Iceland’s Pirate Party is now the Largest Party According to a New Poll
Politics is serious business. It’s not meant to be messed with by the young and idealistic. In fact, most countries have age restrictions so that you must be old and “realistic” by the time you ever get to the seat of power. But now and then there come political ideas so uniting that everyone must get in on them somehow. Internet freedom is one thing that all people, of all stripes, tend to agree on to some extent.
The exact extent can be a fine line, which has led some in Europe to found the Pirate Party, which is very much rooted in the truism: information wants to be free. Founded in 2006 by Swedish IT entrepreneur Rick Falkvinge, the pirate party movement has spread worldwide. Its original incarnation has had but rare and fleeting success, unable to even secure proper pardons for the founding members of the Pirate Bay, perhaps the most successful torrent sharing website the world will ever see, which exists to this day in jurisdictions where it is not literally outlawed.
Elsewhere, though, the pirate party movement is seeing more and more traction, particularly in Iceland. As other outlets have noted, Iceland is traditionally a more right-leaning, conservative type of country, wherein things like social liberties are less important than laissez-faire capitalism. In 2009, the relatively tiny country of less than 400,000 was particularly hard-hit by the global financial crisis, and in turn elected a left-wing ticket for basically the first time in modern history. Then, as happens in many political systems, the traditionally reigning powers regained control by a wide margin, the populace things had gone back to normal.
Pirate Party Iceland Gaining Ground
But the plot thickens further, matey! (Sorry.) In just the last few months, for on-the-surface inexplicable reasons, the Pirate Party of Iceland has been gaining and gaining in informal, non-voting-oriented polls. The tiny party of just three (currently) elected members has surged above a split-hair rest of the competition, now having nearly 35% of the population’s approval. The Pirate Party does not stick to traditional party parallels, that is, it focuses on issues which directly relate to the freedom of citizens as regards the Internet and other day-to-day nuances.
The Pirate Party of Iceland did make a few headlines almost two years ago, though, by proposing that Edward Snowden be granted immediate citizenship. The bill didn’t go far, but it is demonstrative of the kinds of policies they’re in favor of, and the kind of politics they’re willing to espouse.
Since then, the reigning triumvirate has had time alienate much of its base, erstwhile a new crop of young, highly enlightened voters have come to the fore. Could the future of Iceland be piratic in nature, becoming a zone of (protected) digital freedom people cannot experience elsewhere? What other changes come about when a pirate party comes to power? One can only hope that Iceland may actually give us a chance to find out in 2017.
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