Wikinews interviews Brittany Phelps, administrator of the United States Pirate Party

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Wikinews reporter Peter Coti interviews Brittany Phelps, administrator of the United States Pirate Party, who talks about her job and her goals.


Unites States Pirate Party Logo

((Peter Coti)) Who are you and what do you do?

((Brittany Phelps)) For the past three months, I've been the administrator of the United States Pirate Party. In general, I direct and oversee the activities of the USPP. At the moment, my most challenging task is to cultivate state parties across the US. Without them, the national party is essentially insolvent.

((PC)) What is the Pirate Party?

((BP)) The United States Pirate Party is a relatively new party in the U.S., currently undergoing a revival after having been founded a few years ago. We are similar in nature to the various Pirate Parties found internationally, though we differ somewhat in platform and formation.

((PC)) What are the goals of the Pirate Party?

((BP)) We are dedicated to protecting Americans' rights to privacy, freedom of information, reforming the patent and copyright systems, and ensuring government transparency.

((PC)) What are some things you personally want to change about the government?

((BP)) There are a great many things I could bring up in regards to changing in the government, so I'll keep it to my three greatest concerns: Transparency, privacy, and ballot reform. Firstly, transparency is required from our government in all but the most dire situations. President Obama seemed, at first, to be promising in this regard, but again and again since he took office, he has proven that hope to be ill-placed. ACTA is hidden from FOIA requests, more light is not shed about torture techniques, and numerous bills, most memorably the recent health care reform, are not brought to light for the promised number of days--how is this transparency?

My second qualm, privacy, is boiled down very simply--as technology grows, so does the ability to invade the privacy of citizens for the sake of a potential safeguard. This route is far from affective [sic] in its proposed function. We should take the time to find more effective ways to reduce crime without invading the privacy of law-abiding citizens. Not doing so is to treat each and every American as a criminal without a trial.

And, thirdly, ballot access. While not necessarily a plank of our platform, it is a challenge that the USPP will have to face early on. There is a long standing idea that the United States has two political parties, and that's it, end of story. I can't help but wonder of these people--do you think that the country was founded between these two parties alone? We are a nation of many people, with many ideas and many opinions. To try and simply this to a black and white dichotomy does a disservice to the nation and its people. There are shades of gray.

((PC)) How did you get involved with the party?

((BP)) I got involved last fall after hearing of the success of our European counterparts in their elections. I was certain that someone had started a Pirate Party in the U.S., but was surprised that I hadn't heard about it already, so I went looking. And here I am.

((PC)) Do you think you have a chance against other parties?

((BP)) I have no disillusions about it being difficult, but I am convinced that we have the capability to do so, yes. Furthermore, I welcome the challenge.

((PC)) If you could change anything right this second about the government what would it be?

((BP)) I think if I had the opportunity to change anything, it would be one of the three that I covered in question 4. I'm inclined to say ballot access, considering the immediate impact it would have for the USPP and other smaller parties, but transparency and privacy would be close contenders.

((PC)) Could you take this test, and let us know where you stand on the political spectrum?

((BP)) After taking the test, I got a 60%/40%, which put me just inside the zone for a "Centrist". Sounds about right.

((PC)) Anything else you want to add?

((BP)) Just today we launched a new website, as part of our effort to restart the movement in the United States, so I invite all who read this to waltz on over to our website and take a look. Thanks for reading!


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.