Articles of Agreement

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Massachusetts Pirate Party Articles of Agreement

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Other Pirate Party constitutions to review:

Article 1.0 - Purpose and Values

1.1 Purpose

The purpose of the Massachusetts Pirate Party shall be to further the cause of freedom and unleash the power of individual creativity, through:

  • increasing the power of individuals over corporations;
  • increasing government transparency;
  • protecting personal privacy;
  • promoting open culture by limiting copyright and reducing its duration;
  • promoting open innovation by eliminating patents.

1.2 Core Values

We believe that:

  • People are important. The most important measure of a society and government’s success is the happiness of the people who live there.
  • Everyone does better the better everyone does. The happiest countries in the world have large middle classes and small poor populations. The most successful years of the United States of America were in the days when the middle class was at its largest. The more people in the middle class, the more opportunity there is for everyone.
  • We must use the right tool for the right job. The Massachusetts Pirate Party has no ideology beyond efficacy. If markets are the most efficient way to meet a goal, then we will advocate the use of markets. If government policy is the most efficient way to meet a goal, we will advocate for government policy. No tool that effectively meets the desired goal is inconsiderately for so-called moral reasons.
  • We must beware of unintended consequences. The best laid plans of mice and men always have the potential to be steered awry. Every new policy or decision should be reviewed and revisited to make sure that it is addressing the problem it was intended to address, no more, and no less. Although such a policy may seem expensive, the negative effects of unintended consequences are much more so.
  • Our decisions and efforts must be based on human equality, where equality and equal right to participate without discrimination is considered obvious.
  • We must use all nonviolent means to achieve our purpose including, but not limited to: running candiates for office, engaging in issue advocacy and education, and ballot initiatives.
  • That members want to do what is right. As such we trust our members and encourage them to take initiative and work to advance the party, even if that means, due to circumstances, not asking for permission first. We expect that members will not do anything stupid and will consult with other members and/or party leadership when needed and depending on how the action will affect the party as a whole.

1.3 Party Platform

1.3.1 The party membership shall, through membership meetings, take positions and adopt a platform of principles and positions on a number of policy issues and areas.

1.3.2 A proposal to amend the principle application can only be added by the bill or motion to the regular membership meeting.

1.3.3 Modification of principle program requires at least three-quarters (3 / 4) of the votes to go through.

1.4 Electronic communication

For the Party and the purposes of these Articles of Agreement:

  • electronic communication be tantamount to writing on paper;
  • electronic attendance be equivalent to physical presence;
  • the party leadership shall ensure that a secure system exists to carry out the above assertions.

Article 2.0 – Membership

2.1 Membership Definition

A member is:

  • A Massachusetts voter who is registered as a Pirate;
  • A Massachusetts voter who is not registered in any other party and who notifies the Massachusetts Pirate Party that she wishes to be a member and provides her mailing address;
  • A citizen who cannot or chooses not to register to vote and who notifies the Massachusetts Pirate Party that she wishes to be a member and provides her mailing address
  • A non-citizen of Massachusetts who notifies the Massachusetts Pirate Party that she wishes to be a member and provides her mailing address.

2.2 Member Entitlements

All members are entitled to:

  • be elected into any position within the party;
  • stand as a candidate in any election within the party;
  • participate in the selection of candidates for elections;
  • participate in policy and issue discussion and be involved in the decision making process;
  • vote in any poll held by the Party; and
  • resign their membership in the Party.

2.3 Expectations of Members

All members are expected to:

  • abide by the Pirate Code of Conduct as enumerated in Article 12.0;
  • help as best they can with promoting the Pirate Party and its values and positions in their local area.

Article 3.0 – Decision Making

When the party must choose:

  • only one option or individual, then we will use Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). Each voter may rank as many or as few of the options as they desire. When a majority or supermajority threshold is required, the winning option will be considered selected only if a threshold of all valid ballots (including those ballots that result the voter's choice of None of the Others) have selected that winner.
  • two or more options or individuals, then we will use Single Transferable Vote-Proportional Representation (STV-PR).

None of the Others will always be an option and can never be eliminated until it or another option receive enough votes to win.

Meeting minutes and platform positions must note the degree of agreement each decision had.

Article 4.0: Member Meetings

4.1 General

4.1.1 The Member Meeting is the party's highest decision making body and serve as its legislature.

4.1.2 The Pirate Council is responsible for convening the Members' Meeting, through the party's website and via e-mail to those members who have given their email address.

4.1.3 Notice of meeting documents must be mailed at least two (2) weeks before the beginning of the meeting.

4.2 Form

4.2.1 The Member Meeting will be held over the Internet.

4.2.2 The party leadership will determine technical solutions for the meeting. The choice of technology should be taken into account to enable all members to participate.

4.2.3 Regular membership meetings will run for six (6) weeks, with all voting matters of substance located in the last two (2) weeks.

4.3 Time

4.3.1 Members will meet as a regular Member Meeting two (2) times a year. These meetings are known as spring and autumn meetings.

4.3.2 The Winter meeting always begins the first week of February.

4.3.3 The Summer meeting always begins the first week of August.

4.4 Rights

4.4.1 Party members have the right participate in the Member Meeting and offer their opinions and make proposals.

4.4.2 The party members are entitled to vote at members' meeting as provided in Article 3.0.

4.4.3 The party's auditors and their deputies have the right to attend Member Meetings and offer their opinions and suggestions.

4.4.4 The party's employees and other invited guests may attend Member Meetings and offer their opinions and suggestions.

4.4.5 The members of last year's party board may not vote on the issue of liability for last year's party board.

4.4.6 The Meeting chair has an exclusive right to bring order to deprive the member or another stage its expression and / or proposed right in all or parts of, the Member Meeting.

4.5 Bills

4.5.1 The Pirate Council has the right to bring a proposal to the Member Meeting. Such a proposal is called Bill.

4.5.2 At the Summer meeting the Pirate Council must present:

  • a draft budget for next fiscal year,
  • a draft business plan for the next financial year.

4.6 Motions

4.6.1 Each member is entitled to bring a motion to the Member Meeting.

4.6.2 In order to be processed, motions must be submitted no later than the day before the meeting begins. Motions submitted after that date will be added to the agenda of the next Member Meeting.

4.6.3 All motions shall be presented no later than the day the meeting begins.

4.7 Nominations for Elections

4.7.1 Each member is entitled to nominate persons for election that takes place at a Member Meeting.

4.7.2 All nominations for election shall be submitted in writing to the Member Council later than the day before the meeting begins.

4.7.3 Nominations must be signed by at least two members who are not the nominee.

4.7.4 Meeting Council presents the list of nominees, and which nominees accepted or declined the nomination.

4.8 Meeting Council

4.8.1 There shall be a Meeting Council to administer each Members Meeting.

4.8.2 The preceding Members Meeting shall elect the Meeting Council for the next Members Meeting.

4.8.3 Meeting Council members will serve from the date they are elected until up to two weeks after the end of the Members Meeting for which they preside.

4.8.4 Meeting Council consists of one (1) presiding officer and up to two (2) deputy presiding officers.

4.8.5 Meeting Council is responsible for compiling and publishing any records of its Members Meeting including any decisions that are made. Such records must be available for review by all members within two (2) weeks of the meetings occurrence.

4.8.6 The Pirate Council is responsible for filling any vacancies on a Meeting Council.

4.8.7 The Pirate Council is responsible for the technical support is available for the meeting of the Meeting Council.

4.8.8 Meeting Council decides points of order by a simple majority.

4.9 Agenda

4.9.1 The Winter Meeting will deal with only the following points:

  • 1st Opening the meeting;
  • 2nd Approval of the order of voting;
  • 3rd Review of the progress of the business plan for the previous year;
  • 4th Review audit report for the previous year;
  • 5th Bills;
  • 6th Election of the Pirate Council and any officers for the coming session;
  • 7th Motions;
  • 8th Meeting adjourned

4.9.2 The Summer meeting will deal with only the following points:

  • 1st Opening the meeting
  • 2nd Approval of the order of voting
  • 3rd Future years' business plan
  • 4th Election of next year's auditors
  • 5th Bills
  • 6th Motions
  • 7th Meeting adjourned

Article 5.0 - Local Chapters

5.1 Role

Local chapters serve as the basis for the Pirate Party and are expected to help coordinate Party Party activities in their area.

5.2 Organization

It is up to the local chapter to determine how best to organize themselves so long as they transparent, democratic and follow Articles 3 (Decision Making) and 4 (Meetings).

5.3 Expectations

Each chapter is expected to keep in contact with the pirates in their area and to organize events in its area at least once a quarter.

5.4 Recognition

A Pirate Party chapter must be recognized when it achieves the following requirements:

  • has at least ten members;
  • chooses its own articles of agreement that define its purpose, and how it organizes itself and makes decisions. The Massachusetts Pirate Party will provide a sample articles of agreement that local chapters may use as a starting point;
  • notifies the 1st Officer in writing that it has achieved the above requirements.

5.5 State Responsibilities

The 1st Officer must:

  • create or maintain an application form for local chapters to request recognition;
  • notify the local chapter that it has been recognized;
  • ensure that the local chapter's contact information is listed in a easily found place on the website;
  • provide a sample articles of agreement that new chapters may use as a basis for their own articles of agreement.

Article 6.0 – Pirate Council

6.1 Purpose

The Pirate Council shall oversee the day to day affairs of the party. It shall function as the executive branch of the party.

6.2 Composition

The Pirate Council shall be composed of seven members: Captain, Quartermaster, 1st Officer, PR/Media Director, Activism Director, Swarmcare Director and Web/Info Director. The PR/Media, Activism, Swarmcare and Web/Info Directors would be responsible for their particular areas.

Note: This section has not been added to the Articles, but is included here for reference:

* Captain: Chair and primary spokesperson of the party. Keeps the party on track and makes sure our work gets done. The person the buck stops at.
* First Officer: Secretary and spokesperson for the party. Takes over the duties when the Captain is unable to do so.
* Quartermaster: Treasurer of the party. Responsible for keeping our books, making sure we don't over spend and keeping us right with members and the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
* PR/media leader: Responsible for interactions with oldmedia (newspapers, television, radio, etc.) at his or her particular geography. That includes sending press releases, making sure press kits with information are available, and other things related to serving oldmedia with information about the swarm and its activities. (See Chapter 9)
* Activism leader: Does not lead activism as such, but rather supports it (as is the case with all of these roles). Whenever activists decide swarmwise that they want to stage a rally, hand out flyers, put up posters, or do some other form of visible activism, this is the person responsible for the practical details, such as PA equipment, permits, and other details on the ground to make things happen.
* Swarmcare leader: Welcomes new activists into the swarm and continually measure the overall health of it. A typical task would be to call new activists just to make them feel welcome, and tell them when the next events — social as well as operational — take place. This is more than enough for one person to chew.
* Information-and-web leader: Is the person who maintains the infrastructure of a blog or other web page that summarizes the relevant information of the swarm in this particular geography. (This person also communicates internally when events, such as rallies, happen. The swarm decides when and if they happen; it is the job of this person to communicate the consensus.)

6.3 Election

Members shall elect a Pirate Council once a year at our annual conference.

Ballots as well as voting instructions and the date ballots are to be returned shall be mailed to every member three weeks prior to the election date. Members must be able to submit their secret ballots electronically or by mail. All members shall be elected using IRV as defined in Article 3.0.

6.4 Officers

6.4.1 There shall be three officers: the Captain, the Quartermaster and the 1st Officer.

6.4.2 The Captain shall be Chair and primary spokesperson of the party;

6.4.3 The Quartermaster shall be the Treasurer of the party;

6.4.4 The 1st Officer shall be the Secretary of the party. She will also be a spokesperson for the party and will take over the duties when the Captain is unable to do so.

6.5 Vacancies

The Pirate Council shall vote to fill vacancies for any officer or other Pirate Council position using the decision making process defined in Article 3.0. Replacements for officer or to the Pirate Council shall serve out the remainder of the office's term.

Article 7.0 - Campaign Commanders

On an as needed basis, the Pirate Council or member meetings shall elect party members to oversee the party's campaigns for a defined duration. Prospective Campaign Commanders must present in writing a campaign plan that lists:

  • the objectives of the campaign;
  • the duration of the campaign;
  • the campaign plan;
  • what resources are needed to carry out the plan;
  • how those resources will be found;
  • how the campaign will be reviewed to determine what lessons we learned.

Campaign Commanders are expected to carry out their campaigns in light of the campaign plan and changing circumstances, notify the Pirate Council of the status of her campaign and to ensure that there is a written review of the campaign which is made available to party members.

Article 8.0 - Candidate Selection

The Pirate Party shall:

  • not nominate, endorse, or support candidates for state-wide office until the Party gains permanent ballot status (i.e. has registered in the Party 1% of all Massachusetts voters).
  • mentions on any electronic media and materials the Party maintains any party member who is a candidate provided that the candidate notifies the 1st Officer in writing:
  • of the office for which she is running;
  • that she supports the Party's core platform;
  • that she supports the Pirate Party's core value;
  • of her campaign's contact information.
  • nominate candidates for partisan elections when the candidate is a Pirate Party member;
  • endorse candidates for local elections or for partisan elections when the candidate is not a Pirate Party member.

Candidates who are nominated or endorsed shall be considered supported candidates. Supported candidates are entitled to the contact information of any Party members or supporters in their area and any other resources the Pirate Council determines the Party can provide.

Candidates or their campaign managers are expected to follow the process enumerated in Article 7.0 - Campaign Commanders when requesting that the Pirate Council support their candidacy.

Local chapters shall be responsible for identifying candidates and suggesting to the Pirate Council that the party should support such candidates. Candidates from areas where no local chapter exists may request of the Pirate Council that the Party support them.

Article 9.0 - Council of Arbitrators

Purpose: The Council of Arbitrators shall oversee selection of judges and ensure that the judicial decisions of the party are made in a timely manner.

Election: The Council of Arbitrators shall be elected yearly on December 1st. The size of the Council shall be determined by the number of party members:

  • 1-500 members: 1
  • 501-5,000 members: 3
  • 5001-25,000 members: 5
  • 25,000+ members: 7

Disputes between members: Party members may bring party-related disputes that they have with other members to the attention of the Council of Arbitrators who will assist the party members involved in selecting an arbitrator to settle their dispute.

Disputes over party decisions: Party members who object to a decision made by the party, may object to the decision as unconstitutional. The Council of Arbitrators shall select, using a random method that can be verified as truly random, a number of judges to review the decision and rule on whether it was unconstitutional or not. The Council shall choose either one or three judges depending on the magnitude of the decision.

Article 10.0 - Amending the Articles of Agreement

It shall require a two thirds vote of a Members Meeting to amend any part of these Articles of Agreement.