Iceland Report #5: A Look Back
The New Parliamentarians
A week has passed since the elections and the first three Pirates were elected to the oldest parliament in the world.
Two of them, Helgi and Jón Thór are coming to terms with their new positions and responsibilities. Not only being now a part of the Icelandic political scene they have to come to terms with being well known in the world, not only of Pirates but in the activist universe. The more politically experienced Birgitta will no longer be a lone voice in the Althingi.
But these three are only the tip of the iceberg, to use an appropriate cliché The party was only formed in on 24 November 2012. They would never have made it from start to electoral success without a crew of dedicated Pirates who cannot be all named here but gave of their time and talent to enable PPIS to go from nothing to electoral success in just over five months. There are no ranks in the Icelandic Pirate Party but three Pirates deserve mention as being representative of the rest. Jason Scott, an American living in Reykjavik, who was the main impetus behind the founding of PPIS and although not in the lime light it is his work and energy that bought this triumph to fruition. He is also the reason that the PPIS executive council holds its meetings in English. Eva who is the Administrator for the Pirates a cross between a mother hen looking after her brood and a benevolent dictator. Herbert, who provides a wealth of knowledge spread over many disciplines. Hildur their welfare expert and balloon artist. Bjorn the IT genius. Halldóra who will be Birgitta’s assistant now that Jón Thór is an MP. There are many more, some of whom will be introducing themselves below, who cannot be mentioned but all played vital parts in the making of Pirate history. History that was achieved by hard work and commitment.
A Silver Lining?
One Pirate who just missed out on being elected was Smári McCarthy whose intellect and grasp of Iceland politics and law make it a sad loss for the Icelandic people but a boon for the rest of us – especially the world Pirate movement. His institute The International Modern Media Institute (IMMI) recently received a substantial grant from EU. Now Smári can devote more time to developing electronic direct democracy for Iceland and the world while still being able to support his parliamentary Pirate fellows.
The world’s mainstream media gloated over a “move to the right” but the actual result is not that simple. The Icelanders are realising that the traditional parties, of both ends of the political spectrum, are actually different sides of the same coin The make up of the leading coalition is far from certain. But in any case the Pirates will be listening to the voices of the people during the full term of the parliament and not just at election time.
Another feature of the election is the interest of the old style journalists, who travel to the location and do the leg-work, interviewing people and getting a feel for the situation and not just repeating the agencies’ copy. Laurie Penny and Sam Knight were two such reporters whose work we look forward to reading.
Indeed the world reaction has been positive in general and it behooves Pirates world wide to take advantage of the surprise and interest to promote the Pirate Movement in their region.
Here are some of the Icelandic Pirates telling you why they became Pirates
These videos are all CC BY-NC-SA Pirate times. We will be starting an action soon to collect videos together where Pirates explain their motivation for becoming Pirates for use by Pirate Parties around the world for election campaigns, membership drives and similar actions. We will keep you informed.
Featured image CC BY-SA Pirate Times
About Andrew Reitemeyer
I joined the Pirate Party of Lower Saxony in Germany in April 2012, once I found out that non citizens were welcome to join and become active members of the Party. I joined the Pirate Times soon after it was started as a proof reader and am now an editor and author. Since then I have returned to my native New Zealand and joined the Pirate Party of New Zealand. Politically I come from the libertarian left and have, up to now, not regarded any political party as having a solution for the democratic deficit that envelops the world. With the advent of the Pirate Party, which truly embraces grass roots democracy, I have found a political home. The Pirate Times is a way I can contribute to furthering the Pirate Movement around the world. Skype: frithogar