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