[pp.int.general] Our ideology

Eric Priezkalns eric.priezkalns at pirateparty.org.uk
Fri Jul 31 17:38:21 CEST 2009

Hi Alex,

I think we're going to get along great with these ping pong  
conversations ;)

I see why you say what you say about the 'freemarket right' but the  
reality is always more complicated than the generalizations.  For  
example, in the UK, the most outspoken Parliamentary critic of the  
erosion of civil liberties has emerged from the freemarket right -  
David Davis, who was defeated when he campaigned for the leadership of  
the opposition rightist Conservative party.  In contrast, one of the  
most prominent activists from the civil liberties movement of the  
1970's (Harriet Harman) is now the Deputy Primeminister in the leftist  
Labour government, and uses this position to regularly push for a  
reduction in civil liberties!

As some of the other guys have said, this is a new generation, but  
when talking about left and right we're using terminology that dates  
back to a time when the big political issue was whether to be governed  
by a King.  Instead of alienating any potential voters, let us  
construct a new language which emphasizes what we care passionately  
about, and let our opponents (on both left and right) try to justify  
why they oppose us.  If we advocate genuinely popular policies, and  
avoid convenient labels that will be abused by our enemies, we make it  
harder for political opponents to dismiss us.

Here is an example of what "Pirate" politics means to me.  British  
hacker Gary McKinnon has just lost his latest court appeal and will be  
extradited to the US to be prosecuted under anti-terror laws.  His  
crime?  He hacked into US government computers so he could find proof  
of the existence of UFOs.  He is a lone guy, not a terrorist.  He  
suffers from a psychological disorder, Asperger syndrome.  The US  
government are pursuing him not because he hurt US security, but  
because he showed up the pathetic weaknesses in their so-called  
security.  He is willing to admit he did wrong, and to plead guilty to  
a British crime that will see him imprisoned for between three and  
four years.  Instead, he will face a potential 70-year sentence in the  
US.  If he was a genuinely malicious hacker, from another national  
government, then he would not be punished.  Neither the governments of  
the UK nor US are willing to admit that the laws being applied to  
McKinnon are like squashing a fly with a sledgehammer.  So this case  
is not about left or right (and some politicians, on both left and  
right, are willing to say this).  This case is about how governments  
have become so divorced from the individuals they govern that there is  
no humanity left in the processes designed to deliver 'justice'.  As  
an international movement, we can humanize, and personalize the  
politics that leads so many people to be dissatisfied with how the  
world is run today.  That is what really moves people - not a slavish  
submission to 'the system' when the system no longer makes.  They want  
people to be treated as people, with respect and with understanding  
for who they are and what they want to do.  "Pirate" politics, to me,  
sums up that liberation movement, and has no connection to the old  
liberationist messages of right or left, which ended up producing  
monolithic ideological systems (Marxism, neo-Conservatism) that  
completely ignore the truth of what happens to real, individual people.



On 31 Jul 2009, at 14:49, Alex Foti wrote:

> hey, but this is a treatise! let's fast forward to the 80s: the
> freemarket right (not friedman, though, but reagan and thatcher and
> progeny definitely) has consistently been for copyright censorship
> increased security and surveillance. the left either sank with
> communism, which dragged down with itself socialism and social
> democracy, or -- in a european or north american context, since latin
> america depeloped indio politics and bolivarianism -- was reborn as
> the libertarian strands of the antiglobalization movement, in which no
> copyright, free software and free media theory and praxis have figured
> prominently. pirate parties shall not alienate these pirates as well
> as free-market libertarians, traditional liberals, teen filesharers
> and what other constituencies we have in mind when we talk about
> pirate party ideology. sorry for the ping pong but i just had to post
> these basic thoughts. will lurk for a while;) ciao, lx
> On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 3:34 PM, Eric
> Priezkalns<eric.priezkalns at pirateparty.org.uk> wrote:
>> Go back further and the distinction between left and right is  
>> different
>> again.
>> left = reduce power of the monarch (and other institutions, like  
>> the church)
>> right = retain power for the monarch
>> The original categorization between left and right came from France  
>> and the
>> upheaval of the French Revolution.  It was originally about how  
>> much power
>> you thought the King should have, with people favouring the King  
>> sitting
>> more to the right.  This explains why it is possible to associate  
>> the 'left'
>> with freedom.  However, you quickly morph the debate into one about
>> 'positive' and 'negative' freedoms, what freedom really means and  
>> hence
>> whether freedom means nobody having power over anyone else or  
>> freedom means
>> somebody having power over other people in order to secure  
>> freedom.  Freedom
>> can mean laissez-faire capitalism, which ends up looking like what  
>> you now
>> call the political right, though its roots were in liberating  
>> individuals,
>> and hence markets, from impositions of an arbitrary ruler.  The  
>> British
>> Whigs were nominally on the left (by the standards of that time)  
>> because
>> they wanted to reduce the power of the King, and the USA's Whigs  
>> called
>> themselves Whigs because they were opposed to concentrating power  
>> in a
>> President.  Stepping back a little earlier, the American  
>> Revolutionaries
>> were radicals who removed the power of the British King to impose  
>> taxes on
>> their economic activity, and they consequently believed in strictly  
>> limiting
>> the power of the state to intervene in all aspects of civil  
>> society, whether
>> economic or personal freedoms.  The result is considered, by European
>> standards, to be a constitution and civil society that is now  
>> weighted
>> heavily to the right of the political spectrum!  So in the American
>> revolution, 'leftist' thinking ended up with a conclusion that is now
>> described as being on the 'right' because of the freedom given to the
>> market.
>> It can go the other way too, when it comes to leftism and freedom.   
>> J.J.
>> Rousseau was a leftist thinker.  He influenced the French and  
>> American
>> revolutions, and emphasized the delivery of freedom via a social  
>> contract,
>> where some freedoms must be given up in order to secure other  
>> freedoms.
>>  Robespierre, who tried to implement the philosophy of Rousseau,  
>> interpreted
>> this as a mandate to kill his political opponents on the basis that  
>> they
>> were essentially rejecting the social contract, and hence were a  
>> threat to
>> it.  Robespierre's political enemies were hence killed, without  
>> this being
>> seen as a violation of the principles of freedom!  Hence, you can  
>> go full
>> circle, and argue that you need authority - and further still, you  
>> need
>> authoritarian powers - in order to secure freedoms.  In this way,  
>> you go
>> from the left being the pole in favour of freedom (from the King)  
>> to the
>> left being represented by a government that will kill people  
>> opposed to its
>> will.  Sad to say, Robespierre was not the last leftist politician  
>> to treat
>> his enemies as enemies of the people, and hence to justify the need  
>> for
>> repression in order to secure freedom.
>> I prefer Aristotle's analysis to the left-right categorization that  
>> came out
>> of the French Revolution.  Aristotle thought governments either  
>> reflected
>> the will of the many, the will of a few, or the will of one.  He  
>> said if it
>> was a good government, the government of one was best, but if bad,  
>> the
>> government of one was worst.  In contrast, he said the government  
>> of many
>> was least best if good, least worst if bad.  In balancing freedoms  
>> in the
>> real world, that analysis does a lot to explain why democracy, the  
>> least bad
>> of the bad governments, the least good of the good governments, is so
>> successful.  Karl Popper's analysis in the Open Society and its  
>> Enemies
>> includes a critique of Aristotle's counterpart, Plato.  Popper  
>> argues that
>> authoritarian systems are not derived from a left-right division,  
>> but from
>> an unwillingness to tolerate alternative points of view and an  
>> insistence
>> that one point of view can be shown to be comprehensively right,  
>> with no
>> possibility of revision or of allowing people to change their  
>> minds.  That
>> can equally well occur with Kings, or with those who claim to speak  
>> on
>> behalf of 'the people'.   On this analysis, trying to link the  
>> political
>> left with increasing freedom, and the political right with reducing  
>> freedom,
>> is fundamentally flawed.
>> Cheers,
>> E
>> On 31 Jul 2009, at 13:25, Reinier Bakels wrote:
>>> tranditionally:
>>> left = believers in government intervention for more justice in the
>>> devision of power and income.
>>> right = believers in the free market
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