From an American perspective, it would seem unlikely that the commons could become a topic of mainstream electoral concern in the near future. The cultural base just isn’t there. Yet the surprising success of the Pirate Party in Europe suggests that a new cultural cohort – politically disaffected, digitally networked, culturally independent – is beginning to find its voice. Such voices can be tremendously viral as the Arab Spring and Occupy movements have shown, and moreover, crash the insider games of mainstream politics.
My colleague Michel Bauwens has written a very thoughtful essay on this topic for Al Jazeera, in which he predict that a win by the German Pirate Party in 2012 elections would set the stage for a European coalition of the commons. He sees a “new majority in the making” if the Pirates, the Greens, Labor and Social Liberals can find a way to come together in support of “a commons-centered transformation of European politics.” Bauwens writes:
Opinion polls [in Germany] predict an average support rate for the Pirate Party hovering around the 10-12% range, making their victorious appearance in the German national elections almost a certainty. The importance of this can hardly be overrated. If the Pirates are needed to form a national coalition government, which is likely, Germany would no longer be a player in imposing further IP restrictions on behest of the U.S. conglomerates, and would equally certainly start dismantling already existing restrictions to a substantial degree. With dominant Germany out of the game, and Eastern European states already mostly opposed to further IP repression, this also means the end of any EU support for international IP strengthening. In other words, a victory of the German Pirate Party is actually a global victory for the forces favoring information commons.