I'm Going Green…

After a deep look into my own personal values, and the values of both my party and the international movement, I have decided that my place is in the Green Party. This is my story why. [Editor’s note: This article is by Travis McCrea, and concerns his personal opinions only.]

I want to preface this post to point out that it is largely talking about politics in Canada, and in the end I am a Pirate. My ideology has never changed, I will keep supporting my fellow pirates in other countries.

I have been the leader of two Pirate Parties and have spent countless hours at many different levels of involvement, and spent thousands of dollars on the cause. Even after I had left the leadership position in the Pirate Party of Canada, I stayed relatively involved, wanting to promote my party any way I can. I also introduced the Pirate Party of Canada’s new platform, one that was pretty much entirely copied from the PPUK. Their platform was amazing, and all it needed to be was localized in my opinion.

I joined the Pirate Party when I was still conservative (super conservative, like a right wing American, which is pretty much off the charts elsewhere), but it was the libertarian values of the party as well as it’s focus on copyright reform that brought me in. The Pirate movement, in my opinion, is progressive. It’s not tied to progressivism, it doesn’t make decisions just to appear progressive… we just make decisions based on facts and humanism and in the end we have progressive values. As I grew and developed, learning to ask questions, asking why the party believed the things it did I have come around and have abandoned my conservative thoughts.

As Pirates, who believed strongly in our cause, we were offended in Canada when Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party said “there doesn’t need to be a Pirate Party in Canada, there is already a Green Party”. As though she knew what we were fighting for, and as though we would ever be like her and her party.

The truth, however, is that the Pirate Party of Canada and the Green Party have always been very similar. Even as the leader of the Pirate Party when I was asked what makes us different I would point out that the Pirate Party is based on science while the Green Party supports homeopathy (something that most Green leadership that I have met, don’t actually support). But it was that one little thing, homeopathy, which set us apart. That and our egos.

As the Pirate Party starts attracting more and more libertarian minded people, and our values are changing, I find them in many respects to be away from what the Pirate Party should be about. Members who support the death penalty, people who believe that guns should be more accessible, and a leadership who is afraid of sounding too “socialist”, even when the facts support the platform.

I feel that making this switch is the most Pirate thing I can do, to look at the facts and realize that the evidence (at least in my case), show that I should change. This isn’t me turning away from my ideology, but reaching a new level of understanding that my party doesn’t define my ideology, and I can be a pirate no matter what party I am in.

The Green Party of Canada is not different than what the Pirate Party of Canada has been about. Two progressive parties with comprehensive platforms that basically say the same things. So now I will say what Elizabeth May said 5 years ago: Why do we have a Pirate Party when Canada already has a Green Party?

I encourage my fellow party members to seriously read through the platform of the Greens and see what they stand for. You might be surprised at just how little you disagree with.


  1. Seeya

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    I hear the Canadians have not been happy with you. I am told the Americans have spent the last 18 months cleaning up the mess your few months of ^leadership^ (not elected, but as the result of a reshuffle coup by you) and your PPI tenure, even you admitted you were a failure.

    Please, go annoy and torpedo the Greens, see how long they put up with you.

    1. Travis McCrea

      I would say most Canadian Pirates were fine, I can think of 2 notable exceptions to this but I won my leadership race by a fairly large percentage and in campaigning said that I was going to be very autocratic and push things through… and I did. Some people didn’t like that, but it was what I campaigned on, and it won me a large % of votes.

      On the issue of the US Pirate Party, I am not quite sure where you got your information – I won my first election. There was another person who ran against me, she lost, I won. When I lost the race the second time, it came down to a “state” which had one person and embraced values that I very much disagreed with (he was anti-healthcare and pro-gun etc) and if that is the type of values that I lost to, then that wasn’t really a party I wanted to be involved in anyway. We are the Pirate Party, not the Ron Paul party.

      Have they since had issues? Sure. Could I have contributed to those issues? Sure, though I would argue that the US Pirate Party has had plenty of time to fix any issues I have caused, and I still don’t see them going anywhere.

      I have nothing to say about my PPI tenure, I was not active and it was a failure on my part. Looking back at what the others achieved, all the effort in the world wouldn’t have been able to make the board perform any better. That isn’t an excuse to take the blame off me though, I admit that I didn’t try hard enough.

      I have a strong personality, and tend to push things through when I think they are right and try to just get things done. That isn’t going to please everyone, and it’s going to create controversy. Not to mention that the Pirates, especially PPI as a group, love drama… I have brought this issue up plenty of times before that instead of building each other up, we always like to find the flaw in others. I really hate that.

      I have made a ton of mistakes in my past. I have been a pirate since I was 18 I am 24 now… so I am bound to have made a few mistakes. I am, however, excited to move forward on this journey and promote the values that I have to a new circle.

      But thanks for reading my post, and for your comment.

      1. Anonymous

        (I have to rewrite my comment – it seems to have disappeared on hitting “post.”)

        Hi Travis, Nice to read your article!

        I only know Swarmwise superficially, I read the book but have many questions about the practicalities.

        I’ve been interested in how the Swarmwise approach could work for the Green Party, after all it’s a party for the people, with a ppl’s platform, 1. shouldn’t it, the gp, go viral? More importantly I’ve been wondering, 2. is there a way to design for a kind of efficiency of democracy? a way to maintain a responsive evolving ppl’s platform and party that reflects the values and interests of a (hopefully fully and truthfully informed) society? (I know Swarmwise may not be about this.. perhaps it’s more about viral action than viral party creation..)

        in particular – of greatest immediate concern is 3. how to maintain a civil and respectful space for committee work. How do we have that “zero-tolerance” for disrespect that Falkvinge refers to in the Pirate Party’s principles. I had the impression that such disrespect was somehow almost magically designed out of the system by the right balance of rules and application, and I’m in search of that secret formula.

        So when you wrote, “Not to mention that the Pirates, especially PPI as a group, love drama… I have brought this issue up plenty of times before that instead of building each other up, we always like to find the flaw in others. I really hate that,” I was taken aback. There must be ways to optimize for respectful workspace, but I’m still searching for the best ways to do that. I welcome any advice you or any resourceful reader may have. In any case, I do appreciate all the good work you and others are doing to help us find a better future.

        1. u.s. green

          I forgot to reenter my name and info with the above post.

  2. Caleb Lanik

    Smooth sailing to you, Travis. I hope you’ll keep writing here, I always enjoy your columns.

    1. Travis McCrea

      🙂 Thanks Caleb — I will be around. I am sure Rick will let me keep blogging, and if he does then I will keep posting. There are still injustices in the world that I need to make fun of.

      1. Caleb Lanik

        I’ll still consider you an honorary pirate, you may want to update your “about the author” byline, though. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help with anything, my public key fingerprint is 0xE3B9BFA5.

  3. Shawn Vulliez

    Good luck, friend. It is not the flag on the ship that matters but the direction it is heading.

  4. Swedebeard

    Because in sweden the greens has adopted the pirate stand in writing – BUT – in VOTING they are with the opposition. Instant fail.

    1. Don Kongo

      While I agree, this wasn’t even about an European green party. 🙂

      1. Swedebeard

        Still – that will not change the fact that a party that is focused around other values than pirate values WILL at some time vote against pirate values. I wish history could prove me wrong, but still has not…

  5. moshtradamus

    I don’t see much on digital rights in their platform. I’ll take your word for it, but the fact that it isn’t easy to find means it is not a core value.

    I can’t find anything on copyright, net-neutrality, privacy, etc. Even if they had policy on these issues they aren’t talking about them, and that is why the Pirate Party is still relevant.

    Not for me, but good luck to you.

    1. Travis McCrea

      Copyright reform has never been my big focus either though, I want to reform these things and they are what got me into the Pirate Party, but I would rather focus on drug patents and minimum income assurance and bigger issues. Canada already has a decent copyright system in place (not the best, but there is a reason we keep getting called a Safe Haven for pirates).

      1. Emil OW Kirkegaard

        Minimum wage income is not a core pirate party feature. As one can see in the pirate party policy overview (http://www.cleopolis.com/PP_comparison_policies.html) not many PPs do have that policy.

        It seems that perhaps you had the wrong idea about the core values of PPs to begin with?

  6. James Phillips

    Canada Needs the Pirate Party because the Green Party is not strong enough on net neutrality, and copyright/Patent reform. Maybe a fromer Pirate can change that.

  7. raincoaster

    Well, it’s a cinch the Green Party is more electable where you’re headed. Good luck integrating any kind of digital platform into their existing one.

  8. Theverant

    The fact that the Greens support homeopathy is reason enough not to vote for them. Our medical system is in enough trouble without government sanctioned witch doctors peddling their fucking snake oil. The fact that you call it a small issue makes me think you are completely unfit for public office.

    I was actually thinking of supporting the Greens, but didn’t know about that part of their platform. They’re not getting my vote as long as that’s in there.

    1. Travis McCrea

      It wasn’t included in this post, but it appears that GPC no longer has homeopathy (perhaps never did) officially in their policy. Rather, it was something we believed they had… and there was a vague section on their policy paper which left it open in our minds. It was never stated though.

      You can’t get everything you want, even in the Pirate Party I had to make concessions on what I agreed with because of what my party agreed with in general. I would never defend homeopathy, even if it was a policy point, but in the grand scheme of things it’s pretty minor (especially since if it is there, it’s so tucked away you can’t even find it).

      1. Emil OW Kirkegaard

        Homeopathy is so extremely far away from evidence-based policy that I can hardly think of anything more disqualifying.

        It is not a minor thing. Whoever supports the government sponsoring water for treating e.g. cancer does not belong together with anything that has to do with evidence-based policy. It might be a small economic point, but it is a very important rationality point.

        1. Googla

          “Homeopathy is so extremely far away from evidence-based policy”

          Evidence based policy?

          What most people including you don’t know about homeopathy is that it’s not just about the “water” it goes much further and in some ways homeopaths are tens of year ahead of ordinary doctors who only treats symptoms and prescribes tons of medicines which often doesn’t even cure people, in many cases it just disguises the symptoms of the diseases and comes with severe negative side effects.

        2. gurrfield

          “Evidence based policies” are a problem for as long as we insist on claiming peer-review censorship system to be “scientific”.

        3. Science, bitch

          Shut up, Googla.

          You know what we call alternative medicine that works? Medicine.

          Get clinical trials or get the hell out of here. Snakeoil salesmen are not welcome. #sciencebasedmedicine

  9. Ninja

    In the end you should be where your beliefs fit better. And changing parties doesn’t prevent cooperation between them. Good luck.

  10. Autolykos

    Good luck! I sure hope the Canadian Greens are more rational/sane than their German equivalent.
    If it was just that they prioritize environment over civil rights, I could live with it (and might even join, with our Pirate Party going to hell on the express lane).
    But our variety also has deeply entrenched views about how to best protect the environment, and isn’t open to arguments about the pros/cons (they were one of the most influential groups behind the light bulb ban in the EU, for example, trading reduced energy consumption for more mercury in our waste from fluorescent bulbs). And don’t get me started on that whole “nuclear energy is TEH EVILZ” thing, and holding their ears singing “lalalala” when you try to tell them about better ways to do it.
    And they’re also pretty ban-happy in general, especially if the item in question is somehow in conflict with their pacifist mindset – they’re usually among the first to call for bans on violent movies/games and civilian firearms – or even some types of knives and “ninja”/”movie villain” weapons which are less dangerous than half of the stuff you can find in a hardware store.
    Finally, there’s that whole politically correct gender bullshit (the “men and women are IDENTICAL, all differences are just the fault of patriarchy” kind), which results in forcing boys and girls into unisex molds they don’t fit and is ultimately cruel to both.

    None of these issues are that important by themselves (and neither is the homeopathy one, if it is true). But they are all indicators of a completely incompatible mindset. Greens and Pirates agree on a lot of different issues (which makes them good allies), but their ways of thinking and their approach to problems is fundamentally different. Unless your Greens have a more open and objective mind than our Greens, I don’t think a true Pirate is likely to get along with them for more than a short while.

    1. Evi1M4chine

      And our Greens (here in Gemany) are nearly as quickly selling out to the lobbyists as the worst-case AfD/CDU/FDP neo-fascist conglomerate. (Or rather: They got more and more of the lobbyists as moles in their own lines.)

  11. BAReFOOt

    I’m happy to hear that you’re not as afraid of the world anymore. (Which is, basically, what conservatism is: Being afraid of everything new or that we don’t know, and not feeling safe that what we cherish will stay good or get better.)

    There’s no parties anyway. There’s no companies, no countries and no sports teams.
    All those things are there to make people irrationally hate each other.
    There’s only people.
    And it’s what they do.

    So if you keep doing good, all the rest really really really doesn’t matter. 🙂

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