Tuesday 21 April 2009

Situation report

Hardest of all is to find time for the dissertation. About everything else comes in the way. Today I spent the entire morning at didactics class for teachers (which btw is great - my students in Public Administration class will notice that things have changed next week). In the afternoon I worked with a professor on the dissertation draft of a fellow grad student - the MEP in the making Max Conrad - he's on the hunt for a European public sphere, and he's sort of found it. Then off to a brief meeting with the vice chairman of the Students' Credit Union of which I'm the chairman - interrupted by Expressen journalist Natalia Kazmierska calling me to ask about the Pirate Party: is it underrated or overrated? Quick answer: both.

The Pirate Party, yes. Maybe I'll devote a longer post to them, they are an interesting example of an online-driven movement with an online-driven agenda (freedom of speech + freedom of information) seemingly succeeding in breaking through to the mainstream debate. They are currently the fourth largest party in Sweden by membership.

Getting tens of thousands of people to sign on to what is probably mostly a simple act of showing support is not as amazing as it sounds, though. Membership in the Pirate Party is free and comes with no strings attached. It remains for the Pirate Party to show exactly how they will turn this anonymous bulk of friendly people to votes in the ballot box. Ticking 'yes' in a box is so much easier than actually voting in the EP elections, not to speak of encouraging others to do so.

Having said that, it is in no way impossible for the Pirate Party to do just that. People who underestimate (or should that be misunderestimate?) them often don't understand the communicative logic in place that mobilises myriads out of nowhere. The Pirate Party is a brave and fascinating way of canalising one-issue-movements into parliamentary action. But we will see about that.