Germany















The two-year prison sentences handed down to Pussy Riot supposedly revealed how oppressive and backwards Putin’s Russia is, in contrast to our Western democracies. But now three colorfully ski-masked Germans who tried to stir a commotion at the historic Cologne Cathedral earlier this week are staring at the possibility of three years behind bars. Any guesses on what would happen to a U.S. Pussy Riot, assuming some sort of terrorism charges would be thrown at them?


Over the last few years, flash mobs have gradually shifted from annoying to terrifying. Via CNN:

A German neo-Nazi group has been harnessing 21st century technology to stage terrifying flash-mob protests that echo the fascist torch rallies of the 1930s.

In a demonstration on May 1st in Bauzen, Germany hundreds of black-clad figures with white masks suddenly converged in a street carrying torches and signs with extreme nationalist slogans. The group uses an outdated word – ‘Volkstod’ – on their signs, the newspaper noted, intentionally harking back to the days of the national socialism. It’s a turn of phrase that neo-Nazis use to describe what they perceive as the degredation of the German race taking place under democratic government.

A Neo-Nazi group in the state of Brandenburg called ‘Spreelichter’ first came up with the idea of organizing flash mob protests in 2009, according to Die Zeit.






Piraten ParteiWould be great if this caught on in the United States. As David Meyer writes on GigaOM:

In the furores over SOPA, CISPA and similar bills, many have suggested that politicians just don’t get technology. That’s not an accusation that can be leveled at the Pirate movement, which is gaining traction in Europe at impressive speed.

The Pirates saw their first major electoral success in the European elections of 2009, when voters in the movement’s birthplace of Sweden returned a Pirate to the European Parliament. The Swedes didn’t vote the Pirates into their own legislature, mind you, but now big wins are coming in Germany, the continent’s largest economy and the ideological home of the hacker movement.

Why Germany? Because that’s what the Pirates are trying to do: hack politics, in the sense of making-and-tweaking-stuff sense, rather than destroying it. The movement may have begun with a narrow focus on intellectual property, but it has developed into an attempt to make the political process transparent — and of course better suited to the digital age.