Friday, December 30, 2011

Political volatility in Germany.

Returning briefly to the Pirates.
I mentioned some time ago that this new political party had emerged in Germany and had picked up 8 or 9% of the popular vote in Berlin and that it had adopted a programme of the Unconditional Basic Income for all (see the link to the visual presentation of this concept).

Initially the Pirates appeared in Sweden around one of the Trackers (the Pirate Bay) for downloading files on the internet. They put up a semijoke candidate and received a small but decent number of votes. The Pirates have now spread to other countries but Germany has seen their biggest success. At the beginning, there were a few dubious rightwing libertarians amongst their members, but they have now declared themselves to be antiracist and liberal, but they do not see themselves as socialist.

Their main programmatic points incude
Reform of Copyright Law and Patent Law, for free exchange of all digital media, transparency in political (Liquid democracy).

The German electorate has recently become rather unstable as shown in the decline of votes and memberships of most political parties (except the Green membership). In particular the huge losses of the FDP from 14% down to 3% of the vote in 18 months.
The Pirates picked up around 8% of the vote without really trying, basing themselves on the technically savvy youth. Last month they held a congress when any member could turn up and vote. They freely admit to not having worked out positions on many questions including for example Eurobonds. It is probably this imprecision and openness which accounts for much of their appeal.

Their support is unstable however and they may sink into oblivion or just as easily hold a sizeable fraction in the next Parliament. At the moment, their support is bigger than that of the Left Party.



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