The Party Declaration of Principles is a documentation of what we strive for in general terms, our outlook and our goals. The latest version seen before, version 4.0, was voted upon by party members in May 2012. Older versions in English can be found at Wikisource. The principles in the original Swedish are available here.
Declaration of Principles 4.0
The Pirate Party believes that people with access to free communication, culture and knowledge grow, feel better and work together to create a better and more humane society for all to live in. We see that modern information technology create new possibilities for people to themselves take control of their lives and to help in influencing the development of society. We see how a freer flow of information lets both thoughts, cultural creativity and economy grow. For these possibilities to succeed, and for us to not have to become imprisoned within increasing control and supervision, we require two fundamental changes in attitude from the people in charge:
The government must start trusting its citizens, show them greater respect and give them greater freedom.
People met with suspicion will respond with suspicion. People met with trust will respond with trust.
People met with harshness will respond with harshness. People met with humanity will respond with humanity.
People treated like criminals risk becoming criminals. People met with freedom and responsibility take responsibility over their freedom.
Society must use and not misuse the fantastic tools we have received to our assistance.
The right to free communication and privacy is not a threat, it is a prerequisite for humans and democracy to thrive. Free knowledge is not a threat, it is a prerequisite for innovation and progress. Shared culture should not be a crime, it is among the most beautiful things one can give, both to culture and to fellow humans.
Table of contents
- 1. Modern information technology opens fantastic possibilities
- 1.1 People’s chances to communicate freely with each other strengthens freedom, participation and democracy.
- 1.2 Free access to culture improves people’s chances at building a good life.
- 1.3 Free communication strengthens culture and spreads both participation and experience to more people.
- 2. Strong forces wants to hinder progress
- 2.1 Supervision violates integrity and threatens both democracy and the open spreading of information.
- 2.2 Patents and other monopolies of ideas impedes innovation and progress.
- 2.3 Outdated monopolies of copying impedes free spreading, sharing and remixing of culture.
- 3. The Pirate Party’s mission and foundations
- 3.1 All humans share the same rights.
- 3.2 Democracy assumes free, unsupervised communication.
- 3.3 All humans share the same right to personal integrity and privacy.
- 3.4 Knowledge belongs to everyone.
- 3.5 Culture enriches our lives and should be as available as possible.
1. Modern information technology opens fantastic possibilities
We live in a time which is unique to human history. Never before have so many had the possibility to communicate so easily with each other. Never before have so many had access to so much knowledge. Never before has the spreading of information contributed to so many quick technical, cultural and economical advances, as well as having opened for new prerequisites and possibilities for participation and democracy.
This is the result of a technological progress which puts human relations in the center. While previous technological progress has minimised the physical distance between people, the modern information technology has strengthened the social and emotional ties between people, across both geographical dna social obstacles.
The Pirate Party works for this progress to be a stepping stone towards a line of positive changes throughout Sweden, Europe and the rest of the world.
1.1 People’s chances to communicate freely with each other strengthens freedom, participation and democracy.
Thanks to the modern information technology, people no longer have to put trust in official communiqué and traditional news reporting. One can follow news in real time through the eyes of the people. This means that fewer assaults can happen without being noticed, and that different forms of humanitarian help can be sent quicker. Thanks to the new possibilities to communicate quick and easy with eachother, people can organise in new ways against dictatorship and oppression. We have already seen how this has led to the fall of some regimes, and the change in others.
Even in Sweden, the free communication aids democracy. New ways of participating in the political conversation are opening up. In the past, most people have been directed to newspapers’ letters to the editor. Today, almost everyone has many possibilites of participating in the societal debates. The right and the possibility to be anonymous means that no one has to fear reprisals, which is important, because the democratic discussion is undermined each time a citisen is left out of it, for any reason. Active work towards participation strengthens democracy.
Free communication also increases the demands put on those in power. Information on misuse of power, which previously could remain hidden, can today spread quickly between people. This will, given time, demand further transparance from those in power, and can counteract a totalitarian development.
The Pirate Party wants the free communication to be cherished, and the protection of sources to be strengthened, to include all media sources and all employers. The possibility to be anonymous in public discussions should be kept. This is important because the societal debate must be including if democracy is to be all inclusive.
1.2 Free access to culture improves people’s chances at building a good life.
When knowledge and information can spread and change hands freely it gets easier and easier to develop new innovations, and to adapt old innovations for new conditions. This has been an important reason for the last few decades’ quick economic development, and it has lead to a great part of the world’s population taking the step from poverty to relative prosperity. In our country, solutions with open source play an important role for many successful IT companies, and a growing number of companies in other industries make a conscious choice to avoid registering for patents. Free use of information can thus be incorporated into viable business models, and increase the possibilities for the fruits of the development to help poverty stricken nations and individuals.
The technological development has also assisted in evening out the access to knowledge. Knowledge has earlier been accessible only for a minority. Today, a ten-year-old with internet access in Asia, Africa or South America has the same access to knowledge as a ten-year-old in Swedish towns like Svedala or Umeå. Millions of children and youths, who earlier couldn’t get a proper education, now has access to humanity’s collection of knowledge. If no other education is obtainable they have the chance to educate themselves. The revolution of information technology and the free access to knowledge and culture thus give many people new chances to take control of their own lives.
People with special interests can through the modern information technology in an entirely new way find each other and share knowledge, ideas and experiences. Through people’s non-profit activities we can collect knowledge and competence in a way that previously required professional organisations to be kept. Many people can therefore enjoy a larger meaning in their non-profit work, as compared to before. Even more importantly, this unpaid work create large values, that in the end will be useful for the entire society. Societal structures therefore need to adapt to the fact that a growing part of the value of the society is created from unpaid work, in everything from traditional popular movements to internet based swarms.
1.3 Free communication strengthens culture and spreads both participation and experience to more people.
People have a natural need to give their environment depth and meaning. Throughout time, man kind has always interpreted her time and surroundings through culture, to better understand her own existence and role in society.
Sadly much of culture, much like knowledge, has throughout history often been a privilege for a few. Later years’ technological development has created possibilities for more and more to experience, exercise and live off of culture.
Today, many forms of culture can be copied and distributed freely, and in this way it can reach many people who otherwise never would have taken part of it. Never before have young Swedes had so many different musical genres in their collections. Never before has it been easier to find odd films. Never before have so many people in the third world had the access to such a large and varied cultural supply.
Human culture has always developed as a result of cultural creators borrowing from each other, remixing and developing each other’s ideas. New technology has made this easier than ever before, and in the past fifteen years we have seen an explosion of diversity and creativity in culture.
It has always become easier for more producers of culture to create their own works and adapt others. New technology has made it easier for cultural creators to find an audience for their own style, to keep contact with their audience and get responses from it. It has therefore become easier for many creators to take the step from hobby creation to professional work. The growing number of creators lead to a greater cultural out-pour and a richer cultural landscape.
The Pirate Party therefore want societal cultural politics to be built on a realistic understanding of how cultural creators work upon each other’s triumphs (instead of a romantic myth of a lone genius creator). Cultural breadth and free spread of culture for private work should be encouraged. Cultural creators should be supported in exploring the possibilities of new technology.