[pp.int.general] Our ideology

Eric Priezkalns eric.priezkalns at pirateparty.org.uk
Fri Jul 31 13:02:02 CEST 2009

I agree with Mikko.  The Pirate Party has no need to define itself as  
a party of the left.  I would go further, because I can imagine this  
debate will come up again and again.  The left-right spectrum is  
simplistic and unhelpful.  We should deliberately avoid placing  
ourselves on that spectrum.  It would be better to talk about the  
specific things we want to do and the principles that we have.  Talk  
about whether we are left or right is unlikely to explain what we  
stand for; it may only cause confusion.

Some political theorists have conjectured that the left-right spectrum  
is better understood as a circle, rather than a line.  Keep going to  
the left, and you end up back at the right.  Anarchists can look like  
neo-cons.  Authoritarian communists can look like authoritarian  
fascists.  Even that is simplistic, but it helps to explain why  
positioning ourselves as a leftist party is not an effective way of  
communicating our concern for liberties.  There have been thinkers all  
over the spectrum who favour liberty.  In contrast, history shows us  
there have been plenty of repressive leftist governments, as well as  
repressive rightist governments.  The driving force in the formation  
of the US Republican Party was the abolition of slavery.  Robespierre  
was responsible for the Terror.

The principles we deal with are very international, which is why we  
can see parties being formed all over.  But the meaning of 'left' and  
'right', in normal conversation, gets twisted by local cultures.   
Obama gets described as on the left of American politics, but he  
advocates policies that would be considered on the right in European  
countries.  Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian communists  
were sometimes described as being on the right, because they opposed  
liberalization of the market.  If parties in individual nations find  
it helpful to describe themselves as to the left, or to the right, let  
them do so.  But to describe the whole international movement as left  
or right risks failing to understand the impact that will have in  
different political cultures.

Liberty is a grand enough principle to aim for, without needing to  
colour it as of the left or of the right.  If we can stay focused on  
that goal, many other aspects of policy will follow.  Voters can  
understand that.  They might even prefer to hear that.  Sometimes, the  
debate between left and right does not work.  Let us avoid it  



On 31 Jul 2009, at 11:22, Mikko Särelä wrote:

> I don't share your view that the pirate party belongs to the left. It
> seems to me rather that the pirate party gathers a group of people,
> liberal and libertarian both from the left and the right. That is, all
> those people who agree on the need for certain civil liberties (such  
> as
> freedom of speech and privacy).
> We willingly set aside our differing views on other matters (such as
> economic, social policy, etc.) because civil liberties are the  
> foundations
> on which our western democracies are built - and they are threatened.
> One way, thus, to explain where we are is to use the political compass
> (http://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis2 shows the figure). The  
> choices
> PP has made puts it down and encompasses both right and left.
> As a curious note, historically, most parties have gathered both
> libertarian and authoritarian people on the left to one (or several)
> parties and on the right to one (or several) parties. This has  
> scattered
> the power of those people who believe in the basic individual  
> liberties as
> minorities in all the other parties. What I personally hope, is that  
> the
> PP can unite most (or even most) of those who share this non- 
> authoritarian
> mind set.
> I hazard a guess that the above is something common to most people in
> pirate party - that is, it is a shared common part of our individual
> ideologies. And it is already a very big part of the Pirate Party  
> goals
> (again freedom of the speech and privacy). And thus part of the  
> party's
> ideology.
> -Mikko
> On Fri, 31 Jul 2009, Alex Foti wrote:
>> it is, i believe, a widely shared view that the pirate party belongs
>> to both the liberal and the libertarian left, as all freedom of  
>> speech
>> movements before it. it is by no coincindence that it it sits on the
>> left of the european parliament, no?
>> ciao, lx
>> On 7/30/09, Reinier Bakels <r.bakels at planet.nl> wrote:
>>>> Still, I think this can be done - and this _needs_ to be done. Such
>>>> openness is a prerequisite for limiting the power of corporate  
>>>> lobbying
>>>> (which, I believe, is needed so that we can eventually get to the
>>>> copyright reform). It should not be our primary 'populist' goal -  
>>>> as it
>>>> does not get so many people worked up about. But it does fall in  
>>>> naturally
>>>> with our other goals - and it shows that Pirate Party is not a  
>>>> one trick
>>>> pony.
>>> I guess that a very basic means to get more people involved in  
>>> politics is
>>> better communication. No one knows what is happening in Brussels -  
>>> so
>>> European election results effectively are based on national  
>>> politics. A
>>> major theme at the last European elections was: are you in favour  
>>> or against
>>> "more Europe"? That is NOT a decision of the European Parliament,  
>>> but of the
>>> national parliaments. Politicians make a habit to spread lies. In  
>>> more
>>> polite words: the political "truth" is often different from the  
>>> factual
>>> truth. When our Minister of Justice told that in the past years,  
>>> so that we
>>> need less prisons in the future, there is less and less severe  
>>> crime,
>>> right-wing politicians politicised this statement and said that  
>>> only the
>>> police should work harder. For political purposes, the difference  
>>> between
>>> severe crime and feelings of unsafety on the street are deliberately
>>> confused. A drunken hooligan is unpleasant, but it is not a severe  
>>> criminal.
>>> Somehow, it is a checken-and-egg  problem. Newspapers and TV  
>>> networks spend
>>> little attention to European themes, so no one knows about them,  
>>> and no one
>>> is interested, so it is is not attractive to make newspaper  
>>> articles or TV
>>> news items on EU politics. Perhaps there should be an (initially  
>>> subsidised)
>>> European TV network - which should have full journalistic freedom,  
>>> except
>>> that it should concentrate on "Brussels" and "Strassbourg".
>>> One could learn from populists that they are often very good  
>>> communicators
>>> (even if the means are occasionally questionable, like Berlusconi  
>>> owning TV
>>> netwoirks himself). Wilders, a very dangerous fascist Dutch  
>>> politican, is a
>>> genius in attracting media attention. Of course, PP should  
>>> distinguish
>>> itself from populists in the sense that it spreads *honest*  
>>> messages.
>>> Incidentally, in he aftermath of the EP elections, my (Dutch)  
>>> newspaper
>>> qualified the PP as "populist" from the perception that its sole  
>>> purpose was
>>> to allow youngsters to download "illegal" content for free. Just a  
>>> way to
>>> please spoilt children ...  Needless to say that is a stark  
>>> simplification
>>> of the PP objectives!
>>> reinier
>>> ____________________________________________________
>>> Pirate Parties International - General Talk
>>> pp.international.general at lists.pirateweb.net
>>> http://lists.pirateweb.net/mailman/listinfo/pp.international.general
>> ____________________________________________________
>> Pirate Parties International - General Talk
>> pp.international.general at lists.pirateweb.net
>> http://lists.pirateweb.net/mailman/listinfo/pp.international.general
> -- 
> Mikko Särelä
> "It is through exchange that difference becomes a blessing, not a
> curse", Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain
> ____________________________________________________
> Pirate Parties International - General Talk
> pp.international.general at lists.pirateweb.net
> http://lists.pirateweb.net/mailman/listinfo/pp.international.general

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