When Pirate Comradeship Beats Old Grudges

On December 18th, 2012, the UK’s Pirate Party proxy to The Pirate Bay was shut down. In resonance with the Internet’s spirit, two more, belonging to Pirate Parties, sprang up: one from Luxembourg and one from Argentina. With that last one, I saw thirty years of government propaganda be pulverized in a split second.

For three decades now, relations between Argentina and the United Kingdom have been edgy, to say the least. Pointless sovereignty fights live on until today, but what if pirate comradeship could change all that?

On April 2nd, 1982, the Argentinian military government (dictatorship) invaded the Falklands/Malvinas Islands. I am certainly not going to bore you, reader, with the historical details. Suffice to say that it was a political move from the Argentinian government to try and regain at least some of its lost popularity with the public. Most Argies and Brits who have done some research on the subject know this. Neither am I going to bore you with historical reasons tilting the scale in favor of one country or the other, because after doing some research of my own on the subject, I could get to no distinct and unequivocal conclusion regarding the sovereignity of an archipelago which is, even from here in Buenos Aires, mind-boggingly far away.

War is horrible. My respect and admiration go out to the soldiers, and the families of the soldiers who got dragged into this pointless war (on both sides), which in the end was nothing more that a stupid power game. There’s nothing more I can say on the subject (and the previous words were written only as historical background), so let’s move to a more constructive argument: what if pirate comradeship could erase the grudges that stupid wars create?

In April 2012, when censoring The Pirate Bay was gaining momentum, the UK Pirate Party released to the public a proxy for those people who had been left out of the most efficient public library in the world. For a time, everything was business as usual. Sadly, BPI started pushing PPUK and, following formal notifications to PPUK individuals from the BPI’s solicitors, the proxy was shut down on December 18th, 2012.

I felt really sad and dispirited, but that was until I got back to IRC from a 20-minute break. While I was away, a member of the Argentinian Pirate Party decided to bring up a proxy of our own, in sign of support to our Brit comrades. A day later I found out that the Pirate Party at Luxembourg had done the same. But the thing that got me thinking, is that this person who put up the Argie proxy, did it of his own will. He did not even tell the rest (at least not on our IRC channel) that he was going to do it. I think he saw it as the right thing to do and he did it. And actually, once we saw the proxy up, with all that was happening, sans a minor bandwidth consumption consideration, we all agreed it was indeed the right thing to do.

I saw thirty years of educational messages and government propaganda be pulverized in a split second, so as to make room for something much bigger, more important and, ultimately, more humane: sharing, comradeship, collaboration. I believe this is (part of) what being a Pirate stands for. And I am happy to be part of this movement. I believe that, in time, the Pirate Movement can finally put an end to wars like this, and pointless statements like this one or this one.


  1. Peter Andersson

    This is the kind of thing people – young people – should get nominated for The Nobel Peace Prize for! 🙂

    1. KanarieMan

      I would love to see the Pirate Bay and it’s supporters get a Nobel Peace Prize!
      But, I want Malala Yusufzai (the 14-year old girl who stood up against the Taliban) to get it even more.

    2. Caleb Lanik

      Given the number of that prize’s recipients who go on to commit war crimes (like Obama) I don’t know why they’d want one.

  2. Pat Mächler

    Fits well with one of the PWB pirate codex’ points:
    “Pirates are international –
    Pirates are part of a global movement. They take advantage of the opportunities offered by the internet and are therefore enabled to think and act without borders.”
    (excerpt from the Pirate codex by PWB http://wiki.pirates-without-borders.org/Codex )

  3. Pat Mächler

    Fits well with one of the PWB codex’ points:

    “Pirates are international –
    Pirates are part of a global movement. They take advantage of the opportunities offered by the internet and are therefore enabled to think and act without borders.”

    (excerpt from the pirate codex by PWB http://wiki.pirates-without-borders.org/Codex )

  4. David Fuchs

    Cooperation vs conflict is something I have been thinking about a lot recently

    Governments use conflict, coercion, secrecy, intimidation, and threats to keep people in line. This has been their modus operandi for millennia.

    With the creation of the internet we have seen the opposite begin to occur, all outside the control of government. This comradeship is spreading and people are cooperating to solve problems and stop injustices. This is a growing trend which shows no signs of slowing, and in the last year has actually put politicians on notice. The squashing of SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA are all examples of this growing trend.


    1. LittleGreenLeaf

      @David Fuchs

      I agree,

      “With the creation of the internet … people are cooperating …”

      This is critical I think, it facilitates normal average individuals to establish meaningful connections to other humans around the world. It creates a foundation that you can begin to build trust and extend mutual respect and understanding from, through shared goals and purposes.

      It creates value through cooperation, and as such I think it resonates profoundly with the processes and mechanisms Steven Pinker presents as reasons for the historical reduction in human violence in his “The Better Angels of Our Nature”.

      I wonder if not filesharing and the internet has done (or has the capacity), to do much more to prevent new wars then the EU and its historical predecessor have done in the last 50, and that the creators of the torrent protocol are as such much more deserving of the Nobel Peace price, then Barroso and Co. probably ever will.

      One reason why we must not let the elite (government/corporate) to wrestle the control of the internet from “our” hands, it is way to important and valuable for that.

    2. Björn Felten

      Unfortunately it didn’t take long into the internet history before nationalism and protectionism appeared.

      National TLDs may originally have been a way to facilitate the administration, but is now used to build walls — and it’s gone so far as to put individual IP number ranges inside those walls.

      Most of this is because the media industry asked for it — but it’s also because scared politicians want it.

      So don’t think for a moment that internet is without borders.

  5. Steve B.

    This is, from the many ordinary Pirates’ point of view, a heartwarming article.

    Politically, it is a disaster. You basically do say you don’t care about the Falkland Islands. Can’t do that, if you’re addressing the issue. And you are doing it. You have entered the grounds where an actual war was fought, not very long ago.

    You bring in the Falkland topic, yet you totally leave out the people of the Falkland’s opinion. I am sorry, but from an ordinary Briton’s point of view, all of your arguments are moot. And I am not even a Briton – just a student of history – but this is very damaging, if you are planning to ever venture forth form the apolitical Pirate niche.

    Absolutely DO NOT mention the Falklands, unless you are willing to commit fully to a statement. And “I don’t know” is not a statement.

    I am writing this in light of our recent setbacks in Germany, thinking we really, really need to understand what politics sometimes is about. If we don’t particularly care about a topic – we don’t even mention it. Topics we mention – we desperately need to have a clearly communicated opinion on. And “we don’t know/care” is not an opinion in politics.

    1. Juan Manuel Santos

      Hi Steve,

      First of all i apologize for any spelling mistakes since i am from my cell.

      Actually, my adressing the issue was purely as a background perspective on argie/brit relationships themselves. When i say that i dont care about it, i mean it from the perspective that argentina gives to the world: that the islands are ours and britain illegally occuppied them. When i say “i dont know” it basically means i dont care about the general sovereignity fights that are laid out in our culture (and those abound, pounding kids even before they are of an age to even begin to understand or care about the issue). I do have a formed opinion on the matter, which if you wish to know you are free to contact me via twitter so we can discuss, but i do not believe has a place here.

      If i gave you the wrong impression then i am sorry, but as i said before, i believe this is not the place to keep discussing this issue in detail. In fact, i deliberately left out details because of that.

      I mentioned the war as a means to understand why i deem today’s facts important, not as a means to be stuck in the past.

      Juan Manuel

  6. Steve B.

    I am sorry, but i do have to go on:

    “I could get to no distinct and unequivocal conclusion regarding the sovereignity of an archipelago”

    This is horrible. You leave it out, or you make up your mind.

    1) LAND sovereignty – (15th-19th century claim): Argentina has the upper hand

    2) Nationality (past 1918) Britain has an indisputable claim

    End of.

    Naive, naive, naive, naive, portraying the Pirates as indeed Otherworldly. This is a brutally political topic, with clear-cut opposing parties. Joining the debate with the message “we don’t care” LOSES points unnecessarily. Have we communicated we are pro-people? (Falkland’s inhabitants get a default stay-in-Britain-vote). Have we effectively communicated we are globally pro-sovereignty claims (Falkland goes to Britain, Barcelona remains Spanish, Belgium does not divide, Kashmir goes to India…). This is a DEADLY ground to enter, unless we are ready.

    It could be all right to mention that a heroic Argentinian helped to keep a British server up. To even mention the Falkland war, let alone say we don’t care about it, is a terrible mistake. We have no foreign policy opinion, and this just proves it. Lets hope no British, nor Argentinian news servers pick this up.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Steve, I think you’re missing a key point here. We’re getting elected as legislators. We’re already setting policy.

      In a world where policymakers feel a brother- and sistership with other policymakers across the world, previous wars account for very little, and old conflicts can be resolved in a different way. Yes, wars have been. That does not mean they need to be.

      Your argument completely ignores the events when Hong Kong was handed over to China from British colonial rule. There, too, a vast majority of people living in HK prefered to stay British, and quite a few left before the Chinese took over administration of the area. Yet, there were no wars, no rattling of sabers. Only a beautiful, televised ceremony.


      1. Iain Parkes

        There is a huge difference between the situation with Hong Kong and the Falklands! With Hong Kong, the British only had a limited period of sovereignty over the land, Once that time was up, Britain had the decency and honour to ensure not only a smooth transition of power, but also to ensure that they got the best possible deal for all the people of Hong Kong. Compare that to the situation with the Falkland islands where there people have been British since long before Argentina was a nation, who want to remain British and under the United Nations right to self determination have every right to do so! Argentina;’s response in the 1982 conflict was to brutally invade, raping and pillaging their way across the islands with no regard to the people who call it home, just to serve the ego’s of their military junta which had been “disappearing” tens of thousands of their own citizens. However much we might appreciate this new pirate bay proxy, linking it with Argentina’s mindless aggression is hardly a wise thing to do!

        1. Juan Manuel Santos

          Hello Iain,

          I am certainly not going to call your bluff on the facts regarding the military junta, though I will admit to you that it goes a bit deeper than just ego: the government’s popularity was quickly spiralling down, because the people were beginning to realize that people were “disappearing”. I am not defending the actions of the junta at all, but it should be taken into account that it was no democratically elected government (and people back then maybe were not so conscious about what democracy and freedom means, at least here in Arg, but that is another matter entirely). I do have to admit that things get interesting when a couple of months ago I heard of some declassified documents regarding talks of a possible joint administration of the islands (declassified documents from the UK), so at least it leaves me wondering why all of this happened.

          Regarding the war facts you mentioned (brutally invade, rape and pillage), I would love it if you could point me to your sources, so I can correct the Spanish Wikipedia page 🙂 anyway, I do not believe the Hong Kong comparison was so far fetched (there was a war before the colonial rule of Great Britain started on HK after all).

          Anyway, I see that it is still a delicate matter on both sides, which is good to know, and means we still have a long way to go and learn (at least when speaking for myself). So thanks a lot to all of you.

          Juan Manuel

  7. Anonymous

    @Juan Manuel Santos

    Don’t feed the trolls…

  8. Beast Eve

    Steve B. – Fail.

    we’re not all ignorant

    your pre-millenium ‘warbooks & documents’ are propaganda.

    and your post seems to originate from under a bridge somewhere…

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