Polish Beer Lovers’ Party
When communism collapsed in Poland in 1989 there was a sudden transition to a democratic government. More than 100 political parties were hastily formed, ranging the entire political spectrum from the remains of the communist party to right-wing Christian fundamentalists. The first parliamentary election in 1991 was chaotic; everyone wanted their opinion on every issue heard. In the midst of this exciting time, a group of Poles decided to celebrate their newfound freedom by forming a party that showed how much they really liked beer.
Created by a Polish satirist, the Beer Lovers’ Party’s main campaign issue was to encourage a conversion from vodka drinking to beer drinking, which they felt was both tastier and would help to combat alcoholism. It was meant as a joke, but the symbolism was surprisingly potent; the idea of being able to talk politics at the pub represented the freedom of expression that was missing under the communist regime. That, plus the general confusion of a huge, complicated election, may explain why the Beer Lovers won an impressive 16 seats and 3% of the vote, solely on their “beer is awesome” stance.
Unfortunately, when the representatives showed up at parliament, presumably drunk, they realised they should probably take their jobs seriously. So the Beer Lovers began addressing actual issues, and eventually split into factions and fell apart. Now that Poland is all concerned with “the economy” and “foreign policy” and boring things like that, those that just want to get wasted are being tragically left out of the political system.
Youth International Party
The hippie movement of the 1960s is often exaggerated and prone to stereotypes, but the Youth International Party, or Yippies, as its members were called, reinforced every cliché you’ve ever heard. In fact, even by hippie stereotype standards they were pretty extreme (sorry, we mean far out) considering that their stated goal was to turn “Amerika” into a collectivist anarchist state. If you don’t know what that means, just picture endless food co-ops and free marijuana for everyone. It doesn’t sound so bad, until you realise this envisioned future would also involve an unlimited amount of beat poetry and Bob Dylan imitators.
Anyway, to accomplish this terrifying goal the Yippies tried to get as much media attention as they possibly could. They nominated a pig for President, they started a small riot at Grand Central Station and they shut down the New York Stock Exchange by throwing hundreds of dollar bills down from the visitor’s gallery. Oh, and one of the most prominent Yippies tried to give a speech at Woodstock, but Pete Townsend of The Who beat the s?*t out of him with his guitar. Take that, peace and love!
Their most famous stunt was a six day “festival” outside of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. What started as a protest soon turned into a riot that millions watched on television, and the whole affair culminated in a highly publicised five month trial. Yippie activity died down after that, although they still pulled stunts well into the 70s, and a small group of people, apparently unaware of what year it is, carry the movement on today. Ironically, one of the original and most influential Yippies became a successful businessman, proving that you’re never too old to abandon all of your political beliefs in an attempt to make a quick buck.
- - Union of Conscientiously Work-Shy Elements: http://www.toptenz.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/jacob_haugaard_kostume.jpg
- - Canadian Extreme Wrestling Party: http://z.hubpages.com/u/347680_f520.jpg
- - Rhinoceros Party of Canada : http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/rhino-party/gfx/durer-rhinoceros-392.jpg
- - Polish Beer Lovers’ Party: http://boakandbailey.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/zywiec.jpg
- - Youth International Party: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/Yippieflag.gif
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_Conscientiously_Work-Shy_Elements http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Extreme_Wrestling_Party http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhino_party http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Beer-Lovers%27_Party http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_International_Party