I ran to become a member of the Pirate Parties International board in the PPI GA in 2012, shortly after I was appointed the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). This is my report on my experiences as a member of the board and my overall feelings about how Pirate Parties International (PPI) works as well as a report of my activities while taking the position that I was entrusted with.
To start out, I must say that I missed probably more meetings than any other member of the board. This was a combination of life circumstances, and my general apathy towards PPI which I will elaborate on further. I was initially responsible for redmine, which was handed over to others because of my inability to successfully work the system and due to it’s strain it put on me. I was to organize meetings, which I did poorly, mainly due to my lack of attendance. In general I would rank my job success at a D-, my saving grace being helpful and innovative when I did participate.
One of the biggest failings of PPI’s internal structure is it’s adherence to bureaucracy and rules for everything. Creating tasks, assigning tasks, giving updates on tasks, etc. The majority of meetings was spent on what we had been doing, and not on ideas of what we could do in the future. Current events were not discussed, and it seemed like delegation was the name of the game. Create committees, create bureaucracy, discuss it, make sure everything is accountable. Instead of using redmine, I would encourage a simple to-do list be created, things that had deadlines would have the deadline listed and then the person who was in charge of it would be expected to have it done by then. If they didn’t then they would need to account for their inability to do their job, if it was done nothing else would be needed. Ongoing tasks would be overseen by the co-chairs every few weeks they could send an email asking about the task to ensure that the person was still doing it.
As far s the body of PPI is concerned, we need to have more respect for each other. We have more infighting than we do outwards fighting against people who are actively trying to destroy the future. It is pathetic that we need to threaten legal action against each other, and blame people for stupid stuff. I believe that Ed was an amazing asset to Pirates everywhere, but instead of anyone stepping up and saying “hey, what can I do to help you” they treated him like their whipping boy and just added more and more work onto him. The mailing list is always full of hate, and people thinking that the Pirate Party is not good enough, but not stepping up themselves to actually fix anything.
I don’t believe PPI even needs to exist as an official body. As pirates we are able to organize ourselves freely, I think we have found that even our rules for acceptance of parties into PPI were nearsighted and didn’t (and can’t) account for every kind of political structure around the world, and social issues that make politics different everywhere. Catalonian Pirates are still Pirates, it’s not our place to determine if they are not piratey enough for us, or if they are a “country”, “state”, “province”, or regional autonomous government and if that disqualifies them from membership.
Currently most PPI infrastructure is already donated by the Germans, so we don’t need PPI to officially exist to have the mailing lists. I believe it was the Brits who established PirateIRC, or whoever did it, it’s not a PPI project. The only “PPI Project” that has really been successful was the Pirate Times, and that is successful in spite of PPI, not because of it. A news organization which promotes Pirate ideology and supports international Pirate Parties, this was more of something that was bound to happen and is not thanks to PPI.
PPI GAs are a joke, we spend hours discussing if the rules are acceptable, then more hours determining if a Pirate Party is piratey enough for us, or if two parties can come from one country, etc. Of course, the only real thing that they vote on after becoming a member of PPI is the new board which helps determine the next PPI GA location and voting on new members who can further debate endlessly about new rules of procedure and arguing if they are carried out correctly. Instead, it is mine (and the Pirate Party of Canada’s) official position that PPI as a body is abolished and GAs happen through mutual agreement by countries (whoever steps up and shows the real initiative to get something going will host the GA), and then those meetings should be mostly about how we can advance our parties and have panels and open discussions.
I will conclude this by saying that while, yes, I had failed PPI and there can be no arguing that point. The Pirate Party movement has been failed by a body which does nothing but play mock government and whose only goal is to perpetuate itself… there is no reputation to tarnish because PPI is largely ignored by the members of it and a benefit to no one other than the people who get fancy titles and a nice boost to their ego, myself included.
You can download the PDF of this report here