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Do More Opportunities for Participation Imply More Democracy? The Case of the German Pirate Party

Revistas Teoria Politica Teoria Politica 2015 Do More Opportunities for Participation Imply More Democracy? The Case of the German Pirate Party

Do More Opportunities for Participation Imply More Democracy? The Case of the German Pirate Party

Do More Opportunities for Participation Imply More Democracy? The Case of the German Pirate Party

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Koschmieder, Carsten - Do More Opportunities for Participation Imply More Democracy? The Case of the German Pirate Party
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Do More Opportunities for Participation Imply More Democracy? The Case of the German Pirate Party

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Descripción
The German Pirate Party was founded in 2006. Only five years later, the Pirates achieved astonishing election results in four German states, entering the respective parliaments. The main reason for their success was that voters associated with the party a more transparent and more inclusive democracy. For the Pirates themselves, however, other topics are more important. At the core of the party platform lies the Internet. The Pirates demand a reform of the copyright law, which would permit sharing and downloading music files free of charge, a free Internet without state surveillance, and the strengthening of civil rights, both online and offline. Furthermore, they stress the importance of the Internet for many different topics, for example development aid. Besides, the Internet is also important for the organisation of the Pirates. Party members are constantly communicating and working together online. This creates the impression that online participation is very important within the party. Although the introduction of new tools for online participation is planned and has been announced, participation in the binding decision-making process of the Pirate Party happens offline. The main reason for the lack of online-decisions is that many Pirates have concerns related to the protection of data privacy. Nevertheless, the Pirates offer more opportunities for offline participation than other parties. Most important, all party conventions are held as general meetings, meaning that all members are invited to come to the venue and participate. It is, of course, not possible for everyone to attend. This article argues that certain social groups are far more likely to come and to participate. The analysis of the available data suggests that those with more money and more flexible time, or those without children, for example, are far more likely to participate. Furthermore, some of those who attend are better prepared than others, whereas many members miss important votes because they have already departed, or have not yet arrived. Consequently, the article concludes that by offering more opportunities for participation, the Pirate Party is increasing the participatory inequality among its members
Palabras clave
Pirate Party. Participation. Democracy. E-Democracy. Equality.
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The German Pirate Party was founded in 2006. Only five years later, the Pirates achieved astonishing election results in four German states, entering the respective parliaments. The main reason for their success was that voters associated with the party a more transparent and more inclusive democracy. For the Pirates themselves, however, other topics are more important. At the core of the party platform lies the Internet. The Pirates demand a reform of the copyright law, which would permit sharing and downloading music files free of charge, a free Internet without state surveillance, and the strengthening of civil rights, both online and offline. Furthermore, they stress the importance of the Internet for many different topics, for example development aid. Besides, the Internet is also important for the organisation of the Pirates. Party members are constantly communicating and working together online. This creates the impression that online participation is very important within the party. Although the introduction of new tools for online participation is planned and has been announced, participation in the binding decision-making process of the Pirate Party happens offline. The main reason for the lack of online-decisions is that many Pirates have concerns related to the protection of data privacy. Nevertheless, the Pirates offer more opportunities for offline participation than other parties. Most important, all party conventions are held as general meetings, meaning that all members are invited to come to the venue and participate. It is, of course, not possible for everyone to attend. This article argues that certain social groups are far more likely to come and to participate. The analysis of the available data suggests that those with more money and more flexible time, or those without children, for example, are far more likely to participate. Furthermore, some of those who attend are better prepared than others, whereas many members miss important votes because they have already departed, or have not yet arrived. Consequently, the article concludes that by offering more opportunities for participation, the Pirate Party is increasing the participatory inequality among its members

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