Did you know that there’s an election coming up? No… not that boring one in the United States on November 8th. I’m talking about the elections in Iceland and they’re being held this Saturday. This normally wouldn’t be much of a story except that there is a new political party in town and they are poised to potentially win big. It’s the Pirate Party, and they didn’t even exist four years ago. (Washington Post)

The party that could be on the cusp of winning Iceland’s national elections on Saturday didn’t exist four years ago.

Its members are a collection of anarchists, hackers, libertarians and Web geeks. It sets policy through online polls — and thinks the government should do the same. It wants to make Iceland “a Switzerland of bits,” free of digital snooping. It has offered Edward Snowden a new place to call home.

And then there’s the name: In this land of Vikings, the Pirate Party may soon be king.

That’s right. It’s literally called The Pirate Party. They’ve got a web site and everything. All members of the Pirate Party are invited to uphold the International Pirate Codex. Here’s a taste of that.

Pirates are free

Pirates are freedom-loving, independent, autonomous, and disapprove of blind obedience. They stand for informational self-determination and freedom of opinion. Pirates bear the responsibility entailed by freedom.

Pirates respect life

Pirates are peaceful. Therefore they reject the death penalty and the destruction of our environment. Pirates stand for the sustainability of nature and its resources. We do not accept patents on life.

Pirates are eager for knowledge

The access to information, education, knowledge and scientific findings has to be unlimited. Pirates support free culture and free software.

Pirates are international

Pirates are part of a global movement. They take advantage of the opportunities offered by the internet and are therefore enabled to think and act without borders.

I notice that when they say Pirates Respect Life they manage to do so without mentioning the word “abortion.” Interesting. They are also “international” in nature and believe that people should be free to act without borders. One almost wonders how they haven’t caught on in the United States already and why Bernie Sanders didn’t run on their ticket.

So you thought our election here in the United States was crazy? These people may be in control of Iceland’s government after next weekend. As the WaPo article suggests, this may not seem like a big deal because Iceland isn’t exactly an international powerhouse of military might, trade or, well… much of anything. But they do seem to be a symptom of a larger trend. This is a completely radical rejection of the established political norms, bursting out into some totally unexplored territory. When you have a population that small (323K citizens… less than half of that of Detroit, Michigan) you don’t need a huge mass of people to suddenly steer the herd in an entirely new direction.

First the rise of border conscious parties in France and Germany, followed by Brexit, then Trump, and now Pirates taking over Iceland. We have indeed lived to see interesting times. Let’s just hope we survive it as a species.

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