PPGR Would Like a Pirate MP on September 20

PPGR Would Like a Pirate MP on September 20

Elections have been announced for Greece in about three weeks. This leaves a very short time for preparation and a big monetary strain on small parties. Pirate Times interviewed Thanasis Gounaris, chairman of the Board of Pirate Party of Greece, about what the Greek pirates will do and if they will participate in the elections.
Pirate Times: Will Pirate Party of Greece participate in the elections independently or with the help of a coalition?
Thanasis Gounaris: We are now flirting with the idea of the election of a Pirate MP and investigate the  possibility to achieve it. I am a realist and I know that is very difficult to do that on our own. At the moment it is not possible to enter the House because we have not got the electoral influence required, ie 3%, but also we do not have the money, about 20,000 euros. But we can achieve it collectively and share the parliamentary seats with the participated parties
The financing of the party is very low and depending on donations from members and friends. As we approach elections, we are trying hard to collect the required amount to ensure our autonomous running. Basically this is what we seek! For us this is our plan A, of course having as plan B the cooperation with other political formations.
Being a political party is very expensive in Greece, but we can‘t let it be only for those who have the money. It must be for everyone who‘s fighting for his ideas. So we ask those who believe in our principles to support us financially and with their presence in our ballots across the country. We issued an open invitation, as we did in the national elections of 2012 and the interest is very big. Also we ask the sister Pirate parties worldwide to do the same through a dedicated page we designed, entitled “oarsmen“. On the occasion of this interview I would like to call on PPI and PPEU to help us in any way they can to achieve our objective.
Pirate Times: What is currently the electoral influence of the PPGR? Looking back, the biggest percentage that you accumulated was 0.90% for the European elections (this was in cooperation with Ecologists Greens“).
Thanasis The fact is that after our absence from January‘s elections, our popularity has fallen to low levels. When you do not  participate in the elections, people forget you. After all, I think that a key reason for having a party is running for the elections, to compet your views and ideas with other political parties and ask your co-citizens for their vote. But with our constant contacts with other parties, we now have enough coverage by the media and we come back in the news, rekindling the interest in our positions. I feel that after some time, maybe after two years, we have gained such popularity we never had before. This happened especially after our meeting in the  House with the party “Laiki Enotita” founded by P. Lafazanis an ex-member of SYRIZA, who left the govermental party and founded a new left party followed by 25 MPs and became the third biggest party in Greece”.
Editors note: As it is known, Pirate Party of Greece did not run in January’s elections for economic and many other reasons. 
Thanasis continued: to elect even one Pirate MP in the Greek parliament! We ask the Greek society to give the Pirate party the opportunity to present how it works! We want to show how to operate a modern democracy in the digital age! We have the technology and know-how to do it. I think now is the right time for this. The latest polls show that the largest party in Greece with 25% are the undecided! It sounds very normal to me, people are disappointed after they have been betrayed many times by the old parties, whether they come from the right or the left wing. The Pirate Party is really the only new and fresh party out of the old line of politics,  aiming forward.
Pirate Times: How do you react to the resignation of Alexis Tsipras, which led to these snap elections?
Thanasis: In many concepts and perspectives, I think we live in the times described by Orwell in his book “1984, Big Brother”, where the “no” becomes “yes”  and “yes” turns to “no”, depending on the wishes of each government. It is unacceptable that he ignored the vast majority of  society that voted “no”, 61.3%, in the recent referendum on the memorandum. The representative body voted “yes”, 222 by 300 MPs, a straight mismatch with society!
If there was a “cheating policy prize” then it is certain that Greek politicians will deservedly claimed it! I mean that in other countries the same phenomenon is happening too, but in Greece for decades is the norm anymore that politicians when they take over the power, to do the opposite of what they promised before the elections. Especially after 2010 and onwards all politicians elected with slogans and promises defaulting almost immediately after their election. But Tsipras surpassed everyone. Not only he did not annul the memorandum with a law, as he claimed before the elections, but drew Greeks to a binding referedum and then did the opposite of what people voted and signed the 3rd memorandum the worst ever experienced by our country. Immediately after that he resigned and lead the country to early elections, the second elections in the same year – the third, if we take into account the referendum! Tsipras seemed to be different than the other traditional politicians and Greek society placed its hopes for change in him, but in vain, he turned out to have followed the same path as his predecessors.
Media in European countries present the facts in a way that many things either concealed or misrepresented and citizens of those countries do not learn the truth or updated with objectivity. Honestly, how would German citizens have reacted if they’ve voted for a politician who the very next day of the assumption of power would make things contrary to what he’s promised? And not only that, but also armed with the majority, if he would have put Germany under the supervision of the IMF and brought troika in Berlin? The answer is simple; they would have risen up! There is such a recent article in Spiegel describing what would have happened in such an hypothetical situation. Unfortunately for our country this is a tragic reality.
But besides deception, complicity and corruption that started and instigated from abroad, are the key factors for the decline and crisis to our country.
Since the start of the crisis, thanks to the development of technology, we can have a lot of alternative information in addition to that of the private media, which are part of the complicity. They work for decades  without having a legal license, with the tolerance of the respective governments. This information is derived from independent centers with an interest in the disclosure of the facts and events covered by interlaced media.
 
It is very optimistic that people beginning to wake up and reject the old system. They involved with social networks and this is a hope for the Pirate party in Greece  that fights for transparency and its members do not act as politicians but as active citizens. We strive for collective governance, participatory democracy and citizens appreciate our struggles. We are honest and sincere with what we do.
 
Pirate Times: On what areas will the election program of PPGR focus?
Thanasis: The issues of the management of the ongoing crisis and the implementation of our country‘s memorandum obligations would certainly monopolize the attention of voters. We were planning to organize an event in Athens on September 20 with Birgitta Jonsdottir as the main speaker, but unfortunately we won’t be able to do it because of the snap elections. The event would have been on the similarities and  differences of both Icelandic and Greek crisis. But beyond  the event, we intended to work with Birgitta and  shape an electoral program based on the Icelandic crisis response model, by the mobilizing of the grassroot movements and the revising of the Constitution. In our country there are many fans of the Icelandic example, no matter their political affiliation and we were aiming to attract their interest. Some members insist to hold the event on the elections day. It is an original idea and we can discuss it or leave it for later.
We thank Thanasis Gounaris for an insightful interview and wish PPGR the best of luck in these upcoming elections!
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Feature image: CC-BY-PPGR, Thanasis Gounaris waving a pirate flag outside the Greek parliament (picture from last year’s protests).
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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