Pirate Party of Germany General Assembly November 2013
The General Assembly of the German Pirate Party was held in Bremen over the weekend of 30 November – 1 December 2013. It was held under the shadow of very disappointing national election results in September. The previous board was hampered by infighting within and a sustained campaign of trolling from elements in the Party who may possibly have been orchestrated from outside the Party. The recently elected Political Director, Katharina Nocum, also had to step down early. She had been elected only in the last GA in Neumarkt in May 2013. Being a student, she was unable to continue in such a demanding role and continue her studies without an income.
A New Board
The main aim of the congress was to elect a new board and to enable that board to work as effectively as possible. To this end two proposals were enacted.
The first was to restrict the size of the board and to clearly define the roles of its members.
The second was to enable paying board members who have restricted incomes such as in the case of Katharina Nocum, mentioned above. This is something Pirates need to consider, especially those with electoral success. Restricting office to only those who are independently financially secure is not very democratic – especially when they are working hard to ensure there are Pirate MPs on generous salaries.
The new leader of the national Party is 45-year-old software developer Thorsten Wirth from Frankfurt am Main with 78 percent of the vote against five other candidates.
“The Pirate Party was founded by people with common ideals and values. I would like bring these again into the limelight”, Wirth emphasized at the press conference.
Since 2007 he has been involved as a co-organizer of demonstrations and speaker on the topics of civil rights and data protection.He previously sat on the executive board from 2009 to 2010.
The new deputy leader of the Party is Carolin Mahn-Gauseweg. With nearly 60 percent, the 32-year-old engineer, received the most votes.
“I have set myself the goal of improving our visibility and to structure our substantive work. In addition, I aim to focus more on our core topics.” said Mahn-Gauseweg who was recently a board member of the Saxony Pirate Party. At the federal level, she has been significantly involved in matters of foreign/security policy and transport policy.
Björn Niklas Semrau was elected as the new Political Manger. 53 percent of the votes were cast for the 34-year-old IT expert. He will be responsible for the representing the party to the press and public and will coordinate thematic work.
‘I am happy that I was chosen and I will try to fill in the footsteps of my predecessor,’ Semrau said shortly after his election. He wants to bring the Pirate Party again to the public’s attention through spectacular and unique actions about civil rights and surveillance. Semrau is one of the founding members of the Germany Pirate Party (2006). Most recently, he coordinated the working group ‘foreign and security policy’. He also studied political science and history at the Technical University in Darmstadt.
The position of General Secretary was filled by Stephanie Schmiedke. She is from North Rhine Westfalia and is an
experienced “office Pirate”. Elected along side her are two deputies: Veronique Schmitz and
Gefion Thürmer who works for the German Pirate news service The Flaschenpost and with us on the Pirate Times team
The new Board is experienced with publicity and working with the press being strong points. Also there are members who have worked on the board before so there will not be a loss of institutional memory. This is important as they will have to turn the Party’s fortunes around before the European elections with a national press that has turned its attention away from the Pirates.
The position of Treasurer was filled by Stefan Bartels and a special motion was passed to allow him to retain his position as Treasurer for his State Party.
A team of auditors was appointed and a court of arbitration to deal with internal disputes.
European Pirate Party
Finally the members endorsed the creation of the European Pirate Party and signed up to its articles.
Martina Pöser, European coordinator of the Pirate Party Germany: said, ‘I am pleased that the European Pirate Parties now come together under a common umbrella organization and advocate, at European level, for the protection of civil rights, the reform of copyright, net neutrality and whistleblower protection.’
This article is based on information gleaned from the following sites
Featured Image: adapted from a photo by jonasginter CC BY-NC-SA
edit 9/12/13: spelling misstake