Pirates Can't Immunize Parliament Against All Corporate Lobbying — But Against Some

Sometimes, I see people who think that Pirate Parties getting into parliament will make corporate lobbying impossible. I don’t think that’s true. But it will make the most damaging lobbying impossible. Also, this has happened before.

The art of corporate lobbying is so sinister and so advanced, that it would be naïve to think that young, amateur activists would be a different kind of homo sapiens than all the newfangled politicians who have fell for lobbying before. But pirates will bring two important things onto the table that will make lobbying significantly less effective.

As usual, I will begin my thoughts on the topic with a relevant comparison to history and the Greens.

Politicians aren’t wizards or demigods. They’re humans with all their faults and imperfections. More often than not, they’re asked to make a decision regarding a field where they have no domain knowledge. In this case, they act predictably: they ask around for information until they have enough to make a decision based on the foundations of their ideology.

What lobbyists excel at is to just be there when politicians ask around, to make sure that the politicians get a lopsided view of reality that serves the lobbyists’ special interests rather than the public interest. This is not because politicians are evil; it is because they can’t tell special interests who claim to be public interests apart from actual public interests. And that’s not really possible to do, unless you’re skilled in the particular domain yourself. It is not humanly possible to be a skilled craftsman in all domains.

When Green Parties entered parliaments, the oil industry lobby became ineffective overnight.

It was frankly no longer possible to bullshit politicians with oil fairy dust, as there were people in Parliament who could tell the public interest from special interests of the oil lobby. And this immunization spreads — the other parties knew that the Greens knew this topic inside out, and they would not risk being caught with their pants down to the oil industry lobby in front of the voters. So, the immunization against the oil industry lobby not only entered parliament, but it spread to the other politicians there, very efficiently.

Pirates will immunize parliaments against the security theater lobby and the culture-knowledge monopolization lobby. Patent monopoly lobbyists will be unable to get away with trying to claim they represent the public interest, as pirates know that they’re a huge drain on innovation resources (500 billion USD at last count) just to line their own pockets. Copyright monopoly lobbyists won’t be able to claim that it is in the public interest to line the pockets of the obsolete middlemen. Monopoly beneficiaries don’t get to introduce censorship to keep their monopoly benefits.

So while pirates won’t have domain knowledge everywhere, and therefore will be susceptible to lobbying in some fields, pirates will inoculate the entire parliament against corporate bullshit in this particular domain, which is the most direly needed right now — just like inoculation against oil industry fairy dust was the most direly needed in the 1970s.

To wrap up this line of thought, I started this article by saying there are two factors. This was one.

The second factor is that pirates have a very transparent way of working, which in itself will make corporate lobbying that much harder to get away with. Now, lobbying doesn’t happen too much against individual Members of Parliament; it tends to be most effective when directed at civil servants responsible for producing decision-support material to the executive branch. (I will write an article on this topic shortly: they who control the truth, control everything.) But the transparency demands in itself will make some lobbyists very uncomfortable, too. That is a good thing.

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. Pontus Lindblom

    Very good article!

    A very precise and clear message.

    Also more transparency and accessibility to the documents and parties behind the decisions will decrease corruption and increase accountability over the hole spectrum!

    I think all public documents should be digitalized and published on the Internet. The Swedish parliament is probably better then many other parliaments in this aspect but there is still much more to do to. I think it would be of great value if the Pirate Party took a leading role in doing this, It would be of great benefit both to the people and the recognition of the Party I believe.

    What do you say Rick?

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