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How to start a political movement: Rick Falkvinge at TEDxFlanders

How to start a political movement: Rick Falkvinge at TEDxFlanders


Translator: Jean-Charles Longuet
Reviewer: Denise RQ Thank you! So, usually when I present, I talk about how people
can change the world, I talk about cost-efficient leadership today, sometimes I talk about
the obsolescence of gatekeepers, I talk about flow of information. Today I’m not going to do that. I’m going to talk about how you feel when you’re going up
against unsurmountable odds. I’m going to talk about the fear you feel the first time somebody
puts you on a stool and says: “Look into this white cross, you’re going to be
on live television shortly”. But it’s also a story about tears of joy
when you succeed. So, a brief introduction first. If you want to get in touch
with me on Twitter or just say how much I rock or how much I suck,
this is my Twitter alias. I love seeing my name on Twitter since this
is about introspection and feelings. I love that. But you can also mention my name
on any web page and any blog post and I will notice, that’s an advantage
of having a globaly unique name. Now, a brief introduction. How many here have heard
of the Swedish Pirate Party? Let’s see a show of hands. I’d say that somewhere
between half and two thirds perhaps? And that’s actually quite common! It’s — no matter where I present in the world,
that’s about the ratio so I took the liberty of even
putting that in my slides (Laughter) Now just for a kick — How many here have heard
of any other Swedish political party? Let’s see a show of hands. One, two, three, four… Yeah… Same thing there, it’s pretty consistent
across the world about how many have seen this? There.. scattered hands. So I can put that in my slides as well. Now, an introduction about me is
that I’ve founded the first Pirate Party in 2006 and gradually grew this into having seats
in the European Parliament. These days I’m travelling and speaking presenting
how this spread to 50 countries under the name of something called
the European Pirate Academy and the idea of that is
that it’s a newly formed nonprofit with the objective of learning
from all the pirate parties, all the net liberty activists and repackaging that information
about leadership, about cost-efficiency, communications
and, not the least, agility. Organization of agility. And I’ll be speaking quite a bit about that. We shared it
with the rest of the world notably with corporate
and governmental agencies who usually have no idea
about how to deal with this stuff, to today’s main attraction. What goes through your mind
when you’re insane enough to do something like this? What’s the deal here? What bothered me was that
when you have a letter when our parents sent
a letter in the mail there were certain things
that happened with that letter. It was always anonymous. You decided, and you decided alone, whether to sign your name
on the outside of the envelope, on the inside of the letter,
for only the recipient to know, or not at all. It was secret in transit, nobody has the right
to open your letters just to see what
you are writting about or if there was something illegal
in that letter. If you were under previous suspicion
of crime, sure, government could get a search warrant but they would not open the letter
just to see if it contains something illegal without prior suspicion. It was on track.
Nobody had the ability, nor the right to track and store and cross reference
who was communicating with whom and last but not least, the mailman
was never responsible for the content of a message. it was sealed,
obviously, right? You’re laughing,
but we’re going here. The observation I made initially was that I think it is entirely reasonable
that our children have the same rights
as our parents had in their environment of communication. And so when you present this case, a couple of industries
will kind of object to this, saying that, in particular
the corporate industry will say that, “You can’t let anybody send anything to anybody
without tracking it, without eavesdropping on it. We’d not be able to sell stuff anymore.” and I say, “So what?” We don’t determine
— the job of any entrepreneur is to make money
given the current constraints of technology and of society. Nobody gets to dismantle
civil liberties just because they can’t make money otherwise. If they can’t sell stuff,
or this stuff they’ve sold previously in the face of sustained civil liberties,
they’ll have to sell something else. Mustard perhaps. So, with that in mind, let’s see just how much changed in my life
in the older days of 2006. My journey. How can you go up
againts the entire world. What – I realized that you,
you’re not going up against the entire world. I mean, you’d feel fear when going up against
some of the richest corporations on the planet, right ? You’d feel fear as you leave your job, you take on a journey that risks
branding you as a permanent idiot. But the thing is, you’re not going up
against the entire world, you’re going up against
a few specific people who are authorities in that area
that you care about. And the thing is,
that’s a key realization here, is that they have absolutely
no genetic advantage over you! So, you can outmatch them,
you can outwit them, you can dropkick their system,
you just need to find out how. The barriers to entry here
are gone. It used to be that authority was sold,
or at least traded for money or traded for not-money,
as in you could send a letter to an editor, and they would give you space
in exchange for having a presentable authority that they could somehow stand for. That’s gone!
Authority has become abundant. Anybody can publish
any idea to the entire world and they can become an authoriy
on a subject they care about. Nobody needs to ask permission any longer to become an authority
on a subject they care about. And this is a key point. So, what happened — I realized that people are people and nobody here was being evil. And painting them as evil did not help anything
I was trying to accomplish. It would only define me if I call them evil. So, you needed a bit of systemic judo. You needed to find people
who are aligned with what you need
to accomplish though maybe not necessarily
for the same reason and cooperate with them
on a very specific issue. I figured you needed 225,000 votes. It turned out that you could get that. So, I posted a manifesto. I wrote two lines
in a chat channel: “Hey look, the pirate party
has its web-site up, now after New Year’s”, and the address. That’s all the advertising I ever did! And what happened was that 300 activists
would turn up the next day in a chat channel and I had not even instructed people to come
to this chat channel. It formed all by itself and what struck me even more, was that these people felt
that I was their leader because I had set up
the web site — and I — I kind of like, “Hey, wait a minute,
I’m not sure I’m prepared for this”. The next day, media started
writing about it and then Nordic media,
then European media, and then,
the world media people I’d never heard of,
started moving into my apartment, just saying, “I want to be a part of this,
please let me help out.” “Ok, so what do you want to do?” “I want to come up there
to start and help you with this.” “Ok, so — like ?” “Can I live with you?” (Laughter) “I guess…” So, out of nowhere, came people
who just wanted to be a part of this. We had breakfast together,
lunch together, dinner together and we worked around the clock
to make this happen. People just came out of nowhere. That’s what happens when you
have this aligned interests. I realized this was my chance to change the world for the better. I could just go back
into the ordinary rat race. I could sort of disappear
into the grey mass again, but what would I feel? I would — my whole life would have been
just one big “What if?” And I realized this wasn’t really a choice this was not really a choice even though it would have been one in theory, I would not have been able to see myself
in the mirror if I didn’t jump on this. So, I had a high paying IT job at the time. I decided to take
a really huge bankloan and they asked me
“So what do you need the money for?” And I like “Ok, I’m not going to tell them that I’m going to start a political party
and use it to change the entire world. I’m not going to get this loan. So I just said:
“A project.” And they said:
“Ok, Sir, here you go!” And — (Laughter) — and then I quit my job. In that order!
Nota bene: very important! And took the leap of faith. As in — I just jumped. I was burning bridges, I was killing my career, I knew that. People were going
to look at me like an idiot if I didn’t make this, so I needed to make that. And what happened next was kind of extraordinary
because media started reporting about me in ways I was not prepared for. Most people, when faced with this, react like
“I can’t lead people like this, I’m not the leader type, I’m not charismatic.” But the thing is, what you realize is that
it doesn’t work like that. I saw myself
as a very introverted geek who was barely capable of leading a couple of servers
through a pre-scripted process and maybe could get a couple of people
cooperating on that. So when media started describing this very charimsatic 34-year-old
leading the new Pirate Party, I was kind of looking over my shoulder
to see who they were talking about. And it works the other way around. People see you as charismatic
because you’re leading something, because your passion is showing,
because you believe! That is charisma. You will be put in a position of leadership from people who share your vision everybody in this room
is capable of doing that. And I’m betting that
every-single-body in this room has a dream
they’d like to see happen. Maybe you’d like to go to Mars. Maybe you’d like to end illiteracy. Teach two billion people to read. It feels scary. It feels impossible. But every-single-body in this room
is able of making it happen. Everyone of you. It is — and I’ll come a bit to that later. The next fear I had:
media! Oh, dear! Media! They’re gonna have me for breafast. It turned out that
it didn’t work that way, that was not in their interest. Turned out that reporters were individuals and some of those individuals
shared my passion shared my vision, and they just needed to —
sort of have a reason to write about it that they could justify
to their manager. People are individuals and there was absolutely
no interest in going out and picking a random guy on the street
and just tearing their dreams apart. There’s no media value in that. But presenting dreams —
there’s value in that. And again, systemic judo. When I came on
to my first live TV debate that was something really special. And as I came out of that debate, my opponent asked me a question. He asked me:
“You know, Rik, I’d still like to know the answer to that question
you didn’t get a chance to answer on air.” And I’d look at him and
I’d kinda go blank in that saying, “What question?” And I realized I have no collection
of the previous 15 minutes. My stress levels had been just stratospheric. But it turns out that
I looked at it I looked at it recorded felt kind of awkward,
but I realized I’ve been doing pretty well. I’ve been looking
like the authority I wanted to be. I’ve been giving the answers
that looked credible. And you learn, you learn — you get experience, and at some point, later,
when this happens you’re going to go
into CNN’s office, they’re going
to put you on a stool they’re going to say “Look into this
red cross — or white cross — on the wall”, they put floodlights
in your face it feels like this typical movie interrogation and they go
through the standards like: “We have this program, we expect
about 270 millions viewers tonight, the demographic divides
like this and this and this…” And the first time you hear that, you kind of stop after
“270 millions viewers” and rewind. But there’s another thing here. You remember,
I ran out of money I didn’t have enough money to run on so I asked people for donations. I was essentially
a beggar for 18 months. And to wrap this up
with feelings, I’d like to say that we feel that we can’t
beat the system we feel that authorities
we see on television are unattainable to us. That we could never
trade places with them. We feel that we’re up against unsurmountable odds
when we want to change the world. We’re not! The next time you see
somebody on television, remember that I started this movement
and I was begging people for money. I was living off of handouts, while on CNN, while changing the world. One debate at a time. You can do this! And you’ll feel fear, but everything is possible! Thank you! (Applause)

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Hello I have watched similar videos ,and now have political ideas to learn more follow me on twitter @politicianage14. Then ask me about an issue ,and I will give my best response.

  2. We need political movements training armed gunmen to liberate the USA from tyrant government. If all of Congress and Senate were murdered tomorrow it would be the best thing to ever happen in US history. We need to kill our way to fixing this.

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