(11AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
In an ironic twist, the latest batch of leaked embassy documents concerns the owners of the domain name wikileaks.ch.
No, they didn’t leak information about themselves. Wikileaks.ch is owned by an entirely separate entity. An entity with its own agenda, it’s own history. An international political movement that is officially registered in 20 countries and is active in 20 others, including the United States. It might be the biggest international grassroots political movement that you’ve never heard of.
It’s called Pirates Parties International, and it deserves a closer look.
The Pirate Party ( Piratpartiet) was founded on New Year’s Day 2006 in Sweden.
The Pirate Party wants to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens’ rights to privacy are respected. With this agenda, and only this, we are making a bid for representation in the European and Swedish parliaments.
Within 36 hours after the launch of the party’s signature gathering effort, they had collected 4,725 signatures, far more than the 2,000 required to participate in the September election.
On May 31, 2006, the police seized the The Pirate Bay web servers, a popular file sharing site, as well as other unrelated web servers. The Pirate Bay, established in 2003, was not directly affiliated with the Pirate Party. Within a few days The Pirate Bay was operating again from another location.
The day after the raid, 930 people registered with The Pirate Party. Within a few days youth political groups were organizing demonstrations, and the issues of copyrights and patents started being discussed in the mainstream media.
The Pirate Bay trial became a public relations embarrassment for Hollywood film studios and music companies when emails were leaked in 2007 showing how the big corporations had discussed hiring the anti-piracy company MediaDefender to hack into Pirate Bay servers and pollute their data.
In April 2009 the Swedish court sentenced three members of Pirate Bay and one investor to one year in jail and a $3.6 million fine.
Because of the harshness, the Pirate Party saw a jump in membership to 40,000 in the week following the sentence. It was now a larger party than 5 of the 7 parties in the Swedish Parliament. The Pirate Party has won seats in the European Parliament. The Pirate Party’s youth organization, Ung Pirat, is the largest political youth organization in Sweden.
The success of the Pirate Party has caused the Green Party and the Left Party to shift their stance on copyright reform.
On August 17, 2010, the Pirate Party announced that it would donate servers and bandwidth to Wikileaks free of charge. Technicians from the party would manage the servers, thus putting themselves on the front lines of the Wikileaks saga.
Pirate Party’s from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, and Serbia have also offered to help host Wikileaks.
“This is a fight for fundamental freedoms on the Internet. Pirates will not accept governmental attempts to restrict access to free press and constrain freedom of speech.”
– Gregory Engels of the Pirate Party Germany
All Things Pirate Party
In the September 2009 elections in Germany, the Pirate Party received 845,904 votes. That wasn’t enough to win seats in the Bundestag, but they did win council seats in major cities.
Pirate Parties have won local elections in the Czech Republic and in Switzerland.
The Pirate Party has officially asked Anonymous to stop DDoS against government agencies and corporations for anti-Wikileak policies.
I liken the International Pirate Party to the International Critical Mass movement. Both movements are youth-based, grassroots, political movements that aren’t afraid of confrontation, but are still peaceful. People that oppose these groups are often people that either fear change, challenges to authority, or simply resent any inconvenience for any reason.