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.

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