It’s almost six years since Rick Falkvinge decided to enter politics and found the first Pirate Party in Sweden.
The Party quickly gained the interest of the mainstream media and at the Swedish general elections in the same year it became the third largest party outside parliament. Inspired by this success, Pirate parties were founded in dozens of other countries.
Earlier this year, Falkvinge stepped down as party leader to focus more on promoting the Pirate position internationally. Aside from sharing his thoughts on conferences and his blog, he also spreads his ideas on copyright in bi-weekly columns on TorrentFreak.
No longer bound by political shackles, resignation allowed Falkvinge to spread the word on a global podium. And not without result.
Today Falkvinge was honored by the high-level politics magazine Foreign Policy by earning a spot in their prestigious list of Top 100 Global Thinkers. Alongside familiar names such as Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Clay Shirky, Ron Paul and Hilary Clinton, the Pirate Party founder was recognized for inspiring millions of people worldwide.
“Indeed, 2011 may be remembered as the year Falkvinge’s big idea broke through into the public consciousness,” Foreign Policy writes. “His Pirates still aren’t exactly mainstream, but the issues they focus on — government transparency, Internet privacy, and copyright law — are very much in the zeitgeist, and their ranks are growing.”
“The Swedish and Swiss Pirate parties have aided WikiLeaks, offering the controversial site server space and web hosting; a self-described Pirate Party activist was named secretary of youth and sports in Tunisia’s revolutionary cabinet; and in September, the Pirates won a shocking 8.9 percent of the vote in Berlin’s state elections,” it adds.
Needless to say, Falkvinge is honored with his spot in Foreign Policy’s prestigious list, something he certainly didn’t expect when he founded the first Pirate Party in 2006.
“I never thought the ideas would gain ground this quickly,” Falkvinge tells TorrentFreak in a comment.
“I had expected a Pirate Party success in Sweden to be necessary just for the second Pirate Party to form in another country. Instead, we are seeing them grow like wildfire, and now, be recognized at the highest levels,” he adds.
Indeed, Pirate Parties all over the world are gaining momentum. In the European Parliament Amelia Andersdotter is about to become the second Pirate MEP, and in Germany the party is riding the wave of success after it earned 15 seats in the Berlin State Parliament elections.
Quite an accomplishment for such a young movement that was built by a group of volunteers who shared the same ideals, and it might be just the beginning.