Some 80 Pirates from more than 20 countries participated in the conference, which took place not far from the Swiss border in Friedrichshafen--as well as via the internet.
This was the first regular assembly since its founding on April 18, 2010, in Brussels.1
A good half dozen Swiss Pirates also took part or helped out from Friday evening until late afternoon Sunday.
The first evening was planned as a friendly get-acquainted evening. The Czechs with their accordions got a good mood going before many had even finished eating.
Saturday, shortly after 9, after a slight delay, things got under way. As first item the applications for membership were discussed. A total of ten organizations requested admittance into the PPI. Four of them applied as regular members, which is available only to national Pirate Parties. Six other organizations applied for observer status, without voting rights in the organization.
All the applications for regular membership and five of the applications for observer status were approved. Newly accepted into the PPI were Pirate Parties from Canada, New Zealand, Slovenia and Morocco, which unfortunately could participate only by way of a substitute delagate. The three delegates from Morocco were denied Schengen visas because the event lacked sufficient importance. The Pirate Parties are greatly disappointed that the delegates were denied the visas. The explanation that the conference was not adequate grounds and that the desire to return not clear enough expressed were found to be not valid.
Furthermore, there are now five members with observer status: the PP Bavaria, PP Hessen, PP Catalonia, the Young Pirates of Germany, and Pirates without Borders.
After the voting, which took place in plenary session, the meeting evolved into a form of group work known as Open Space. Subjects of interest to the delegates were discussed in various groups. The documentation of this work will be published in digital form after the conference. It is hoped that interesting projects emerge as a result.
Parallel to this exchange of ideas the second block of voting--on changes to the statutes--was carried out that afternoon. In total there were motions for 23 changes with 27 options. The changes were very efficiently approved in written form. Aside from many small adjustments there were two fairly important changes to the statutes.
Motion 5 asked that the self-imposed restriction of the Pirate Parties International as not political be removed. This motion passed with a clear margin, as the phrase really did not fit the concept of an umbrella organization for Pirate Parties.
With a close vote of exactly 2/3 of those cast the introduction of a Court of Arbitration was approved. By this means the PPI now has a judicial entity with broad powers to solve disputes between members or organs.
On Saturday evening the Pirates enjoyed a meal together in best of spirits and entertained themselves late into the night. Many acquaintances that were heretofore only virtual could be made real.
On Sunday elections were on the program. Besides the Board and the Lay Auditors, members were elected to the newly formed Court of Arbitration.
For the next 12 months the two Co-Chairmen Marcel Kolaja (Czech Republic) und Samir Allioui (the Netherlands) will lead the PPI. In all, seven Pirates were elected to the Board. After the election they shared their goals for the PPI in a press conference.2
The international cooperation, which through WikiLeaks and the Jasmine Revolution was established informally, now has a good chance to gain a foothold in the PPI. Three important figures in this cooperation can now, as members of the Board, see their contributions flow into official channels. Besides Co-Chairman Marcel Kolaja, these are Thomas Gaul (Germany) and Paul da Silva (France).
The Swiss delagation saw its obligation, too, and participated actively in the elections. Patrick Mächler was elected as Treasurer in the Board and thereby, after a year's break, hopes to participate actively in the further development of the PPI. Silvan Gebhard (Switzerland), Ole Husgaard (Denmark) und Alessandra Minoni (Italy) were elected to oversee the finances of the PPI as Lay Auditors. Sitting on the newly formed Court of Arbitration is Pascal Gloor, along with six other Pirates.
With a somewhat abbreviated final Open Space the highly successful conference came to a fitting close. After a moment of silence for the catastrophe in Japan and words of thanks to the hosts, helpers, and organizers, the session ended with a keynote address by Rick Falkvinge.
In his nearly half hour, very moving talk3 Falkvinge called on Pirates to stand for what they believe. Every new party was made light of in the beginning, whether Liberal, Workers' Movement, or Green. Each new generation of democrats therefore had to fight to have its vision of a more just world brought into the political arena. He called on us to remember this in 40 years and to support the next generation of democrats in its battle for a more just world, even when we perhaps don't fully understand them.
We hope all participants will take something from this speech home with them and feel themselves a part of a democratic movement to make the world a bit better. The Pirates can and will set something in motion. The established parties must get used to the fact that we won't disappear soon from the scene.