[pp.int.general] Amendment proposals

Andrew Norton ktetch at gmail.com
Sun Feb 20 04:42:13 CET 2011

Hash: SHA1

On 2/17/2011 11:41 PM, Boris Turovskiy wrote:
> Hi Andrew,
> I do not have formal problems with your proposed amendments, but I do
> have issues with the ideas.
>> (4) Member Organizations are represented at any meeting of the
>> General Assembly by a delegate or delegates not exceeding two from
>> any one Member Organization.
>> *This is changed from six to two. Six gives extraordinary weight to
>> parties local to the event's location (especially those representing the
>> host country), who can steer the actions to methods more preferential to
>> them, rather than to the organisation and movement as a whole. An
>> international body should represent the whole membership, not be biased
>> by the local groups.
> The rule in place is one country - one vote, just for the reasons you
> name. Thus, the number of delegates is by itself not really relevant to
> any decision-making.

Then why not 'one vote, one 'man'"? Why six?

>> (8) The location of the General shall be held in preference in a country
>> that has not hosted before. In addition, no more that two consecutive
>> General Assembly's may be held on the same continent.
>> * This codifies what has been the general rule for these events back to
>> 2007, when the first one was held. The second part also ensures that it
>> does NOT remain held in Europe, or indeed any other continent should
>> another regional group control the board. In other words, it reaffirms
>> the internationalism of a group that deems itself 'international'.
> Now if we're talking about fairness here, please keep in mind that we
> have some 30 Pirate Parties in Europe as opposed to 10 in America (N&S)
> and a handful on the other continents.
> Also, we shouldn't bar for ourselves the possibilities to seize
> opportunities which provide funding (like the EU refund offered by
> Brussels last year).
> Thus, I wouldn't codify rulings on the GA location in the statutes; we
> should, however, be working on providing better opportunities for remote
> participation.

I think the EU refund is a perfect example of 'why'. And since there are
no areas with such a concentration of countries as Europe (around 50,
compared to 35 for the whole of the Americas, 53 for Africa, and 48 for
Asia, and we all KNOW Erupe's far smaller) the fact there are more
parties there means it'll ALWAYS be held there. The EU refund wasn't an
'opportunity' that needed seizing either. Technically, it was paying
some costs for EU citizens to tour the EU parliament (or similar). The
funding was always available, but only to the 'locals', and not ACTUALLY
for the event itself, so it' a bit of a red herring, not to mention
terribly unfair to those who had the greatest burden of traveling costs.

>> (1) To that end, any and all positions in member organizations (except
>> for that of 'ordinary member') must be terminated before taking office
>> * This is just plain self-evident. An officer of PPI can not represent
>> PPI _and_ a member party. The potential for conflicts of interest are
>> too high. (for a real life example, look at Ban Ki-Moon, who resigned
>> his post in the South Korean Govt. after being elected UN Sectary General.
> We've had this discussion already. I oppose the amendment for two reasons:
> - Technically, there are just not that many Pirates who have the wish
> and the time for active participation (which, in turn, is a prerequisite
> for some position in a national party or the PPI). The amendment would
> simply mean that we further limit the possible candidatures for PPI
> positions, and it's not like we have an onslaught of candidates as it is.
> - Ideologically, your argumentation about "conflict of interest" is
> honed at the PPI being a political entity by itself, which it explicitly
> is not, but rather a service-providing coordination platform. It does
> not have any binding powers over the national parties, and it doesn't
> (or, at least, shouldn't have) any "positions" of its own which are not
> defined by the member parties. Thus, the "conflict of interest" idea
> does not apply at all. However, should we introduce the proposed
> arbitration court whose function is to impose sanctions, I would
> advocate that such a provision is indeed included.
> Finally, if the participants of the General Assembly feel that somebody
> is not fit for office they can just elect someone else, no need for a
> statute change:)

But it *IS* fundamentally a political entity. Maybe not in the fact it
directly competes in elections, but in that it was created for a
political purpose, with political aims, and works to promote, spread and
further political parties. That fits the definition of a 'political
entity' to me.

I could take your idea that it's a 'service providing coordination
platform', if it was entirely "back office". However the promotion and
creation of parties is not coordination, it's public-facing, ditto press

There is an nearly exact analogue to PPI in the US. It's the National
Committees of the political parties (there are no national parties in
the US, only state parties that join a committee group, which is run
kinda like PPI is, only on a national level instead of international).

The point of such an organisation is to support all the members, though.
And when the officers also have ties to certain members of that
organisation, official ties (rather than just locational ties) the
motivation of work done overall can't help but be affected, or worse,

>> (7) The meetings are public unless one third of the members of the
>> Board vote in favor of a non-public meeting. The decision to hold a
>> secret meeting must be motivated. Minutes of public meetings have
>> to be published, in written form, not less than two weeks after the
>> meeting. The Board has to inform the General Assembly on its next
>> meeting on the fact of non-public meetings.
>> * While voice chats seem to be the rage, the problem is they're not very
>> good as records. We have one audio file for the meeting, consisting of
>> voices which may be muffled, and comprise people that are often speaking
>> English as a second language. It's INCREDIBLY difficult to understand
>> for some people. It's also not searchable/indexable. Finally, it's quite
>> discriminative against the deaf. Thus a written log. It's much easier to
>> see what happens, to follow the conversation, to accurately quote the
>> actions of the board. It's also just good practice for access for the
>> handicapped. Really, this is a no-brainer.
> Do you mean "no more than two weeks after the meeting"?:)

Actually, I copied the text from the statues as they are now, the only
change was adding 'in written form'. It's on the 10th page of the PDF
It says there 'no less than'. Maybe with more time than an hour to look
over them before they were passed, basic errors like this might have
been spotted.

> Basically, I follow your argumentation, but the question arises what
> minutes are, as it is already the case that abstracts with a list of all
> major decisions are published. If you mean verbatim transcriptions, it's
> quite difficult to find people who are able to actually write such
> minutes (in a quality that allows for "following the conversation").
> Besides, the voice recording would still be required for checking
> whether some statement is correct. Finally, that is a point defined by
> the Board's rules of procedure, not by the statutes - the statutes
> should only require for the accountability to be possible in theory (as
> they do now).

Your point is valid, assuming meetings ONLY take place via voice. Many
of us have meetings in our own parties, online, and use TEXT. In fact,
the old coreteam used text, in the form of IRC, which allows for clear
reading of text, much greater access (I have net access when I don't
have phone access, plus net access is 'free'), and is not discriminatory
on the hearing impaired. Some clients can even do translations, for
those that don't speak/read english (mibbit, for instance) and it can be
set up to allow 5 to speak, and 5,000 to just READ.
Oh, and it's much easier to reference things than in voice chat. Drop a
video link, etc. and everyone has access to it.

>> (9) Board members may be removed by a special vote of no confidence by
>> the General Assembly members. Said vote requires 72 hours notice. The
>> vote will be open to all member organizations, one vote per
>> organization, and the results will be published on the . Should the vote
>> pass by 50%+1, the Board member will be removed from the position
>> immediately, and be prohibited from running for election to the board
>> for a period of 12 months.
>> * For a political movement where so many members have 'accountability'
>> as a key principle, or underlying message, there is a clear and obvious
>> lack of any sort of accountability for the board. At present, the _only_
>> way to remove a board member is to hold a general assembly meeting
>> (either the regular one, or an emergency one) which requires a 5 week
>> lead-time. That's a long time to leave someone who is thought to be
>> acting 'badly' in place, PLUS it requires the entire board to be
>> re-elected. The barrier is also higher than the extrodinary meeting
>> route, as reflects the abbreviated timescale.
> - Do you really mean "all member organizations" as opposed to "ordinary
> members"?
> - What is the time-scale and the quorum of the vote? If the entire vote
> is to be held inside 72 hours, and the majority required be relative
> (50%+1 of the organization participating), that would make it easy to
> launch a campaign and be over with it with the majority of the members
> not even realizing what's going on. Moreover, as members are
> democratically organized they cannot just vote as soon as they get the
> notice but need to consult.

72 hours is just the minimum time between the notification of the vote,
and the vote starting. It's not just 'ok we're having one, and it's got
to be done in 3 days'

It's not even a fully complete method, just a starting poitn to work on.

> I do, however, support the notion itself, as long as it includes (1)
> notification requirements - every member entitled to vote is to be
> notified of a pending vote, (2) an absolute majority of the members to
> pass, (3) a time scale reasonably allowing each member to make an
> informed democratic decision, (4) an arbitration procedure allowing to
> check the validity of the vote for both parties and (5) a replacement
> ruling  - should the election runner-up take the place of the departed
> Board member or should it remain vacant?
> If we find a solution to (1)-(4), we can also take up a provision on
> statutes amendments and other decision-making between GA meetings, as it
> is the framework for remote voting:)
Let's see (just suggestions)
1) notifications via email to be sent out every 24 hours starting 72
hours before the vote (so there should be 4, at 72, 48, 24 and 0 hours
before voting opens). Maybe sent to both the 'registered delegate(s)',
AND the general contact email for the party
2) As I said, 50%+1
3) I thought maybe 48 hours?
The problem here is in these situations, it can often be time critical,
to 'deal' with things. Someone acting 'very badly' can't be left in
place for the 5-6 weeks which is the only way to remove people at
present, plus it doesn't stop the person running unopposed.
4) Easy, publish the votes, after the close of voting. This is something
that needs to be done openly.
5) I thought open up for a special election.

>> (2) The Treasurer supervises the Pirate Parties International budget and
>> reports to the Board, and the representatives of the General Assembly
>> every three months.
>> * This just adds in the mater of informing the GA of the budget, as it
>> is, after all, them that are contributing.
> Agreed on that one.
>> Most of my suggestions are fairly clear, and are nothing more than
>> applying Pirate Party principles, to the structure of PPI. In effect,
>> showing that we will work by the rules and ideals we champion.
> As I said before, you're too much taken in with the idea that the PPI is
> some sort of "Global Pirate Party" and should therefore adhere to the
> same principles the parties themselves do. That is not the case.
> Best regards,
> Boris

Not that it's a party, but that it is a political organization, with a
public face, that represents the parties globally (just ask Gregory and
Jerry how many times they've done a talk/speech as 'co-chair of PPI'

If it was nothing more than a 'global switchboard' for the parties,
nothing more than a group that deals only with existing parties, then
I'd be right behind you. It's not though. In fact, that seems to be a
job they've mostly avoided.

In attempting to represent the 'pirate party brand', on a global scale,
it HAS to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well.


- -- 
Andrew Norton
Tel: (352)6-KTETCH [352-658-3824]
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