The Pirate Party’s Gary Hart Moment

I highly recommend Andrew Orlowski’s article about his encounter with the Pirate Party at In The City. If you have noticed a trend of conferences that used to be the domain of music fans becoming infiltrated by the anti-copyright crowd offering their special version of doublethink, you’re correct. But so far–no hard evidence that money is changing hands.

There are a few high points of the panel which featured a leader of the Swedish Pirate Party, namely–so to speak–the former “Dick Augustsson” who apparently changed his name to “Rickard Falkvinge” at some point in his life, at least according to the Records Department (aka Wikipedia). “Falk” means “hawk” in Swedish, and “vinge” means “wing”. Hawkwing, kind of a cross between Stan Lee and Rickard Wagner. Someone played too many videogames.

Orlowski provides an intriguing quotation from “Mr. Hawkwing

“Any group in society that has an information advantage will climb to power over other groups in society – if your group knows more about any other group than they know about you, you will have an information advantage in society’s competition for power.”

This sounds very much to me like Gary Hart’s challenge to the press to follow him around. While I somehow doubt that a Donna Rice is going to show up on Mr. Hawkwing’s knee, it’s rather interesting that a group that has shown so much interest in secrecy has become a political party, and that a political party continues to show so much interest in secret communications. “‘At our core we’re a civil liberties group,’ Falkvinge said, backing transparent government and the right to communicate in secret.”

Transparent government and the right to communicate in secret. Now these two ideas seem somewhat contradictory to me. But then, such is “…the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”


It will be interesting to see how the secrecy part works out.

But you should read the article, especially the part from Dave Smith from Sparklestreet. A nice summary.

Recall that Mr. Hawkwing went on a fund raising tour of Silicon Valley including stops at Google and the Leland Stanford Junior Google University, where the crowd was encouraged to press “wads of cash” into his hands because political contributions are supposedly anonymous in Sweden and the Pirate Party prefers cash–possibly the way that the allegedly neo-Nazi backer of the Pirate Bay financed that pirate operation.

If a Pirate Party ever qualifies as a political party in the US or Canada, I’d love to see them tell the elections authorities that they prefer donations in anonymous cash. That may work for Google’s Adwords, but there are limits.