All about the Piratepartei Lëtzebuerg (Pirate Party)
A brief (international) history
Luxembourg’s Pirate Party was founded in October 2009 by twenty-three people and is a founding member of Pirates Parties International, an umbrella organisation coordinating the activities of Pirate Parties worldwide. The Luxembourg Pirates currently had 160 members in 2011 throughout most of Luxembourg’s larger communes and has continued to grow.
Pirate Partei, the Luxembourgish Pirates, was born out of the Swedish “Piratpartiet” who were the originators of the “pirate movement”. The Swedish Pirates came into existence with the creation of a homepage in January 2006.
By 10 February 2006 the party had collected 1500 signatures (as required per Swedish law) enabling them to run in the national elections.
In terms of membership numbers the Pirate Party in Sweden is the third largest party. Although they aren’t represented in the national parliament, they have two seats in the European Parliament, making them one of the fastest-growing parties in Sweden’s history.
Based on the party’s sudden popularity and success, similar parties have been founded worldwide, yet still linking together as PPI (Pirate Parties International). The parties’ main beliefs relate to:
* The need to adapt legislation to allow for the emergence of an information society
* A need to change existing copyright laws, so that these only apply to the commercial use of copyrighted material
* The claim that patents are obsolete because the only thing they create are privatised monopolies- “one of society’s worst enemies”
* The need to reaffirm that the individual has a right to privacy protection.
The party argues that living in an information society calls for a different kind of politics. The ever-growing globalisation of knowledge enabled, in part, by the digital revolution, challenges the current understanding of legal, economic and social components that societies are built on.
The Luxembourg Pirate Party sees themselves as part of an international movement fighting for the protection of individual privacy and “informational self-determination” while at the same time advocate for free access to knowledge and culture.
It is stipulated that these parameters need to be cornerstone principles in today’s information society. In their party programme, the Pirate Partei has eight main points.
The following points are key areas, which will be a main part of their campaign when running in the national elections:
1) Protection of privacy and data
The Luxembourg Pirates argue that the protection of the individual’s privacy should be a cornerstone in today’s politics. This right has been cemented in various national and international legislation ranging from the Luxembourg Constitution to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights. The party claims that today’s technical possibilities allow for the surveillance and storage of data in ways that former dictatorships only dared dream of.
Any kind of surveillance needs to be monitored by elected mandate-holders and only practiced in special circumstances. Every citizen has a fundamental right to anonymity, guaranteed by the constitution, yet various ISPs in Luxembourg are required by law to keep data on individuals for six months. This is but one aspect that the Pirate Partei will actively try to change.
The Pirates argue that the utopia of equal and unlimited access to knowledge and culture has now been made possible by the today’s rapid technological developments. Nevertheless, laws relating to copyrights have simultaneously been made stricter and are limiting the proper use of our digital capabilities. The Pirates argue that copyrights need only apply in terms of commercial use, but should not be relevant in terms of sharing. The state needs to develop programmes that allow for the creator, artist, musician etc. to create without having to rely on the protection and income from copyrights.
The Pirate Partei claims that current patent legislation might in fact hamper innovation rather than foster it. A truly free market cannot allow for current patent laws, which, according to the Pirates, are just glorified state-legalised private monopolies. Furthermore, patents in relation to pharmaceuticals also present ethical dilemmas that our current society shouldn’t endorse.
4) Transparency of the political system
The individual citizen’s insight into public administrative and political data, should be a fundamental right and guaranteed by law, protected and fostered. Every citizen should be allowed to have insight into any political procedure and if such access is denied it needs to be communicated in writing and should, if necessary, be legally contestable.
5) Open access
The Pirate Party proposes that the results of state-financed undertakings, whether they relate to research or public administration, should be viewable by individuals without them having to incur any costs. Often research is only published in commercially available publications, yet the Pirates want these publications to be freely accessible, e.g. in libraries for citizens to freely access them.
6) Against Censorship
Freedom of speech is a basic human right. The party stipulates that “free press and the right to personal expression and beliefs, regardless of the context, is essential in a free and multi-medial world”. A democratic state needs to guarantee these rights and neither art nor culture should be controlled, influenced or censored.
7) Education, Literacy and Learning
Every individual has the right to free access to educational material, regardless of social background or financial situation. Consequently, schools and universities need to be free and not impose any kind of limitation. The Pirates also want schools to teach children and youngsters how to live in a digital world by introducing them to the dangers as well as the benefits of the internet, social media, digital communication etc.
8) A Europe without Borders
The Pirate Partei wants a border-less Europe. Although the Schengen Agreement has already removed physical borders, the Pirates insist that artificial barriers also need to be removed. An example of this is legislation Pay-TV channels. These should not only broadcast to a limited geographical area but right across Europe. Also, films should premier in cinemas throughout Europe at the same time, and internet-based stores must offer their services right across Europe and not just selected countries.
- Website: www.piratepartei.lu