The brand liberation movement scored a major victory this week in Europe by gaining a seat in the European Union’s Parliament. With a final tally of 7.1% of Swedish votes, the Pirate Party is the world's first – and only – political party with a pro-piracy platform to win electoral legitimacy.
The official platform of the Swedish Pirate Party is threefold: 1) Reform copyright law by decriminalizing all noncommercial copying and publicly encouraging the use of peer-to-peer networks, 2) Abolish all patents and 3) Respect the right to privacy by putting an "emergency brake" on the increasing surveillance of citizens. On all other questions, the Swedish Pirate Party has chosen to remain neutral.
The victory of the Pirate Party is a cause for celebration because it’s a step toward an artistically freer and more creative society. But the pro-piracy movement is not enough on its own. We must also be concerned with who is producing culture along with the medium by which it is communicated. If we allow this nascent brand liberation movement to stand for nothing but the free exchange of information, it will be co-opted by mainstream politics, and ultimately, capitalism itself.
The Pirate Party is the first step toward a “Mental Environment Party,” whose platform is concerned with cleaning up our polluted mindscapes by revoking the right of corporations to speak. A step toward a full critique of consumer capitalism that sees advertising for what it is – pollution – while challenging society to reject the passive consumption of corporate financed culture in favor of the active creation of local meaning.
Micah White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters and an independent activist. He is writing a book on the future of activism. www.micahmwhite.com or micah (at) adbusters.org