JUNE 5, 2012 10:18AM

Pirate Party editorial

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The Pirates are off to a good start in California, registered with the secretary of state on May 15, 2012, and looking to register 104,000 voters to qualify as an official political party. That's not to say they won't exist until they are recognized by the state, because in the meantime the message of a free Internet, direct democracy and socio-economic equality will continue to drive the effort. 

I've been amazed that so few people have heard of the Pirates here in America, but that will change in time, probably sooner rather than later as Americans look for an alternative; a means of expressing their displeasure with the current political paradigm. Beyond the dismal polling of elected leaders, there are other indications that many voters are anxious for change.

While corporate interests have loaded the wagons of the current candidates in record amounts, apparently 90% of the individual, non-corporate donors ($200 or more) have dropped off the Obama ledger. 

“In 2008, more than 550,000 gave more than $200 to Barack Obama, entering their names in the longest list of individual donors ever seen in American politics. That list was a snapshot of the hope Obama inspired in a cross sections of liberals, young professionals, African-Americans, and Democrats who saw in him a generational and historic moment. But now, as Obama struggles to keep pace with his 2008 fundraising clip, that list offers a cross-section of Democratic disappointment and alienation.” 12160

There is no way to do a comparative analysis since Willard M. Romney wasn't a candidate in 2008, but it is probably safe to say this is a trend. Since corporate interests have been unleashed by the Citizens United decision, this election cycle will probably see record totals in contributions regardless of voter turnout. The voters are not please with the results. End the Lie

For the moment at least, abstention will remain the only way to express the "disappointment and alienation" referred to above; not the sign of a healthy democracy. It will also give Willard M. Romney an advantage he would not have enjoyed otherwise.

Super-PACs have become the dominant force, and they are so detached from the average vote, it is unlikely that the people that actually cast the votes will do much to affect change despite the sorry state of the economy given the choices available to them. 

The Pirate Party, perhaps more than anything else, represents returning the voice to the individual voter; a restoration of direct democracy. Orion Steele of the California Pirate Party has made assurances in a recent e-mail that labor is a big part of their plans as well.

Immigrants rights are also a top priority, and of course, without Internet freedom, there really is no freedom. Rick Falkvinge, one of the founders of the Party, made a great point in a recent blog post that can be found in the Pirate section here. Pirates

There was a time when people thought that libraries would be the end of authorship and publishing because people would be able to read the works for free. Of course, we found out that the opposite was true. Without Ben Franklin's vision of public libraries in America, the proliferation of literacy would never have occurred, the predicate for flourishing publishing and newspaper industries that followed.

He also points out that a lot of literature, film and art is essentially in a state of lock-down, hoarded by museums, universities and private collectors. Without freedom to view and share these things, they might as well not exist except perhaps to those that invest in them for profit. 

A free Internet and sharing of copyrighted material has not driven anyone in the entertainment industry into bankruptcy. A hit single will still make you rich no matter how many times it is copied, a great film will turn a massive profit, and one could also argue that sharing promotes live events like concerts and theater showings. Who would not prefer to pay money to see a blockbuster flick on a wide screen? Who would not prefer to attend a live performance? 

Popularity, that which drives the market, is actually enhanced by sharing, and there are very few examples, if any, that support the opposite view. Apparently, this counter-intuitive fact of life has been lost on the entertainment barons.

The waning of direct democracy is unprecedented since the American and French revolutions in the late 18h century set the standard for contemporary governance. The models that withstood two centuries of challenges by other forms of government, (most notably communism), are now falling to another more insidious one; the influence of corporate money from within.

Corporate interests do not consider what is best for America (or anyone else), only what is best for them. Unfortunately, that includes taking jobs, resources and investment capital out of America; removing its wealth instead of contributing to it, and they have become very adept at doing it.

We have learned that the corporations and the richest Americans, by way of favorable (bought and paid for) legislation, can avoid taxation altogether, and in so doing leave the debts caused by their bailouts, job exports and greed to those who can't.

This has caused centralized power beyond even that practiced using the communist model. Often referred to as an oligarchy, it's dominance is unmistakable, and is obviously one of the primary reasons so much resentment has been building among the governed. 

When we see erstwhile liberals, libertarians, socialists, survivalists and even Tea Party members essentially agreeing on this single issue, it isn't surprising that corporate America is circling the wagons or that legislators are spending so much time passing legislation intended to suppress dissent. All of these factors will no doubt contribute to the predicted success of the Pirates at some point. 

They have identified the issues that most people, regardless of nationality, see as vital to their participation in a fair and just democracy. Without the ability to push towards meaningful reforms with their ballots, their powerlessness can only help promote the Pirate Party expansion. (At least at the point they become aware of its existence and philosophy). 

We will stay focused from this point forward on Pirate Party progress as a matter of editorial policy. I will be looking forward to more updates from those that taken on the task of meeting the registration goal of 104,000 in California. They are the pioneers, the new revolutionaries of the Internet Age.

Hopefully, election year 2012 will indeed be meaningful in the sense that the growth of the Pirate Party will at some point overshadow the banal, tiresome election process that assures no significant change will actually occur regardless of the results. When it happens, and it will, the future will become brighter for everyone, and the dismal opinion of the status quo may begin to change. 


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