California Politics Could Use Some Pirates

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Question: what could be the next big thing in California politics?

Possible answer: Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

That’s right. We’ve got Pirates.

Real pirates.

The Pirate Party recently filed paperwork with the office of Secretary of State Debra Bowen to begin the process of becoming an official California political party, with its own ballot line.

The Pirate Party is from Europe, but this is not a joke.

It’s a real party, formed in Scandinavia just six years ago. Its wide-ranging platform focuses on freedom of information (the pirates attracted to this party often have been digital ones) but also includes an emphasis on health care access and other issues, marrying values we think of both as lefty and libertarian.

Doesn’t that sound pretty Californian to you? Me too.

It’s not inconceivable the party could make some gains, though our not-very-democratic election system, with winner-take-all legislative seats and the top-two primary, is stacked against small, fledgling parties.

If anyone can beat the established system, it would be Pirates.

The party is now the fastest-growing political party in the world. It has a presence in more than 50 countries, and is already recognized in four U.S. states.

It’s also been winning legislative seats in European countries (with particular strength in Germany), and in the European parliament itself.

Welcome, mates. 

Lead Prop Zero blogger Je Mathews is California editor at Zocalo Public Square, a fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Social Cohesion, and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (University of California, 2010).

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