Practical Tips For Piratenpartei Berlin

Piratenpartei Berlin - CC-BY-SA-NC by PaGn at Flickr

With today’s poll coming in at 6.5% for Piratenpartei Berlin and just nine days until the election, every prediction from a month ago has come true. The chance of success in the election has now climbed from 90% to 99%.

When the poll at 4.5% was published one month ago, I predicted that the polls surveyed entirely after that poll would show a gradually increasing support. Today, I understand that media is discussing the Piratenpartei as this election’s sensation, which would reduce the rest of the tactical plans to the simple “don’t screw up”.

As I said in the blog post from a month ago, I’m planning to come to Berlin for the victory election night dinner on Sunday 18th. It’s the memory of a lifetime, remembering the election night dinner in Sweden at the victory in the European Elections in 2009. You don’t want to miss it for anything. Heck, I’m flying in from Sweden to attend. So does the chairman of our youth section, Gustav Nipe.

But even celebration needs some planning. There are several practical details that came out well from our victory dinner, and some that I would have done differently today. Therefore, here are a few tips for Piratenpartei Berlin ahead of the fantastic party nine days from now:

  • Reserve space for the press. Expect TV cameras and crew along one entire wall in a hall for 150-200 people. Also, make sure that the key people — the chairman for Berlin and for the federal-level party — sit in places that are accessible to photographers. You’ll easily have 30-40 professional cameras flashing at you when the exit poll results arrive.
  • Let the press know where you’ll be. Send out a press release to local, national and international press at least one week ahead (meaning essentially now). You may or may not want to do the hassle with individual accreditation of press people; that’s your choice.
  • The chairman for Piratenpartei Deutschland and Piratenpartei Berlin will have their hands full during the night. Arrange for a press contact with a shortlist of prioritized press that can contact you from offsite during the night; those not on the list will have to be onsite or without a story. My shortlist had ten news outlets: CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Associated Press, Agence France Presse, Reuters, TorrentFreak, Wired, NumĂ©rama, and Ars Technica. You should construct your own list of favored press.
  • Make sure that everybody can watch a TV screen. This can be done auditorium-style with a huge screen at the stage in a large hall or sportsbar-style with smaller TV screens everywhere.
  • You’ll want to make a lot of your own media during the night, too. Don’t worry too much about photos, there will be many of those from the people attending, but you will need to make your own HD footage for later. The press will ask for this one year from now as they’re making stories about the Piratenpartei. You’ll want to use it for cutscenes, too. Put two or three HD video cameras on tripods overlooking the crowd and the key people — do not repeat not use them handheld in key moments such as when the exit polls come, the photographers won’t be able to keep them still and you’ll end up with useless footage — but put them on tripods and just let them run. Don’t worry about sound quality, you’ll just hear the roof lifting anyway when the exit polls arrive, which is the whole point.
  • Key moments you want for video for yourself are some from the preparation, as the dinner is being served, and most importantly, when the exit polls are presented and when the first votes arrive. Some singing and team feeling is nice, too.
  • Don’t expect to do anything except talk to the press for the entire next day, the 19th. I had planned on resting. That was a joke; I was on the morning news sofa at six in the morning, followed by TV crews who wanted to do a the-morning-after story at breakfast at eight in my home. The entire day continued in the same style for me. So did it for our newly elected Member of European Parliament, independently.
  • You’ll have more people than ever listening to the story in-depth after that Sunday, skipping the easy and cheap ten-second rhetoric. People will genuinely want to understand. It’s a great feeling of relief, like you don’t have to play the game any more, but really get the time and space explain what we’re about. That will last for several weeks.

I’m sure there’s more, but this is what I would think the most of if doing it again. See you at the party!

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. agtrier

    And maybe a hint to other pirate crews (all over the planet): organise a “Berlin election party” next Sunday and celebrate what is bound to be an epic win. It will not only help to boost your own morale but also to remind people that Pirates also exist in their country. Besides: one shouldn’t miss an opportunity to party 🙂

  2. Rick Falkvinge

    Oh, I forgot: if you can, rig a Bambuser broadcast of the celebration, just lige agrier is saying. I had that on my list here, but I forgot to write it down, adnd this Android pad makes it a hassle to edit posts.

  3. James O'Keefe

    Great advice, Rick. Wish I had known that for my 2002 election. Good luck, Piratenpartei!

  4. Isak Gerson

    Have you had a chance to read the Wahlprogramm? I don’t know if you know any german (or if there’s any translations), but it’s really great. I was thinking of organising a translation project in time for the swedish Young Pirates political conference. There’s really great stuff, and I seem to agree with almost everything (the drug part is probably the only big exception). There’s a lot of really great ideas in there, and they’ve really succeeded in taking the Pirate Party ideas to the next level. There’s social politics (basic income is one of the ideas), migration politics, public transports politics and other cool topics. They’ve even got the topic “Stadtentwecklung” (Which is a much broader term than city planning, more city development) that’s got some really cool ideas.

    I think we’ve got much to learn here.

    1. ANNM

      The question is whether they can even be called a pirate party anymore. If they get a chance to actually influence policy in a few areas, which will they choose? Surveillance and patents, or city development and economy? If they choose the latter, do they matter at all for people who care about the original “pirate” issues?

      1. ForskarGurra

        Well. “City development” and “economy” are absolutely pirate issues after all. Some typical “pirate” things that can be done in a big city like Berlin is:

        1. stopping or reducing the surveillance camera craze
        2. making local government more transparent
        3. switching public digital infrastructure towards using free and open source software.

        Economy will be put in + in at least 1 and 3 above, leaving more money on the table for potential political partners to bargain for.

      2. Follower

        Please do not forget that this election is alocal election only for berlin.
        this includes local issues on the “wahlprogramm”.

        and regarding your fear of not representing the core issues anymore, it was always a criticism that the german pirate party is only a one-issue-party.

        people/journalists always asked what the pirates think about other issues beyond digital ones. thats simply the answer now and probably the reason why they might enter the local berlin parlament.

  5. ForskarGurra

    Well this would certainly be great fun! I’ve been looking forward for this kind of success for the Pirates in Germany for two years now. =) Might as well fly down if I can pull that off. Not sure yet. Depends on some workstuff, but I really hope to be able to. 😉

  6. Moped

    If you want to come to the party, it’s here:

    RITTER BUTZKE, Ritterstrasse 26, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg (subway station Moritzplatz)

  7. Christian Engström (PP)

    Yes, it was pretty hectic.

    When the results of the exit poll were announced at 20.00, there was a roar. From that minute, I was literally constantly giving interviews to Swedish and international media until about 1.30.

    When I got home it took a while to calm down, but after one hour’s sleep, I was on morning television (for the other channel) at 06.00. A reporter was waiting for me in the taxi that took me to the studio.

    For the next 12 hours, I was again giving interviews literally without a stop. My phone was ringing constantly, but the only time I could answer was when I was in the taxi from one media appearance to another. The reporter who had followed me in the taxi in the morning had been replaced by another who did the same.

    At 18.00 I did an appearance on radio, and decided to call it quits. The battery of my phone had been dead for hours, so nobody could reach me anyway, and I felt about as dead as the battery. I took a taxi home and went to bed, exhausted.

    But it was pretty fun. 🙂

    Rick’s advice in this blog post is sound advice to prepare for the victory on the 18:th.

  8. Putte

    Don’t celebrate in advance. You have one week left of hard hard hard work. There is no resting untlil the polling stations close next Sunday.

  9. agtrier

    Having looked at the posters, etc. the Berlin Pirates put up, I must say they were/are running the greatest election campaign I have ever seen. Playing all their trumps with joy and playfulness, it is a pleasure to watch.

    I believe we should make a full analysis afterwards, but I want to say now that the idea to “comment” on other parties’ slogans by posting your own next to them was just a strike of genious!

    For example, when there were already several posters of other parties (and usually not enough space to add a full Pirate poster), they simply added a slim banner that said “… or Pirates”, which somehow made all the others look bleak.

    Or the “No Experiments” poster which was (nastily 🙂 put up against the conservative party’s poster calling for “change” – you must know that “No experiments” was a famous election slogan of the conservative party in the 1950’s, and that the current (social democrat) major of Berlin is extremely popular.

    And – possibly the best idea of all: Tapping on the enourmus non-voter potential, the poster slogan “Why am I hanging up here, you’not going to vote anyway” was yet another great idea.

    It just goes on like this. All in all it helped to display the Pirates are a very fresh, open-minded and most of all “authentic” party that is just sooo different than all the others.

    We can all learn from our friends in Berlin. Still: one week to go. We are all holding our breath!


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