In this ‘blog post I would like to challenge the perspective that calls the Pirate Party a single issue party.
Upon cursory inspection, that seems the case, but I hope that I can persuade readers that when you dig a little deeper there is more to the Pirate Party. I do not just mean the public Policy 2011 consultation that took place on reddit, nor the policy 2012 process that came from it. Nor am I being a little trite and referring to their three core policies of copyrights/patents, surveillance, and free speech.
Instead I refer to the general Pirate philosophy which can be a lens through which to view any policy area (Rick Falkvinge has made efforts to define his take on this general philosophy that he calls a pirate wheel). In the same way that one might summarise in few words what a liberal, a socialist, or a conservative stands for, likewise you should be able to boil down a Pirate to our few core policies. That simple definition then helps inform a perspective on a much wider policy platform. There is a difference between having a core set of policies, and for those policies to be limited in scope. The Pirate viewpoint can be applied to any policy area, and as such Pirate politics is relevent to more than just a single issue.
Yes the Pirate Party needs manifestos covering a wider range of issues when they stand for election. They have created such manifestos in the past, and will do so in the future. But when trying to get their message across to those who have not heard of them, the most important thing they need to do is explain their philosophy as simply as possible.
Barring personalities and fluctuating popularity ratings many voters label themselves politically and vote accordingly, e.g. a ‘socialist’ constituent is likely to vote for a socialist party. They (I generalise) are not always ready to delve into manifestos and look at the details. They are looking for someone who advertises their party as socialist and expect to get someone who will (e.g.) tax the rich and build a welfare state.
So I say that the Pirate Party does not need a complicated in-depth manifesto to catch the interest of the voters (though I accept that they may need that to hold on to them after they have caught them). Instead they need to have such a simple message that voters redefine themselves.
Someone labelling themselves a liberal might look at the strong Pirate stand-point on individual rights and reducing surveillance and re-label themselves a Pirate. Someone labelling themselves a conservative may look on the Pirate copyright/patent stance and see a low-interventionist free-market approach and be all for it, re-labelling themselves as a Pirate. Someone labelling themselves a socialist might look on the Pirate copyright agenda as a redistribution of wealth from the few rich copyright companies to the many poor artists and decide to re-label themselves Pirate.
The Pirate Party needs to make it easy for a vast swathe of the electorate to be able to identify themselves as agreeing with core Pirate beliefs, and being ready to politically label themselves as Pirate. That does not come from having more policies. It comes from better explaining the core of what the Pirate Party stand for, and make it as easy as possible for the electorate to extrapolate for themselves how such a philosophy would deal with more diverse policy areas.