Ung Pirat, the youth organization of the Swedish Pirate Party received over 1.3 million Krona from the Swedish government yesterday. The money – government funding to political youth organizations – was heavily criticized by anti-piracy lobbyists.
Ung Pirat, or ‘Young Pirate’, is the youth organization associated with the Swedish pirate party. Yesterday it was a big day for the group, getting 1,325,744 Swedish Krona (Approx €121,900, or $161,700 US) from the national board for youth affairs. The amount is based on a membership count of around 1280 members, but with current membership of around 4,872, next years amount should be even greater.
The national board for youth affairs (Ungdomstyrelsen) awards money to organizations, in order to ensure that they have access in influence, to promote the next generation of politicians; indeed possibly the current generation. At least two of the board members of Ung Pirat are listed on the Pirate Party’s list of candidates for June’s EU elections.
Not everyone has been pleased about the government funding though, with the IFPI chief among them. IFPI’s Swedish director Lars Gustafsson wasn’t happy at all, saying “It is surprising. Ung Pirat works in principle to encourage something illegal. That they then receive money from a state institution is remarkable.”
This is of course, the same Gustafsson who last year urged ISPs to spy on its customers, which is of course completely illegal – not that hypocrisy from the IFPI is anything new. The board dismissed the complaints though, with Director-General Per Nilsson saying “It is our understanding that they want to change legislation around copyright issues and that is an opinion that they are entitled to.”
UP, at just over two years old, has seen a fantastic growth rate. It is now the third biggest political youth organization in Sweden, behind those of the Moderate and Social Democrat parties, and ahead of the Christian Democrats – all parties with representatives in the Swedish Parliament.
Per Nilsson recognized this as well, saying, “It is positive that the organization in a short time has managed to build a large nation-wide activities on issues involving many young people.” With this money and constantly growing support, it’s quite likely that come the next election, the Pirate Party will be voted into parliament.
“The growth of the Young Pirates in Sweden heralds the coming of a new dimension in European politics,” Ung Pirat’s Mattias Bjärnemalm told TorrentFreak, “The communication revolution has made the life of the younger generations into something altogether different from how their parents grew up, and now that cultural change will alter the very core today’s political landscape.” We wish them all the best of course.