I have been watching the developments of the Pirate Party internationally with interest, and I hope that the movement can build up some steam over here. I think the Pirates biggest challenge is presenting themselves as more than a niche party – even the name ‘Pirate Party’ although it is refreshing and catchy, could become a handicap if trying to appeal to the average Australian voter.
The Pirates have the potential to introduce a new mechanism to democracy. It is early days and the Open democracy software is still being developed (a lot is better developed in other languages). But the fundamental idea is that a conversation is had on issues (much like a forum discussion), culminating in a vote. The internet means that robust debates are occurring everywhere online e.g. at the bottom of news articles, but an open democracy system would take this debate and demand to have a conclusion hammered out. Arguments could be developed to a state where they have a sound rational framework. I have been studying argument mapping recently and it seems that this structure can be applied to open democracy systems. Pirate party are using it for their internal party policy discussions and votes but it has a wider potential application than that, simply it could be used by the whole democratic populace to discuss and vote on any issue where there is contention. [update:I discuss my ideas about open democracy a bit more in this post]
I think this is the platform that the Pirates need to take to the next election, in order to have a wide appeal. I think the slogan “Vote for Yourself” or “Vote to Vote” could capture the idea – pirate party should be about granting continual ongoing participation in democracy. I have a vision of an advertisement where a person gagged and in chains is brought to a polling booth, where they are unchained for a few seconds – long enough to tick a box on a piece of paper – then quickly gagged and chained again and dragged off. It’s a bit extreme but it captures the idea.
Power to the People!