Pirates of the USA

 Der Sperling guckte über den Tellerrand in die USA und zwitscherte etwas mit James O’Keefe


James O’Keefe at the Million Mask Marc

James O’Keefe at the Million Mask March

Sperling: Hello James, how are you? And what are you doing in “real life”?

James: I am well. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. In real life I test computer software for Akamai.

Sperling: Please tell me, what is your job in the US-Pirates and when/how do you get it?

James: I am Vice-Chair. I was elected earlier in 2016.

Sperling: How are the US-Pirates organized?

James: The US Pirate Party is a federation of state Pirate Parties. We are working to expand the number of state parties.

Sperling: What kind of tools do you use for the internal organization of your political work?

James: At the moment our primary means of communication are our email list and IRC channel. We are expanding the use of our wiki. Some activists have setup a Facebook group.

Sperling: Do you use a online-voting tool?

James: We have discussed it, but haven’t implemented any particular system besides IRC.

Sperling: Which channels you use in social media or “the internet”?

James: We use our blog, of course, but tend to be active on Twitter and Facebook.

Sperling: Can you tell me which positions are the “central ideas” of the US-Pirates? How do you communicate them to your voters?

James: At the moment we have focuses on surveillance issues as well as government transparency. Allowing people to freely share our collective culture as well as innovative processes are also key issues.

The US has a very decentralized election system. Most of the heavy lifting happens at the state and local level. Our responsibility is to help the states get more organized and communicate with one another as to what works.

Sperling: What is your best/newest political achievement?

James: Massachusetts elected its first Pirate in 2015 and continues to run candidates for the Massachusetts legislature. It has been running cryptoparties since 2012. We want to expand their success to other states.

Sperling: From the “German view”, the US Political system looks like: Only two partys, both corrupt and dominated by “big money”, no decency during election campaigns and no alternative candidates for President – except Ralph Nader. Is this the reality?

James: Absolutely! While our electoral system is decentralized, it is very rigid due our reliance on single member districts elected via a first-past the post system. Having proportional representation as Germany does would be a vast improvement.

Sperling: Trump is elected, from our german view it looks like the “ruin of the west” – what is your personal view? Can you tell me how the majority of the us-pirates think/feel? (How) Do you react on the election of Trump?

James: Except on issues such as the TPP, there isn’t much we agree on with Trump. His support of government surveillance, opposition to free speech, and friendliness with big business doen’t bode well. It will likely be a difficult four years for the US and the world. But while Trump certainly spurs us toward action, we cannot forget that the Democrats are merely light versions of the same ideas. We need to win against both of them, not merely one.

Sperling: Did the US-Media report about you? Did they report of the success of the iceland pirates?

James: We have gotten some press attention, mostly as a result of the success of the Iceland Pirate Party.

Sperling: Is there anything you want to tell us about you, the US-Pirates, the universe or the rest of all?

James: While it is very difficult to succeed in the US politics, the successes of our fellow Pirates in Germany and the rest of Europe certainly help to give us a morale boost. Keep trying!

Sperling: Do you have “official” contact with the german Pirate party or some pirates from germany?

James: No. Massachusetts has had a few German Pirates visit and a Pirate from France (who we supported in her run for parliament as an expatriot representative) as well, but we haven’t had “official” contact in a while.

Sperling: James, thank you for your time, good luck and let us know if we can help you!

James: Thanks for reaching out to us!

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