German Pirate Party Attempts to Reinvent Politics

Germany’s Pirate Party has gone from a tiny group of hackers to a significant force in an astoundingly short amount of time. Its growing pains are obvious to all, but the party could succeed in fundamentally changing German politics. First, it must agree on what it stands for. Now she knows what it’s like. She knows what politics feels like. It can hurt, and it can be extremely draining. On Thursday evening, Marina Weisband decided she had had enough. She cancelled a television appearance and checked herself in to Berlin’s Charité Hospital feeling faint and dizzy. By then Weisband, party manager of the Pirate Party, was already familiar with the new rigors of politics and the challenges presented by her own party. She had been in the eye of a shitstorm and had been rudely berated online, all because she had written things that others didn’t like. Last Thursday evening Weisband, 24, became acquainted with the rigors of the old system. She was a guest on a talk show hosted by Michel Friedman, a member of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who accused the Pirates of providing a political home to “Nazis, racists and anti-Semites”, about the worst possible insult in German politics. The accusations stemmed from the fact that some in the Pirate Party had once been members of the right-wing extremist National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), or had allowed themselves extremely controversial statements about the Third Reich. Weisband didn’t seek to defend any of this. On the contrary. But it wasn’t enough for Friedman. He continued to rage after the broadcast, says Weisband. “You should be ashamed of yourself,” he allegedly shouted at her. “The Pirates shouldn’t even exist.” After withstanding this attack, Weisband was scheduled to appear on a talk show hosted by journalist Maybrit Illner. But shortly before program was to begin, she realized that something was wrong, that she couldn’t handle it all anymore, and she had someone take her to the hospital. Weisband had experienced how difficult it can be to come to grips with this rigid system, with all its rules and taboos. Pirates’ goal is to change this. They want to establish new rules and a new way of engaging in politics. But now they are running into problems. The system is fighting back, and it’s thankful that the Pirates are having a problem with a few members with radical right-wing views. The situation is such that party leaders, on the eve of their national convention this weekend in Neumünster, are unable to savor their outstanding survey numbers at the moment. Opinion polls show the Pirates would capture up to 13% of votes were elections held this Sunday, which would place them neck and neck with Green Party and well ahead of the Left Party and the business-friendly Free Democratic Party. Almost 1 in 3 Germans can imagine voting for the Pirates. They are skimming off support from all parties. More importantly, however, they are attracting new potential voters. It sounds almost too good to be true, a party of computer nerds and freaks, a party of political neophytes, electrifying a large share of German citizens. Avanti Dilettanti, they wish these amateurs all the best. The Pirates give them renewed hope that politics could be better than it is (…..)


Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional


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