It’s been an up and down week for Pirates, as official party status has been decided in two countries. In Australia it’s a big G’day to their Pirate Party, while the Russians yet again heard ‘Nyet’ from their Ministry of Justice.
There is a certain level of symmetry to the world. When one part of the world has day, the other half has night. And more importantly, when one hemisphere gets summer, the other has winter. Right now it’s summer in the southern hemisphere and the sun is certainly shining on Australian Pirates.
The party’s registration, with an objection period that ended January 14th, was deliberately kept quiet to reduce spiteful and/or spurious objections from pro-copyright bodies. Recognition was granted as of January 15th. As such, it’s now accepting members.
Party Founder Rodney Serkowsi was not shy in why he feels the party is needed in Australia.
“As the Prime Minister condemns whistleblowers and publishers without trial, the spectre of data retention looms, policy is laundered and Australia’s interests are sidelined by faceless diplomats and bureaucrats through ill-considered trade pacts there has never been more reason to put pirates in parliament,” he says.
Elections are expected to take place sometime around August.
But while it’s summer in the south, it’s winter in the north, and in Russia – a country famed for its winters – the icy winds are blowing cold and harsh.
The Russian Pirate Party seems unable to get a break. Last year, they were denied the ability to register as a party because of their name. The Ministry of Justice said it was promoting “at-sea crimes”. In July of 2011 the party’s judicial challenge failed when a judge sided with the Ministry against the party.
Then, last year a change in the law allowed the Russians to reapply, which they did at a ceremony June 30th 2012. However, it’s the same result as last time, as they’ve been turned down by the Justice Ministry again, this time for apparently “using in the name the word ‘pirate‘ that allegedly does not conform to the party’s goals and objectives”.
“This is not a joke. Such decisions are taken at the highest level. The Ministry of Justice is just carrying out someone else’s actions,” Chairman Pavel Rassudov commented.
However, the decision by Pirate Parties International to hold their annual conference in the Russian Kazan may bring some cheer, and could help revive flagging spirits (and inflame others) in an increasingly embattled party.
One thing is certain though, Pirates are continuing to ruffle political feathers worldwide.