Since the Icelandic Pirate Party founding in November 24, 2012, it has become the largest party in Iceland, nearly doubling its support in just two months. As of the May 3rd article from The Independent , the Pirate Party now has a 23.9 percent share of the vote, up from 12.8 percent in February.
Birgitta Jonsdottir, who was previously a member of Iceland’s Parliament for the Citizen’s Movement, helped found the Party in the wake of Iceland’s financial crisis. According to the same “The Independent” article, Ms Jonsdottir said, “To be completely honest, I don’t know why we enjoy so much trust, we are all just as surprised, thankful and take this as a sign of mistrust towards conventional politics.”
The party campaigns for internet and data freedom, as it was partially formed by several prominent internet activists, including Smari McCarthy. The party exists in over 60 countries.
In 2013, the party won three seats in Iceland’s parliamentary elections and they have also been using their European Parliament seats to pressurize the European Union into changing copyright laws. In two months the party nearly doubled in popularity. According to RT, even though the Pirate Party has the smallest faction in the national parliarment, it is currently almost as popular as the two most powerful parties, the Independent Party and the Progressive Party. According to an opinion poll cited in the article, “the Pirate Party would score 30.1 percent of votes if elections were held today.” From the same poll by Icelandic market research company MMR, the ruling Independence Party had fallen from 25.5 per cent to 23.4 per cent.
“People are starting to realize that the whole system is corrupt, not just a few politicians,” Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, Pirate Party’s chair and one of its three MPs told Vísir news website in March. “They don‘t trust it at all. I think they appreciate it when someone points this out.”
In the US, the Pirate Party, whose chapter was formed in 2006, aligns its goals with the International Pirate Movement. It has eight main values, including transparent government, individual privacy, egalitarianism, and an individual-over-institution mindset. In reference to their name, their site states, “For our rejection of authority and profit-seeking when it does not serve the common good of all people, we have been called “pirates”. We reclaim this label of “pirate” and abjure its derogatory, incendiary implication. We are Pirates. We stand for the liberty, equality, and solidarity of all human beings, and against all threats they may face.”
Follow My Vote is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to bringing light and transparency to the world of politics. With the Pirate Party, who campaigns for those same values, gaining ground in countries all over the world, including the US, clearly the world of politics is experiencing a movement in that same direction.