Global protest and the Pirates

Nicholas Kulish has a great piece in today’s New York Times about growing mistrust of the established governing parties among young people around the world, partly as a result of an upbringing tied to online social networking that has led them to value decentralized organization over rigid authority. And right on cue, out comes a new nationwide German poll showing 7% support for the Pirate Party that surprised everyone by winning 15 seats in the Berlin statehouse earlier this month.

Now 7% might not seem like a lot, but let’s remember a few things. First, a party needs to get at least 5% of the vote to be represented in the parliament, so they’re currently clearing that hurdle with room to spare. Second, the Green Party, now well established in the country, with 19% support in the poll, took four years after its founding to get to 5%; the Pirates have done it almost instantaneously. Third, the Free Democrats, who are currently the junior partners in the governing coalition and have won as much as 15% of the vote, are down to 2% in this poll. And finally, the Pirates aren’t, well, a real party.

The poll also shows that 84% of Germans think the Pirate Party’s growing base of support comes from a waning trust in the established parties. Score one for the Kulish Theory.

Let’s see if this support actually holds up under scrutiny for the next two years, before the national elections in 2013.


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