Introduction of the Pirate Party of Catalonia
At the last General Assembly of the Pirate Parties International three new parties received full membership status. One of them was the Pirate Party of Catalonia, which we will introduce at this point. For the Pirate Party of Catalonia Muriel Rovira Esteva answered our questions.
Pirate Times: How is it possible that the Pirate Party of Spain and the Pirate Party of Catalonia are members of the Pirate Party International? Tell us also how you could rise from being an observer membership to a full membership in the Pirate Party International.
Muriel: Historically, Catalonia has been an independent and self-governed territory like Bavaria in Germany and in fact we have similar rights as German Länder have nowadays. It is common for non-separatist political parties in Spain to have an independent brother party in Catalonia, since this is the only way to be deemed as neutral by the voters in this regard, thus, the Pirate Party of Catalonia is completely independent from the Pirate Party of Spain. Additionally, both parties don’t overlap during the elections, because the Pirate Party of Catalonia does not run outside this territory and the Pirate Party of Spain does not run inside it.
PPI statutes clearly say that there can be only one ordinary member per country, however, as you can see in any dictionary, country doesn’t always mean sovereign state. Currently, Catalonia is considered a country without being a sovereign state, so the Pirate Party of Catalonia is running in one country and the Pirate Party of Spain is running in a different one.
Pirate Times: How is the relation of the Pirate Party of Catalonia to the Pirate Party of Spain?
Muriel: As the pirate movement is still in construction, there are three pirate parties established in Spain, with the intention to confederate. There is wide communication between the different Spanish territory pirates to bring this issue ahead. The pirate parties in Spain do not compete for votes, but collaborate. We carry out joint campaigns, and share material as well as contacts.
Pirate Times: Will the Pirate Party of Catalonia participate in any upcoming elections? Please tell us about your expectations for the next elections you will participate in.
Muriel: There won’t be any elections in Catalonia until the European Parliament ones (as long as there are no surprises and the elections for the Catalan Parliament are not advanced). And we would like to run together with Piratas de Galicia and Partido Pirata, as well as cooperate with the other European pirate parties in order to have both a common campaign and programme.
Pirate Times: What are the core topics of the Pirate Party of Catalonia? Are there topics that are unique to the Pirate Party of Catalonia , something that distinguishes them from other Pirate Parties?
Muriel: This question gives us the possibility to present our basic course of action summarized in what we have called the Three Pirate Laws:
- First Law: A pirate representative will always vote in favour of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Second Law: A pirate representative will always vote in favour of the Pirate ideology, except where such vote would conflict with the First Law.
- Third Law: A pirate representative will always obey the decisions taken, through direct democracy, by the Assembly, as long as these decisions do not conflict with the First or the Second Laws.
This allows us to prevent a hypothetical vote, from the Assembly, that might go against the basic rights of individuals to be passed on.
Pirate Times: Tell us more about the inner structure of the Pirate Party of Catalonia.
Muriel: On the one hand we have work groups (communication, international, legal…) and on the other hand we have also territorial structures. Each has a coordinator and uses mailing lists, pads, and Mumble.
To take decisions we use an internet based tool, where any member can post proposals and then these are voted by all members. The voting results of the proposals are thereafter binding to the party.
The General Assembly meets once every three months and the board once per month, and all meetings are open to participation physically or through Mumble.
Pirate Times: If you think 5 years ahead, what will be different compared to today’s situation?
Muriel: We will be well known! As we are learning and growing day by day, we will be involved in political responsibility. Due to the experience that the first elected pirates are gaining for us nowadays, we will be able to give better answers to important questions regarding policies in all issues. Additionally, also thanks to the pioneer efforts of the first pirates in governments, liquid democracy and open government will start to be seen by the general public not only as achievable down-to-earth objectives, but also as reasonable and necessary ones.
Pirate Times: How do you manage to keep your financial balance? Do you have any special fund-raising methods? How can people support the Pirate Party of Catalonia?
Muriel: The Pirate Party of Catalonia doesn’t have any membership fee because we think that democracy should be for everyone and that participation in the party shouldn’t be limited to those who have the financial resources. Besides, we reject owing money to any entity to prevent our decisions being influenced and to make sure we remain independent. Therefore, the funding comes solely from individual donations and merchandising. In the first year of existence, with three different elections, we managed to raise from 1,000 to 3,000
Euro per campaign.
Right now we are preparing a system of optional membership fee, so that members can choose to donate a periodic amount and the available income of the party is more easily predicted, but without excluding any members for financial reasons.
Pirate Times: How many members does the Pirate Party of Catalonia have at the moment? Can foreigners become members of the Pirate Party of Catalonia?
Muriel: We have 800 members, and foreigners are welcome as long as they are residents, since they can vote in the local elections. In fact, at least 3% of us were born abroad (no official figures), 2% are foreigner residents, and 1% are German citizens.
We abide by the human rights interpretation that no one is illegal and that everyone has the same rights, regardless of where were they born.
Pirate Times: How long has the Pirate Party of Catalonia existed?
Muriel: It got officially registration on the 4th of October of 2010. However, we started working on our statutes in June 2010.
Pirate Times: Something Else?
Muriel: Salut i rom!
This article is: CC BY-SA Flaschenpost
About Daniel Ebbert
I’m a pirate from Germany but I live in the Netherlands to study there when I'm not travelling, which happens quite often. I’m a member of the Pirate Party Germany since 2009 and of the Pirate Party of the Netherlands since 2012. Picture: CC-BY 3.0 Tobias M. Eckrich