If we’ve come to any sort of consensus here over the last few years, it’s that pirates can be defined as those individuals who challenge the status quo and seek to enrich themselves by not playing the game by the rules.
Bend the rules, maybe; if one considers conformity to be de facto and not dotting all the Ts and crossing all the Is to be an act of rebellion, then we could assume that there be a lot more successors to the spirit of the Brethren of the Coast than we assumed.
Which is why word of the Young Pirates of Europe needs to be heeded.
The idea of a “Pirate Party” may be derisive to people who hear of it for the first time; the assumption that we’re looking at a group that goes to RenFairs to scare the kids and play off the movies based on the rides is probably the first thought going through most folks’ heads when they hear of them. But the deeper one goes below decks, one sees how close to the original spirit of the rovers of old these folks get, especially their adherence to “the Hacker’s Ethics” in the face of major copyright and patent law consolidation as we roll forth headlong into the Information Age.
If knowledge is power, and major commercial concerns are handling knowledge the way the old crowns of Europe use to handle their economies during the Mercantilist Age, then no wonder we have all these pirates about us…
That the movement has a youth arm now needs to be taken seriously. With a long list of countries founding Pirate Parties, including one in the United States (and one in New York, which is surprisingly moribund considering how much IP passes through here like it was gold being loaded onto the Plate Fleet), this is not a movement to ignore. The same way pirates with licenses become part of the system as privateers, we could see some interesting changes happen as more people who want to get into politics decide to hoist their digital Jolly Rogers as they navigate the political process.
Whether it leads where it wants to, who can say? The buccaneers who plied the waters of the Caribbean probably did not expect their spirit to feed the American Revolution; who knows what changes the Pirate Party may have wrought come the end of this century…?