A Party That Is About To Change Iceland And The World
Pirate Party of Iceland (PPIS) is the first pirate party ever to elect MPs in a national parliament. The founder of the pirate movement, Rick Falkvinge, was absolutely overwhelmed for being present at their latest General Assembly. In his short speech to the pirates, he mentioned the big historical moments of the pirate parties (from Sweden to Germany and now to Iceland) and Rick was warmly applauded when saying:
“You are about to change the world! It only takes one country to say enough is enough. It only takes one country to set the course for the future of civil rights. It only takes one country to tear down the gatekeepers of knowledge. As it seems Iceland is this country and the people in this room are about to write history! Thank you all! I’m so happy for you all!”
A questions that occupies the mind of pirates worldwide is if pirates in Iceland will take over the helm of the government. Well, only time will tell. The Icelandic Pirates have achieved a lot in a very short time and set the stage for a governmental change that would affect many people. They would not only change their own country but it would lead to a chain reaction for many other countries in Europe and the world. The conditions have been favorable for the Pirate Party in Iceland. The crisis in 2008 allowed grassroots movements to play a leading role in shaping policies in a more active way.
Also, the recent Panama Papers leak shook the country and made citizens turn their attention to Pirates. Pirate Party Iceland have, since April 2015, monopolized the first seat in the polls and continue to do so even today (after a short two months break). The failure, corruption and opacity of the old system has opened the way for the great success of the Pirate Party in Iceland.
Will Icelandic Pirates succeed and take over? It depends on their moves, on how well they organize their human resources, where they are going to spend their funding and how they defend the attacks of the status quo (whom know well how to play the power game). But it is true that Pirates of Iceland have the clear and unambiguous support of their compatriots and it seems that they will be the next government in their country.
The General Assembly of PPIS
Founded in 2012, with three MP’s at the moment in Althingi (the Icelandic Parliament), PPIS is leading the polls again and the climate of the General Assembly (GA) was exciting and full of enthusiasm. Parliamentary elections in Iceland are expected to take place in the coming autumn. Pirates must be prepared for the elections and have internal processes for their candidates.
On June 11-12th about 170 Pirates gathered in Reykjavik to hold the GA. The three MPs were there, as well as new and old members, a new Board and Arbitration Committee was voted, amendments in statutes were made concerning the collaboration between elected representatives, PPIS and citizens. The main thing of the GA was the presentation of the grassroot movement within the party.
On Saturday, June 11th, Asta Gudrun Helgadóttir (MP) talked about her experiences from the parliament to share her experiences with new potential candidates. The difference between being in a group of three MP’s instead of 20, which means a lot of prioritization. Birgitta Jónsdóttir (MP) talked about how amazed she was with the success of the PPIS. Birgitta suggested that PPIS, as a political party, should make a ten year plan of where it is collectively headed. “That would improve people’s trust in us” she noted.
On Sunday, June 12th, Helgi Hrafn (MP) held his speech about critical thinking and told a story about his great-great-great grandfather. Tryggvi Bjarnason was an MP 1911-1913 and made a law proposal that every library in the country should receive a free copy of every book ever published, at the time this was seen as preposterous. Helgi used this story to draw parallels between the rhetoric used back then and the one which can be seen today.
The elections of the new Board took place as well as the new Arbitration Committee and elections for other committees.
Work of the past Board
The outgoing Board, that started working on September 2015, presented how they had managed and organized the party during this time. Members of PPIS have increased significantly during the past year and they currently have more than 3.200 members. Its electoral influence brought the highest recognition to the party and the work of the outgoing Board was an important part of this. Among their achievements were the operation of Tortuga (the PPIS headquarters), the establishment of seven new departments of the party (throughout Iceland), the Pirate Party 60+ (for older citizens) and the hirings made (a general manager and an election manager).
Tortuga is the headquarters of PPIS which have really given a big push to the party. Tortuga has been a popular meeting place for the executive committee, other committees and councils within the party. Almost every night in the winter, Tortuga was booked for various meetings and discussions. The Board has worked to facilitate and promote the participation of the members in the policies of the party and other social activities.
Another interesting initiative, by Grímur Friðgeirsson, was the establishment of the Pirate Party 60+. The Board welcomes the establishment of the Pirate Party 60+ which concerns older citizens contact with the Pirate ideology.
One of the largest projects for the outgoing Board was to hire staff. After interviewing the most qualified applicants, Sigríður Bylgja Sigurjónsdóttir was hired as the general manager of the party. One of her first tasks was to hire an election manager; Jóhann Kristjánsson was hired (has experience of election management since before).
The changing of the board
The outgoing Board of PPIS consisted of Bergþór Heimir Þórðarson, Birgir Steinarsson, Björn Þór Jóhannesson, Friðfinnur Finnbjörnsson, Gunnar Ingi Berg Gudmundsson, Halldóra Sigrun Ásgeirsdóttir, Herbert Snorrason, Kári Gunnarsson, Sara Oskarsson, Sigmundur Þórir Jónsson, Ms Olga Cilia, Unnar Örn Ólafsson and Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir.
According to their statutes the GA elects five board members and five alternate board members. Additionally, two members are randomly selected to be part of the board and another two members for the alternative board.
Elín Ýr Arnar Hafdísardóttir was elected as the new chairwoman of the PPIS board for 2016-17. Other board members elected were Sunna Rós Víðisdóttir, Þórlaug Ágústsdóttir, Rannveig Ernudóttir, Eysteinn Jónsson. The two randomly selected board members were Halldóra Sigrún Ásgeirsdóttir and Jason Steinþórsson.
Alternate board members elected were Jónas Ingólfur Lövdal, Eiríkur Rafn Rafnsson, Gunnar Grímsson, Sindri Viborg, Guðmundur Hörður. The two randomly selected alternative board members were Daði Ingólfsson and Kári Valur Sigurðsson.
All images under CC-BY-PPIS
The article was co-written by Julius Blomkvist Fridriksson
About Stathis Leivaditis
The English “pirate” is derived from the Greek word “πειρατής” (peiratēs) and this in turn from the verb “πειράομαι” (peiráomai), “I attempt”, which is a derivative of the noun “πείρα” (peîra), “experience”. Coming from the depths of the centuries, the word “pirate” took on another dimension in our days. The ruling classes saw pirates as rebels and hated them. Rebels without a state, they were not submissive to any law, except from the laws they instituted themselves, improvising together. This is the feeling of a Pirate: when something doesn’t work, you have to attempt to bring a new concept. Sometimes it goes beyond a certain point and perhaps exceeds certain limits, because it is an expression of challenge; the challenge to change the system. I’m a member of the Board (and former chairman) of Pirate Party of Greece, also a member of press team of PPGR, former journalist, now a free lancer. I'm in the team of Pirate Times from the start, I joined voluntarily and consciously because I am interested to meet pirates from around the world, to exchange views and spread the pirate spirit.