The Green Party is dead, long live the Pirate Party

For years, I heard how the only obstacle in the Green Party’s way was that people were afraid to vote for a Green Party candidate, for fear of splitting the normal Green/Progressive/DFL vote and there by electing a Republican. That objection can no longer be made because we have runoff voting at the local level.

This year would be the key year for a Green advantage in both Minneapolis and St Paul. The DFL did not endorse for mayor in Minneapolis, leaving a huge opportunity for a Green push. Yet on the Minneapolis Green Party webside, there is no listed Green endorsed candidate for mayor. This year, the St Paul Green Party had a wonderful opportunity to challenge the current DFL Mayor Coleman to make a case. Yet there is no mayoral candidate. Even Republicans failed to produce a candidate.

Too few Green candidates that I did know were NOT willing to doorknock extensively, speak to people who did not yet believe in what they were persuading or present extensively at many events. There was none of the hard work of real political persuasion. Being a group prone to internal long discussions and the requirement for perfect, the group seems to just focus internally.

So I am declaring the Green Party dead, practically, even if a few meetings do continue. Maybe my declaration will provoke a reaction. However, I think that real evidence is in that many prominent supporters can be seen as moving on to the Pirate Party. The Pirate party is primary online, and only requires organizational meetings.

The Pirate Party is perhaps best known for its stance regarding file sharing – the belief that the ability to freely share information is a key right in a democratic society. It is true that the Pirate Party wants to abolish the ban on file sharing (which has criminalized an entire generation of young people), but not because we really, really want the latest movies without paying for them. The problem is that the methods used to protect copyrighted works involve spying on everyone, all the time.

To stop file sharing, it is necessary to do two things. First, it is necessary to identify the user associated with every transaction. That means that every search term you enter, and every page you visit, is recorded forever. In the physical world, as a citizen of the United States, you are protected against unreasonable search and seizure. On the internet, you have to show your identification to everyone at every doorway and street corner. It is difficult for the average computer user to understand the scope and specificity of the information that can be collected about her.

The priority of the Pirate Party is to make sure the rights essential to democracy survive the transition to digital modes of speech. You should have the right to look for information without being surveilled. You should have the right to understand and control the dissemination of your private information. You should have the ability to speak (anonymously if necessary) about important issues without fear of reprisal. The authorities should have to operate transparently, in accordance with clear standards.

The Pirate party decided to own the name, since that was what they were going to be labeled anyway. A local group is organizing.

So in the British style of “The king is dead, long live the king”, I have declared “The Green Party is Dead, Long Live the Pirate Party”.

Arrgh maties, there is some wonderful blogging in the rough seas ahead. I wonder if any ghost messages will come from the haunted Green Party party ship.

  • Why is it that you do not mention the seven Green Party-endorsed candidates running in local races (city council and park board) this year? Because it does not fit into your story? And why are you trying to pit two third-party parties against each other? Coming from Germany, a country with a proportional voting system and where the Green Party has been able to do a lot of good, thank you very much (especially in regards to renewable energy), should't you instead decry an outdated electoral winner-takes-all-system, that is definitely NOT working, and that is easily manipulated. Instead of your not very funny commentary, shouldn't you reflect why the Green Party (and other third parties) is not stronger? As a progressive, wouldn't you want to support parties that at least try to keep the DFL as honest as one can be, if one has to serve two masters (people and moneyed interests). - by Liane Gale on Sat, 10/12/2013 - 10:34pm
  • Greens are alive and kicking! In the Twin Cities, US, and internationally. It's not easy being Green, but we're far from "dead". What an awful declaration to make, as unkind as it is untrue. - by Kristina Gronquist for Accountablity, Transparency & Citizen Empowerment on Sat, 10/12/2013 - 9:45pm
  • I'm not a member of the PPAustralia but I have been researching them and know them quite well. The Greens in Australia are still quite a force and there is a great affinity and effusiveness between Australia's Pirates and one Green in particular: Senator Scott Ludlam. In the recent federal election the Pirates polled well for a party that was often dismissed in the media as either a "single issue" party at best, or a joke at the worst. The Australian Pirate Party did start as a protest party, focused on fighting Internet filters and government over-reach online. But in only five years they've matured to develop policies in many areas including tax reform, health and foreign affairs and trade. Every policy is available to read and so are the logs of their votes and debates. It is truly open, for anyone to view and participate in but only members can vote which is completely justified. The PPAu maintained their approach to open politics throughout the campaign even with arrival of the WikiLeaksParty which practiced almost the opposite. The Pirates demonstrated how mature a party they are, relying on their political philosophies and their policies to sell their message, unlike the WLP which had no policies, was ruled by an autocratic inner circle and will unlikely last long into the future. There is a future for Australia's Pirates. And if the Senate preference deals are anything to go by, it is a future in which they work with the Greens. The Australian Greens have managed to get a hold in Australian politics, much to the benefit of the nation's democracy. If only there could be more minority representation in US politics where the two-party system is clearly now on detrimental to its democracy as recent events have shown. - by Nicholas McCallum on Sat, 10/05/2013 - 7:37pm
  • I can't speak to your local situation, but the Green Party is an international movement with what would seem to be a broader agenda. While I am "onboard" with the Pirate agenda, I wonder where they will be in ten years? - by Bart Everson on Fri, 10/04/2013 - 11:06am
  • Very eloquent summary. - by Rick Falkvinge on Fri, 10/04/2013 - 1:35am

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Grace Kelly