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German Pirate Party grows into political force

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Going from nothing to 11% is pretty amazing for a political party that didn't even exist a few years ago. Is it the message? Is it disgust with the same old, same old that never goes anywhere? Whatever it is, it's taking off quickly.

More on the fast-growing Pirate Party via The Guardian:

It's a fairytale success: two years ago, hardly anyone knew that the Pirate Party even existed; now, all of a sudden, it has won seats in state parliaments in four successive elections, and a new poll puts them at 11% of Germany's national vote. And that's despite still not having any clear stand on important issues such as Afghanistan or the euro crisis. The German press is bewildered and horrified by turns. The Pirates are a chaotic bunch, they say, a protest party without a real political agenda. A group of internet addicts, nerds who primarily want to download music and films for free.

Anyone who wants to understand the potential of the Pirate Party must first realise that the internet is more than a technical means to an end and more than a playground for file sharers. The internet is the birthplace and living space of a communication society and therefore the key to the transformation of an era; its far-reaching effects will one day be ranked alongside those of trains, planes and automobiles.

Overcoming barriers is about freedom. This is the point that is clearly so difficult to convey. The Pirates are not an internet party but a party interested in freedom. The internet can be seen as a metaphor for what that means today: freedom through equal rights, freedom through the expression of opinion, freedom through open access to education and knowledge. Freedom through the erosion of hierarchy and authority. And freedom through participation and pluralism.

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