’s not even a right in the catalogue in the first place. The right to attempt happiness is a right. There is no right whatsoever to have an outcome of a happy life, whatever that means for you: there’s no right to get everything you point at.

      Taking your statement to its logical conclusion, you state that “decency” overrides freedom of speech, and that any speech which somebody feels bad about should therefore be illegal, trumped by a superseding right of subjective “decent life”. This leads us to a logical reductio in absurdum, that is, showing by the consequences that the initial statement cannot possibly be correct.

      1. Samedokan

        It’s useless, Rick, the pseudo-commies adhere to the simplest form of horizontal equality… they have the right to be naieve ignorants AND the human right not to be bothered about it. They have a numeric “democratic” absolute majority, and they will vote that you will get a forced lobotomy if you do not volunteer for one.

        Of course, they have the right to become pirates and use their majority to decide freely what a pirate should look like, according to their feeling of least nuisance to their ignorance. They will of course win that vote.

        Just in case you did not already know… Miss Lorena Müller-Nischt is the actual General Secretary of the “Confederación Pirata” inspired by the Pirates de Catalunya to create a non-catalan background for their bid to participate in the past european election… with a disastrous result.

        confederacionpirata.org (database problems when consultin as of now) and its 7 regional pirate parties is fully disfunctional, with on-line presences a pirate should be ashamed of.

        The childish reaction of the Pirate Parties International when faced to the problem in 2012, and up till today… have dealt the Pirate Movement a death blow. Unknown to most of the world as long as media choose to ignore us as their primary strategy, but unavoidable as soon as they wish to publish widely.

        That is why it has become useless… not to walk those boots.

  6. Max Pont

    This is not the whole story of the why PP in Sweden imploded. One major reason is that the corporo-lobby invested significant resources in sabotaging the party. When the party is based on semi-anonymous net members and a zero membership fees, that is fairly easy to accomplish.

    I remember back in 2008/2009, there was a massive crowd of supporters hanging around on Falkvinge’s blog. But suddenly the comment community got overwhelmed by trolls (or maybe just one person working full time at a PR agency using multiple IP addresses). The trolls were smart enough to not be openly hostile. Instead they flooded the comment fields with nonsense texts. They were incredibly boring and written in a pseudo-intellectual way so that you felt compelled to read the entire text before you realised that it was gibberish. The trolls “debated” with each other and also made extremely boring comments to other commenters. I remember that it took a few weeks to scare most of the fan club away. Falkvinge was too late to understand what was happening and when he finally kicked the trolls out it was too late.

    In addition, the PP membership cadre was filled with fake members who I strongly suspect were PR trolls. They voted down every attempt to reform the party or develop a reasonable policy. With a zero member fee it is trivial to hi-jack the party with a “no coalition”. In addition, the trolls started a massive smear campaign against Falkvinge. The PP forum allowed anyone to participate and I remember one troll, Minamata, who was Social Democrat and did everything to stir up fights and attack the PP. He was not kicked out. As the real members sat behind a keyboard and didn’t know each other, they had no way of verifying if the slander was for real – and they believed it. Falkvinge was more or less forced to resign.

    In addition, the extreme left wing in Sweden is much better organised and understand how to run an activist organisation. They took power of the PP after Falkvinge and turned the party into a radical LGBTQ sect.

    Swarm movements can’t work if there are enough enemies who devote resources to trolling. Linux and Wikipedia would never had been able to accomplish anything if they had been targeted by well financed corporate PR-attackers.

    My advice to other Pirate Parties is (the Swedish PP is dead). Party members have to meet each other in person and get to know each other. That is the only way to build trust. Online Party Conferences, anonymous membership and zero membership fees just don’t work.

    Do everything to keep the trolls out. Do everything to keep political extremists out who want to infiltrate and hi-jack a party. Do everything to keep mentally ill power hungry psychopaths and narcissists out (new parties are a magnet for them). This requires strong central control and a hierarchy. Yes, exactly that. To be able to offer voters an attractive alternative the party has to be organised in a traditional way. Swarm organisation is naïve if the movement is targeted by strong enemies.

    1. Samir Allioui

      Quote: “In addition, the trolls started a massive smear campaign against Falkvinge.”

      This was not just “trolls”, or corporate PR bureaus subverting the organization.
      It was high ranking PPSE members as well. Most noteably ones connected to civil interest groups.
      As every human being including Rick makes mistakes, those mistakes where exploited.
      And due to a lack of self reflection, just like the lack of self reflection in this article; those campaigns become very effective.
      Even today, i don’t know what is true and what is not. But i now do know that it does not matter, what does matter however is focus, and not individuals.
      This includes “keeping the trolls out”, as this turns the focus on individuals; completely depleting your resources as refuting bullshit requires much more energy than creating said bullshit.

      1. M

        Maybe some of these high ranking PP members who instigated vicious internal conflicts and attacks on Falkvinge were paid by the IPR lobby to sabotage the party. That would be a very effective way to paralyse a new and weak activist organisation. Send in “volunteers” who then rise in the ranks and once in a position of power they start to fight internally and slander and attack other people on the leadership level.

        I strongly suspect that the former party leader Troberg was a paid mole. She was extremely passive and hardly ever raised her voice about PP’s core issues. Instead she turned the party into an LGBTQ sect. But she was happy to collect her pay check and drain the party’s finances until there was no money left. Then she left with a full frontal media attack on the PP, accusing it of being homophobic.

        The fate of PP Sweden is a warning for PP in other countries.

        1. greeniusveggie the hat snob

          So the pirates encouraged the IPR people to spend their money infiltrating political parties and lobbying and bribing to get new censorship policies which encourage people to dance around the new restrictions with VNPs.

          1) pay money to infiltrate / saboutage pirate politics,
          2) pay money to lobby established parties to “blocking” / “censoring” the internet, finally creating an incentive for potential consumers to
          3) pay other people to dodge the measures you paid so dearly to get in place, for instance VPN and other similar services.

          It costs alot. It’s not effective. And they actually end up encouraging people to put their money elsewhere than in their pockets.

    2. ButAtWhatCost

      So they invested in trying to infiltrate or saboutage the party. I guess that’s a reasonable hypothesis.

      Let’s assume that is true. Was it worth it?

      1) Has file sharing been made practically infeasible?
      2) Has the IPR lobby won some moral victory? I.e. have people changed their mind and started to think that hobby file sharing without profits is as morally serious a crime as the name “piracy” implies?
      3) Are people so afraid of the repercussions of getting caught so they stop sharing files?

      I think you know the answer to these questions.

      My experience is that “power-hungry psychopaths” prefer well-defined routes up through a stable hierarchy where they can lick up to those above and kick down on people below preferrably hiding behind well established rules and bureaucracy. But I do of course understand the strategy to try to portray your smartest opponents as psychopaths or monsters or pedophiles or terrorists or whatever.

      Although I do agree with your view that new parties often attract a fair share of naiive idealists ( I really can’t deny that I once was one myself ).

  7. .15

    Having followed and voted for PPSE in 2006, 2009 and 2010 (not 2014), and read Swarmwise, I consider myself to be well-informed.

    I think the long-term swarm concept is viable and powerful only as long as all of the members are well-meaning. The concept is not robust or resilient. I.e., there needs to be some sort of policing of the members and activities to get rid of malicious intent.

    I have no idea how that is to be implemented without sacrificing other fundamental swarm ideas.

  8. Ninja

    “Actually, it goes beyond just “allowing” such expressions, but ferociously defending them, calling out people who want to restrict free speech as not having a single moral leg to stand on.”

    Carve that in stone. You don’t allow expression, it does not need permission. And even if you disagree with it it still doesn’t need your permission. Do you need permission to express your ideas? Why should somebody different need it? You are damn right.

    As for the failures, hardships the pirates faced, I just agree with some comments here. You need to make it personal, bring people in. There is no need to make all members public but you need to at least make people know each other. You also need to go further than simple free speech or copyright issues. One of my main problems with the PP (and many people pointed to it as a weakness from the party) is that they lack common goals like what to do with the health system, public welfare, housing etc. A party needs to think about those in the end. And even if your system is decentralized, a swarm if you wish, you need to have faces and leaders that will at least help solving ties and lack of consensus. It’s not a bad thing, if this leader opts for the wrong option you can always change course, you just need to state your reasons clearly.

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  11. ahmed kamel

    This is not the whole story of the why PP in Sweden imploded. One major reason is that the corporo-lobby invested significant resources in sabotaging the party. When the party is based on semi-anonymous net members and a zero membership fees, that is fairly easy to accomplish.
    I remember back in 2008/2009, there was a massive crowd of supporters hanging around on Falkvinge’s blog. But suddenly the comment community got overwhelmed by trolls (or maybe just one person working full time at a PR agency using multiple IP addresses). The trolls were smart enough to not be openly hostile. Instead they flooded the comment fields with nonsense texts. They were incredibly boring and written in a pseudo-intellectual way so that you felt compelled to read the entire text before you realised that it was gibberish. The trolls “debated” with each other and also made extremely boring comments to other commenters. I remember that it took a few weeks to scare most of the fan club away. Falkvinge was too late to understand what was happening and when he finally kicked the trolls out it was too late.
    In addition, the PP membership cadre was filled with fake members who I strongly suspect were PR trolls. They voted down every attempt to reform the party or develop a reasonable policy. With a zero member fee it is trivial to hi-jack the party with a “no coalition”. In addition, the trolls started a massive smear campaign against Falkvinge. The PP forum allowed anyone to participate and I remember one troll, Minamata, who was Social Democrat and did everything to stir up fights and attack the PP. He was not kicked out. As the real members sat behind a keyboard and didn’t know each other, they had no way of verifying if the slander was for real – and they believed it. Falkvinge was more or less forced to resign.
    In addition, the extreme left wing in Sweden is much better organised and understand how to run an activist organisation. They took power of the PP after Falkvinge and turned the party into a radical LGBTQ sect.
    Swarm movements can’t work if there are enough enemies who devote resources to trolling. Linux and Wikipedia would never had been able to accomplish anything if they had been targeted by well financed corporate PR-attackers.
    My advice to other Pirate Parties is (the Swedish PP is dead). Party members have to meet each other in person and get to know each other. That is the only way to build trust. Online Party Conferences, anonymous membership and zero membership fees just don’t work.
    Do everything to keep the trolls out. Do everything to keep political extremists out who want to infiltrate and hi-jack a party. Do everything to keep mentally ill power hungry psychopaths and narcissists out (new parties are a magnet for them). This requires strong central control and a hierarchy. Yes, exactly that. To be able to offer voters an attractive alternative the party has to be organised in a traditional way. Swarm organisation is naïve if the movement is targeted by strong enemies.

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