Pirate National Committee (PNC)/Bylaws

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ARTICLE I: Pirate Party of the United States of America

These Bylaws shall govern the association known as the Pirate Party of the United States of America, hereinafter referred to as the Party.

The term “state” as used in these articles includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the U.S. Minor Outlying Islands.


Section 1: Mission

The Party shall:

  1. Give voice to the Core Values of the Party.
  2. Adopt and promote statements of policy which implement these Core Values.
  3. Nominate and assist in the election of Pirate candidates for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States, and support Party and Party-endorsed candidates for public office.
  4. Promote the growth of state and local Pirate Parties, and assist in their activities. Engage in any other activities incidental or related to the above

Section 2: Core Values

Pursuant to this mission, we, the Pirate Party of the United States of America, form the Party on the basis of the following Core Values:

  1. We stand for open culture. No one should have the power to prevent the free exchange and expression of ideas, tools, or works.
  2. We stand for transparency and openness. Government activities should not be hidden from the public.
  3. We stand for individual privacy. The amount of oppression in a society is inversely proportional to its privacy protections. Individuals must be free to make personal decisions that do not harm another person.
  4. We are anti-monopoly. No monopoly should be able to prevent works, tools, or ideas from: being freely used, expressed, exchanged, recombined, or taught; nor to violate individual privacy or human rights. A creator's right to be compensated for their work or idea is only acceptable within these limitations.
  5. We stand for individuals over institutions. Universal human rights apply only to human beings, and not to corporations, limited liability organizations, or other group entities.
  6. We are a post-ideological values-based meritocracy. We place all options on the table. We choose a specific approach because the available evidence shows that it is the best way to promote our values. We do not make decisions based merely on tradition, popularity, authority or political expediency.
  7. We are egalitarian. We believe in equality and a level playing field. We accept input from all sources, and we value all people equally.
  8. We actively practice these values. We hold ourselves accountable for our own adherence to these principles.

ARTICLE III: Membership

Section 1: Pirate National Committee Membership

  1. At least two delegates from each State Pirate Party which meets the qualifications set forth in Art. III §2, hereinafter referred to as Representatives. A State which sends Representatives to the PNC shall be considered a Member State with Representation in the PNC for the purposes of this document.
  2. At least one delegate from each State Pirate Party which does not yet meet the qualifications set forth in Art. III §2, hereinafter referred to as Observers. A State which sends Observers to the PNC shall be considered an Observer State for the purposes of this document.
  3. At least one delegate from each Subcommittee formed by the PNC as set forth in Art. VII, hereinafter referred to as Subcommittee Liaisons.

Section 2: State Eligibility

In order to be eligible to send Representatives to the PNC, a state must:

  1. Be home to a Pirate Party which is actively attempting to grow.
  2. Adhere to the Core Values.
  3. Appoint one Primary Representative and at least one Alternate Representative, both of whom must be active members of the state’s Pirate Party.
  4. Regularly send a Representative to attend PNC meetings.
  5. Maintain an active web presence with an easy method of contact by prospective members.
  6. Apply for Representation, as set forth in Art. III §3.
  7. Ratify the PNC Bylaws

Section 3: Representation

The process by which states may apply for Representation in the PNC is as follows:

  1. The Applicant State shall ask a current Representative in the PNC to be a Sponsor for their application.
  2. At a PNC meeting, the Sponsor shall move to grant Representation to the Applicant State, which shall pass by majority vote. At least one prospective Representative from the Applicant State shall attend this meeting.
  3. If the motion passes, the prospective Representatives from the Applicant State shall be declared Representatives to the PNC. The Applicant State shall be declared a Member State of the PNC.
  4. If the motion does not pass, the prospective Representative(s) from the Applicant State shall be declared to be Observer(s), and the Applicant State an Observer State. The Applicant State shall be informed by the PNC what actions it must take to be eligible for Representation.
  5. At the PNC’s discretion, an Observer State may be granted a Probationary Membership, as set forth in Art. III §4, by a majority vote.
  6. Alternatively to Art. III §3.3, the Sponsor may move to declare the prospective Representative(s) of the Applicant State to be declared Observer(s), in the event that the Sponsor does not believe that the Applicant State is eligible for Member State status.

Section 4: Probation

  1. A State may be declared, by majority vote of the PNC, a Probationary State if any of the following conditions are met:
    1. No Representative from the Pirate Party of the State attends two consecutive PNC meetings, or:
    2. If the Pirate Party of the State no longer meets the requirements set forth in §3 An observer state can apply for probationary status as a stepping-stone to full membership. Art. III §2.
  2. The following subsections describe the Probationary process:
    1. The status of Probationary State shall persist for a minimum of one month.
    2. After this month, the PNC shall review whether or not the Pirate Party of the Probationary Member State meets the requirements set forth in Art. III §2.
    3. If the PNC finds that the Pirate Party of the Probationary State meets the requirements set forth in Art. III §2, the Probationary State shall be declared a Member State. Otherwise, the Probationary State shall be declared an Observer State.
    4. In the event that the Pirate Party of the Probationary State has been dissolved, has become inactive, or is otherwise uncontactable, the PNC may use its discretion to eject the Probationary State from the PNC instead of declaring it to be an Observer as per Art. III §4.
  3. Special cases:
    1. At any time throughout the probationary period, the Representatives of the Probationary State may voluntarily declare their state to be an Observer, ending the Probationary process.
    2. If the Pirate Party of a State does not adhere to the Core Values, the PNC shall not put the State on Probation but shall eject it by a ¾ (three-fourths) majority vote.

Section 5: Voting Rights

  1. Officers and Subcommittee Liaisons shall not participate in PNC votes, unless the Officer or Subcommittee Liaison in question is also acting as a State Representative, each recognized state delegation, without regard to delegation size, shall have one vote.
  2. All other PNC participants shall vote according to these Bylaws.

Section 6: Registration of Representatives

All primary and alternate Representatives of each Member or Observer state must be registered with the Captain or Quartermaster.

ARTICLE IV: Officers

Section 1: Positions

The PNC shall be facilitated by the following officers:

  1. The Captain or Chair, who shall manage all administration and operations of the PNC, act as the chairperson and primary spokesperson of the party, and facilitate PNC meetings.
  2. The First Officer or Vice-Chair, who shall assist the Captain in managing the administration and operations of the PNC, and act as secondary spokesperson of the party. The First Officer will conduct business on behalf of the Captain or the Quartermaster in the event that either is absent or incapacitated.
  3. The Quartermaster or Treasurer, who shall manage all accounts of funds and the recording and reporting those funds to members, governmental campaign finance agencies and the general public.
  4. The Scribe or Secretary, who shall keep records of the minutes and logs for meetings, tally votes, and maintain a database of the members who compose the PNC as set forth in Art. III §1.
  5. The Lookout or State Moderator, who shall ensure that disputes between states have an impartial party who will help produce a resolution. This person will also work with each state party to develop and enforce a Pirate Code of Conduct.
  6. The Beancounter or Auditor, who shall ensure that national party funds, or such funds disbursed to state parties, were used appropriately.
  7. The Swarmcare Manager, who shall welcome new activists and state parties 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.
  8. The Webadmin or Director of the On-line, who shall coordinate volunteers to maintain the on-line infrastructure of the party, such as its websites, blogs and wikis.
  9. The Director of Public Relations, who shall administrate social media accounts, advise the PNC on its image and reputation, readily communicate with the public and press, and orchestrate opportunities for Pirates to appear publicly.

The PNC shall elect assistants to all officers, except Captain and First Officer, as well as additional spokespeople, as are deemed necessary.

Section 2: Eligibility

  1. To be eligible to hold one of the positions set forth in Art. IV §1, a candidate must:
    1. be an active member of their State Pirate Party, or actively involved in Pirate politics if no state party exists;
    2. attend at least one meeting prior to any vote to appoint them where PNC members can interview them. Meeting may be by video, IRC, or other shared electronic media, but potential candidates must be able to answer questions asked by PNC members in the forum;
  2. To be eligible to hold the position of Captain set forth in Art. IV §1.1, a candidate must not be a Representative of a Member State, or must abdicate the role of Representative upon election as Captain.

Section 3: Election

Election of Officers shall occur:

  1. For all Officer positions, once every year at the Annual Meeting set forth in Art. VI §2.
  2. For an Officer position which is vacated out of schedule, as soon after the vacation as possible. The election procedure for an Officer position shall be as follows:
    1. Officers shall be elected by Schulze Method via silent ballot.
    2. Representatives to the PNC shall be eligible to vote in the election.
    3. Prior to the election, the PNC shall elect an Election Committee of at least three persons to supervise the silent ballot, and to independently calculate the results.

ARTICLE V: Executive

Section 1: Purpose

  1. The fundamental purpose of the Pirate National Committee, hereinafter referred to as the PNC, is to serve as the governing and organizing body for the Party.
  2. The PNC shall adopt the most open, inclusive and egalitarian procedures and technologies available for running the Party’s web presence, for collaboration, and for conducting its own meetings.
  3. Unless expressly stated in the United States Pirate Cooperative Association (USPCA) bylaws, the Pirate National Committee shall be considered the operating board of the United States Pirate Cooperative Association.

Section 2: Platforms

  1. The PNC may adopt such optional platforms and policies as it sees fit by a majority vote. It may further enhance these mandatory platforms with optional positions by a simple majority vote.
  2. None of the PNC’s optional platforms or positions shall be imposed on member states or individual members. Party members are free to disagree with optional platforms and policies.

Section 3: No Confidence Measure

  1. At any time during a PNC meeting, any Member State’s Representative or acting Representative may call for a vote of No Confidence on the grounds that the PNC’s processes are fundamentally unfair or fatally flawed, and that new Officers are needed. Once seconded, there shall not be a delay of more than 30 minutes in voting on such a motion, and it requires a ⅗ (three-fifths) majority to pass.
  2. If a No Confidence measure passes, then the following sequence of events shall occur:
    1. The terms of all PNC Officers shall end immediately.
    2. The Representative who motioned for the No Confidence measure shall act as Temporary Captain, and the Representative who seconded it shall act as Temporary First Officer and Quartermaster.
    3. The Temporary Officers shall immediately facilitate the selection of new permanent Officers.

ARTICLE VI: Meetings

Section 1: PNC Meeting

  1. The PNC shall meet as frequently as its members shall decide, but not less than once per year.
  2. The PNC shall use the most effective and most inclusive collaboration tools available to meet and vote on decisions.
  3. A quorum shall be 50% of all states, Probationary states, and Observer states, where Member states are counted as one and Probationary and Observer states are counted as one-half.
  4. The agenda for each meeting shall be finalized and publicly posted a minimum of 24 hours before the meeting in question.

Section 2: Annual Meeting

The US Pirate Party will hold an annual meeting in the two weeks prior to the first Sunday of June. The purpose of this meeting will be to:

  1. hold officer elections. Elections must be held on the first Sunday of June;
  2. hold on-line and/or in person gatherings for supporters to share ideas and build understanding and camaraderie among supporters.

Officer nominations are due two weeks prior to the election and must be published by the Monday after nominations close. Supporters may ask questions of candidates during this period. Candidates are expected to answer supporter questions as best they can.

Section 3: Building State Parties

  1. The Party shall hold such meetings and/or social gatherings as may be needed to build the membership of the party at a state and local level.
  2. The Party shall use all means at its disposal to provide support to such groups as shall arise at a state level, as well as locally, nationally and internationally to support this goal of facilitating the creation of State Parties in all 50 States and every US Territory.
  3. A yearly convention shall be held for the purposes of party elections at a date specified by the PNC.

Section 4: Purpose, Membership, and Operations

  1. A Subcommittee shall be a working group formed by act of the PNC to achieve a specified purpose.
  2. A Subcommittee shall be composed of active members of any Pirate Party located in a Member State or Observer State.

Section 5: Meetings to be held by IRC

  1. Notwithstanding rules contained in RONR, meetings held by USPP may be conducted via Internet Relay Chat (IRC), on a publicly accessible server.
  2. When a meeting is to be conducted via IRC, it is required that: the location of the server (whether by its domain name, or by Internet Protocol address), and the IRC channel, be noted in the meeting call.

Article VII: Committees -- Purpose, Membership, and Operations

  1. A Subcommittee shall be a working group formed by act of the PNC to achieve a specified purpose.
  2. A Subcommittee shall be composed of active members of any Pirate Party located in a Member State or Observer State.
  3. The PNC may specify the operating procedures of a Subcommittee and any criteria for its membership not otherwise specified in these Bylaws. Any operating procedures or membership criteria not specified by the PNC shall be determined by the members of the Subcommittee.

ARTICLE VIII: Parliamentary Authority

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR) shall govern the Party in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the Party may adopt.

ARTICLE IX: Amendment

  1. In general, these Bylaws can be amended by a two-thirds majority vote of the PNC. Initial ratification requires the same two-thirds majority vote of the temporary PNC.
  2. Following ratification by the PNC, this initial Bylaws or any amendment to it must be ratified by two-thirds of State Parties using their own internal ratification procedures. The votes of Pirate Parties located in Observer States and Probationary States are not counted for Bylaws ratification or amendment.

ARTICLE X: Dissolution

  1. Dissolution of this PNC by consent shall require the unanimous agreement of the Member States together with a simple majority vote of Member States and Observer States at a General Meeting which has been publicized at least 30 days in advance to all Member States and Observer States of the PNC for the purpose of taking this vote.
  2. Upon the dissolution or liquidation of the PNC, after all of its liabilities and obligations have been paid, satisfied, and discharged, all of the assets of the PNC shall be distributed for such educational, charitable and scientific purposes as the Member States (or such other persons as may be in charge of liquidation) shall determine. If an agreement cannot be met for the disbursment of funds, then a court of arbitration may be consulted.

Revision History