Arrr, it Was a Real Pirate Year! (2013 in Review)

Arrr, it Was a Real Pirate Year! (2013 in Review)

The year 2013 in review (Part 1)

2013 was a very good year for the pirate movementDuring the past year the Pirate Movement experienced many historic events. The first three national Pirate MPs were elected (in the parliament of Iceland), the first two Pirates councilors (in the city district of Samobor in Croatia), the first rate Pirate unionist (in the Board of Representatives for the Greek Teachers Federation in Greece).
The efforts establishing the European Pirate Party (PPEU) moved forward through several conferences in different parts of Europe, the ‘Manifesto’ for PPEU and the ‘common election programme’ for the Euro-elections 2014. A big step towards more international politics in common, after the Uppsala Declaration in 2008, we created the Athens Declaration in 2013.
We had new Pirate Parties founded in countries all over the world, PPI added 14 new Pirate Parties to its members. The Young Pirates of Europe were established.
We also had disappointments during the year. Many Pirate Parties participated in national and local elections in their countries, achieving some poor results but with valuable experience gained and – in some cases – qualified for significant funding.
PRISM and Edward Snowden’s revelations dominated the news of the year and brought Pirate Parties’ core principles to the forefront of daily debates worldwide. You can read all about them in 2013’s review as it was recorded in Pirate Times.
We hope that 2014 will be a starting point for bigger influence of the Pirate Movement not only in European but in global politics. The coming Euro-elections in May should and could be that point, but basically it depends on the European citizens’ will to change things
A summary of some articles over the year follows below.
JANUARY
The year started for Pirate Times with an article about the etymology of the word “Pirate”. “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”.”
The Russian Ministry of Justice had refused to register PPRU again. You might ask why? Well it was because according to the Russian Justice Ministry they should not be “using in the name the word “pirate”, that allegedly does not conform to the party’s goals and objectives“.
Hundreds of Lower Saxony Pirates, together with Pirates from other German states and many others, from at least another 14 countries, gathered in Hanover to watch the results come in. As stated in our earlier article, the polls were showing 3-4% of the conservative leaning Lower Saxon voters were intending to vote Pirate. This was down from the predicted 8% in May 2012 but pirates were still hopeful. This hope changed into disbelief and tears began to flow as the first estimates gave the Pirate Party a mere 1.8%. As the results came in their share of the vote rose to 2.1% but not enough to pass the 5% hurdle that guarantees parliamentary seats.
Pirate Party Australia announced today, 21 January 2012 that its application for registration as a federal political party passed all tests and is now on the register of political parties. Also on the same day the Polish Pirate Party was finally registered on its country list.
The number of Pirate Parties in the world is constantly growing and in some countries there are more than one. This is the case in Israel but only one, הפיראטים, managed to register and take part in the elections held on 22 January 2013. They did not reach the hoped for 2% hurdle that would bring them a place in the 120 seat Knesset but with, at the time of writing, 2,408 votes and so 0.07% of the votes they have a respectable result for a party of about 300 members.
It all began in the beginning of last June when the European Commission (EC) decided to ask the European Court of Justice to fine Slovenia because it did not implement the revised EU telecom rules. The Slovenian minister in charge promised to prepare new laws as soon as possible.
The Icelandic Pirate Party has confirmed their suspicions that the Reykjavik City authorities  are blocking access to one of the party’s collaboration platforms, namely PiratePad.
The  upcoming General Assembly of Pirate Party International (PPI) will be held in Kazan, Russia.
FEBRUARY
Millions of users who had innocently stored files which did not infringe copyright or other forms of intellectual property on the Megaupload servers lost all access to their data… Pirates decided to take a stance on their side.
The leader of Pirate Party Iceland, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, will travel to the USA early in April 2013. This trip takes place at great risk to her own liberty in order to bring attention to the fact that whistle-blower Bradley Manning (later better well known as Chelsea Manning) has been held for over 1000 days without charge. 
A huge corruption scandal has erupted in the Spanish Government. It has important implications since it involves the leading political party in Spain (Partido Popular – the People’s Party), several Ministers and even the current Prime Minister (Mr. Mariano Rajoy).
On Monday 18 February 2013 The Polish Pirate Party announced that is has gained official registration as a political party and can contest in elections. It was a long and difficult road to registration but now it has been done.
During the first week-end of February, the Statutes Group of the PPEU project had a meeting in Paris. About thirty pirates from a dozen Pirate Parties were physically present, while others followed the debates remotely through Mumble.
As the elections have been called early PPIT was unable to muster the support needed to be able to run in time. Not wanting to just sit on the side-lines and watch, they found a suitable candidate to support, the independent candidate for the newly formed party called the SEL.
Today, Friday 22 February 2013, the Pirates of St. Vith (Belgium) and the Pirates of Düsseldorf (Germany) are starting the first “grenzenlos Piraten-Partnerschaft” (border-less pirate partnership). The concept of partnerships, also called twinning, between two local Pirate groups in different geographical locations has existed for a few year between the Pirates in Berlin and North-Rhine-Westfalia.
On Thursday evening, 21 February 2013, European Pirates got a new way to connect with Brussels and the European Parliament. Swedish Pirate MEP Amelia Andersdotter and her capable team have set up a regular streaming service so that Pirates and of course, any other interested person can watch live and ask questions.
Pirate Party of Sweden (PPSE) received legal personal threats for supplying The Pirate Bay (TPB) with Internet access. They were given a week to make a decision about stopping the provision of TPB with Internet access or face a legal battle. PPSE decided to step aside and have handed the responsibility to the Pirate Party of Norway (PPNO) and the Pirate Party of Catalonia (PPCAT).
MARCH
The European Commission is currently planning the next revision of IPRED, the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive. At the very least the directive is expected to carve the current copyright regime deeper into stone, thereby further preventing much needed reform.
Considering the answers they had received, the PP-SE’s board has decided to end the discussions, affirming its dissociation from Euroscepticism and its dedication to the cohesion between European Pirate Parties. 
Last weekend, 9-10 March 2013, about 80 Pirates of the German Pirate Party met in Frankfurt, Hesse to do a follow-up on last year’s successful conference on European and Economic Policy.
During the weekend of the 16 and 17 March 2013 the Pirate Party of Croatia (PP-HR) hosted a European Pirate conference.
APRIL
Are we going to be celebrating the entry of an additional Pirate MEP in the European Parliament? The answer lies in the hands of the Croatian citizens and we will find out on 14 April 2013 when their first, historic EU election will be held in Croatia. 
The European Parliament will be voting on a crucial dossier which details the conditions under which a European Political party may be registered and receive funding. Some amendments have been tabled, but the draft report risks ending up benefiting the mostly old, monolithic and not-very-united-across-borders political parties.
With only 17 days left until their elections the Pirate Party of Iceland has reached 7.8% in their latest polling by MMR.
With the help of the information age, Democracy is being “re-imagined” and there are several organizations outside of parliaments trying to open up this information for the people. 
The Pirate Times brings you a new feature to help understand how the Movement is developing on a global scale. It is a table of policies and which national Pirate Parties take a stance on what.
The Pirate Times continues to introduce you to Pirate Parties around the world. Today we look at the Pirate Party of New Zealand or Aotearoa. We asked the President of PPNZ, Daniel Bertinshaw, a few questions about the party and himself. 
A new service has been launched in Sweden, covering any fines resulting from filesharing lawsuits against the user. For a €25 annual fee, the user is protected in any coming lawsuit for copyright infringement. 
Sašo Miklič, coordinator for the implementation of direct democracy in the Pirate Party of Slovenia (PP-SI), decided to explain to a broader public the basics of (electronic) direct democracy. He wrote two articles for “Revolt in alternative”.
The co-founder of the Belgian Pirate Party, as well as co-founder of Pirate Parties International and a very popular friend of Pirates worldwide, Jurgen Rateau, lost his life far too early at the age of 42.
After Interviewing Maša Utković, PPHR’s (Pirate Party of Croatia) leader and head of “List 22” – the euroballot of the party, you can easily see that the winner in Croatia’s recent, first ever euroelections, was euroscepticism. 
On Saturday, 27 April 2013, Pirate history was made and three members of a national Pirate Party were elected to be representatives in their pnational parliament. Iceland is the first country to have Pirates having a say in the running of their country’s parliament.
The Swedish Young Pirates had their annual member congress in April, where they elected a new board. They also expanded their political program into new areas such as immigration, marriage rights, voting age and environment.
MAY
IMMI (International Modern Media Initiative) and how it relates to the Pirate Movement. 
German Pirate Party had its General Assembly on May 10 in Neumarkt. Pirate Times were there and covered Day 1Day 2 and Day 3.
The Spanish Pirate Confederation was invited to the event.
In one of the city districts of Samobor, namely Kolodvorsko/Sajmiste, the first two Croatian Pirates got elected. The elected pirates are Ivica Fulir, top candidate, and Dario Vidovic, second on the list.
Polish Pirates, one of the latest pirate parties to get officially registered, had their general assembly.
Pirate Times decided to translate a Swedish list of international projects for the awareness of other Pirate Parties as well as other international organizations interested in eGovernment. Hopefully this list will lead to more awareness and collaboration instead of starting up similar projects. 
The teacher and chairman of the Board of PPGR, Thanasis Gounaris, had an idea last November about creating the ballot list called ”Pirates in Education“. This ballot list, which is supported by PPGR, is for the teachers’ national elections of representatives to their service board.
Despite some facts that burdened the atmosphere of the general assembly, data and numbers show that PPI continues to inspire and attract Pirates worldwide. PPI accepted 14 new members, increasing the number of Pirate Parties in PPI to 42 countries .
Due to the cancellation of 2 MP seats in the French Parliament by the Constitutional Council of France, in the 1st District and in the 8th District outside France, two Pirates are running for these two seats.
An interview with two Pirates from Japan.
While Denmark is well known for the openness of its society, Danish government has revolutionized protests by intending to change the law on Freedom of Information and restrictions on access to government documents. 
Pirate Times interviewed the founder Gyung Chan Lee about the current situation.
Athens teachers ballot “Pirates in Education” managed to get one out of nine seats, changing the “status quo” of the Greek Teachers Federation (DOE) and sending the first ever Pirate unionist to their body of representatives. 
JUNE 
The Austrian Pirate Party are expecting over 100 Pirates from all corners of Austria and this is an especially important event for them as they prepare for elections in September. These upcoming elections will make the assembly busy and exciting. They are hoping to see Pirates from other countries there as this will help by showing Austrian voters that the Pirate Movement is an international force. 
The new Criminal Code will give Spain what is probably the most restrictive legal framework in any democracy, in terms of internet file-sharing. The two main articles regulating it 270 and 271 impose prison sentences up to four years just for sharing works protected as “intellectual property“ and in sentencing it is irrelevant whether or not it was done for profit. In other words, uploading movies, TV shows, songs or books, even if it is for free and you are a fan, can get you four years in jail.
The so called “Six Pack” of Reforms for Europe includes a lot of points, accepted by the general assembly of the German Pirate Party. The “Six Pack” contains: more citizen participation and rights for the European Parliament, a Marshall plan to deal with Europe’s economic crisis, energy generation should be decentralized, access to a net-neutral internet and Creative Content license promotion. 
The Greek Pirates have, for the last two months, applied a true P2P donation method by using crypto currencies. Stratos Zolotas, elected member of the Arbitration Committee of Pirate Party of Greece and member of the IT team, gave an interview to Pirate Times.
Last month the Ukrainian Pirate Party came under attack. How they reacted and coped can show other Pirate Parties what to do in such cases. 
When personal data is moved between different countries it makes it hard for citizens to have the right to protect and have some control over their personal information. The different registers, differing between countries, make it very hard for citizens (as well as companies trying to act in several countries) to keep track and control their information. 
Network Neutrality is a term often mentioned, but yet differently defined depending on the point of view from the person or organisation defining it. In fact, it has become one of the most widely used terms when talking about the Internet today. 
Now the world’s citizens know for a fact what was previously only suspected, the exact thing that Pirates and other activists have been warning people about for years. The government is recording what you do, what you say and to whom you say it. The data goes back years many times which makes it easy to get to someone if there is a desire.
According to Boingboing.net a film production company “Good Morning To You Productions Corp” is suing Warner/Chappell Music for charging copyright on the most sung song in the world – “Happy Birthday to You”.
Pirate Party UK is currently an ordinary member of Pirate Parties International (PPI) but it will be asking its membership whether it should stay a member, become an observer or leave.
One of the world’s most influential people, one of the top 20 Internet Freedom Fighters and one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers, Rick Falkvinge, founder of the pirate movement, talks to Pirate Times about a politicised (in the activist sense) ‘net generation bringing its values into politics and his new book “Swarmwise” 
Pirate Times in contact with Pirates in Norway and Iceland keep you informed with updated news on Snowden’s bid for asylum.
The Pirate Party of Turkey (Korsan Partisi Hareketi) was involved from the first days and Pirate Times asked questions about the situation there.
The article is a guest editorial by Andy Halsall, the Campaigns Officer for PPUK on Prism case 
After a year of internal discord and coordinated work to broaden their political platform, the German Pirates are now focusing on campaigning for the federal election this coming 22 September 2013. 
Summary of 2013 to be continued in part 2.
featured picture: CC-BY-NC-SA, Christian
Stathis Leivaditis

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.

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