Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ahoy, me (Euro) maties

On this side of the Atlantic, voters get the shakes if anybody suggests they vote for anything more interesting than the moldering corpses of the donkey or the elephant party. Across the ocean, however, Europeans just threw themselves a (poorly attended) election for the European Parliament, in which small parties gained a respectable share of the vote.

That's small parties like the Pirate Party of Sweden, which won 7.1% of the total Swedish tally with a tech-savvy platform devoted to privacy, reined-in copyright laws, and free file sharing for all. That was good enough for two parliamentary seats. The Pirate Party no doubt benefited from the controversial legal ordeal of the Pirate Bay, a wildly popular (and very cool) peer-to-peer file-sharing Website.

Not only was the verdict against the founders of Pirate Bay considered a violation of the free spirit of the Internet, but it was also considered corrupt, given the judges' ties to copyright-protection groups. The verdict is now under review.

The Pirate Party couldn't help but reap public-relations rewards, with the result that the European Parliament will be a lot more interesting than the U.S. Congress. Even before the 2009 election, the party's soaring membership had made it the third-largest political party in Sweden. Its youth wing is the largest youth political organization in that country.

Wow! A major political party devoted entirely to online freedom. And in the United States, we get to choose between the security-state party and the nanny-state party.

Oh, such tempting options.



Blogger SN said...

As a euro matie living in the US I watched with dismay how little interest there was in my homeland to use their votes for the European Parlement. All the voices of reason were pretty silent - they do not 'feel' very European - they still feel more 'whatever their nationality is'. The fascists however were in top forma - rallying their mindless mass to step to the plate - and they did. I wonder if that is what happened in the twenties pre-WWII? Although nowadays with internet etc. people really have no excuse to let it slide like that. Democracy only works when everyone is equally educated.

June 30, 2009 10:55 AM  
Blogger J.D. Tuccille said...

But isn't that usually the case? Democracy is usually less a measure of what the public in general wants than it is of which constituency is the most motivated.

That's not just at the ballot box, but in the selection of candidates and between elections in terms of agitating for and against policies. Those with the best organization and the loudest voices usually win.

June 30, 2009 12:21 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home