Avast ye, staid parties! These be new politics. Arrrhh

While munching at Subway this afternoon (given the content that follows, I ought to lie and say that I was at Subber), I read the following article:

[quote=“Taipei Times”]
This is not a good time for political parties, especially those with traditional orientations. Gone are the times in the older democracies when one could count on two major parties – one social democratic, the other more to the right of center – dominating the political scene.
[b]The very structure of society has come to be shaky. There are no social groups on which lasting organizations can be built. People are, in a sense, socially homeless. This means that their interests vary as situations change. It also means that they no longer find a political home in parties, but react to situations, to vague moods, and above all to appeals to sentiments, if not resentments.

This is the condition in which populists thrive.[/b]
These populists promise solutions that dispense with the habits and norms of moderation, notably with centrist democratic policies and an internationalism that seeks to promote peace and prosperity. One sometimes wonders whether we are experiencing not so much the end of history as the end of enlightened history, perhaps of the enlightenment itself.
Beyond that, populist episodes are signs of an underlying instability that neither serves national progress nor contributes to international order. Austria paid a price for its Haider interlude, and France did not exactly benefit from the runoff between President Jacques Chirac and Le Pen in the last presidential election.

Is there a remedy? Political parties have had a bad press in recent years, and there are good reasons for this. Still, they do fulfill a useful function by bundling interests and issues, thereby providing an element of stability in the political system.

Existing parties urgently need to recapture the support of citizens. To succeed requires programmatic clarity, organizational honesty, and an understanding of the concerns of societies that have lost their traditional structures. Those structures are gone forever, but a liberal-democratic order cannot succeed through situational politics built on popular resentments. It requires a sense of the medium term and a commitment to rational debate of issues, for one tradition that can be revived – that of enlightened thinking – is the most important of all.[/quote]

Much in that piece struck me as silly, or weak, but the core of the argument is sound and significant: traditional political parties are failing, and activists are becoming more narrowly focused (those who have a focus).

Whatever; nothing new. I filed the story away, continued listening to an audio book (generously provided by some Swedish friends) on my iPod (the real deal), and went on my merry way.

But just now, I came across the following article:

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Last Jan. 1, almost on a whim, 35-year-old IT manager Rickard Falkvinge got into politics.

Concerned about the reach of copyright and patent law, Falkvinge erected a web page with a sign-up form for a radical new pro-piracy party to compete in Sweden’s parliamentary system. He didn’t know if anyone would care, but the next day the national media picked it up, and two days later international media started calling.

The site was flooded with new members – enough for the nascent movement to sail past the requirements for participation in the national election. Falkvinge now faced a decision: stay with his nice job and let the whole thing quietly sink, or quit and become a campaigning politician. He chose to become the leader of Sweden’s newest and fastest-growing political party: Piratpartiet, or the Pirate Party.
In March, game show contestant Petter Nilsson won the politically themed Top Candidates show by delivering speeches supporting file sharing, and committing to donating 20 percent of his $30,000 winning to the Pirate Bay. A cultural minister from a southern Sweden municipality admitted in June to the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that he downloaded music on a daily basis, and called for more adults to “come out of the file-sharing closet.” Last May’s raid on the Pirate Bay sparked street protests and cyberattacks on government websites.

But it was the spike in the Pirate Party’s numbers after the raid that might have the most lasting consequences for Sweden. Membership shot past the nation’s Green Party, which holds 17 seats in the Riksdag, Sweden’s parliament. There’s no guarantee that membership will translate into votes, but the pirates have raised enough funds to print 3 million ballots for next month’s election, and they have enough volunteers to get them out to all the polling places.

This week, the Pirate Party broke out its own version of a chicken in every pot when it endorsed a low-cost, encrypted anonymizing service offered by a Swedish communications company called Relakks. For 5 euros a month, a portion of which goes to the party, anyone can share files or communicate from a Relakks IP address in Sweden, potentially complicating efforts to track downloaders. The party endorsement generated enough interest to cause performance issues on the new service.[/quote]

At first blush, I like it. I like it a lot. But thinking more deeply about it, I’m less certain.

By inclination, I’m:

  1. a ‘big-picture’ guy. I don’t appreciate micro-, or boutique, political issues as much as I do issues with a broader impact. Identity politics of specific groups don’t appeal so much as particular issues, but as establishing or refining general principles, I can’t get enough;

  2. more concerned with substantive issues than banner waving or pissing contests;

  3. interested in the equitable distributions of goods;

  4. on the side of the less powerful.

So, a substantive issue such as the living wage campaign in Chicago is something that I could really get behind. It’s got all the elements: 1. macro-economics, 2. would make a substantial difference in lives of workers, 3. redistributes from Walmart Corp. to it’s employees, 4. obviously a minimum wage statute qualifies.

The piracy issue is significant, in that 1. file-sharing is pretty common across society, and involves intellectual property rights, 3. is all about distribution, 4. duh. At first glance, I’m not sure whether or not it’s a substantive issue. Sure, there’s billions of dollars at stake, and retail distributors are likely to take a bite in the ass, but I’m just not going to get worked up over an extra couple hundred-million profit at the top end, nor the horse ‘n’ buggy business model at the bottom. Not, that is, until the tensions spawn political, economic, and societal innovations like the Creative Commons or open sources movements. That kind of innovation when it come to harnessing creative energies… it’s worth breaking a few eggs to make that omlette. And the offspring of such movements, might, just maybe, have the potential to make a greater, broader, impact than the living wage campaign. :ponder:

Right: two questions.

  1. Do you support the old school idea of fixed sets of coherent political programs, or picking off issues a la carte?

  2. If you were to organize, join, or support a boutique political movement–something targeting only a very narrowly defined issue–what would it be, and why?

I don’t think its ever been so black and white for most people.

I almost always vote Republican. However, I have never agreed completely with any Republican platform. For me, its always been about weighing the various issues and deciding which ones are heaviest in my mind, and then going with the candidate that most closely approximates my thinking.

Its not a fixed set and its not a la cart.

Its fluid, depending on the big picture at the time.

I don’t think its ever been so black and white for most people.

I almost always vote Republican. However, I have never agreed completely with any Republican platform. For me, its always been about weighing the various issues and deciding which ones are heaviest in my mind, and then going with the candidate that most closely approximates my thinking.

Its not a fixed set and its not a la cart.

Its fluid, depending on the big picture at the time.[/quote]

Republicanism sounds great.

What is it about theft that you don’t understand???

“I like whoever has the coolest t-shirts!”

…which way is the wind blowing in Canada today?
Seems to be coming from the right.

From the right? Nah,crosswinds.
Check out this stroy: Officially sanctioned drug site in Vancouver to close? The place has the support of three former mayors, the current mayor and premier. The Conservative gov’t doesn’t like it though.

The site is a good example of an issue that can be treated a la carte (it just makes sense, no matter the perspective), or as part of a set menu (support for the site just doesn’t fit with the Conservatives’ law and order mindset).

I think they’ll give it a couple more years, as shutting it down would hurt in the next election.

Transitioning into a wiki world?

Here’s an innovative, outside-the-box approach. Unsurprisingly, from a small player rather than a staid institution in the field.

[quote=“Wired: No Suit Required”]Terry McBride has an idea. Another idea. A good – no, a great idea. McBride, CEO of Nettwerk Music Group, is sitting in his Vancouver, British Columbia, office with his local marketing staff discussing strategy for the release of a new album by Barenaked Ladies. The marketing departments in three other cities are conferenced in. The conversation ping-pongs from Nascar promotions to placement in a Sims videogame. McBride is on a roll.

“This one’s a real wingdinger,” he says, leaning into the speakerphone so New York, Denver, and Los Angeles won’t miss a word. [b]"[color=blue]Let’s give away the ProTools files on MySpace. Vocals, guitars, drums, and bass. We’ll let the fans make their own mixes.[/color]" The room falls quiet. Musicians usually record their instruments and vocals on separate tracks; the producer and mixer combine those tracks into a finished product. McBride wants to make the individual files available so that amateur DJs can use them like Lego bricks to create something all their own. The record industry likes control. McBride is proposing unfettered chaos.

A voice from LA breaks the silence: “For the single, you mean, right?” McBride’s features screw up in concentration, then quickly expand into a grin. “What I’m proposing,” he says, “is that we make all 29 songs available as ProTools files. In two weeks.” [/b]

The music industry is suffering. The major record labels – which rely on CDs for most of their revenue – are in decline. CD sales in the US have dropped more than 20 percent from a peak of $13.4 billion in 2000. But don’t be fooled: The market for music is thriving. With the rise of peer-to-peer networks, the iPod, and other digital technologies – plus a 100 percent jump in concert ticket sales since 1999 – the world is awash in music. The industry now has more sources of revenue – ringtones, concert tickets, license agreements with TV shows and videogames – than ever before.

Record labels have always been the center of gravity in the industry – the locus of power, ideas, and money. Labels discovered the talent, pushed the songs, and got the product on the air and into stores. The goal: move records, and later, CDs. “[color=blue]The labels were never in the business of selling music,[/color]” says David Kusek, vice president of Boston’s Berklee College of Music and coauthor of The Future of Music. “[color=blue]They were in the business of selling plastic discs.[/color]”

Musicians generally make very little from the sale of their records. The costs of production, marketing, and promotion are charged against sales, and even if they go multiplatinum and cover those costs, their cut of any extra revenue is usually less than 10 percent. On top of this, the labels typically retain the copyrights to the recordings, which allows them to profit from the musicians’ catalogs indefinitely. [color=blue]“It’s as if you received a loan for a house,” says Ed Robertson, one of BNL’s lead vocalists. “But when you finish paying off that loan, the label says thank you and keeps the house.”[/color]

And, funny thing, this model isn’t just bad for artists, it’s increasingly bad for business. Because the label makes most of its profits from recorded music, much of the money spent marketing an artist benefits third parties like concert promoters and music publishing companies. In addition, copyrights to a piece of music are usually divided between a label and a publisher, which collect royalties every time the work is recorded, performed, or played publicly. “What other business splits up its key assets and sells them to separate businesses that wind up in conflict with each other?” asks Duncan Reid, a venture capitalist who now helps run UK-based Ingenious Music.[/quote]

With advances in governance theory and practice, a looser hand-on-the-wheel approach to local, specific political issues might generate similar innovations. It’d be empowering; nice to see.

Please explain to me why anyone in their right mind would give a rat’s ass about either Swedish or Canadian politics? Is there some nasty secret about the making of Swedish meatballs? Are the members of Abba planning a coup d’etat? Is the Canadian government debating whether boiled beaver tastes great or is less fillling?

If you find out, drop me an email: sorry@idontgiveaf*k.com

Once upon a time, a bunch of wise guys got together and debated the virtues and vices of various foreign and long dead polities. Reading by others’ lights, they came up with something pretty decent.

a different day, different lights, different challenges.
And you prefer the dark? :roflmao:

An ostrich (supposedly) sticks it’s head in the sand.
Where’s yours?

The hell is a ‘living wage’. A new word for minimum wage? :loco: I read the site for a short understanding, because of time constraints, but all I see is people trying to up the minimum wage. How about capping the salaries of Congress and taxing inheritances, and all that 1% people who don’t pay taxes because of their Hummers, oil or whatever else qualifies as a write-off.

Living wage, :raspberry: I can feel a mental rant coming on about that one…

It’s not a new idea. The idea used to be that any working man should be the breadwinner, and make enough to support his wife and children. Now, the ideal has regressed somewhat. Wage earners should make enough to pay the rent, buy food and clothes, and receive medical insurance. It’s about upping the minimum wage, beyond mere survival, to ‘minimum necessary to live wage’. Such is progress.

I do. And if this “Pirate Party” does not stop to insult my faith I will, sincerely, kill every last one of them.

It is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia.

:laughing: So much for that single-issue party.
Good to stir the pot, better to have a broader vision.

[quote=“Voters Keelhaul the Pirate Party”]The Swedish national elections on Sunday ushered in a huge shift in the political landscape of that country – but failed to bring the copyright reform movement its first political victory.

The Pirate Party not only failed to score the 4 percent required for a seat in Sweden’s Parliament, but appears to have missed the 1 percent that would have afforded the party state assistance with printing ballots and funding staff in the next election.

Final numbers won’t be in until Wednesday the 20th, but the Pirate Party appears to be pulling .62 percent of the vote, or about 33,000 votes, according to party leader Rick Falkvinge. “This percentage may change somewhat as more districts are counted … but I don’t expect it to change to a significantly different number.”

The results were surprising and disappointing for the party, which has been bathed in online buzz since it was founded. But U.S. and other elections have shown that online momentum often fails to turn up political results.

The Pirate Party’s single-issue platform includes a 5-year limit to commercial copyright, the abolition of patents and stronger privacy protections online.[/quote]