History In The Making: First Ever Pirate Unionist Elected In Athens
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. By the time when this article was written it is not clear yet who of the three candidates (Thanasis Gounaris, Markos Papaioannou , or Electra Pagoni) would take the seat but this is the first election worldwide that sees a Pirate unionist elected to a top position running as a Pirate.
“Pirates in Education” doubled their percentage from 5.4% to 10.42% and raised their voting result from 50 to 90 votes in Athens Teachers Association “Aristotle” (previous article). They were competing against ballots supported by the parties of PASOK and DHMAR (that are in the Greek goverment) and also SYRIZA in the left.
The day started for Pirates arranging their stands outside and inside the school where the elections were to be held. Pirates caught a place right at the entrance of the school and hung their flags and plastered their posters. Their stand was the only one with computers, playing videos like the one with Pirates from around the world talking in Greek and saying “Ime kai ego Peiratis” (“I am a Pirate too!)”
One of the success factors for Pirate Party Greece in the election was the passion they displayed compared to the other candidates. Thanasis Gounaris, head of the ballot and chairman for the Board of Pirate Party of Greece, spoke thrice in the General Assembly of the Association and captivated the audience present with his dynamic speech.
Pirate Times contacted the three Pirates for a comment:
Thanasis Gounaris: “The sign of Athen’s teachers will not go unnoticed by Greek society. Teachers message is spotless and Greeks take it seriously in mind. I would like to thank my colleagues for entrusting “Pirates in Education”. This success marks a great beginning for Pirate Party of Greece. Greek society will see the brand of teachers who were inspired by Pirates and turned their backs on traditional union trade behaviours. We doubled our rate and votes, we are the fourth power in the Association of “Aristotle” and not unfairly after we convinced our colleagues. We performed with patience and persistence an exemplary campaign in making the most of all available forces, digitally and physically. I personally visited and talked with my colleagues in all of the schools falling at the club ‘Aristotelis’, so did Markos and Electra. Congratulations to all Pirates who helped in any way to this collective effort to be a success! I would like to thank all the teachers, men and women that voted for us because they believe that our voice must be heard. We would like to invite you to join us and participate in joint training session configuration of our seats. A special “Thank you” to the vanguard of the ballot Markos and Electra. ”
Markos Papaioannou: “I feel that maybe something is changing. The result clearly shows that society includes traditional trade unionists as a part of what has led this place in this situation, and begins to spin back by voting for something new. No wonder that “Pirates in Education” not having a year of action and existence, managed a 10% to overcome the ballots that supported PASOK, SYRIZA and DHMAR. Yes, I thought that sooner or later a successful result will come because although our party has no publicity in television spreads like a virus because it is something special. I am doubly happy that this first success came in the trade union sector and I hope for a good continuity. ”
Electra Pagonis: “I feel very happy that we managed to squeeze a seat in DOE for the first time in Greece. I had high hopes for a positive outcome. Our leader, Thanasis Gounaris, has organized pirate teachers very effectively and gave a hard fight all the time. We send message for the overturn of the “status quo” of DOE. As Thanasis said today in the GA we will strive for transparency and participation of all teachers in decision-making.”
All pictures in article are CC-BY, PPGR
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.