From Josh Kron at The Atlantic:

With Germany's 2013 federal elections swift approaching, the Pirates have become the protest party of the moment. The Party is not limited to Germany. It didn't even begin there. Sister Pirate Parties have won elected seats in Austria, Czech Republic, Spain, and Switzerland. Chapters have opened in, among others, Estonia, Taiwan, Bosnia, Nepal, New Zealand, Morocco, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Russia, Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Of course, not all are officially registered as political parties, much less winning elections, but their appeal clearly crosses borders.

The rise of the Pirate Party -- the spillover of online dissent into a political party -- was perhaps inevitable. "Cyberspace is not so much a distinct realm as it is the very environment we inhabit," write the authors of Access Controlled: The Shaping of Power, Rights, and Rule in Cyberspace. Private and public attempts to manipulate cyberspace leave what they call "a chilling effect" with "profound consequences on freedom of speech," raising "important and sometimes troubling public policy issues -- particularly for the relationship between citizens and states."

The broad appeal of the Pirate Party is noteworthy, as is their "hacking" of the political system in order to better understand how it works. However, this is not an endorsement of the party itself, which according to Kron is akin to the Communist Party both in its origin and its attitudes toward (intellectual) property. The next two planned posts will involve political parties and the internet in two different ways.