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United States Pirate Party

129 points7 hoursuspirates.org
Radiojoe7 hours ago

Our name might seem silly at first, but you should remember everyone has been labelled a pirate at some point in the last few decades. Movie studios and recording companies place their propaganda in front of us at every chance they get, they waste your time with warnings on DVDs you’ve legitimately purchased or movies you watch at the cinema. They’ve told us over and over that home taping on to cassettes would kill the radio, that recording a TV show on to the VCR would bring an end to free-to-air TV, or sharing an MP3 music song with a friend will cause the end of musicians’ careers. The list goes on but here’s the important point: at every turn, at every change in technology, the rights-holders always say the same thing: ‘no, we don’t want you doing that’. These rights-holders donate to our major political parties, they’ve lobbied for and changed our laws to protect their profits and their outdated distribution monopolies. They’ve had their hand in writing trade agreements and international law, all in a failing attempt to control how you access your culture online. This is how the Pirate movement began; as a reaction to the corrupt corporate, political, and rent-seeking encroachment on a free and open internet, and our democracy.

346792 hours ago

Don't forget scientific knowledge.

https://sci-hub.se/

EpicEng5 hours ago

So... you want to get into office based solely on media copyright issues and literally every other issue is "elect us and we'll figure it out!". Very hard to take seriously, good luck.

And yes, your name is silly. You should change it; messaging matters and you start with your left foot forward.

ryandrake5 hours ago

I think we need fewer package deals when it comes to politics. At least in the US, if you feel strongly about a single issue, you currently have to find the party that aligns with that view. But then when you vote for them, you also are voting for a great big basket of crazy that comes along for the ride, in the form of "that party's platform". I personally can't in good conscience vote for either of the Big-2 because of this baggage. It would be great to have candidate that just said "You know what, I'm going to for sure support this one particular issue, and abstain on the rest." I'd be up for that.

nopenopenopeno5 hours ago

There are a lot of legal and historical reasons for the two-party situation in the US. Nobody except the ruling class likes it, but the ruling class really really likes it. There have been a lot of efforts made to change it. This is one of multiple worst strategies I’ve ever seen.

AnthonyMouse4 hours ago

There is exactly one reason for the two-party situation in the US. First past the post voting system. It causes any third party with non-trivial support to merge into one of the major parties to avoid splitting the vote with whichever one is most similar to them.

Switch to range voting, STAR voting, approval voting, and it goes away.

The incumbent parties don't have a lot of incentive to do that because tautologically the people currently in office are the people the existing system puts in office, so why would they want a different one? But even a lot of politicians are pretty jaded about the existing system. Get a couple third parties in there who are willing to turn a 51 vote majority into a 49 vote minority over this and you might get it through.

sometimeshuman4 hours ago

As a gainfully employed adult, it is hard to personally justify piracy of entertainment media. Now if this discussion was about open access to science, medical, and technical papers, many of which were funded by tax payer dollars, then you'd have my donor dollars. Otherwise you are championing an issue that is doubtfully on anyone's top 100 problems list.

4gotunameagain2 hours ago

One justification could be that the percentage of the profit which lands to the original creator is often peanuts.

We have an _enormous_ industry enforcing copyright laws which barely make sense, and imo that industry is parasitic

Radiojoe4 hours ago

We often use popular mediums as a stepping stone to help discuss these more important pieces of media, make no mistake, open access to intellectual materials is our goal, alongside entertainment media, to a different degree.

theplumber1 hour ago

What about DRM?

noduerme1 hour ago

I think point 5 - standing for individual rights over corporate rights - should be point one.

nopenopenopeno5 hours ago

Pretty much nobody really cares about these issues. I am aware of the history of Pirate parties in the Nordic countries but you are completely wasting your time with this in the US. You’d get a lot more attention by talking about free speech and social media regulation, but nothing like this will ever be anything but a hobby club.

Radiojoe4 hours ago

Maybe, but it is something we all feel is important, and should have at least one group talking about it. For too long have these laws avoided any scrutiny in the public eye through obscurity, intentional or not.

vmception4 hours ago

Have you considered running for office with one of the major parties? Its not very crowded in the house. You’ll have better luck there

badrabbit4 hours ago

Your link to check if there is a party in your state does not work, cuts off at new hampshire.

Also, I agree with not being left/right wing but inability or unwillingness to commit to some belief or guiding principles that tells people how your policies might affect issues important to them is very bad. If I have an illegal immigrant family member, will you be hunting them down for deportation, after all they broke the law. Will you allow sharia law as an extension of people's right to practice their faith? will you reform immigration? If so, how? Will you end the visa lottery or amp it up? How about H1B and other skilled worker visas? I have colleagues that will have their entire lives impacted by that. Will you reform police and the military and if so how? Just funding? Will you, as a pirate actually restrict gun ownership, enact balanced reforms or leave things as is?

I am not saying take a position on every issue now but I can't tell it apart from satire when you are not even hinting at what your principles are. Change for the sake if change is something juvenile people whose only goal is to self-aggrandize and give their own lives meaning at any cost. To me, you are actually a bit dangerous because you want to scoop up support fully knowing screaming change like Obama will help a lot. Do you have a sinister motive? No idea, all I know is people like this, college/young kids start small and actually revolt in many other countries, but in the end, either the military or some other power takes control.

I like "piracy" and identify with what you are saying but idealism without principles and leadership is at best folly and at worst dangerous.

Radiojoe4 hours ago

Hi, though we are centered on a few topics, within our discord we have a platform committee which is hammering this out over time, though as we are a coalition of diverse individuals, this has not been fast or easy, as we prefer a sizable majority in our party before passing a platform proposal, feel free to join to get a better idea of our ideas outside the core!

pharmakom2 hours ago

if their attempts are "failing" why a pirate party?

getcrunk30 minutes ago

This is gonna sound super random but one thing you can add to the political positions is prison reform(for profit, quotas, in jail cus can't post bail for non violent crimes) and fair sentencing.

It's related cus pirates are subject to unfair penalties and if jail, our jails are pure evil

TulliusCicero6 hours ago

My understanding is that when pirate parties actually got some amount of power (by getting into the legislature) in other countries, things got weird, by nature of them having to establish policy positions on lots of stuff other than IP law. Like suddenly you need a position on green energy and foreign interventions and public teacher salaries and zoning and all the other things a regular party is gonna have to vote on. And this conflicted with how they got popularity and power, which was by being largely single issue.

zajio1am4 hours ago

> And this conflicted with how they got popularity and power, which was by being largely single issue

In Czechia (where a pirate party is currently a part of the government) it was IMHO quite the reverse - the Czech Pirate Party mostly gained popularity by accenting ordinary center-liberal political themes.

cuddlybacon1 hour ago

It's hard to gain too much insight from Wikipedia, but it looks like it fills a niche that was empty.

The Pirate Party of Canada used to be quite active on r/CanadaPolitics. Once they fleshed out their platform they ended up overlapping heavily with the NDP and Greens (particularly the Greens).

I think many Pirate Parties have fallen into similar traps when they fleshed out their platform.

AnthonyMouse5 hours ago

The main means for a third party to win seats in the US would be if they went into districts which are effectively uncontested because they're >70% blue or red, so the other major party isn't even running a candidate for you to split the vote with.

Then the winning platform in that district would be the one where you're mostly aligned with the party currently occupying that seat but differ on the pirate issues.

So you'd end up with a blue pirate party and a red pirate party based on which district they're running in. They would work with each other on pirate issues, but they'd generally caucus with different major parties on a per-district basis.

It might also help to prioritize getting range voting or STAR voting so this would stop being necessary.

gnopgnip5 hours ago

There are parts of the US that don't use first past the post voting. NYC is one prominent example that uses ranked choice. Many of these alternative voting systems make it easier for a candidate that is not part of the main two parties to get elected.

Also even if this party does not have success, just by running they can change the other candidates policies

sofixa31 minutes ago

Winner take all elections ( single person wins per constituency) is still fundamentally flawed, because it disenfranchises too many people. Even with ranked choice, there will be "losers" who didn't vote for the winner, and nobody represents them and their choices and wishes. Proportional representation deals with this.

rjtavares1 hour ago

As long as there are single-member districts it's basically impossible for a third party to gain a large representation. I'm sure that's the main reason for the US and UK huge polarity in politics.

I quite like the German model:

> Every elector has two votes: a constituency vote (first vote) and a party list vote (second vote). Based solely on the first votes, 299 members are elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting. The second votes are used to produce a proportional number of seats for parties, first in the states, and then on the federal level.

(from wikipedia)

iszomer4 hours ago

> NYC is one prominent example that uses ranked choice.

Only implemented recently iirc.

galaxyLogic3 hours ago

I don't think it's a bad idea to say "We are neither left nor right", since "left" and "right" are not very clearly defined concepts, and most people have chosen their side on that dimension already .

A better question for the FAQ would be: Are you pro-democracy, or pro-autocracy?

How do you plan to promote your choice of democracy, or autocracy, in practice?

Gentil44 minutes ago

This should be the last thought. People should be taught tolerance and be patient about ideas and thoughts that are against yours. The world is not black and white and this left and right thought process which is extremely binary is hurting us all in the long run.

Just look at how politicians went about things in the olden times. Even when they disagreed on things, they were far far better than just raging against each other like they are doing now!

_of2 hours ago

> A better question for the FAQ would be: Are you pro-democracy, or pro-autocracy?

Or technocracy?

cdot227 minutes ago

Thats just a form of autocracy

Thorentis3 hours ago

Why would copyright last for 14 years, but then patents wouldn't exist? It makes perfect sense for inventors to have a short monopoly on their creations. Patent law should certainly be reformed so that patents need to be more specific, limited in scope, and so on.

dabinat5 hours ago

Not sure I agree with the abolition of patents. If it takes you a decade or more to invent something and then someone else can immediately copy and sell it, what incentive do you have to do all that work?

I do agree that patents/copyright need reform and a reduced patent period could be beneficial, but I think complete abolition would backfire.

cookiengineer4 hours ago

Maybe you should start to count how many actual inventors own their patents...and compare that to the number of trivial patents, design patents, and patents that have never been invented and just have been reserved for future use by mega corporations.

Then take a look at companies like Oracle that did not invent anything for the last 20 years, but are still sueing the whole software industry for things that are common practices even taught in University classes. An API shall be patentable? Seriously?

While I am still pro patents I also have to say that patent offices are the wrong judges (speaking of them as part of the judicative branch) on what is patentable and what is not.

Why did Microsoft got most of their financial income from Google's Android over the last decades? (before Azure took off) ...it was the licensing income stream for the mp3 codec that wasn't actually invented by them; it was invented by the Fraunhofer Institute in the 80s.

It's ridiculous that the patent system is so messed up that they always favor not the actual inventors.

betwixthewires5 hours ago

Look at how much open source has revolutionized the software industry. It teaches us a few lessons. First, that people invent for the joy of it regardless. And second, that innovation happens faster when unencumbered.

Another good example is penicillin. Imagine where we would be with bacterial infections today without it entering the public domain from day 1.

I understand the desire to own your work, and immediately arriving at the conclusion that patents are morally or ethically right, but fundamentally when you release some piece of information into the world, it is for all practical purposes no longer yours. Patents are an artificial protection for something that simply isn't true in practice, and it doesn't appear that it increases innovation at all, if your focus is the practical side of things.

AnthonyMouse5 hours ago

You're forgetting about the Overton window.

If what you really want is e.g. abolition of software patents, what you want to do is to start off demanding abolition of all patents and then compromise at abolition of software patents. That's what the other side does.

sfe223 hours ago

Even if you want patents to exist (which i don't believe in), but lets say for whatever reason they are necessary. there is no reason the government should run this program. They are a monopoly and should not get a say in how someones intellectual “property” is protected. Plenty of work left in protecting real property and rights. Private companies and individuals can worry about this if it is worth their time.

Kinrany5 hours ago

Most of the time major inventions are produced by communities, not individuals.

kube-system3 hours ago

They are also intended to encourage sharing of information. Without patent protection, someone who spends 10 years to make a profitable product may just keep all of the information about it a trade secret.

squarefoot5 hours ago

Patents, just like capitalism, aren't bad by themselves, but if left in the hands of powerful people/entities who can abuse and extend them at will for profits they become dangerous and cancerous, just like capitalism. The solution is probably in some form of strict control that prevents their abuse; very hard to realize if those abusing patents are the same people who dictate rules, or very close to them.

dane-pgp6 hours ago

> Do you have a position on abortion, gun control, or gay marriage?

How about the radical position of letting each state decide for itself? They could even have the party in each state decide its own position, rather than enforcing a one-size-fits-all policy centrally.

Of course it's nice to think that there is one "right" answer to all those questions, and that the world would be better if we could just use the law to force other people to go along with what we want, but I think recent history has shown that just makes politics more dysfunctional and leaves everyone unhappy.

AnthonyMouse6 hours ago

> How about the radical position of letting each state decide for itself?

The current state of affairs is that the constitution does not allow the federal government, or the states, to prohibit abortion, guns, or gay marriage. So the status quo is that this is up to the individual. Leaving it up to the states would be a regression.

dane-pgp5 hours ago

I don't want to have to argue for any particular side in those debates, but I will point out that the "progressiveness" of the "leave it up to the individual" status quo is of little comfort to someone who is aborted as a child, murdered in a school shooting, or has their taxes increased to reduce the taxes paid by a gay couple.

Again, one person's progress is another person's regress, and vice versa.

AnthonyMouse5 hours ago

Now you're making the argument against "leave it up to the states."

Laboratories of democracy work great when different states have different characteristics or preferences. It makes no sense to have a federal minimum wage because a living wage is a vastly different amount of money between New York City and El Paso, Texas. Maybe people in Massachusetts prefer to have high taxes and a lot of government services and people in New Hampshire the opposite.

But if something is a right, it's a right everywhere.

TulliusCicero6 hours ago

I’d rather fight than just accept equality for gay people ends at state lines.

If we’d left things to states, Jim Crow would’ve stayed on the books for decades longer, and some states would still not have gay marriage.

dane-pgp5 hours ago

> I’d rather fight than just accept equality for gay people ends at state lines.

Why stop there, though? Should the US invade countries that have worse rights for gay people, in order to "liberate" them? Both states and countries are (in some sense) just lines on a map, and ultimately you are using the threat of force if you are imposing a set of rules on people, whether you use an army to do so or not.

TulliusCicero4 hours ago

Nah. Dividing lines at nation states does have some value.

That said, supporting the fight for gay rights in other countries? Sure. There's a lot of daylight between "do nothing" and "invade with army."

mfcl6 hours ago

I would like to know why this is down voted.

nexuist6 hours ago

Because as long as traveling between states is free each state has to deal with the consequences of its neighbors. Why have a federal government if it’s not going to impose some kind of union that binds all the states together?

dane-pgp5 hours ago

I wouldn't say that travelling between Florida and Hawaii is "free", and moving your house and job across the country is not something that people regularly do. Conversely, many people choose to immigrate to the US, or emigrate from it, so although that is more difficult, it is only a difference of degree and not of kind. And of course even nations have to deal with the consequences of policies in nearby countries (or even countries the other side of the world).

As for the point of having a federal government, I could turn the question around and ask what is the point of having state governments when you could just decide everything centrally. You say "some kind of union", but I think you mean "exactly the sort of union that imposes the particular restrictions on states that I think is important". It's very much an open question what the "correct" set of restrictions should be, and that list has changed over the course of US history, and has different choices in different countries.

nexuist5 hours ago

> It's very much an open question what the "correct" set of restrictions should be, and that list has changed over the course of US history

…which is the point of Federalism. The point isn’t what I think is important, the point is what we decide collectively as a country. And when such decisions are made, everyone must go along with them, because that’s how we accomplish goals. You can’t row a boat across a river if half the people on it are rowing in the wrong direction. However, if you decide you want to go back to shore, and everyone agrees, then the system should support that too (ie repealing prohibition).

For other stuff that the fed govt doesn’t care about, leave it to the states, and for the stuff the states don’t care about, leave it to the people. 10th amendment.

MisterBastahrd6 hours ago

Probably because civil liberties shouldn't end at state lines.

dane-pgp6 hours ago

If only we could all agree what counts as a civil liberty (and who is entitled to them).

kube-system5 hours ago

Which is why making them “optional” is not the neutral position that it might sound like at face value. Your government either recognizes that liberty, or it doesn’t. Assigning responsibility to someone else is exactly equivalent to the latter.

+3
evrydayhustling5 hours ago
cscurmudgeon5 hours ago

But ok to end at international lines?

May be a global secular government with uniform civil laws for all is the answer?

dane-pgp5 hours ago

Right, or a global theocratic government, depending on who wins the world war that would be necessary to bring about this utopia.

bb884 hours ago

What's their stance on web3? Cuz I'm against it.

galaxyLogic3 hours ago

It is a good idea that people should get more active in politics but think about this statement from their web-site:

"What is your goal? Our primary goal is to get elected into office. We believe in political change from the inside."

The goal of these "pirates" is stated very clearly: To get power. Not to chance the society in a particular way or direction, but to get power to themselves (who else?). To get elected. Then what? Oh we'll think about that later but our current goal is to get elected.

labster3 hours ago

So… no different from any other political party, then.

jevoten6 hours ago

> Platform: Putting People Before Corporations [..] Opening up Government [i.e. transparency]

Every party makes similar promises. Instead, lead with what makes you different - your focus on IP law and digital rights. Perhaps even emphasize your flexibility or neutrality on other issues, so that your voting base isn't decimated by your positions on wedge issues.

gnopgnip5 hours ago

What about compulsory licensing for music being expanded to cover tv and movies?

flimflamm3 hours ago

Finnish pirate party https://www.piraattipuolue.fi/

birdyrooster3 hours ago

"We’re not driven by ideology, we just aim to do what works." So you are pragmatists?

bhhaskin5 hours ago

Sorry, is this some kind of joke?

If not, yikes. The site seems broken or disorganized. Nothing on who supposedly runs the party.

One of there last posts is about the Patriot Act which isn't really a thing anymore.

mrkentutbabi5 hours ago

> Do you have a position on abortion, gun control, or gay marriage? > Right now we are working on developing more comprehensive policies.

> Are you left-wing or right-wing? > We think “left-wing” and “right-wing” aren’t very useful ways of seeing the world

Although I generally agree, but man this gonna be wild...

betwixthewires5 hours ago

I'm a fan of the party. For a good idea of what sort of ideas this spawns from, check out the founder's blog https://falkvinge.net/

Basically imagine libertarians with a strong drive to consider practical matters over ideology. Individual liberties, but drop the ideology and do what works for people, and what the people want as a whole.

everyone4 hours ago

I hate the pirate party name. Also the name of the pirate bay. "Piracy" was a term greedy corporations used PR to apply to sharing. Like sharing tapes and filesharing. They will say they took the term and made it their own but imo its still a victory for the PR fuckers.

Radiojoe3 hours ago

Honestly, I see where you're coming from, but personally I think the connotation behind "pirates" (Treasure Island > Pirates of the Caribbean) has changed enough that the entire name has been flipped on its head, making it more of a virtue than a crutch, you know what I mean?

einpoklum3 hours ago

The USA is notorious - especially in recent decades - for discouraging parties other than the two large corporate-influenced ones (the Republican and Democratic parties): You have barriers to listing on the ballot; the state financing primaries of the two large parties; limited public funding, vs. lax regulation and effectively little limitation on commercial/corporate funding, for election campaigns; strong affiliation of the main media outlets with one or the other large parties; and not last and certainly not least: Many elections in the US are "first-past-the-post", with no proportional representation, which also tends to favor the largest parties.

For this reason, the strategy of pirate parties in other world states - gaining a few parliamentary seats on a limited-focus platform (or centrism/third-way'ism + "pirate" principles) - is essentially invalid in the US.

It is my opinion that this is "copycat politics"; and while I certainly support legalized file sharing, better privacy rights, limitation of intellectual property etc. - I believe this initiative would be better served either by forming a "third party coalition" with other movements/parties (e.g. Greens, Libertarians, People's Party if they actually start running people), or, and it pains me to say this, form caucuses within the one or both of the large parties. And I say this with the utmost respect for your efforts.

---

PS - "No safe harbor for the enemies of liberty" <- bad choice of slogan, it reminds people of how the US drone-bombs people to death all over the world.

mjevans6 hours ago

The choose your state dropdown is lazy-populated, so the last half (everything after New Hampshire) fails to load under my default browsing configuration.

A list of 50 states and some US territories should just be statically included.

quickthrower26 hours ago

Oh yeah its broken on iOS safari in that the later states are all “state”

Radiojoe3 hours ago

Yeah, admittedly, our site is in a bit of disrepair right now, but we are trying to get up to snuff over time

nomorecommas6 hours ago
dang6 hours ago

Would you please stop posting unsubstantive comments? It's not what this site is for.

If you wouldn't mind reviewing https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and taking the intended spirit of the site more to heart, we'd be grateful.

We detached this comment from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29943518.

nomorecommas5 hours ago

I'm okay with a ban if you don't want me here.