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The Pirate Party: Not just a fun birthday theme

Tired of the same old boring parties? Well Massachusetts has plenty of parties to join —the latest being the Pirate Party.

Tired of the same old boring parties?

Well Massachusetts has plenty of parties to join —the latest being the Pirate Party.

No, it’s not a theme party for someone’s birthday. It’s actually politics.

While the state’s officially recognized parties are Democrat, Republican and Green-Rainbow, there are nearly two dozen official political designations.

The Pirate Party is now one of them, standing for transparent government, people’s privacy and open innovation, said James O’Keefe, a co-founder of the state’s Pirate Party and a former Green-Rainbow candidate for state treasurer.

When asked about the name choice, O’Keefe said it may turn off some people, but it may also attract the “40 and under” demographic the party is aiming to bring in.

Pirates, he said, “elected captains … and they had control over what was going on in their lives and that’s something we feel people should have.”

The Somerville-based group, made up of about 100 people so far, joins the long list of designations on the secretary of state’s website.

The state’s simple requirements to become recognized allow for the nearly two dozen designations. You only need 50 registered voters requesting to be members of that party to become a political designation, according to the state’s general laws.

“It’s easier to become a designation than get your name off of the list,” said John Berg, a professor of government at Suffolk University.

Berg said minor parties form when people feel their ideas are not being represented or recognized by the major parties.

For the Pirate Party, candidates are a next step, but that’s a distant goal.

“It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon,” O’Keefe said.

 
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