One thing you learn very quickly when dealing with politics is that it’s on another timescale than the rest of our work. We are used to hacking up a solution to a problem in a 24-hour coding session or a weekend. The time between elections, four or five years, are glacial in comparison.
But politics moves slowly. It’s part of what it is. Having successes on this scale two years apart is rapid succession. It takes decades for new values to gain mainstream acceptance, but only a few major successes to turn the tide.
The polls for the German Pirate Party — the Piratenpartei — vary a bit ahead of tomorrow’s election, but one thing is clear; they are well above the five-percent limit needed for parliamentary representation. Newspapers in Berlin had the news of Piratenpartei entering Parliament all over the front page yesterday.
So what does this mean? What is the Parliament in Berlin, anyway?
Germany is not so much a country, as it is a federation of countries (länder). Berlin is a country about the same size as Oregon or New Zealand, with roughly four million people. But being the capital of Germany, it has a certain clout — in particular internationally.
It is the Parliament in the state of Berlin that the Piratenpartei is about to enter (and not the German Parliament at the federal level, the Bundestag; those elections are in 2013.)
Then again, what does this mean in practice?
It will teach the copyright industry that the success of the Swedish Piratpartiet in 2009 was not an isolated phenomenon. I have frequently said that the Pirate movement is for this decade what the Greens were in the 1970s; it is a worldwide grassroots movement present and growing everywhere. The copyright monopoly and security theater pundits will definitely not like seeing this coming true, and political analysts worldwide know that Berlin tends to be an international political trendsetter.
Also, we succeed together. The Swedish success in the European elections in 2009 was a tremendous boost for the Pirate Party movement worldwide. Tomorrow will have the same effect. We fight for civil liberties together, shoulder to shoulder, and we succeed together. News outlets are already talking about the Berlin election and the Piratenpartei worldwide — Taiwan, Africa, Ireland, United States. And that’s still before the election itself.
If you had any doubt and live in Berlin, join in creating history tomorrow. Vote Pirate.
Tomorrow, the 18th of September, the German Piratenpartei enters the Berlin Parliament.
And the day after the elections, the 19th of September, is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Isn’t that fitting. I’m sure many politicians will.