The Wisconsin Pirate Party is a political party that is modeled after the Swedish Piratpartiet. There are dozens of Pirate Parties around the world and their political goals are loosely connected. There's also a Pirate Party International, of which the original Swedish Pirate Party is not a member.
The ideologies of regional Pirate Parties vary, but a common pattern is economic centrism or pragmatism, social liberalism, an emphasis on privacy, transparent and/or open government and human rights in general. Depending on the country, reforms of copyright laws may be in favor. While environmentalism isn't a number one issue, it's up there as well.
The background ideologies vary from member to member. Some are old-school libertarians with an emphasis on technological topics, some are centrists that like the freedom the Internet provides, and others are anarchists that view freedom of information as one way to cause a power shift.
The Wisconsin Pirate Party reflects a broad spectrum of political ideas, which include the defense of traditional Wisconsin Progressive values such as full government transparency, deference to the free exercise of political speech, and defense of individual civil rights. We are egalitarian, in that we hold that all people should be treated equally under the law, and we must constantly strive toward a fully democratic society. As the great civil rights and union leader Asa Philip Randolph put it: "A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess."
On the economic front, we prefer an evidence-based, rather than an ideological approach to job creation, and growth stimulus. We express a healthy skepticism toward tax cuts and austerity, as both Wisconsin's, and Europe's growth statistics is evidence of the failure of austerity economics. We are pro-investment in public infrastructure and public education. We would rather that public infrastructure investment reflect the requirement to increase social mobility with a diversification away from fossil fuel dependency. This means dedicated funding of passenger rail, urban rail and bus, bike and pedestrian lanes and trails. We also need to discuss how we can provide every Wisconsin resident free access, via a pay forward scheme, to a technical or baccalaureate degree through our state universities, colleges, and technical schools. Like many of our sister parties, we advocate for an uncondditional basic income as a replacement for, and having a lower overall cost than that of the current means-tested patchwork of social welfare benefits.
As for monopolistic infrastructure, we would take a page from the original underlying philosophy of the Internet, a network based on common standards with many individually addressable smart boxes. Therefore, we call for the last mile of electrical and Internet infrastructure to be controlled by government-chartered provider/consumer cooperatives, with the networks open to any provider who complies with the network's generally accepted industrial standards. This will allow for the decentralized production of electrical power without penalty of special fees being levied against small alternative energy producers; and many Internet service provider and electrical energy producers may compete on a level playing field in an open marketplace. The so-called "natural" monopolies are only good for the elite who control the monopolies. Anything that approaches being monopolistic should be freely open to competition and/or democratically controlled by those individual people who receive services.
By this same philosophy of democratic symmetry, we hold that public educational institutions should have directly elected representatives of both the educators and the students as part of the controlling board, and public transit agencies and transportation planning authorities should have directly elected representatives of the passengers and public at large as part of their ruling board. In the case of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, at least half of the commissioners should be elected and the candidates should have no economic or historical ties to the large utilities or railroads.
The ability to vote in elections is the right of every citizen. Elections should be reengineered to maximize public participation; the goal should be to have a consistent voter turnout in the 90% range, even in off-year elections. We hold that partisan elections, especially on the local and municipal level, are a good thing. Third parties get their foothold in school board and aldermanic elections. Milwaukee, both city and county, had non-partisan elections imposed by the state legislature due to capitalists' fears after the 1910 sweep of Milwaukee city and county offices by the Social-Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Non-partisan elections are a form of both censorship and voter suppression, along with other instruments of voter manipulation such as gerrymandering, limiting early voting, requirements for high signature counts for ballot status, lack of public financing of elections, and unlimited donations to parties by PACs and corporate special interest. True election reform requires we address and debate all these issues.
In all our deliberation on making our society more democratic and more equitable, we need to include in the conversation a discussion of unintended consequences. Good intentions can have disastrous results as exemplified by prior reform movements (i.e. non-partisan elections) that have narrowed rather than expanded the participation of the citizenry in self-governance.
What your donations support
Currently we have an all volunteer staff and our web site and ongoing operation cost are currently less the $200/per month. Your donations will primarily go to getting the word out via the web, print advertising, radio, or TV.
Perhaps the most successful Pirate Party to date is the Pirate Party (Icelandic: Píratar) of Iceland. The party was founded November 24, 2012, by MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir, (a former member of The Movement), and several prominent Internet activists, including Smári McCarthy.
They successfully applied for the ballot list letter Þ in order to run in the 2013 Icelandic parliamentary election. This marks their first electoral participation as well as the first party to request the letter Þ. The party managed to win three seats in the 2013 election and became the first Pirate Party in the world to enter a national parliament. 2015 has seen the Icelandic Pirate Party rise to the top of the public opinion polls. We would be pleased to emulate their success here.