Crucial state elections for the German Pirates

Crucial state elections for the German Pirates

The Pirate Party of Germany (PPDE) and the Pirate movement as a whole, will be experiencing the first of many election tests in 2016 and the coming year 2017. The first was in Hessen last Sunday 6 March 2016.
In the municipal elections in the region of Hessen, PPDE made a good start and saw 16 Pirates elected in local councils, although the turn out of the voters was very disappointing at 37,3%.
PPDE 2016a
It is no a doubt a “crash test” period for the Pirate movement; in its 10th anniversary it has to prove that it has:
a) the appropriate electoral influence to survive politically.
b) realistic solutions for society’s basic problems, especially in countries that its strength is significant, such as Germany,  Sweden (its birthplace), Iceland and the Czech Republic. 
If it fails there, then it will certainly affect the course of many Pirate Parties in other countries where the Pirate movement is not as strong. 
The coming Sunday, 13 March, the German Pirates will test their power in three state elections in their country, in crucial polarising times not only for Germany but also throughout Europe, with countries closing their borders to migrants and refugees. The humanitarian crisis causing insecurity and in periods like this the far right parties find fertile ground to develop their racist ideology. The Pirate Party will try to attract the opposite thinking voters by welcoming refugees and bringing solidarity.
 
A “Fortress Europe” is unacceptable 
Apart from the financial crisis, the main debate topic in Germany and Europe in general is how to deal with the refugees who pass from Syria to Europe, mainly through Greece and temporarily find shelter there and in other neighbouring countries. This map of the International Organization for Migration shows a more than apocalyptic flow of the refugees. German parties see that their refugee policy will have great impact on voters.
Pirates in Rheinland-Pfalz analyzing their migration and asylum policy declare that a “Fortress Europe” is unacceptable:
“…Whoever flees from his home of persecution, discrimination or violence, must be able to receive asylum in Europe. This principle  may not be limited. We want this human right again to gain its full  meaning.
Refuge from political persecution, and to grant the consequences of war and civil war is one of the basic obligations of international law. This obligation is a joint task, as pursued the Pirate Party.
Expanding the asylum
People who have fled to an ethnic or religious group, or because of the existence of threat of poverty and hunger from discrimination, persecution because of their gender or sexual identity or orientation, in climate and environmental disasters, because of their affiliation,   must also be recognized as entitled to political asylum. We reject blank categorizations of countries as “safe countries of origin”. Asylum seekers have a right to individual evaluation of their situation. We refer also to the Geneva Convention, which is valid in Germany since 12.24.1953.
No walls and fences on borders
The  Pirate Party wants to subject the refugee and asylum policy a fundamental realignment. A “Fortress Europe” is unacceptable for human and economic reasons. The refugee and asylum policy must be based on the respect for human rights and the respect of the provisions of the Geneva Convention and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Instead  of continuing to promote the closure of Europe, the EU has measures to secure border crossing of fleeing people, especially, take on the seas in order to give them the opportunity to apply for asylum…”
Election Sunday in Baden Witterburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Rhineland-Palatinate 
PPDE 2016
On Sunday, 13 March,  there are state elections in three out of 16 federal states in Germany; In Baden Witterburg, where PPDE got 2,1%  of the votes in 2011, in Saxony-Anhalt where its electoral influence the same year reached 1,4% and in Rhineland-Palatinate with 1,6%. We must note that PPDE’s power in those 3 states is only 5 seats in municipal councils in Baden-Württemberg. The campaign, depending on the state, is focused on various topics such as the basic income, equality, participation, transparency, education, free public transport, of course migration and asylum policy and had the main motto “digital, social, transparent”. You can find more about the candidates in the regions of Baden Witterburg (here), Rhineland-Palatinate (here) and in the main page of PPDE.
In Berlin on September the mother of the election battles
In 2011 (and 2012) the German Pirates managed to elect many seats in the local parliaments in Berlin, Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia. Now the time has come to fight and keep them!
The mother of the election battles will be given the coming September in Berlin. That is the reason the 2016 General Assembly of PPI will be held in Berlin on the weekend of the 23-24 July. As Berlin Pirates wrote in their offering (that was accepted by the Board of PPI): 
“As Berlin is the capital of Germany and the home of Germany’s political body, the future of the entire Pirate Party in this country is directly dependent on the poll results that Berlin’s Pirates can achieve. The local elections of September 2016 will determine the fate of German Pirates. We must not fail. In order to secure political survival, the Berlin branch is doing everything they can to attract media attention and air time. Events like the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Pirate Party Germany in September or a gathering of all the international Pirates will help this course and is therefore in the interest of all Pirates.
The Pirate Party Berlin polled 8.9 % in the last election in 2011. The next Berlin state parliamentary election in Berlin will be this September. As in Berlin the Pirate Party entered a state parliament for the very first time, this years election in Berlin is quite important for the Pirate Party Germany. We would like to choose a date for the General Assembly before the official campaigning period starts in August.”
Featured image from PPDE CC BY SA
Hessen graphic from Flaschenpost  CC BY SA
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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