Board Report Spring 2020

Since our last General Assembly in December 2019, the PPI board along with our members have been very busy with activities and projects that we hope will benefit the Pirate movement long-term.

The board currently meets every 3 weeks on Discord. We also hold online socials known as ‘Pirate Beer’ every 3 weeks which is a fun, agendaless online gathering for all Pirates. This is in addition to a number of standing committee meetings with specific discussion topics, sometimes resulting in projects and initiatives. The idea behind the standing committees is to get Pirates talking to each other about how they do their work, what they require in terms of international support and the role that PPI can play in that work. One of our ‘big questions’ as a board and something we try to keep in mind at all times is ‘what is our purpose?’, in other words, how PPI can practically benefit our members, and what do our members need that we can possibly provide. The standing committees have been particularly helpful in understanding this.

  1. Standing Committee on Universal Liason on Party Labour (SCULL)

This is the standing committee that focuses on inter-party cooperation and getting people from different parties who do particular kinds of work talking to each other and colaborating. The first SCULL meeting focused on IT, while the 2nd focused on graphics and design. Two major things came from these meetings:

--> Participants came to an agreement that PPI should be providing more IT support to members, including 'tech packages' that include website hosting, a mail server, and a set of basic tools that are popular among Pirates (ex. Mumble, Etherpad). This is something that can and should be provided to new Pirate Parties who want them as well as any Pirates who could use that support. We developed a much better understanding of our technological capabilities with ISPconfig and we learned that we can already provide these things, it just was not well-known before. 
--> An idea was brought to us at the graphics and design meeting to set up a PPI grapics vault for members to store and share their graphics with each other. After lots of debate around how to go about that, we agreed to use Nextcloud for this and a server was set up: All Pirates are welcome to register there and hook up their own Nextcloud servers to ours so it is a more federated setup. The idea is to make it possible for you to share whatever you want easily while also having control over what gets shared and with whom. 

We had hosted two meetings of SCULL so far.

  1. Standing Committee on External Networking Engagement (SCENE)

This standing committee focuses on public relations, campaigning and media work in the Pirate movement. We learned a lot about how our members conduct this work, and we looked at three open-source tools that PPI would like to provide for our members to assist them in it:

  -->Superdesk - a Press Newsroom
                  -can be used for creating, publishing and distributing content...essentially a place for press teams to work together
                  -open source
  -->Socioboard - a social media management software
                  -you can have multiple people on there posting content and monitoring channels
                  -includes social media analytics 
                  -open source
  -->Piwigo - Imagebank for sharing pictures with press and providing a repository for internal authors.
                  -store photos, organize them, etc.
                  -useful for when journalists want to write about us, we know where to find good press photos such as from conferences, rallies, etc.
                  -open source
  1. Standing Committee on Usual Requisitions of Various Yields (SCURVY)

This committee is centered around finances and best financial practices around things such as membership fees, budgeting, fundraising, etc. It has met one time and is supposed to meet twice a year.

  1. Standing Committee on United Nations Bureaucratic Activities (SCUBA)

This is the ECOSOC committee that focuses on United Nations work such as submitting statements to the UN about various topics as well as coordinating PPI participation in UN events. PPI has submitted 3 statements and participated in various UN events since our last meeting in December. All events are online at the moment. 1) We submitted a statement and registered for the big Commission for Social Development at UNHQ. 2) We submitted a statement for the Global Leadership Conference at UNOG in June. 3) We submitted a statement for the UN High Level. PPI has submitted publications and made statements at UN events every year since we became ECOSOC members in 2017.
We have registered for attendance in the IGF Forum 2020 in Poland this autumn, we have registered a booth in the exhibition village and a workshop session on Digital Souverenity as a new Human Right. We are also registered to participat and submit statement to the W12th TO ministerial conference that was scheduled for middle of June 2020, but it is likely to be moved to next year.

We are currently registered in Brussels as an AISBL (PPI HQ). The AISBL is an not for profit organisation and we got it accreddited with Techsoup and have through it access to a whole lot of rebated services for nonprofits (inkluding lesser fees for PayPal, Google Ad Grants, etc)
A few years back there was an idea to possibly move PPIHQ to Geneva, Switzerland, but this did not happen and we are interested in hearing what our members think about this issue. Do we stay in Brussels and leave it at that, or do we look into the possibility of moving to Geneva like previously planned?
The NGO is a factual association (Verein) in Switzerland, which comes de facto of registering a bank account there. Our bank account is registered there, because the bank account in Belgium was frozen and numerous attempts to regain access failed. What we have not done is register with the Canton of Geneva as an NGO, which we considered doing because it might enable funding opportunities. However, we were not able to fully navigate the bureacracy to this point.

Another thing we are doing is building a closer relationship with PPEU. We recently had a joint meeting between the PPI and PPEU boards. We all agreed that we are two international organizations with a lot of the same desires and goals for the movement, but we serve different purposes and there is a need to define our individual as well as collective purposes more clearly. There will be more discussions between PPI and PPEU with the goal of building a closer and more collaborative, mutually-beneficial relationship.

Additionally we recently published a Needs Assessment Survey which we plan to put on the PPI website for ongoing use. Members and non-members alike are welcome to fill it out anytime and let us know what your needs are and what we can do to better support you in your work. We hope to share some insights from the Needs Assessment thus far later on in the GA. We also would like to share the needs assessment link with you all here. If you haven’t filled out one, please try to do so today during one of the breaks:

Think Twice Conference - We have decided to cancel it for this year.