A weekend in Paris, the Extraordinary Assembly of the French Pirates 2012
A week after the disciplined but turbulent annual general meeting of the French pirates, which took place on 21 October, the well known French paper Le Monde published an accurate picture of the event:
“The French Pirate party (1000 members) held a rather disciplined but very emotional internal revolution at the meeting. The ‘line of command’ was too pyramidical according to the opinions of the members. Several regions in France, far from Paris and representing a large proportion of the French Pirates, felt they were being left out of ‘the decision-making’. Although the now former board was already doing a great job working on these actual problems, it turned out to be ‘not quick enough’ and hence amendment 13 was passed. Or like some put it, ‘shoved down the throat legally'”.
What is this amendment 13 about?
It is a demand for a political structural change. Basically the Parti pirate becomes ‘more social/horizontal’ through using a bureaucratic model without a president. The current presidency (2 co-presidents) is replaced with a national committee composed out of a board of elected members from the regional sections. In France there are 27 administrative regions. But not all regions have (enough) active pirates to elect an official regional committee and so far only 9 regions have an active section.
The problem behind the passing of amendment 13 was that this was only possible because of a huge number of new members (an estimated 60% in one year). These new members were not fully aware of the changes brought on the way by the sitting board. Actually what occurred is that Parti pirate got what could be called a populistic outcome from the voting.
Framing the problem in a simple picture: there is a goal (actual change for the better), a driver (management) and a vehicle (organisation) with a load (the members). The problem is how to get the load to the goal. The old situation was that the Pirates had just changed both their vehicle and driver, but the progress towards the goal was too slow. Whilst still working on implementing the new changes, the load decided to abandon the vehicle and change its driver at the same time. The solution became amendment 13, a proposal for an upgrade and extra fine tuning.
The irony is that the new vehicle is a model based on a similar, but older model, that was previously abandoned by the same Parti pirate!
The new organisation is based on the premise that although the change is radical, a president is not compatible with the autonomous and horizontal values of the Pirates and the internet itself. After this first organisational ‘shock’ things will find their balance and Parti pirate will move towards a shared goal, making liberty more concrete, a claim true claim on equality and a strengthened brotherhood. (based on Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité, the French Republic slogan).