Leading Swedish Pirates Step Down
Ajöss och tack för fisken (Goodbye and thanks for the fish)
said Anna Troberg, long standing Leader for the Pirate Party of Sweden, as she declared that she will not be available for a reelection for 2015 when her term ends at the end of this year. Not only that, both the Deputy Leader, Marit Deldén, and Party Secretary, Henrik Brändén, announced that they would not either be available for reelection.
She went on to say that the Party had developed from a small technology based party to an aspirational, larger and more human-centered political organisation while she was in charge. She also gave credit to the membership who have taken the founding principles and applied them more widely and thus becoming relevant to a wider range of people.
The disappointment that this year’s elections (2014) did not realise expectations does not detract from her expectations that the party will continue to develop and become the tolerant, progressive party that Sweden needs. However, she warns that the party is at an important crossroads and she sees a battle ahead. She points to an alarming lack of empathy in sections of the party and points to a faction that, while calling for universal rights, is working only for their own rights at the cost of everyone else’s. This is most apparent in the sexism, LGBT-phobia and xenophobia that is hampering the workings of the party. This tendency has found its way onto the board and is severely hampering efforts to make the party tolerant and all embracing. She accuses some members of the board of ignoring the administration’s concerns regarding the extremely poor working environment in the party.
She urges members of the party who have been cowed into the background in on and offline venues to stand up, support each other to take back the party from the mainly white, heterosexual, tech-savvy men who are dominating it. She said;
The Board has instead chosen to give tacit approval to individual board members to actively oppose management’s job. It has thus given these board members and others a free pass to actively contribute to the decay that management tried to counter. In these circumstances, I believe it is impossible to conduct responsible work in appropriate conditions where members are not mistreated, and where we as a party actually practice what we preach politically.
Anna is not finished with politics and she next intends to write a book which will be available for free download in January. Then she will continue the fight against big brother.
For the Deputy leader and the Secretary the problems are not only with a particular faction but also structural.
For Marit Delden, it was the way the board dealt with the exclusion of members by party officials. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a case where the process was shrouded in secrecy in a manner that Pirate Parties fight against in other organisations. The Pirate Party has a structure that favors only one type of personality. That person is a person who expresses themselves well in writing, that can sell themselves, who has great self-confidence, a thick skin and to be quite honest is good at being a little egotistical. This is very much in line with an article published earlier in the Pirate Times Are we a Pachydermocracy?
Henrik Brändén said that while the party is still needed, commonality is one word that many in the party have not understood. Instead, the party is full of fighting with internal squabbles such as who should get the right to a thread on Facebook. It has for some reason become more important to get a right, get just as one wants, than to try to find a way together.
The board published the following in response to the resignations (loosely translated)
Party leader Anna Troberg, Deputy Party leader Marit Delden, and Party Secretary Henrik Brändén have announced today that they will not make themselves available to their posts next year. The party would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the large amount of work they have contributed.
At the same time the Pirate Party is ready for a term with many changes. We have recently appointed an organizational audit team which, during the winter and spring, will revise the party constitution and refresh the party’s internal structure.
We have much work ahead of us, including combating problems in the party’s working. Everyone should feel welcome in the Pirate Party, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religion, and everyone should have the same rights. We already have a process for combating sexual harassment, which we want to develop and clarify.
We in the Pirate Party Board are proud of our party’s strong stance on issues surrounding equal rights and including LGBT. Earlier this year we have been named as the best party of RFSL. Good politics is not everything, and we must work so that everyone can feel comfortable in the party’s internal jargon and environment.
Finally, we would once again like to thank Anna, Marit and Henrik for all their work – now the baton is handed over to the next in line, who will take us forward in 2015 and at an election victory until 2018.
Pirate Party Party Executive,
December 1, 2014
The Swedish Pirate Party will be selecting their new leader this weekend. The Pirate Times will keep you informed of the results.
Featured image CC BY-NC Tim Ellis