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Moving to Iceland for the Pirate Party

Moving to Iceland for the Pirate Party

This is a guest post by Hugi Ásgeirsson, Pirate Party Sweden/Iceland
On August 11th, I’m moving back home to Reykjavík to do my part for the Icelandic Pirate Party. I feel that Iceland is poised for real change. I love my life, my job, my friends and my community in Stockholm, so this has not been an easy decision. But this opportunity is unique. People in Iceland are pushing for a new kind of politics and a better society. And we really need a new kind of politics, not only in Iceland, but also in Europe and the world. I feel that a lot of people in Iceland are moving past anger, and onto hope for progress.

Perhaps this is happening there first because we were the first to suffer the recession and because we’ve were the first to start cleaning up the mess. Perhaps my coming and going, observing Iceland from afar, has made me see this change in a particularly stark light. I saw it in the recent presidential election, where measured reflection won over pomp and arrogance. I saw it in the Icelandic football fans, who charmed Europe with positive energy, love and sportsmanship. And I’ve seen it in the Icelandic Pirate Party, that has radiated honesty and trust in the people.

I will be helping the Pirate Party in any way I can, and time will tell how I can best serve the cause. Primary elections for the list of candidates for parliament have just started, and I’ve humbly put my name in the running, which is decided democratically in an online vote by party members. If called upon, I will stand for election. If not, I will do all that I possibly can to campaign, to build the organisation and help define our political agenda. I will do my best to learn from those around me, use my network and bring people and ideas together to strengthen the foundation of our platform.

As many of you know, this is not the first time I join a Pirate Party. I was seventeen years old when the Swedish Pirate Party was founded in 2006, and I joined on day one. Politicians didn’t understand the internet or how society was about to change, and I’m afraid they still don’t, event though that change is looking them straight in the eye. When we first started collecting signatures to help form the Swedish Pirate Party, we knew that a great paradigm shift was taking place. This was before WikiLeaks or Bitcoin. Before Android and iPhone. Before Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Teachers and scholars mocked Wikipedia. We, the online young, were frustrated that society wouldn’t listen. This force could be harnessed for good, to educate, to empower, to liberate. Instead, the establishment saw it as a threat to be contained, regulated and limited. In 2007, I became the first chairman of the youth wing “Young Pirates”. With our unconventional style, we started getting noticed, but life took me in a different direction, and in 2008 I moved to Reykjavík to study at the University of Iceland. Later, I moved to China for two years, and it wasn’t until 2016 that I returned to the Pirates, this time in Iceland.

I believe that Icelandic Pirate politics have taken the original idea to its next logical conclusion. As the power to connect, publish and share was moved into our hands, our view of authority has changed. It is as if power has become liquid and shifts faster than before. Some people have become uneasy, looking to strong old-school leaders with simple solutions to force their world back into a solid shape. Pirates believe that this is a futile effort. What we need is a new paradigm for leadership to navigate an unpredictable ocean. Pirates ask questions, are curious and dare to change their minds in light of new evidence. Leaders should be nodes who empower the ones around them that need to be heard and who listen for valuable perspectives. We need to see the wisdom of our communities as our greatest asset. At the same time, we need to hone our moral courage and take action for what we believe is just. I have seen this quality in the Icelandic Pirates, and that is our most important asset.

We have a lot of exciting work ahead of us. A new constitution for Iceland. Important work to protect and secure the environment. Visions for a better society that reach far beyond short sighted term-by-term politics. But perhaps most importantly, if anything else is to succeed, we need to rebuild trust in politics and democracy. I’m putting my trust with the Pirates.
Image/photoHugi Ásgeirsson is a serial community builder and organizer. He is involved in building creative communities, participatory festivals and open social spaces in Stockholm and has also worked as a magazine editor, an english teacher and most recently as a web developer. He loves literature, philosophy, art, science and hiking.

Featured image: cropped from copyright with permission Hugi Ásgeirsson

 Guest Opinion  Hugi Ásgeirsson  Iceland  PPIS  PPSE