At the evening event before the formal foundation of the European Pirateparty (PPEU) at 20th March 2014, in the EU Parliament in Brussels, various keynotes have been held, one of them was meant to come from Daniel Domscheit-Berg, my husband. However, he fell ill that same day so that I ended up holding his keynote in his name – which included a greeting message, sent by Peter Sunde. I added some personal remarks.
Please find below all parts of this “matrjoshka” style speech
Peter Sunde Greeting to the PPEU
Many of you know me as one of the founders of The Pirate Bay. I’ve been working closely with a lot of the people in this audience for over a decade. I was hoping to be able to come to this meeting, but I can’t.
The reasons are at the core of the things we need to fight. Because of the skewed and broken legal system, I’m sentenced to prison for a crime that is not supposed to be a crime. A crime that in it’s pure essence boils down to challenging authority. Challenging the big corporations over their power and influence, giving back the power of information to the people.
When we started The Pirate Bay we had no idea what it would lead to. We were young and we didn’t agree with anyone, not even eachother. The internet was not as regulated as today and there were none caring about the politics of the nets. Today the world looks different. The internet is the new oil industry where the wells is the information about normal people, being collected for profits. The tools that we once built in good faith for sharing have become weapons against our own freedom and privacy. The regulations are coming and they are not for the peoples benefit. The politics of the net is now the politics of the world.
All the people in this audience understand this. You all know the problems we have. You’re all eager to change things, so that we can build a society for the people, not against them. Our mission has broadened from being just about the internets and our freedom to share, to saving democracy. Within The Pirate Bay we were never really friends and we actually hated each other quite a lot sometimes. But our goals made us focus on the important tasks and put our own quarrels aside. We had other arenas for those. The more influence we got, the more important it was to stick to our goals. I feel it’s important to send a message to you all that cooperation and focus is the only way to change things.
The European Pirates is a great step at finding a common ground for this cooperation. Just as the green movement, our political goals are global and can’t be defined by borders. Politics is a long-term commitment. It’s going to take time to reach the results we want. But just look at the people in the audience. Look at the results you’ve already achieved, in such a small time frame for being politics. Today I wish I could be there with you guys to celebrate, because it’s well deserved for all of us!”
Keynote of Daniel Domscheit-Berg
its quite an honor for me to speak at this very historic moment of pirate history. There are plenty of things i would like to say given the troubled times we live in, in the real world, but unfortunately also in our party. Back at WikiLeaks we had a credo, that history is the only guidebook civilization has. I think, whenever it is unclear where something is headed, it makes sense to look back where it came from. To remember what unites us, so we can move forward together and in unity. So I would like to share a short story.
In the latish 90s a young and innocent unix enthusiast became part of a circle of people referred to as the warez scene. The scene was a group of people that had started to use the means of the internet quite early and had developed an ecosystem for the distribution of content: mainly music, movies, at some stage books and magazines. That scene was a first incarnation of an alternative ecosystem in a purely digital sphere. It was a first effort to reorganize the distribution of and access to content, to overcome societal and technical limitations imposed by the existing regime.
Unfortunately, that scene looked much like the existing world. It was top-down, vertically organized as one could imagine, highly competitive and highly professionalized. Just as our real world, it was made for an 31337 (“Elite”), this time just spelled in numbers. This hierarchy was no coincidence, but a mere consequence of the scarcity of resources, fast lines and bandwidth, fast servers and most importantly, storage.
Around the year 2000, something in the game started to change. In time for the new millennium the broadband future had arrived in Sweden. Broadband as in 10 megabits, 100 megabits at home. Svenne Svensson in his Swedish home got fiber, and more importantly, upstream to the network via an an open access infrastructure that removed the bandwidth limitations. The limitations in how much he could share with Anna Svensdotter, John Doe, Erika Musterfrau, and the rest of the world, were effectively removed.
Within a really short amount of time, substantial parts of the warez ecosystem moved to Sweden. Suddenly a world rid of physical scarcity and full of intellectual and cultural abundance had arrived — accessible not only to an 31337 anymore, but increasingly to everybody.
Because the broadband future happened in the middle of a highly social society it is no coincidence that Piratbyran and The Pirate Bay happened in Sweden. They are nothing short of a natural consequence of the dynamics set in motion with the arrival of the digital age, and some fundamental questions this put on the table. Questions about the means of distribution and property in a digital environment. Questions from the early days of piracy. So what does this all mean? Our unix sailor in the summer of 2005 steered a shipful of SOUR drum and bass releases to The Bay for the very first time. When strolling among all those colorful sails that had set anchor, he realized that the digital era was a world in which the exclusivity he had been looking for did not make sense anymore. He realized that his exclusive world was a lonely one. It was unjust, unfair and no longer fitting the times. He realized that the digital age could be the end of all exclusive regimes, and the beginning of an inclusive paradigm. That day, another sailor joined the pirate fleet.
In the internet we are equals among equals. This is the basic implication of the Internet Protocol in a net-neutral environment. This world is a world of inclusion, in which everyone, independent of color, sex, sexual orientation, location on the planet or social status is welcome to participate and in which there is no room for discrimination — be it on packet level in a network or status in society. It is an inclusive world, and what unifies us all is that we fight for this inclusive world on all levels of society. The whole idea of this European movement is one of an inclusive regime. The fact that we are creating a European Pirate Party is yet another proof for the potential for a more inclusive world. We as Europeans have understood that we are peers among peers not just in a technical sense.
What we are talking about here are fundamental challenges to the existing system of the world. As this movement has grown into a proper political one over the last years, with parties all over world, we have discovered those challenges and have embraced them. We have developed strong , intelligent and sustainable positions towards topics that have an influence on all facets of humanity. We understand that technologies like 3D printing will change the distribution of the means of production; that in a world thriving on creativity and innovation the old concepts of intellectual property protection don’t make sense anymore. We also understand the imminent dangers of the mass surveillance of the global population through an exclusive group of people and the threat this poses to democracy and the possibilities for positive change towards a more inclusive society.
Our strength is this movements holistic approach with answers on all these topics. It is the fact that we have understood and embraced the digital era in full like no other political movement so far. Again, this is not coincidence but consequence. We carry a unique responsibility. From where I stand, no parliament to enter is as important right now as the European Parliament.
We have to remember, that what is crucially important is that we live in a time that requires us to take urgent action. We have a limited window of opportunity in which we can have a positive influence in how this new digital era is shaped. We must not lose time on anything that is smaller than this vision, that is less important. We must not be distracted by anything that is irrelevant in persuing this vision for society. We are here for a reason and we must never forget that. We carry a responsibility for the rest of the world because we are only few who understand what is coming.”
My own remarks which I gave at the end of delivering the speeches of Peter and Daniel:
Let me add some final remarks from my perspective as a German candidate for the upcoming EU elections: I am giving all my energy and dedication for our campaign but no candidate can win elections on her own. It takes the energy and dedication of the entire pirateparty community to take this barrier down, to get more feet into the European door, to get more power and impact in shaping our future.
Now is the time, where I ask for you to get onto your feet, go out into the streets and spread word about our visions. Because NOW this is all that matters and only in unity we are strong enough to win this fight. Thank you.
There is a YouTube version online, you find it HERE.