New State Guide

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Why start a Pirate Party?

The pirate party is a unique political organization in that it focuses on only a handful of platforms, called the three planks. That makes this party incredibly flexible and diverse. Another key aspect of the pirate party is that it is very aware of technology and how it works in our present society, as the government keeps trying to legislate without understanding technology this is a very important aspect of the pirate party.

This party is an international phenomena, which reflects the new globalized nature of politics (trade agreements regarding intellectual property show that more and more governments are making agreements that connect the US to other countries). In order to work towards the ideals of the three planks we need to put candidates in office that know the importance of transparency, privacy, freedom of the press, and reforming intellectual property laws. In order to do this we create state parties that help put pirate candidates into office.

What is a ‘Pirate Party’?

The Pirate Party is, at its core, a political party. There will be times when you will have to compromise to get results. That doesn’t mean abandoning our ideals just for the sake of winning, that means being moderate enough to win. Change is steady and gradual - it will require education and cultural change.

You’ll have to know more about your state to decide what ‘moderate’ means. A California moderate may be an Alabama extremist and vice-versa. This gives you quite a bit of freedom to develop your own way to communicate Pirate ideals to potential constituents in your area.

However, it is good to note the difference between platforms and principles:

  • A party’s platform is made up of policy positions or “planks”, like “Lower Taxes” or “National Healthcare”.
  • A party’s principles are those philosophical values it holds dear like freedom or transparency

If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to consider Rickard Falkvinge’s Pirate Wheel:

Rick not only founded the Pirate Party, but has continued to listen, watch, and develop new ideas and insight to be used. His website is a good resource for those interested in more Pirate philosophy.

Okay...but, Moderate? What about our vision for Utopia?

Remember, people don’t vote just for ideology.

Usually, as the saying goes, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Applying Pirate principles to a local level is just as important as fighting bad legislation like ACTA or SOPA.

Can the Pirate Party be moderate? Traditionally, a moderate has mainstream platforms but ends up in the center of Democratic and Republican positions. The Pirate Party has a small mixture of mainstream (civil liberties) and radical (IP reform) platforms. However, for many important topics to voters, the Pirate Party simply has no answer, and this is potentially powerful.

No Platforms is a Platform

One way to approach this is to go all out and simply NOT have platforms. Using tools for Direct Democracy like LiquidFeedback, the constituents (if trained) can determine the direction of policy. It isn’t waffling, because there were no positions chosen in the first place! An elected Pirate truly becomes the mouthpiece for those they represent and have a flexibility afforded to no other party.

If public opinion shifts due to new information and a change in culture there is no backpedaling or hypocrisy. The Pirate is simply reflecting the will of the people as an average citizen, not as a leader or dictator. They are not hiding ulterior motives behind fancy words and expensive suits. The Pirate isn’t simply another moderate candidate who mixed up his Democratic and Republican platforms.

However, this itself is a radical idea. It will require practice and experimentation at the local levels to train voters on the tools and work out the kinks.

If you want to take a long term view and make steady change, this may be the route for you. Change will be gradual; our constituents must be educated and the culture must change to accept these ideas. We must translate our ideals into pragmatic actions and accept that some of our platforms will take time to bring mainstream. Further, 40 years from now when the youth have new challenges to surmount, this kind of format may still be functional.

But the people expect us to have platforms

Fair enough. Having no platforms is an idea, and each state will make their own decisions.

Being a Pirate these days means much more than simply opposing excessive copyright, it’s a political renaissance. Part of that means doing what works.

Compare to's_law

Politics in the US are different

What’s with all this focus on

// Explain here what it is that the parties are actually supposed to do: aka recruit and elect candidates, represent the constituents.


  • Don’t take anything personally
  • Be transparent
  • Being transparent doesn’t mean violating people’s privacy, including your own
  • CTRL + C, CTRL + V; don’t be afraid to share or borrow from other parties
  • Listen. Often. Write it down. Aunt Jemima’s cow farm is more important to success than whatever tomfoolery is happening in DC at any given moment.
  • IRC and the internet is seductive, but many of your constituents won’t be there; you have to go to them
  • Don’t burn yourself out; delegate and lean on the national infrastructure
  • No Pledges

The Swarm

Talking the Talk


News to follow

The basics of debate

Arguments vs debate vs dialog

What Works in Europe Won’t Work Here

The German Pirate Party is doing great! Let’s just follow what they’re doing and we’ll win, right?


In the US you have to WIN wholly, not just partially. 5% of the vote is the same as 0%, effectively, and effectively means diddly squat. You can NOT be satisfied with this. The Libertarians have been satisfied with this for 35 years and have yet to elect a member to congress. Win or Die.



This will not be a quick process. Don’t overdo it and burn yourself out. Don’t compare yourself to other parties, or other states, just focus on achieving results steadily.

Keeping Your Head Straight

Handling Disputes


Don’t want this to be a party of young white males. Stay classy and avoid alienating others, treat everyone with respect and you will be respected in return.

Membership Lists

Having a well defined membership list and a secure database is key to growth. Members are the foundation of the party; you must know who they are and they must feel connected to the party. This includes asking for private information; you must know where they are to connect them with others in their area and some states require members supply this information. Therefore you must ask for information and protect it well. The Pirate Party should not be saving databases in plaintext!


Mailing Lists (See Above)

Importance of Defining Who Members Are

Starting and maintaining a political party is a long process. People will join and leave at will. Some believe in Pirate platforms but prefer to maintain responsibilities in their personal lives or only wish to attend events/volunteer. Some have special skills they can provide occasionally.

Further, by having a well defined member list you are able to engage them in the party by letting them vote on policy without having to take on responsibilities.

Sometimes you DO want people to take on responsibility. If they are only known by a username, they cannot earn the trust to take on authority such as server access & they can easily slip away when they get bored leaving you with half-finished work.

Protecting Members' Privacy

Believing in transparency doesn’t mean giving everyone access to people’s private information.

How to leverage membership lists & Rewarding members for signing up

Getting Connected - IT & Websites

Start a Facebook page, twitter account, setup a blog, and email list. They are all free and just take time to setup and use. Don't have much to say about local issues yet? No problem, follow Techdirt, Torrent Freak, EFF, ACLU, your local Occupy group and just share or retweet their posts.

You can even use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule tweets and facebook posts so you don't have to stay on the tools all the time. Also, with Twitter follow people liberally, and use lists to group people so you know which accounts you follow are local folks or media or other groups, etc.

One of the worst things you can do is set everything up, then get bored and let it stagnate. Set small goals for yourself like posting and tweeting once a week, even if it’s just a retweet, and build up from there. You’re not going to take over the state overnight.

Guide to Mailing Lists:

Websites: How to get a website set up through the IT committee

IRC Guide:

  • Using IRC
  • Making and managing a channel
  • Using it for meetings

Mumble and Alternative to IRC


Why to run them this way

Shortened guide to Robert’s Rules of Order

Agenda templates

Where to get a copy

How to use it

How to get things done

How to get people to come back

Recording and publishing for transparency

Dangerous behaviors to avoid


Raising Awareness

Reach out to people. Table at an event, hold information events on state or national bills or on how to do something, hold a Pirate Picnic, or open source/public domain film fest in someone's house. Aim for one event every three months, then one every two months, then one every month, etc. Just do something and be active and known. Be sure to post about your upcoming events on your blog and other services. If you are in a big state or even city then just focus on your surrounding area for events. If it is just you, then try to link up with other groups and help them with their activities. Talk to folks about what the Pirate Party is and that you are a member of it. Maybe some of them will see you helping and be interested in joining.


A city is divided into districts, one district is approximately 60-90 households. Create record cards in groups and bag them with maps of the blocks to be canvassed. Distribute the bags. Then go around the neighborhoods. (The people he talked to went round on Tuesday morning and Thursday evening, because:) Different people are at home different times of the day. Use the cards to take notes on what they talked to voters about, and what issues interested them. Make note of the address, and if they offer it, their names. The notes are placed in the plastic bag along with the map. Try to avoid knocking more than once at persons who were not interested.

Canvass in groups for safety. Canvass several districts that are adjacent. Divide into twos to canvass then reassemble and take a final snack. Sometimes you'll get yelled at. Most often you will get a 'no thank you.' Sometimes you get a longer conversation. It's helpful to get together and share experiences before moving on to the next district. Remember to shake hands and end by saying your name and give thanks. "Be neatly dressed with a tie except in the middle of high summer heat." (? Open for discussion, perhaps.) Pirate costumes for canvassing, at least, are right out. People have little sense of humor when strangers approach their doors. One of my friends recommended me to order custom writing on EssaysProfessors.Com. To tell you the truth, I have never regretted my decision. The writers are real professionals and know how to write impressive work full of knowledgeable information. A relaxed, easy style is very important to establish a rapport. Sunday afternoons are best to get around since most people are at home then.

Public schools, both secondary and high school are not for targeting at this point. Focus on college campuses. The young people you meet there often do not have the prejudices that have the elderly and middle aged.

The benefits of telephone calling is the person you call can hang up if they want. The disadvantages are that the personal contact is lost by phone. Another drawback is that people over the phone can be more unpleasant and rude.

Don't be disheartened by rejection. You have no idea what is going on in a voter's life when you knock or call. Perhaps they were sick on the toilet and rushed to the door! Or they were waiting for a call from a lover or a late family member. Boy will they be miffed to her your voice, instead. Don't personalize, and don't fret.

See "Political argument support" to assist you in your discussions with receptive voters.

Hustling on the Street



Adapt from

Tips & Warnings

When you are at an event, especially if you are tabling, make sure that you:

  • Study the rules and documents from the exhibition organizers. Remember that it is they who decide what activities we can do legitimately.
  • Compile a user ("cheat sheet") for people at the table, directing our marchers, etc. If you can include a copy of the operator's rules, say at the table, all the better.
  • Have some sort of list of what the sessions/activities are and when they are. You should also know who is the 'official' in charge of that session.
  • Designate a contact person from our side, who can take care of any last minute questions.
  • Know what materials you will need and have them on hand or identify the person who will be bringing them.
  • Have fun, be friendly and don't sweat the small stuff!

Additionally, Geek Feminism has a good article on organizing Women-friendly events.

Legal Primer

How are Political Parties structured?

Political organizations are considered 527s by the IRS; you will not be registering as a

Working with the ACLU and other 501c(3) orgs

Technically, these organizations cannot work together.

Working with the Press

Write letters to mainstream and alternative news outlets




Social Media

Fighting fire using fire

Researching State Laws & How Parties Work in Your State

Secretary of State

Public Disclosure Commissions

Ballot Access

The Federal Election Commission

Election & Campaign Law


Politics in Your State

Big Employers

Tax Revenues

Political Climate

Ballot Access

Starting a State Store

Which Store - Cafepress, Zazzle, SpreadShirt?

What kinds of swag

How to choose margins

Staying Honest

Keeping good records

Reporting income to the IRS and local campaign finance bodies

Media Resources

Vector Images




Current Guide Here