Party Sovereignty

It might come as a surprise to many non-Pirates that there is no real organisation of the international movement. Rather, each Party has complete sovereignty over its own affairs.

There are a few multi-party organisations:

  • Pirate Parties International (PPI). This organisation does not dictate policy, and has only a few rules of membership. It’s primary function is to assist collaboration, facilitate communication, and help local parties start up.
  • European Pirate Party (PPEU). This does not dictate local policy, but instead works on a joint platform for the European Parliamentary elections. It’s effectively just another tier of government.
  • African Coalition of Pirate Parties (ACPP). An organisation about which little is known, but appears to be led by one of the two Tunisian Pirate Parties.
  • Pirate National Committee/United States Pirate Party (PNC/USPP). A national committee in the United States. As the US cannot truly have federal parties, this organisation works similarly to PPI, and cannot dictate local policy. Not all US Pirate Parties are members.

There are two key issues I want to talk about that this relates to. The first is Kopimism, the second is incest. The reason for these will become apparent below.

Just as Piratbyrån (The Pirate Bureau, from which the Pirate Bay originated) was never part of Piratpartiet (Pirate Party Sweden, the first Pirate Party), so too is Kopimism separate from the Pirate Party movement. Admittedly, many members would describe themselves as Kopimists, but then many members are also involved with the activities of Anonymous. I do not subscribe to either of those – I view Kopimism as a joke that highlights a serious problem, just as Kembrew McLeod has a registered trademark for “Freedom of Expression®,” and think that Anonymous taking down websites devoted to child pornography is not necessarily a bad thing.

The Massachusetts Pirate Party invited a speaker to talk about Kopimism to one of their conferences. Does this mean that MAPP are supportive of Kopimism? Perhaps, but bear in mind that Pirate Party Australia plan to invite several of their adversaries to their upcoming national congress. It does not seem fair to lump them all together like this.

We have to bear in mind that while Pirate Party Australia may consider Kopimism a satirical joke (and many of the members do), they are an entirely separate group to MAPP. Furthermore, if I help the New York Pirate Party, this does not mean they share all my views, or the views of Pirate Party Australia. I cannot vote at their meetings, cannot run for positions. I can merely share ideas with them – like flyers they may like to copy (or “pirate”). This does not mean that I have attempted to clone PPAU, I’ve just let them know what has worked for us, and recognised that local problems require local solutions. Recently the PPAU-ACT party formed. They are planning policy on motorcycle road regulations because many of them are enthusiasts. This is a local problem, local solution.

Another issue is the recent call for annulment of certain incest laws by Piratenpartei Deutschland (Pirate Party Germany). Now, I am not in favour of this. And no one within Pirate Party Australia appears to be. In fact, we question how that decision actually came about, and are planning to build a “rationality test” for all proposed motions into our own liquid democracy system. We pride ourselves on evidence-based policy, and evidence suggests that sexual relations between siblings is biologically not a good idea.

 Recapping all of this:

  • Each party is subject to local laws and political systems.
  • Political parties are generally not subject to any overarching organisations, though there will be a degree of communication as good ideas should be shared.
  • Even parties within the same sovereign state can have different policies.
  • Not all members and Pirate Parties share the same ideologies.
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Author: Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer

Pirate Party Australia Deputy Secretary and Press Officer. Former member of the Pirate Parties International Court of Arbitration.

4 thoughts on “Party Sovereignty”

  1. I have to disagree with some of the wording within this article. The Piratenpartei Deutschland called for the annulment of incest laws meaning they are in favour of abolishing those laws. Stating that they have a policy “in favour of sibling relations” implies that their policy promotes relationships between family members. An important differentiation, especially at a time when people around the world are keen to find out what the Pirate Parties stand for.

  2. Just a small clarification about the reasoning behind the incest thingy:

    – Usually nature sorts out that brother and sister are not attracted to each other. If they are it usually is because they did not grow up with each other and both come from dysfunctional families. Those cases are extreme seldom, it is not like with the abolishment of the incest paragraph brothers and sisters everywhere would be attracted to each other all of a sudden. The few that are won’t be stopped by the law, their dysfunctional families just become more dysfunctional by one or both of them being in jail for a few years. Experience shows that that won’t stop those that are attracted to each other from having sex with each other, or even making children.
    – If it were only about procreation, why not allow them to have sex with condoms or similar?
    – If it is about the genetical health of the children, why do we allow people with hereditary deseases/disabilities to procreate?

    I do find the issue icky, but in the end we just think that the law itself does more harm than good. The few cases where it applies too are not stopped by it, but their lifes are made harder. There are similar cases with similar issues where such laws do not apply. We do not think (and it is indeed extremely unlikely) that if the law falls the moral reasoning of most siblings falls with it.

    However, I would obviously hate for the pirate party to be reduced to such issues. Go on with the good work!

    1. Hey, thanks for the comment.

      Yeah, I understand the reasoning behind it. To be honest, I’m less adverse to it than most. Contraception is fine, but there is some concern it might move beyond that. Having said that, your next point is true – if we prevented the disadvantaged from having children, it’s a slippery slope to Nazism. Good point and well made. I’m not strictly against the decision, but it was an example to illustrate the differences between Pirate Parties. Even our Australian sub-branches are moving into new areas, such as motorcycle road laws. I wish I had thought of a better example now!

      One of the big issues is that some people think “The Pirate Party” is a worldwide movement with identical policies and strategies.

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