History of the pirate party
The Pirate Party is a label adopted by political parties in different countries. Pirate parties support civil rights, direct democracy (e-democracy) and participation in government, reform of copyright and patent law, free sharing of knowledge (open content), information privacy, transparency, freedom of information, free speech, anti-corruption, and net neutrality.
The first Pirate Party to be established was the Pirate Party of Sweden (Swedish: Piratpartiet), whose website was launched on 1 January 2006 by Rick Falkvinge. Falkvinge was inspired to found the party after he found that Swedish politicians were generally unresponsive to Sweden’s debate over changes to copyright law in 2005.
The United States Pirate Party was founded on 6 June 2006 by University of Georgia graduate student Brent Allison. The party’s concerns were abolishing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, reducing the length of copyrights from 95 years after publication or 70 years after the author’s death to 14 years, and the expiry of patents that do not result in significant progress after four years, as opposed to 20 years. However, Allison stepped down as leader three days after founding the party.
The Pirate Party of Austria (German: Piratenpartei Österreichs) was founded in July 2006 in the run-up to the 2006 Austrian legislative election by Florian Hufsky and Jürgen “Juxi” Leitner.
The Pirate Party of Finland was founded in 2008 and entered the official registry of Finnish political parties in 2009.
The 2009 European Parliament election took place between the 4 and 7 June 2009, and various Pirate Parties stood candidates. The most success was had in Sweden, where the Pirate Party of Sweden won 7.1% of the vote and had Christian Engström elected as the first ever Pirate Party Member of European Parliament(MEP). Following the introduction of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Pirate Party of Sweden were afforded another MEP in 2011, that being Amelia Andersdotter.
On 30 July 2009, the Pirate Party UK was registered with the Electoral Commission. Its first party leader was Andrew Robinson, and its treasurer was Eric Priezkalns.
In April 2010, an international organization to encourage cooperation and unity between Pirate Parties, Pirate Parties International, was founded in Belgium.
In the 2011 Berlin state election to the Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin, the Pirate Party of Berlin (a state chapter of Pirate Party Germany) won 8.9% of the vote, which corresponded to winning 15 seats. John Naughton, writing for The Guardian, argued that the Pirate Party of Berlin’s success could not be replicated by the Pirate Party UK, as the UK does not use a proportional representation electoral system.
In the 2013 Icelandic parliamentary election, the Icelandic Pirate Party won 5.1% of the vote, returning three Pirate Party Members of Parliament. Those were Birgitta Jónsdóttir for the Southwest Constituency, Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson for Reykjavik Constituency North and Jón Þór Ólafsson for Reykjavik Constituency South. Birgitta had previously been an MP for the Citizens’ Movement (from 2009 to 2013), representing Reykjavik Constituency South. As of 2015, it was the largest political party in Iceland, with 23.9% of the vote.
The 2014 European Parliament election took place between the 22 and 24 May. Julia Reda was at the top of the list for Pirate Party Germany and was subsequently elected as the party received 1.45% of the vote. Other notable results include the Czech Pirate Party, who received 4.78% of the vote, meaning they were 0.22% off getting elected, the Pirate Party of Luxembourg, who received 4.23% of the vote, and the Pirate Party of Sweden, who received 2.19% of the vote, but lost both their MEPs.
Reda had previously worked as an assistant in the office of former Pirate Party MEP Amelia Andersdotter. On 11 June 2014, Reda was elected Vice-President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament. Reda was given the job of copyright reform rapporteur.
The Icelandic Pirate Party was leading the national polls in March 2015, with 23.9%. The Independence Party polled 23.4%, only 0.5% behind the Pirate Party. According to the poll, the Pirate Party would win 16 seats in the Althing.
In April 2016, in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, polls showed the Icelandic Pirate Party at 43% and the Independence Party at 21.6%, although the Pirate Party eventually won 15% of the vote in the 29 October 2016 parliamentary election.
In April 2017, a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley formed a Pirate Party to participate in the Associated Students of the University of California Senate elections, winning the only third-party seat.
Czech Pirate Party entered the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament for the first time after the election held on 20 and 21 October 2017 with 10.79%.
Czech Pirate Party, after finishing at the second place at the Prague municipal election, 2018, held on 5 and 6 of October 2018, with 17.1%, formed a coalition with Prague Together and United Forces for Prague (TOP 09, Mayors and Independents, KDU-ČSL, Liberal-Environmental Party and SNK European Democrats). The representant of the Czech Pirate Party, Zdeněk Hřib, was selected as a Mayor of Prague. It is probably for the first time when any pirate party has a mayor in one of the major cities of the world.