Platform 06/06/2022

From United States Pirate Party
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Meeting started at 10:40pm EST. Topic was the presentation of the platform and policy on the FAQ page of the main uspirates website:


Record of the meeting

pmchi [Mitch Davilo]: Hello gang
Sorry for the delay, got let out late
Mitch // Valhalla_De: No worries!
pmchi [Mitch Davilo]: So I wanted to spend today just looking over the FAQ on USPirates website. Updates, additions, rewordings, etc. I posted the link above, I’d love to hear from anyone who has suggestions
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: Link, for ref:

"What does the Pirate Party stand for?
In short, we stand for an open, participatory society which gives everyone a voice, and empowers everyone to live a healthy, productive life to their full potential. Check out our platform to learn how we want to achieve that."

I agree with linking to the overall platform page is a good idea in general, but I think the pitch here is strong on dogma and weak on function. I think it would be good to clarify some of the larger, stronger platform planks here to give an idea of what positions the party is all about...


use this space as an opportunity to push the "data-based" approach to politics.
To me, the latter part is a strong reason I am excited about the party. It's refreshing to see a party that says "we don't have religious party lines, we do what works."
pmchi [Mitch Davilo]: I think the pushing of data-based policy decision making is actually a really good idea. This party is best pitched as “evidence says it works, so we say let’s do that”. There’s really no “party/ideological lines” that need hardtowing
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: I also have a genuine question, more than a critique. On the FAQ page, there's a line in the leading section as well as an entire section on "do you support digital piracy."

I'm genuinely curious how often this comes up in conversation, either as a concern or not. If it fairly rarely comes up, it may be best to restructure the framing from "do you support digital piracy" to "what is your position on digital rights?" The more positive framing doesn't mean we have to take a step back from supporting digital piracy, but it shows that instead of framing it around the (imho, unjust) criminalization of piracy, we instead frame it as a support for the positive right of access to information.
"Do you support piracy" versus "Do you support freedom of information" are two different framings of the same thing, imho, but the latter frames it more of a support of a positive right than support of something that is unjustly criminalized
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: Hard agree there, and I think that would make it fairly attractive to people in my state who may be open to the party based on anti-establishment sentiment
(btw one of my biggest faults is being overly verbose so if I'm taking the digital oxygen out of the meeting, tell me to shut up with any level of cordiality you feel comfortable with)
pmchi [Mitch Davilo]: (I’m driving so please talk as you’d like I’ll be with you and more responsive soonish, no need to shut up!)
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: So, I'll say one issue is that (at least from my attempts) the crew signup form is broken and has been for at least a week I think. I know that's not the same page, but since the FAQ links to there you're likely missing out on a lot of signups, especially post-LP fallout.
Woden’s Day [Anthony Jay]: I like your framing of the piracy thing.
We could also go the “Do you support the legalization of piracy?” “Not exactly, here’s some copyright reform proposals:” route too
Woden’s Day [Anthony Jay]: I believe IT is aware of this
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: Yeah that's a good place to get policy wonk-y for those that dig that. Maybe make a separate "policy proposal for DMCA/etc" blog or page and link to it so you don't feel constricted
You could draw off of international work there since the PP internationally started as a borderline single-issue party on that platform. I'm sure there are plenty of proposals or active policies to reference
One critique I will say is that it is a good general outline of a lot of things the PP stands for, but it could do better on being more current. Post-BLM/Floyd/Taylor/too-many-others Uprisings, as a left-libertarian movement there is a lot of room to talk social justice, as long as it's in a respectful, non-tokenizing way. Very open to being corrected, especially by members of marginalized communities, on that though
Woden’s Day [Anthony Jay]: That hints at why platform talks are so important and why this is a year long weekly thing.
We’re really trying to revitalize our platform. We have opinions on current events, we just don’t share em as often as we should
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: 110% agree. Platforms should be incredibly dynamic
Woden’s Day [Anthony Jay]: Which gives the impression we’re a single issue tech party.
We’ve been trying to fix that, and I really appreciate @pmchi [Mitch Davilo] and @AsamonDajin for facilitating those convos
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: Single issue tech parties are alright, but they tend to turn into White Dudes that Like Tech Clubs instead of serious parties
We also need to codify the fact that we give a shit about other social issues. Admitting my bias here, but IMHO digital rights and adjacent issues are more of a symptom than a problem in and of themselves 
Woden’s Day [Anthony Jay]: I think we’re all in full agreement on that
I’ve been trying to re-write our brief platform summary as it exists on our website right now to be more focused on the right things, I’d love to have that done by next week
So we can take a vote and put it up
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: Good deal, if you need extra eyes I'm always around. Fwiw my critiques weren't of the people, I've spent like a couple days with ya'll on Discord and I know enough to know that at least the leadership has their head/philosophy pointing in the right direction. I just want the public to see that, too, which is why the platform is so important. We could be saints with governing powers that would put the kingdoms of history to shame but if the public doesn't see it it doesn't matter.
Woden’s Day [Anthony Jay]: Oh absolutely! We do not take it personally. We know there is a lot of work to be done, we’ve just been waiting for people to come along and help us do that.
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: Oh definitely. This LP bust could be a huge boost for the USPP, so the more we can maintain that momentum to boost the USPP into prominence, the better.
It almost sucks because the big two parties can get by without really having much of a platform outside of "not those folks" but third parties have to really solidify their platform to stand out and legitimize themselves
Woden’s Day [Anthony Jay]: Third parties, especially in the US, really have to hyper specialize.
It’s about that one specific, marketable, and brandable ideology
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: Like, nobody really knows if the democrats are anti-war, pro-drugs, LGBTQ+ supportive, etc. They tend to flounder back and forth on those issues as they tokenize them for power.
Piggybacking on an earlier comment from @Yari is trans I think one of the most useful things going forward once the platform is solidified is proving that we're actually going to take action on what we support.

"We don't just mention LGBTQ+ allies in our platform, here are pictures/videos/policy proposals and policy actions by USPP members/politicians in support of that platform." etc. That takes the word "platform" in a different direction: it's not just something to get you to vote for us, it's something we actively stand on to push rights and liberation forward.
Woden’s Day [Anthony Jay]: Ideally I want the platform committee to do all sorts of stuff like that
I want us to have our general platform like what we have on the website, but also constantly spitball policy proposals and write long form pieces on our thoughts.
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: I think there's room to steal from the entrepreneurial space the idea of "building-in-public" to do "policy-in-public"
This would very much fit in the core ideological plank of transparency: we don't just show you the finished product, if you're interested we'll show you how we make the bread, mistakes and all
Woden’s Day [Anthony Jay]: That’s a fascinating idea. Could you elaborate?
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: Sure! 

So, building in public is essentially the idea of publicizing as much information as possible about the building of a startup, application, product, etc. It's a method of fighting the "stealth startup" ideology that has been the mainstay of a lot of tech startup culture: we won't show you any of the secret sauce, we won't tell you where the funding came from and you'll only see the success of the product once the success has been obtained. In the startup space, that has lead to a lot of imposter syndrome and other unpleasant social dynamics, because people only see the startup when it's already running and successful.

Instead, building in public literally prompts you to tweet about failures and shortcomings or blog about lost customers, system failures and bugs, show code examples and all the rest. The idea is that you contribute to a growing public marketplace of ideas, methodologies, etc. similar to the open source movement.

Applied to politics, I think it would be valuable to hold open (actual) debates on policy and platform matters (hell, we're already doing it right now) and show how policies/proposals are drafted, let other members of the larger community provide input and criticism, etc. The common pushback is "nobody cares" but just like the entrepreneurial process, the worst case scenario is that those people are right and you're just being overly transparent, which, if you scale your methodology correctly, is just a matter of wasted time in publishing information. If they're wrong, though, you increase civic engagement and give the public a feeling of being involved in the process of drafting policy instead of just being given the ability to vote on candidates who may or may not support their interests. It also potentially exposes you to people in the field who know better, so you can lean on free/close to free consultation.
A good example would be "we have a policy proposal for progressive agriculture, here it is" and then a bunch of farmers/people in the ag industry say "hey, nice idea but tweak this or that here because this is how it actually works in practice." So, instead of having to have an ag expert on staff or running for office, you can just lean on already existing ag experts who have skin in the game and subject matter expertise
Woden’s Day [Anthony Jay]: Oh I really dig this.
We already seem to be halfway there by making the platform “committee” an open discussion and debate forum once a week.
But we can go further.
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: I've always thought it a cool idea to have policy proposals published on GitHub and allow the public to make literal changes to those policies via pull requests. Literally allowing anyone in the public to make literal changes to the wording of policy could be hugely democratizing
GH has the ability to do public voting on PR's via "reactions" and we would have to do a fair bit of work to ensure that's not being gamified/"hacked" but that's just one example of how it could work, funcitonally
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: Do we have a platform that we use for running docs/ideas to expand upon in the future? I'll make some more rationally structured notes in there on the "Policy in Public" proposal and, if you want, I'll make another note on my thoughts on the FAQ as well. That way we can point to this in future meetings to chat about and expand upon.
Yari is trans: We use etherpad for most things right now, but I'd love to see if we can find a non-microsoft version of github for platform policies in the fiture
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: 🔥
Yari is trans: Github and other products like it have a fantastic structure for this sort of thing.
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: Agreed
GitLab may be a better decentralized platform, but that would require IT maintenance
Still a MSFT product (technically I think) but would be self-managed at least for the most part
I think there is another GH alternative that may have similar features but I'll have to look it up, GH is industry standard so I haven't had the chance to mess with anything else
Yari is trans: Same
roarde:  If you need that hosted,
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: Does that have PR's and voting systems like GH?
The fossil site is, itself, an instance.
Dunno about voting. Ticketing, wiki, forum. Also a chat,  but that's not really worthwhile.
Yari is trans: I don't know if we specifically need the voting systems. We would need pull requests though.
Or something similar.
Yari is trans: Thank you very much for the links!
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: The only thing I'd worry about with the PR system is ensuring the ultimate merge request is handled as democratically as possible. That in itself can be handled by a combination of tech+policy/procedure, though
I know in Graeber's discussions of OWS the consensus system they landed on for a lot of decisions involved working committees that rotated out, blocking systems, dissent votes, etc. Not saying that system is perfect, but it is a system we could at least experiment with
(OWS being Occupy Wallstreet)
Yari is trans: oh I'll have to look into that. do you happen to have any references handy?
Mitch // Valhalla_Dev: Yes! He goes fairly in depth in the middle-latter part of The Democracy Project