Pirate Party Storms German Ship of State

Upstart group wants soft drugs legalized, basic minimum income for all
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 20, 2011 2:00 AM CDT
Supporters of the Pirate Party celebrate after the first exit polls in Berlin state elections yesterday.   (AP Photo/dapd, Adam Berry)
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(Newser) – Move over, Greens. Make way for the Pirates. For the first time in German history the upstart Pirate Party has won representation in regional elections to grab 15 of 130 seats in the German parliament. Members support a host of civil rights, including Internet freedoms some might consider ... piracy. "I can't believe it," said newly elected Berlin parliamentarian Christopher Lauer as he thanked supporters, via Twitter, of course. "It's breathtaking, a surreal feeling, because there is nothing that compares to this." The International Pirate Party was born in Sweden in 2006 on a platform of Internet activism. German pirateers see themselves as the antithesis of the conservative Christian Democrats—and they surged to victory, bizarrely, on the ninth annual "Talk Like a Pirate Day," notes the Washington Post.

They believe in direct Democracy, transparency in government, online data protection, the legalization of soft drugs, and the implementation of a basic minimum income for all. "We want more freedom," said another candidate simply. The Pirates have won the support of many because they're fresh, authentic and funny ("Privatize religion," was one of their campaign slogans), reports Der Spiegel. "Contrary to the Greens, we plan to stay true to our ideals in the future," vowed party leader Sebastian Nerz.

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