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Interview :: Organizing
Pirates Against Bush: Students Get Active
08 Jul 2004
Pirates Against Bush, a new, student-run, local, activist group hopes to raise enthusiasm for politics and combat apathy with fun costumes, colorful attitudes, but serious issues. Just what is Pirates Against Bush? I talked to Captain Laura and Squashbuckler Eric to find out.
Pirates Against Bush: Young Activists with Flare

The homepage for the new activist group Pirates Against Bush (PAB) proclaims that: "Pirates Against Bush is a small group of, well to put it simply, pirates. We are dissenters, subversives, activists, radicals, fighters, lovers, protesters, revolutionaries, culture jammers, and rebels. A motley crew to be sure. In true pirate fashion, we find the administration currently in place to be stifling, oppressive and all-together bad for our health. As is evident by our name this group was created with the mission of getting George W. Bush OUT of office. " There flyers declare "It's time to take more action then the ballot." They have been spotted in Copley Square, donning pirate outfits and waving pirate flags, at local healthcare rallies, gay rights marches, and even on No Censorship Radio (88.1 fm operating out of M.I.T. in Cambridge). With 30 members on their site in less than two months and an newsletter email list with about the same size, PAB has grown rather quickly. But just what is Pirates Against Bush? In a phone interview with the founder of the group, who goes by Captain Laura, and a quick interview with Squashbuckler Eric, I got more information.
“I started [P.A.B.] because I’ve always been drawn to the performing arts as protest and social commentary, and I feel that there are a lot of aspects of street theater in Pirates, like our costumes, etc. Besides that, I felt really frustrated with the number of apathetic youth out there, and that frustration coupled with the belief that protests with a certain theatrical flare or outlandish element are not only more fun and engaging for the activists, they often peak the interest of passerby’s more. Argg,” she said.
(Pirates are shown at a rally they organized on June 5th, 2004, in solidarity with worldwide protests against Bush and the Iraq War.)
Pirates Against Bush: Young Activists with Flare

I still wasn't all to sure why pirates had been chosen. After all, aren't pirates notorious for being raping, pillaging, and murdering outlaws?
? “Pirates are not only swashbucklingly exciting and roguely mysterious, but they are also that the group that traditionally thumbs its nose at the current system of government. Though pirates have been historically known to be a generally mean spirited bunch, our crew is pretty friendly.”
The crew consists mostly of high school students, including Captain Laura and her other close comrades who organize meetings, rallies, interviews, a mailing list, and their website. The group also contains at least one college student and around five adults, whose ages are not certain.
Pirates Against Bush has not recieved a warm welcome from the activist community. "It's hard when you're just getting started, because people are very wary of you," says Squashbuckler Eric, a moderator on the site among other things. Pirates has tried to work closely with other activists groups, but only Bl(A)ck Tea Society has expressed any real interest. Pirates did hold a Flag Day demonstration outside the Hynes Convention Center T stop on Newbury street with members of the Anarchist Social Club, where they waved a black flag and passed out flyers asking the pedestrians who received them to think about what the United States flag stood for and questioned the need for the national holiday. (In photo, Squashbuckler Eric waving the Jolly Roger at a PAB rally)
Pirates Against Bush: Young Activists with Flare

Pirates Against Bush will be tabling at Bl(A)ck Tea Society's "Really, Really Democratic Bazaar" on July 27th during the Democratic National Convention (DNC). When asked why Pirates Against Bush would be protesting the DNC at the bazaar and at a rally the day before, Captain Laura said, "We are going to be at the DNC because we are pirates against what Bush stands for, and this election year we have found that what Bush stands for often transcends political party lines." She also added that "Pirates Against Bush is not Pirates for Anyone but Bush or Pirates for Kerry, but we welcome all political affiliations. Our unifying factor is that we are pirates who oppose Bush, but within that, we leave a lot of room for personal interpretation. Pirates contains different political affiliations, from Democrats to anarchists." Most PAB members were already politically active, and saw Pirates as a way to more effectively work against the things they opposed; namely, George W. Bush and everything his administration stands for. The group is also opposed to all forms of oppression, from racism to sexism to homophobia to social classes. The group would also like to clarify that statements of revolution and "more action than the ballot" are not calls to arms, but rather statements that people must be active. They do not believe in illegal actions, and they consider revolution necessary in the brain, not on the streets. "People need to have a revolution in the way they think and act. I personally have a big problem with advertising, capitalism, and the two party system as well, but I am not asking anyone to do anything irrational, but rather to start questioning the foundation. May I recommend reading Culture Jam?" states Squashbuckler Eric, referring to the book by Adbusters founder Kalle Lasn. The book talks about mental revolution and a massive nonviolent movement against big business.
Pirates Against Bush will be having their first official meeting on Monday, July 12, at 6 pm. They request that anyone interested in coming, being on the mailing list, or anyone who has questions to email them at PiratesAgainstBush (at)
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