Gepost door: Bas Grasmayer | 2010/06/10

To fail or not to fail… Piratenpartij 2.0

I’m writing this post in English for two reasons. The first is that I find it easier to express myself in English, having lived abroad a lot over the last years. The second is that the eyes of pirates worldwide are upon us!

For the last few months I’ve been the campaign manager for the Dutch Pirate Party. Even though last night’s results are disappointing in one way, we’ve accomplished something to be proud of. From being a very small group of people, we’ve formalised a political organisation, jumping all the bureaucratic hurdles along the way. We made it. With hardly no grassroots activity (except for in Brabant) and almost no funds, we’ve managed to convince thousands of voters (exact number unsure at this moment) and to reach millions of people. As a communication specialist I have to say that’s a spectacular result, even though it didn’t get us a seat in parliament.

If you look at the below map, you can see there are pirates almost everywhere in The Netherlands!

Via twlevo.

Now we face a choice. To fail or not to fail. So we didn’t get seats in parliament, which isn’t easy to accept, seeing the fact that some of us sacrificed their lives for this, over the last months. What we do have is national awareness and support! We cannot let our ideas, our principles, our vision go to waste.

What we need to do is ORGANISE. In my eyes, the most fundamental challenge in our campaign was having to cope with almost zero grassroots activism. That’s why I believe the main focus of the Pirate Party in the next months, should be on setting up local chapters that are self-organised modules in a lean mean Pirate machine. The idea of local groups is to give our formal organisation a more informal character and base. This informal character will attract a lot more people that can support the organisation in a lot of ways. These local groups will have FUN first and they’ll combine it with activism. That’s the opposite from what a lot of us have been doing in the last months: work hard first and hopefully have fun along the way.

We cannot let our new government ignore the fact that copyrights and the patent system are up for reform. We cannot let them take away more privacy without being challenged. We need to get the local organisations growing, so that we can group together whenever it is most needed.

We’ve worked hard. We can be proud of ourselves.
We said we wanted to remix politics; now we’ll have to!

For a free information society.

Yaaarrs truly,

P.S. Let’s support the people of Piracy Festival (June 19, Utrecht). They still need some volunteers. See you there!


  1. […] (this post is a crosspost from the Pirate Party blog) […]

  2. It’s questionable how long the new government will hold out, they probably won’t reach 2k14 anyway, which will give the Pirate Party some breathing space and valuable time.

    From now on, the Pirate Party can really focus on things as campaigning and stuff without having to worry about stuff as for example, being electable in the first place.

    As long as stuff as this ‘’ gets out, people will start to think twice.

    Good luck ;)

  3. Hi,

    I think the results are good for a so young party. You founded Piratenpartij in march this year, you have more than 10.000 votes, that ist third best result of the smaller parties.

    I´m pirate in Oldenburg/Germany, close to Groningen. I would like some pirates with other pirates from here. Please send me contacts of pirates in Groningen and we´ll go towards next elections!


    • Hey Bas and Florian,

      I live in Assen, a small town 25 km from Groningen. I’ve also voted PP and was disapointed when results showed up. On the other hand, given the short amount of time to prepare for the elections the results aren’t that bad.

      I think the PP should now convince the Dutch who they really are and what they want and get ready for next elections. Creating local chapters is a good plan to acomplish that goal.

      I’d like to stay informed. You can use the mail-adress provided with this message.


  4. The key is using online tools to get people activated offline to reach people outside your social media circle. Coordinating the feet on the ground knocking on doors, making calls, etc, etc. is widely considered one of the best sites in this aspect.

  5. Hardly any party can expect to get elected in such a short time.

    Keep up the good work – 10k votes is a lot, can’t wait to see you all fighting for our rights in the European Parliament in a few years ;)

  6. What a shame we didn’t even earn 1 seat !
    Well, I hope not to many pirates a demotivated…

  7. Pirates used to take what they want. Democracy is for politicians.

  8. This is exactly why you lost my vote.

    As you can see from your chart, pirates are nowhere in the Netherlands, the chart is yellow dear.
    Also: you say you have reached millions? I have not gotten 1 flyer, seen 1 poster, seen 1 tv performance. I have counted 1 banner on a site I frequented, one very unflattering movie on GS and that was all. I am not hard to reach, I am on the web for at least 8 hours a day, I watch a lot of tv, have my radio on… and you have my e-mail adress…. but so far, nothing!

    You say you have not had much funding. Why is that? Why did you not get funding or publicity from lobbyists who share your issues?

    The pirate party have been utterly invisible this election, and there is no doubt in my mind, that they would have stayed that way in parliament.

    I hope that you will be able to make a stand in the next election. To me, it seems the party has to professionalise a lot, before this will be possible.
    (And maybe, next time: avoid talking about porn on your very few media performances, it seems privacy is not so much about porn really)

  9. Greetings from Finland.

    Good job. You really did not have much time. This should give you motivation to continue because there clearly are many people who are really interested in your opinions. No one should expect to get a seat in the parliament at the first try.

    Now you have something concrete to continue with. Keep up the good work. It is really important for all the other pirates around the world too!

  10. I was a voting booth member somewhere in Zuid Limburg and unfortunately didn’t get to see a single vote go to lijst 18. (note that I voted in my own district) Not too surprising since mostly older people came to vote but with a turnup of between 70 and 80% of the eligible voters, still a bit sad.

    I think part of the problem was that the party had no time to form a trustworthy connection with swing voters due to time pressure. I talked to almost everyone I knew and the (mostly younger) people who were even vaguely considering voting PP in the end went with other smaller parties like GroenLinks or Partij voor de Dieren or in the case of business owners VVD. Mostly because they didn’t have enough of an impression of the PP to actually make the jump to vote for it.

    Hopefully next election – which I predict won’t be 4 years away ;) – will be better.

  11. I think “Yaaarrrrr!!” is the only and the best answer to this.


  12. […] vor 3 Monaten offiziell registriert), aber auch zu geringe mediale Präsenz angegeben. Ein Pirat beschwert sich: “Ich habe nicht einen Flyer bekommen, nicht ein Poster gesehen, nicht einen TV […]



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