I happened to be looking up the story of a pirate captain named Sharpe and came across this little page. It gives a pretty interesting history of Sharpe that does indeed make him seem like a good character for a movie. But get this little bit of romanticism:Rediker is one of a growing band of historians who believe buccaneers of the golden age of Anglo-American piracy in the 17th and 18th centuries - the period that furnishes many of our modern ideas about the sea robber - practised a kind of brutal egalitarianism and proto-democracy that posed a serious political challenge to the authoritarian establishment of their time. Researcher Peter Linebaugh, has called pirate ships "17th-century Soviets on water".
Ballads and pamphlets describing exotic pirate utopias in which the common seaman was given a vote and a fair share of the booty abounded in the popular press during the period and there is evidence that there was reality behind these claims. Some say they helped inspire the American revolution.
And:Some researchers have claimed that pirates were also a model of sexual and racial tolerance, with homosexuality widespread and black people comprising a significant and influential part of many crews. There were black pirate quartermasters and captains and, although specifically banned by many ships' constitutions, some women were known to rise to the highest ranks.
Rediker compares this egalitarianism with the "quite horrific" inequality that was the reality on conventional merchant and naval ships. While a pirate captain is thought to have typically taken only one and a half times the bounty of a crew member, the pay ratios aboard a conventional ship were more likely to be 60:1. Discipline was vicious, hunger was the norm and to the men who suffered under this system, Rediker claims, piracy was a self-conscious act of rebellion.
You can tell why he compares it with the Soviet Union, right? Because the noble leaders of the worker's paradise didn't take much more than their grateful subject, right?