Hacking politics

A free and open internet, copyright reform, mass surveillance, data protection and civil rights are all issues where the rules are decided in politics. But politics is not always a fair and open democratic process. And change do not always has to be initiated from within the traditional political system.

Former Pirate Party member of the European Parliament (MEP) Amelia Andersdotter this weekend delivered a piece over at TorrentFreak: Pirate Party MEP Fails to Deliver True Copyright Reform »

Here she criticises newly elected German Pirate MEP Julia Reda for her report on EU copyright reform. Andersdotter writes “De facto, Julia Reda is more conservative than the European Commission, and this is a massive problem for representative democracy.”

In defence of Reda, one could say that she has written a report (not legislation) that the European Parliament might be able to accept. This report, written by some other MEP, probably would have been right out damaging. Reda has picked the fights she might be able to win.

But that still leave us with the problem that there might be no real copyright reform in the EU, if left to the EU institutions. Which brings me back to my thesis that you need external pressure in combination with inside political initiatives to change things. To get toothpaste out, you have to apply pressure to both sides of the tube.

I have worked with internet related issues inside the European Parliament. Before that I was an activist outside the EU institutions. Frankly I cannot say when I had the best possibility to influence, to change things. Inside you have resources, not available to activists. But outside you are a voice from reality, of the people–that most politicians will have difficulties to ignore. (Especially if you manage to involve the media.)

Inside the political system you have a choice between different strategies.

You can burry yourself in details. That ought to be a reasonable approach. But in reality you will find yourself in a never ending flood of paper. To do this you need vast resources when it comes to time, manpower and expertise.

The other inside strategy is simply being there. To offer others your perspective, to ask the hard questions, to lead media in the right direction, to be a visionary and a crusader with a cause. For small political organisations, with small resources–this might be the easier way to go.

One, two, twenty or no internet friendly MEP:s or MP:s–most of us will still be outside the parliamentary and political system. But we can make a difference. We are the ones who shape public opinion. We are civil society. We can make politicians jump. To do so, we just have to take action.

/ HAX

Links:
Pirate Party MEP Fails to Deliver True Copyright Reform »
Christian Engström: Political Activism (Pirate Visions) »

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