United States Pirate Party

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United States Pirate Party
Chairman Andrew Norton (GA)
Founded June 6, 2006; 9 years ago (2006-06-06)
Ideology Pirate politics
Hacker ethic
Freedom of information
Civil libertarianism
Open government
Political position Centre
International affiliation Pirate Parties International
Colors Purple
Seats in the Senate
0 / 100
Seats in the House
0 / 435
0 / 50
State Upper Houses
0 / 1,921
State Lower Houses
0 / 5,410
Politics of United States
Political parties

The United States Pirate Party[1] (USPP) is an American political party founded in 2006 by Brent Allison and Alex English.[2] The party's platform is aligned with the global Pirate movement, and supports reform of copyright laws to reflect open source and free culture values, government transparency, protection of privacy and civil liberties, rolling back corporate personhood and corporate welfare, evidence-based policy, and egalitarianism and meritocracy based on the hacker ethic.[3]

The party's national organization has existed in multiple incarnations since its 2006 founding. Its most recent is the Pirate National Committee (PNC), formed in 2012 as a coalition of state parties. The PNC officially recognizes Pirate parties from 8 states,[1] and tracks and assists the growth of more state parties throughout the United States. The current Chair of the Pirate National Committee is Andrew Norton.


The Pirate Party was founded in June 2006 by University of Georgia graduate student Brent Allison in response to the success of the Swedish Piratpartiet. Its platform was focused primarily on copyright reform and freedom from Internet censorship. The party first attempted to register in Utah during the 2007/2008 election cycle failed to collect the required number of Statements of Support.[4][5] In 2011, the Massachusetts Pirate Party became the first legally recognized Pirate Party in the US.[6] By 2011, the Pirate Party reported over 3000 members nationwide.[7]

In 2012, a coalition of state Pirate parties formed the Pirate National Committee (PNC).[8] By July of that year, the PNC drafted and adopted a new constitution, which outlined a broader ideology inspired by Rickard Falkvinge's Pirate Wheel.[9]


The Pirate Party defends their oft-criticized name[10] in the preamble of the PNC's constitution:[3]

For our values, we have been derided as "pirates". For our hope that every person may be free to access all of human knowledge, we have been called "pirates". For our belief that one need not ask permission to participate in governance, industry, culture, and other aspects of society, we have been called "pirates". For our insistence that citizens should not be surveilled and distrusted as if they are criminals, we have been called "pirates". For our rejection of authority and profit-seeking when it does not serve the common good of all people, we have been called "pirates".

We reclaim this label of "pirate" and abjure its derogatory, incendiary implication. We are Pirates. We stand for the liberty, equality, and solidarity of all human beings, and against all threats they may face.


Factions within the Pirate Party include left-libertarians, classical liberals, anarchists, progressives, and radical centrists. Many Pirates explicitly decline to identify with any particular political ideology or philosophy.

The Pirate Party's platform originally centered on issues of copyright. "Like its international counterparts, the USPP’s main practical concerns are digital intellectual property [sic!] and privacy laws—specifically, the abolition of a 1998 digital U.S. copyright law, the reduction of copyrights to 14 years (from 95 years after publication, or 70 years after the author’s death), and the expiration of patents that don’t result in significant progress within four years (as opposed to 20 years)."[7]

In 2012, the party began an expansion of its platform, inspired by the Pirate Wheel.[9] The party emphasizes the cultural values of the hacker ethic, open source and free culture, strong protection of individual civil liberties, government transparency and participatory governance, and evidence-based policy.

As of 2013, the national Pirate Party has not adopted an agenda beyond a set of 8 core values. Individual state parties are given free rein to interpret these values and experiment with more concrete platforms. Pirate candidates from New York have interpreted these values to espouse co-operative economics, workplace democracy, and self-employment.[11]



Prior to 2012, the Chairperson of the party was elected every July by a membership vote, as established in the party constitution.[12] After the 2012 formation of the PNC, the role's name was changed to Captain.[3]

Name From To
Brent Allison June 6, 2006 June 9, 2006
Joshua Cowles June 9, 2006 May 2007
Andrew Norton May 2007 September 2008a
Glenn Kerbein September 2008a July 2009
Ryan Martin July 2009 December 29, 2009b
Bradley Hall b December 29, 2009 January 28, 2010
Brittany Phelps c January 28, 2010 July 15, 2011
Bradley Hall July 15, 2011 2012
Travis McCrea April, 2012 November 14, 2012
Lindsay-Anne Brunner November 14, 2012 January 28, 2015
Andrew Norton January 28, 2015 incumbent

^a Norton stepped down mid-term to head up Pirate Parties International. Kerbein, as Operations Officer, stepped into the position for the rest of the term.

^b Martin was removed via a Vote of No Confidence on December 29, 2009. Hall was selected as Administrator pro-tempore for a 30-day period until elections could be held[13]

^c See Wikinews interview with Peter Coti.


State parties[edit]

State[14] Website Founded PNC Member[8] Notes
Arizona AZPP Facebook Page No
California calpirateparty.org Yes
Florida floridapirates.org Yes
Georgia piratepartyofgeorgia.org Yes
Hawaii No
Illinois ILPP Facebook Page No
Indiana INPP Facebook Page No
Kansas Pirate Party Kansas No
Maryland No Defunct
Massachusetts masspirates.org Yes
Michigan Observer
Minnesota MNPP Website 2014 No
Missouri Observer
New Hampshire NHPP Facebook Page No
New York nypirateparty.org August 25, 2010 Yes
Oklahoma Pirate Party of Oklahoma January 18, 2010 Observer The Pirate Party of Oklahoma was formed on January 18, 2010 with the signing of its constitution,[15] and the filing of a motion of intent to form a political party with the Oklahoma Election Board. The founding chairman was Marcus Kessler. The party was named an official state chapter of the United States Pirate Party on January 19, 2010.[16] The party mounted a signature drive to try to gain access to the Oklahoma ballot, but was unsuccessful. The party did not run any candidates for office in 2010.
Oregon arregon.org November 9, 2010 Yes The Oregon Pirate Party was given official state party status on November 9, 2010.[citation needed]
South Carolina SCPP Facebook Page No
Texas TXPP Facebook Page TXPP Website No
Utah UTPP Facebook Page No
Washington Official website Yes
Wisconsin wipp.coop July 4, 2012 Yes Registered with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "About". United States Pirate Party. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  2. ^ Milchman, Eli "The Pirates Hold a Party", Wired Magazine, 2006-06-20. Retrieved on 2009-02-20,
  3. ^ a b c "Constitution of the Pirate Party of the United States"
  4. ^ Cheng, Jacqui "US Pirate Party seeks legitimacy, starts in Utah", Ars Technica, 2007-08-09. Retrieved on 2009-02-20.
  5. ^ Triplett, William "Pirate party forms in Utah" Variety, 2007-08-11. Retrieved on 2009-03-19.
  6. ^ "Massachusetts voters can now register as ‘Pirates’". Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Downie, James (2011-01-24) Avast Network, The New Republic
  8. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  9. ^ a b Falkvinge, Rick "The Pirate Wheel", Falkvinge on Infopolicy. Retrieved on 2012-08-19.
  10. ^ "Lessig Questions Pirate Party's Existence - TorrentFreak". TorrentFreak. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "Create Your Own Job platform page for Jason Paul Sullivan"
  12. ^ "Title 2", US Pirate Party Constitution
  13. ^ "Minutes of Meeting", 29 December 2009[dead link]
  14. ^ [2][dead link]
  15. ^ "Constitution of the Pirate Party of Oklahoma" 2010-01-18. Retrieved on 2010-08-14.
  16. ^ "Official Minutes of Meeting" 2010-01-19. Retrieved on 2010-08-14. Archived June 18, 2010 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]