PPI GA - Photo CC-BY-NC by Mike Herbst

PPI turns 7 years old, accomplishments over past year

The following article was written collaboratively by board members of PPI, several of whom are also part of the Pirate Times team. While PPI and Pirate Times are distinct organizations they maintain a working collaborative relationship to support Pirate Parties around the world.

The first General Assembly

In 2010, during April 16th-18th, Pirate Parties International (PPI) held its first General Assembly in Brussels. Pirate Parties from 24 countries came together and officially formed the organization. It was a unique initiative. One that surpassed the global reach of any other political party when Pirate Parties from around the world met together to create a supranational organization that would support them. PPI is a global umbrella organization like none other. One that increases awareness and assists the spread of the pirate movement.

PPI Statistics

  • 69 national Pirate Parties are documented on PPI’s website
  • 33 national parties are currently members of PPI
  • 28 national parties are currently active participants
  • 23 parties submitted delegates for the 2016 GA
  • 10 Pirate conferences took place prior to establishment
  • 10 General Assemblies took place since founding
  • 2 Think Twice Conferences took place (2014 in Frankfurt and 2015 in Istanbul)
  • 891,497 visits to the PPI website

Jump on board

On April 22nd, 2017, PPI will hold their 11th GA as an online General Assembly (GA). Members of PPI can submit delegates to vote on PPI statutes. Non-members can listen in and share their own feedback.

Let’s hear it from the board

PPI is a vessel as well as volunteers who push that vessel. As such, the organization is only as effective as the participants who assist. In honor of the event we asked each of the board members to briefly present what they see as the biggest accomplishment of PPI since the last GA and goals for the coming year.

Guillaume Saouli / Chairperson – Pirate Party of Switzerland / Council man

I am very glad to be surrounded by such an exceptional board. We are able to function as a team and contribute collectively to rapid changes in an organisation left to itself far too long.

Last July, our team (the new board) inherited a ship which was at bay. Our first priority was to bring it into a shape and state enabling us to go to sea. We were facing obvious and not so obvious challenges. These cover a broad array of domains: ranging from IT to social media and communication. Each board member has invested themselves tremendously over the past 9 months to make things happen. Re-establishing a climate of dialog, where the norm is fruitful discussions where everyone can benefit from these exchanges is our foremost preoccupation.

Recognizing the diversity and various levels of maturity of our constitutants is another one. Being able to support each and every pirate movement around the world with the apropriate engagement, tools and means. One shoe doesn’t fit all, each and every pirate party around the world has a different environment to deal with, and therefore the PPI needs to evolve in order to deliver in a sustainable manner. The road to achieve this isn’t obvious or easy, however it can only be achieved by fruitful dialogs rather then aggression. We, as pirates, have to acknowledge that every party is different, and this is a unique opportunity that can strengthen us.

Through establishing internal online democracy (a first since the inception of PPI) we have given the means to all members to participate in our development. This is our first and foremost achievement, in other words empowering the members of PPI to contribute to the destiny of the organisation.

Establishing a clear financial operation, and membership roster are two other key accomplishments of these first nine months. This required a huge time investment by the board members with over 3,000 hours volunteered over this period, which enabled us to complete 15 projects in various domains. Some others are still ongoing and will need a much larger time investment to complete them.

Bailey Lamon / Vice-Chairperson – Pirate Party of Canada

The current board has big goals for PPI. Personally I envision it becoming an open, collaborative hub for international coordination and to be able to provide practical support and resources to Pirate Parties and Pirate Activists. While an organization like PPI is obviously not required for Pirates around the world to connect and cooperate with each other, there is a lot of potential here. We are working hard to make PPI functional and usable for unified actions, building solidarity and taking advantage of its vast social network. We are all in the business of changing the world and shaking up current systems of power, and there is so much we have to offer “the cause” and each other in this vibrant community.

We still have a long way to go in terms of meeting our goals, which has disappointed and even angered some. There are those who truly believe that PPI has accomplished nothing over the years and that it should be dissolved entirely. Frustration is completely valid, but we want to assure everyone that we haven’t lost sight of the future and where we’re trying to steer the ship. It is simply not happening as quickly as expected, for a number of reasons that are largely out of our control. We are doing the best we can to overcome the challenges and while patience is not an infinite resource, patience is something we need now more than ever. I remain optimistic.

We hope that you will attend the upcoming online GA. The best thing that can happen right now is a constructive meeting with PPI members as well as non-members, and anyone who wants to help move this organization forward.

Thomas Gaul / General Secretary – Pirate Party of Germany,

Having served on the board before I can say, finally we have an eager and working team who all fit in with the goals of PPI. The achievements I have seen have been major ones compared to the very small steps in the past. Seeing this, it is about time to step forward with PPI and build up teams who will work to accomplish several goals we have assigned into tasks. As we know, a board in itself is nothing but teams who will make a living body out of PPI. I am thankful for working in a team with such great people.
A personal wish: I dearly hope those elected for a one year term will be reelected. They have deserved it for their very good work! And I wish we could visualize our real efforts since our past General Assembly.

Keith L. Goldstein / Treasurer – Pirate Party of Israel

Establishing our finances (wiki.pp-international.net/Finances) with a bank account in Switzerland and a Bitcoin exchange account has obviously been a major task. In the coming year, I would like to see us set up a crowdfunding campaign to sponsor a third Think Twice conference.

I also would like to see us develop a network of volunteers who can take greater ownership of PPI so that we can collaborate and communicate with greater frequency. PPI is in many respects an early global government, which protects individuals from the tyranny of national governments and corporations that seek to invade privacy and restrict freedom. While we are currently lacking substantial power, I believe we can become a formidable force by doing three things:

1) enabling national parties by helping countries that do not have an established political party with resources to create one and by providing services such as online voting systems

2) networking between members by sharing contact data and social media

3) gaining official status from international bodies, such as the UN.

Andrew Reitemeyer / Board Member – Pirate Party of New Zealand

I am excited by this board. We have, at long last, been able, with our move to Switzerland, to get ourselves a bank account – a task that has cost us many fruitless hours in the past. We are now looking outwards and onwards.

Raymond Johansen / Board Member – Pirate Party of Norway

It has been a privilege to get to know and to work with my board colleagues. I have seldom seen such dedication and professionalism. The big milestones, since we took over, seem to me, to be that we are now formally registered and as such have been able to establish banking relationships. We will now be able to actually fund our activities as a result. I am also proud to have been a small part of actually reestablishing contact with our members. The data we inherited was so poor that only one of the parties actually answered us when we first reached out.

I am elected for one year only so I will not speak too much about the future. But I do hope we let our chairs continue on the road to a strong organisation. Neither Rome nor any other city was built in a day, or even a year of hard work.

If the new board will let me, I will continue to be a part of developing this movement into a much more effective organisation, capable of much greater things.

I thank you all for your confidence and, as the MPAA would say: “Break a leg!”

International Seas Are Rough

Bringing different parties together from around the world, with distinct cultures and perceptions of the meaning of Pirateism, came with its own set of difficulties. Certain parties became more active, others decided to disaffiliate themselves, and yet PPI has persevered with the belief that by continuing this global movement with solidarity we can achieve many great things.

There is a Beacon of Light Out There

PPI is fighting problems that are much greater than any single party can fix, but they are optimistic that with everyone’s help PPI can achieve great things. There is a beacon of light out there, and it is you! For information on becoming a member of PPI or just volunteering, you can contact membership@pp-international.net

Featured image: CC-BY-NC, ubiquit23

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