It’s finally happened, and the US has it’s first official Pirate Party. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts approved the Massachusetts Pirate Party for inclusion on the ballot earlier this week, meaning that it’s the first place in the country where you can ‘vote pirate’
While I’ve been involved on in the movement for a number of years, the method of party formation is different in the US from just about every other country. In most countries, you can get a political party approved at the national level, which means it’s fairly easy to do. In the US, however, parties don’t exist at the national level, only at the state level, meaning that a party has to be formed in each state separately. These can be ‘joined’ together in a national ‘group’ by a committee, but there is no actual formal party structure.
The “US Pirate Party” is thus a committee in the same manner as the Democratic National committee (DNC) or the Grand Old Party (GOP, aka Republicans). There have been a number of pirate parties set up at the state level, but to date, Massachusetts is the first one to have been officially recognized as meeting the ballot goals. amusingly enough, it’s also NOT recognised by the US Pirate Party (although with the recent actions of certain officers, I can’t say I’m surprised)
In that, they’re lucky, as only 50 statements of support are needed to get the party on the ballot, while other states require far more (the more prominent – to date – state party of Oklahoma needs around 56,000 by contrast, even though Oklahoma has 3.7M people to Mass.’s 6.5M), and this was completed on Feb 26th. Starting out, they hope to start small, working on local elections, before moving on to state offices.
I’ll post more information on the Mass party in a few days, including an interview I did with it’s leader, James O’Keefe.