ⓘ United States Pirate Party

United States Pirate Party

ⓘ United States Pirate Party

The United States Pirate Party is an American political party founded in 2006 by Brent Allison and Alex English. The partys platform is aligned with the global Pirate movement, and supports reform of copyright laws to reflect open source and free culture values, government transparency, protection of privacy and civil liberties. The United States Pirate Party also advocates for evidence-based policy, egalitarianism, meritocracy and the hacker ethic as well as the rolling back of corporate personhood and corporate welfare. The USPP has also made a priority to advocate for changes in the copyright laws and removal of patents. It is the belief of the party that these restrictions greatly hinder the sharing and expansion of knowledge and resources.

The partys national organization has existed in multiple incarnations since its 2006 founding. Its most recent is the Pirate National Committee PNC, formed in 2012 as a coalition of state parties. The PNC officially recognizes Pirate parties from 8 states, and tracks and assists in the growth of more state parties throughout the United States. The board of the USPP is the board of the PNC. The current Chair of the Pirate National Committee is Lindsay-Anne Gorski nee Brunner.


1. History

The Pirate Party was founded in June 2006 by University of Georgia graduate student Brent Allison in response to the success of the Swedish Piratpartiet. Its platform was focused primarily on copyright reform and freedom from Internet censorship. The party first attempted to register in Utah during the 2007/2008 election cycle and failed to collect the required number of Statements of Support. In 2011, the Massachusetts Pirate Party became the first legally recognized Pirate Party in the US. By 2011, the Pirate Party reported over 3000 members nationwide.

In 2012, a coalition of state Pirate parties formed the Pirate National Committee PNC. By July of that year, the PNC drafted and adopted a new constitution, which outlined a broader ideology inspired by Rickard Falkvinges Pirate Wheel.


2. Name

The Pirate Party defends their oft-criticized name in the preamble of the PNCs constitution:

For our values, we have been derided as "pirates". For our hope that every person may be free to access all of human knowledge, we have been called "pirates". For our belief that one need not ask permission to participate in governance, industry, culture, and other aspects of society, we have been called "pirates". For our insistence that citizens should not be surveilled and distrusted as if they are criminals, we have been called "pirates". For our rejection of authority and profit-seeking when it does not serve the common good of all people, we have been called "pirates". We reclaim this label of "pirate" and abjure its derogatory, incendiary implication. We are Pirates. We stand for the liberty, equality, and solidarity of all human beings, and against all threats they may face.


3. Ideology

Factions within the Pirate Party include left-libertarians, classical liberals, anarchists, progressives, and radical centrists. Many Pirates explicitly decline to identify with any particular political ideology or philosophy. They are driven to "do what works" rather than being driven by a particular ideology.

The Pirate Partys platform originally centered on issues of copyright. "Like its international counterparts, the USPPs main practical concerns are digital intellectual property and privacy laws - specifically, the abolition of a 1998 digital U.S. copyright law, the reduction of copyrights to 14 years from 95 years after publication, or 70 years after the authors death, and the expiration of patents that dont result in significant progress within four years as opposed to 20 years."

In 2012, the party began an expansion of its platform, inspired by the Pirate Wheel. The party emphasizes the cultural values of the hacker ethic, open source and free culture, strong protection of individual civil liberties, government transparency, participatory governance, and evidence-based policy. They solidified these tenets by publishing a series of essays in January 2012 where they voiced their values using quotations from historical figures, including Benjamin Franklin "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety", Mark Twain "Only one thing is impossible for God: to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet", Albert Camus "The only way to deal with an un-free world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion" and Thomas Jefferson "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." in order to highlight the timelessness, urgency, and consensual agreement on their positions on free culture.


4. PNC


Prior to 2012, the Chairperson of the party was elected every July by a membership vote, as established in the party constitution. After the 2012 formation of the PNC, the roles name was changed to Captain.

^a Norton stepped down mid-term to head up Pirate Parties International. Kerbein, as Operations Officer, stepped into the position for the rest of the term.

^b Martin was removed via a Vote of No Confidence on December 29, 2009. Hall was selected as Administrator pro-tempore for a 30-day period until elections could be held.

^c See Wikinews interview with Peter Coti.

^d Norton resigned in order to have more time to devote to other interests.


  • Secretary – Joseph Klein
  • Vice Chair – Joseph Onoroski
  • Chair – Meg Cochran
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