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The Wind In Their Sails

June 7, 2009

When the Swedish Pirate Party was founded in early 2006, the majority of the mainstream press were skeptical, with some simply laughing it away. But they were wrong to dismiss this political movement out of hand. Today, the Pirate Party accomplished what some believed to be the impossible, by securing a seat in the European Parliament.

With 5602 out of 5664 districts counted the Pirates have 7 percent of the votes, beating several established parties. This means that the Pirate Party will get at least one, maybe two of the 18 available seats Sweden has at the European Parliament.

The turnout at the elections is 43 percent, a little higher than the at the 2004 elections. This would mean that roughly 200,000 Swedes have voted for the Pirate Party. This is a huge increase compared to the national elections of 2006 where the party got 34,918 votes.

At least partially, The Pirate Party puts its increased popularity down to harsh copyright laws and the recent conviction of the people behind The Pirate Bay. After the Pirate Bay verdict, Pirate Party membership more than tripled and they now have over 48,000 registered members, more than the total number of votes they received in 2006.

News story on TorrentFreak.  A single representative in the European Parliament is a negligible amount of political power, but represents a significant mass of disaffected people.  This is the sweet spot for seasteading, as a group that is too big will be able to actually influence domestic politics, while a group that is too small will not have enough members with the pioneering spirit to go start a new country.

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