Here Come the Pirates
In June 2014 we brought Smári McCarthy from Iceland to speak about post-Yes constitutional options and learning from our northern neighbour. He later joined our editorial board and he’s just been elected for the southern constituency of the Icelandic Parliament for the Pirate Party.
This means we have a Pirate on board.
As John Rodgers has written: “Hacking Politics: An In-Depth Look At Iceland’s Pirate Party”:
“Píratapartýið (The Pirate Party)—a small, radically forward-thinking, activism-based political organisation—stormed from being a marginal presence with three (out of 63) sitting MPs, to being the front-runner in the national opinion polls. Amongst many reformist policies, their agenda includes an eye-catching reboot of democracy itself, via increased voter participation that allows the people to guide parliament on key issues via e-democracy, direct influence on policymaking, and referendums.”
Hit the North
The Pirate Party offer some inspiration for Scottish Yes activists in their dynamism ambition and innovation cutting through stale thinking and emerging with contemporary and radical tools for participation. What’s striking is they take a much broader and deeper understanding of world geopolitics and shifting culture and apply it to local democracy. Like Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece they have proven that radical political movements can break through in a networked society conscious of the realities of collapsonomics.
If we have been looking successfully for advanced social policy to the Nordic and Scandic countries to our North East, we’d do well to look to our Icelandic friends for advanced ideas on liberty and participation, information and transparency.
Now, the Pirates, founded only four years ago by a group of activists anarchists and hackers, tripled their share of the vote to 14.5%, and together with an alliance of left parties won a total of 27 seats just short of a majority in the country’s 63-seat parliament. They haven’t formed a government but they’re a powerful force making huge gains.
A leading figure in the Icelandic Pirate Party’s leader is Birgitta Jónsdóttir. She writes:
“Our states are built around systems that are outdated, created in simpler times and for smaller societies. Today, those systems no longer serve the people but are simply self-serving and self-preserving. Welfare has been hollowed and is on the verge of collapse, often as a way to privatize it. We are running out of planet and our systems are unable to do anything about it.Draconian ‘anti-terrorism’ laws and secrecy have somehow become the norm. ‘Developed’ democracies have become a freaky mix of Brave New World and 1984. We are being manipulated every day into believing we are powerless, that there is nothing that can change these systems; but this is a lie. We have never been as connected as we are today, as able to share real-time stories of success and failure. Therefore, our learning curve is steeper than ever before. We are sharing, downloading, remixing and co-creating every day without knowing the power that lies in the abundance of information we are processing or storing.”
Here’s Smári’s talk in Edinburgh on ‘Crowdsourcing the Constitution – Lessons from Iceland’ (and a background interview here):