The German Pirate Party’s flagging sails

The past activities of some members are casting shadows over the party’s move onto the national political stage

Pirate Party's flagging sails

Carsten Rehder/AFP/Getty Images

No one expected Germany’s Pirate Party to win representation in Berlin’s state parliament. Yet their campaign, which included a platform advocating a quixotic mix of data protection, a guaranteed minimum income and legalized marijuana, appealed to disillusioned voters who rewarded it with nine per cent of the vote.

Now, however, the past activities of some members are casting shadows over the Pirate Party’s move onto the national political stage. At least two members, including a regional chairman, have been ID’d as former members of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), which has been labelled by German intelligence as a “racist, anti-Semitic” entity that wants to create a Fourth Reich. (One later resigned.)

In addition, women complain that the party, which claims to be “post-gender,” is overwhelmingly populated by men. So far, party officials have shrugged off all the criticisms. As leader Sebastian Nerz told Der Spiegel, “We grew out of the Internet scene, and that happens to be dominated by men.”

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