@MarkG: the very first line of the Party Constitution actually says we are about social equality.
Pirate Party Australia strives to protect and expand civil and digital liberties, social equality and freedom of culture.
This wasn't always there, it was added in a recent constitutional amendment which passed with an exceedingly high majority, so it seems the Party is for creating a society of truly equal opportunity.
When the Party began back in 2008 and there were only a handful of us around, and those of us who were there were very concerned about expanding the Party policy set beyond the core policies we had at the time: civil liberties, digital liberties, privacy, intellectual rights reform, legalisation of file sharing, and transparency.
It wasn't until around 2011 that I came around to the idea of expanding the policy set. Why? When there were only around 20 of us, it didn't make sense to build in any given direction as it would be too biased by our individual interests. Once we had over 500 members and a stable member base, it made sense to try to build out our policy set based on our core ideals, with members who joined specifically because of those ideals.
With a large enough member base who all joined for the same reasons, we started on a new path that hadn't really been tried before: how can we build a solid policy set based on an implied philosophy guided purely by our core tenets? There was no little red book, just a bunch of people who held transparency, privacy and civil liberties to a very high standard.
Well, the answer can be found in where we are now. We strongly believe in science-based policy development in all aspects. Based on the policies we currently have, it seems the Party philosophy—_the why_—could be considered the following series of rough points:
- We stand against rent-seeking in all of its forms.
- Government granted monopolies are privileges and not rights, and we stand against monopolies where they are not warranted.
- Deliberation and transparency is required for a functioning democracy.
- The only good policy is one that is backed up by solid evidence or exists to find evidence to solve a given problem.
- All natural persons deserve the right to self-determination in all things, and should they fail in those things, society should help them get back up and try again.
- Corporations should be considered after natural persons in all situations.
- Government should not be big or small, but a size proportional to the services that are necessary for it to provide.
- A strong, free, fair future requires strong, free and fair education system.
- Strong defence of civil liberties is the core aspect to providing self-determination for the individual, and this necessitates protections such as a Bill of Rights.
- While civil liberties are necessary for self-determination, without air to breathe, we can't speak, therefore we must take reasonable measures to protect our environment.
- That the digital sphere is not separate from "real life", it is yet another aspect of real life, and as such, there are many analogues that can be applied to the digital situation, and vice versa.
- That said, there are also many situations where this is not the case, and we recognise this and develop strong policy to suit.
- Technology can and should be used to enhance political process and discourse.
Each of the points above could have a post all to themselves (and if I ever have time, I might blog about them ). I have derived all of these points from our current policies and platform, and ultimately Part I of the Party Constitution. The most succinct summary of our raison d'être can be taken straight from the Constitution, and is still as relevant as it was when it was written:
The basic tenets of this movement are free culture, civil liberty and intellectual rights reform.
People will keep trying to shove us on the political spectrum, but I don't think we fit on any of the main spectrums such as the popularised "Political Compass"-style 2D spectrum of economic and social "left-right", as the economic axis conflates personal and cooperative enterprise with corporate enterprise. The Pirate movement firmly sides with individual and small, scalable enterprise, not with monolithic, unaccountable multinationals, and therefore cannot be placed on said axis.
If we talk the 1D spectrum, it's even more confusing and not worth discussing like most things that are one-dimensional.
In conclusion, I hope that our current development path continues unabated, as I'm very proud of where we're at now, and very excited for where we're headed in the future.