The upstart, whose theme is Internet freedom, has had a string of wins in state races. But critics are skeptical that the self-proclaimed freaks will go far. Just a year ago, the Pirates, with a central campaign theme of Internet freedom, were considered a fringe party and had never made it even halfway to the 5% of the vote threshold needed to enter a statehouse.
Aaron Wiener is a senior editor in Mother Jones' Washington, DC, bureau. He previously worked as a reporter at the Washington City Paper, Berlin correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, and editor of the Washington Independent.
The migration began shortly after sundown. For most of the encampment's residents, it had become routine. State officials had swept the park and rousted its inhabitants four times the previous week, and four times the week before that. The residents started by taking down their roofs - tarps, mostly, sometimes patched together with umbrellas.