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Action Plan 2012
This action plan for the PPI operations was written by Gregory Engels as his election program for the office of PPI Co-Chairman.
- 1 PPI Action Plan 2012/2013
- 1.1 1 Situation
- 1.2 2 General Strategy
- 1.3 3 Actions
- 1.3.1 3.1 Conferences
- 1.3.2 3.2 Cooperation
- 1.3.3 3.3 Lobby
- 1.3.4 3.4 Projects
- 1.3.5 3.4.1 International Pirate Archive
- 1.3.6 3.4.2 International Newsletter
- 1.3.7 3.4.3 Image Bank
- 1.3.8 3.4.4 Media Team
- 1.4 4 Conclusion
PPI Action Plan 2012/2013
Pirate Parties International exists to help establish, support, promote and maintain communication and co-operation between pirate parties around the world.
Pirate Parties International is an organisation which is constantly meeting new challenges and expanding its activities into new countries. The Pirate Movement keeps expanding to new regions. New Parties are being formed and existing ones are celebrating election successes. At the same time, established political actors have this success on their radar. They are beginning to notice pirate successes and they are starting the first counter-reactions aiming to ridicule the pirate movement as aimless, harmless and perhaps even dangerous.
The coming time for the Pirate Parties International will be crucial for it to prove itself in its intentions and capability to support the Pirate Movement, and in representing its goals at the international level.
2 General Strategy
To achieve its goals, PPI must develop a higher level of agility and effectiveness in its work and structures. PPI must concentrate on its core strengths and expanding from that to become a noticeable actor in the international political arena.
We need to strengthen the connections between the Pirate Parties worldwide and create structures that can constantly and quickly adopt to change.
2.1 More Opportunities for Interaction
Like every large political organisation, PPI can improve its functioning if all members contribute to the elaboration of a long-term strategy and to the creation of more opportunities for interaction.
One of the most fruitful and empowering aspects of PPI's work is the organisation of conferences. This should be extended with more conferences, distinct from the formal General Assembly meetings. This should happen with the organisation of topical conferences and regional meetings. Also, it makes sense to create meetings for communities of interest - such as meetings between the treasurers of the member organisations, or of the persons responsible for IT or press teams. The latter can be supported by remote voice/video conferences over mumble or telephone.
To achieve its goals, PPI needs to broaden its communications and optimise them to different channels, so they can reach the target audience in the most effective way.
2.2.1 towards Members
The communication towards PPI's members must focus on delivering and distributing the news of both the wider Pirate Movement and of PPI's internal developments. A member focused Newsletter (and Blog) needs to be established. This can also include the production of podcasts on parties' development. Experience has shown that it is not feasible to rely on PPI's members to deliver content for PPI's website, but rather we need be proactive by creating a team of authors and editors inside the PPI for content creation.
The internal developments communication needs change to the pro-active mode and streamline its distribution channel (e.g. the board's meeting minutes and other material needs to be published on the homepage in addition to the wiki, and an announcement of this publication needs to be sent out pro-actively)
2.2.2 towards Media
In the past, PPI's board handled the contacts with the media in a reactive way - mainly responding to requests from journalists. This is not sufficient for the PPI's role in international politics; a new, proactive approach must be implemented. PPI needs active press relations management and proactive communication towards press. A dedicated press relations team needs to be established, with direct responsibility for the team from the PPI's board.
The once established structure of dividing PPI's work into self-managed and self-organised Task-Forces has failed to deliver persistent results, with the notable exception of the translation task force. This is mainly because a lack of a leader has always led to a blatant lack of resources. To address this, the work structure of the PPI needs to change for the following two principles: First: all PPI undertakings should have a project oriented approach, with clear goals, plan and structure. Second: It needs to follow more the structure of the service-groups with a leader appointed by the board and taking responsibility for the project. This leader should also plan the resource need and recruit volunteers to be part of their service-group or project team. However, having a more rigid structure and an appointed leader does not mean that we are abandoning the advantages the open task-forces have had - it will still be possible for anyone to participate and have a democratic influence on the work, it is just that PPI's board and members will have a clear communication entry point into every group.
PPI's funds and resources are very limited, so in order to fulfill its goals, broadened financing must be established. Income from memberships fees is the most obvious solution, however a way needs to be found that is satisfactory to all members. In the end, it is the task of the General Assembly to decide on this. PPI also need to find additional funding sources - by structuring its work into projects, it will be able to apply for both public and private grants. A donation system needs to established that will allow for easier contributions from individuals. (For instance, right now there is no "donate" button on the PPI homepage).
To fulfill the topics outlined in the general strategy section following concrete actions needs to be executed
Instead of having only one conference per year, in the following 2012/2013 board period, four to five conferences should be conducted.
3.1.1 Regional Conferences
Despite PPI being a worldwide organisation with Members from all continents, the PPI Conferences happened to be only in Europe. There are several reasons for this; one is the concentration of democratic evolved countries with Pirate Parties in Europe, and the other is the lack of resources in the Pirate Parties outside Europe to organise a large international conference. One of the solutions for this is the organisation of regional conferences, as it would bring the pirates together from the regions that are lacking the opportunity for a larger gathering and exchange.
184.108.40.206 Latin and South America
A regional PPI conference in South America will make the most impact on new Pirate Parties in that continent - so far only the Pirate Party of Brazil is a PPI Member. Having a regional conference could introduce the Pirate Parties of Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Panama, Ecuador, Costa Rica and El Salvador to the PPI's work.
220.127.116.11 North America
A regional PPI conference in North America can help exchange the experience between the Pirate Party of Canada with their US and Mexican colleagues, seeding impulses for developing regional party structures. So far, only the Pirate Party of Canada is a PPI Member and they have already started collecting election experiences and campaign expertise. Besides the Pirate Party of Florida who has become first PPI Observer Member from North America, there are a number of other state Parties in the US that could benefit from a PPI Regional Conference.
18.104.22.168 Other Region
If resources permit, a third or even forth Regional Conference in Northern Africa and/or Balkan Region could be conducted. Both regions have Pirate Parties facing comparable challenges and sharing a relativly similar stage of development.
3.1.2 Topical Congress
In addition to the annual PPI General Assembly that is dominated by formal statutory tasks like elections and inclusion of new Members, a broader events for exchange and development on core pirate topics should be conducted. Those should have a character of a congress, by facilitating a space for a dialog between pirates, research experts and stakeholders of all kinds.
22.214.171.124 Patents Congress
One of the topics to start with for such a topical congress is the discussion on patents. Pirates have already a strong opinion on some patents issues, like the patents on software and life forms, but many other issues need a deeper dive into this matter in order to develop more concrete positions. This Congress probably needs to happen in Europe, because the Pirate Parties capable of organising such an international event are concentrated here.
3.1.3 Next GAs
In order to simplify the travel arrangements for PPI members and the conference planning, the date and location for the next ordinary General Assembly should be called for proposals as soon as possible - PPI conferences will grow in the future, so having more time for organising them is essential. Similarly, the planning of the conference after the next one should also be started now, so that it will be known more than a year in advance, which could also allow bids from smaller Pirate Parties by giving them more time for finding the resources and solving organisational challenges.
PPI needs to create more opportunities for cooperation, both internally and externally
Internal cooperation means bringing together the communities of interest of the PPI Members by providing opportunities for regular exchange - for example, as a regular mumble conference of parties treasures and financial officers, or those responsible for IT. On some occasions, even organising a physical meeting might be feasible. Besides the administrative communities of interests, there should also be communities for municipal politicians, the student wings, youth parties, and so on (as long as they don't have their own umbrella organisations set up).
Pirate Parties International needs to get in contact and explore the possibilities of cooperation with the friendly NGOs like Free Software Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Knowledge International, Global Network Initiative, and so on. It might be possible to set up mutual projects, or just finding opportunities for personal exchange.
PPI should make more use of its unique position as an international NGO to lobby Pirate Politics into areas that are unreachable for its Members on their own. Below are some areas (not definitive) of some opportunities for influence in the international political arena.
3.3.1 Comments Process
Many international institutions are calling for comments from the civil society on its legislation. Some of those calls for comments are fitting into areas the Pirate Parties are concerned about and where they have formulated policy. PPI should channel those policies into the consultancy's processes.
126.96.36.199 EU Consultancies
Several bodies of the European Union are running public consultancies. Some Pirate Parties have participated in these processes in the past. However, a lot of opportunities have gone unused or even unnoticed. PPI need to have an appointed coordinator (see 2.3) for creating a team for monitor the opportunities for consultations and to assess the topics for how it may be affecting the pirate platforms. This team should also work closely with the Pirate MEPs.
188.8.131.52 CC 4.0
Creative Commons are in the process of issuing the updated version of its licenses, and have publicly asked for input on the first public draft . Two more drafts are to come. As many Pirate Parties have been involved in actively proposing CC-compatible legislation in their respective countries, it should be in the interest of PPI to develop a comment on the proposed CC-4.0 draft.
3.3.2 EU Lobby Register
As the Pirate Parties are advocating political transparency, the PPI should register itself in the EU Lobby register, even if not yet required by the EU to do so.
3.3.3 Observer Memberships
One of the functions of an International Political body is to interact with the those making International policy. This can also happen by the means of applying for observer memberships at those organisations. Some of them have more priorities, however:
PPI meet the requirements for applying for an observer memberships at the WIPO. If such status will be granted, it will allow us to send observant Pirate delegations to WIPO events, such as the WIPO Assembly (this year it is from October 1st to 9th in Geneva) where the topics of patents, copyright, trademarks and so-called "Intellectual Property" are discussed. We should not leave this field of lobbying to the entertainment industry, but instead we should communicate the Pirate view on those topics.
United Nations Economic and Social Council is one of the most important UN bodies, responsible for 70% of the UN financial and humanitarian resources. It conducts a series of regular events and have 3200+ observers from NGOs. The Pirates should be concerned, as the ECOSOC is one of the bodies that covers humanitarian affairs and also global technical questions. PPI should apply for the observer status at those meetings, as soon as its meet the admission criteria. The ECOSOC observer status also grants access to most other UN bodies and meetings.
The UN Human Rights Council conducts a periodic Universal Periodic Review which PPI could participate in regardless of ECOSOC observer status. In this Report, the UN evaluate on a 4 year cycle the status of the human rights in every country of the world. This might be the key to point out the lack of democratic structures in the countries of PPI Members.
As outlined in the strategy section 2.3, the PPI should conduct its work in a project structure, with clear responsibilities, goals, scope and resources. Below is a non-definitive list of projects that needs to be started in order to fulfill the PPI goals of supporting the Pirate Movement.
3.4.1 International Pirate Archive
The first Pirate Party started only six years ago, yet it is already difficult to impossible to find information from the early days. The first version of the Piratpartiet website is probably gone for ever, as it has not been cached by the Way-back-Machine of Archive.org. Regardless of how the Pirate Parties will develop, it is important to conserve the documents (and this includes both electronic and physical resources) of Pirate Parties for the future research to come. By having described a clear structure and goals of the International Archive of Pirate Movement, it will be possible to apply for grants and funding, which we can use to fund a team of professional archivists sourced through PPI Members, and even to join the Section on Political Archives of the International Council on Archives 
3.4.2 International Newsletter
An international newsletter should be issued by a PPI team, that will target distributing the news and best practices of the Pirate Movement. This will need to have a proper journalistic setup - with a group of authors and editors and with a schedule of topics. A good structure to copy here is from the successful newsletter of the Pirate Party of Germany the "Flaschenpost".
3.4.3 Image Bank
We need a Pirate Image Bank for collecting and tagging of pirate related pictures, graphics, videos and similar material. It needs to hold copyright free material, but be flexible enough to take into account of the different free licenses that are "out there". This Image Bank could be used by the PPI Newsletter, the PPI Members and by general Press.
3.4.4 Media Team
This team should fulfill the "communication toward media" strategy, by creating an infrastructure capable of distributing the press releases and addressing the international media.
We must approach the challenges ahead with both determination and enthusiasm. Now is the time where our movement needs to have a sense of purpose and unity, to take on head-first those who are working hard behind the international scenes to erode the human rights in the name of fighting "terrorism" or "the protection of children", while all they are longing for, in truth, is to gain control and to protect their outdated business models. We must not let those forces prevail.