PPBE, Pirateparty Vlaanderen and PPI
Saturday 28/11 and Sunday 29/11 there was a Council Meeting of the Pirate Party of Europe (PPEU) where @Jelle Debusscher was listed as a delegate for PPBE. This is quite weird, because that would mean that PPBE somehow decided that Jelle can be a delegate, yet no decision on this was even initiated on our public forum, let alone made. From the minutes that we can read that Jelle was present as a PPBE delegate on the first day, and absent on the second day.
Then we find out that Lander (I assume @Lander Meeusen ) nominated Jelle for chairperson for Pirate Parties International (PPI). This is weird because members of PPI are parties and organizations, not individual people. And they are represented by people that have been delegated by the respective party or organization. It's also not people who nominate candidates for the chair, but the parties or organizations. But PPBE didn't take the decision to nominate Jelle as chairperson of the PPI.
Then the PPI GA started the 5/12. Jelle was present. During the roll call, he was asked to clarify if he had an official written mandate from PPBe, to which he responded : "No that's a difficult situation. The PPBE is divided into camps and I'm just representing the Flemish one, but since I have an official mandate for them, and nobody else is present, I can be an observer member". Let it be clear, I'm from Flanders, I have never seen a decision to have a delegate to "have an official mandate for them [the Flemish 'camp']". Nor do I even know of any "camps". If someone feels that way, than we have issues that need resolving, and this seems a very wrong approach.
Sunday 6/12 the PPI GA continued. When PPBE was called, Jelle wasn't there, but later jumped in. Jelle was asked for "accreditation" (proof that he was indeed a delegate for PPBE ). Again he claimed that he had for Flanders . When the vote for the nomination of the new chairperson for the PPI came up, the following happened;
PPI: Jelle, are you there?
Jelle: Yes I'm here
PPI: Can you please explain? Your nomination, is it supported by the whole PPBE or just by the Pirate Party of Flanders?
Jelle: Well it's certainly approved by Pirate Party of Flanders. I'm now in conversation with Pirate Party of Wallonia but it's not so simple to reach them.
PPI: OK good so according..
Jelle: But according to Wikipedia I am leading the Party in Belgium
PPI: [laughs] OK well then it's probably ok then we can count it then.
Jelle: Thank you very much
So Jelle claims:
There's a Pirate Party of Flanders for whom he's a delegate. Which, afaik doesn't even exist.
He claims to be trying to reach "Pirate Party of Wallonia but it's not so simple to reach them", while the Pirate Party of Wallonia also doesn't exist. (And no efforts have been done to reach any one from PPBE as far as I can tell)
He then claims that he is "leading the Party in Belgium" and quotes Wikipedia as a source. PPBE doesn't have a "leader" and nowhere on the Wikipedia page can we find Jelle listed as a "leader" or anything else.
Which makes me seriously wonder what's going on here? The PPBE isn't hierarchical. If someone wants to sail under their own flag and not the PPBE flag, they can. But that's not what's happening here. We see someone claiming to represent PPBE. They claim that they are listed as "leader of the PPBE on Wikipedia", which is false. They claim that there are two sides, Wallonia and Flanders, which is false. They claim "to be in conversation with the Pirate Party of Wallonia but it's not so simple to reach them", which is false. They unscrupulously claim to represent PPBE and even claim wikipedia as a source, which is a blatant lie! It seems someone tries to involve PPI into some internal struggle, that seems to be very one sided or not even exist.
Is there someone who can shed a light on this please? Is there more going on that needs to be resolved? It seems no real damage has been done now, but this is really not a good way to go forward in my opinion.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MGj5aCVI4w&t=2420 (40min20sec)
 https://youtu.be/fN-qwqK7BWU?t=1091 (roll call)
 https://youtu.be/fN-qwqK7BWU?t=1579 (nomination for PPI chairperson)
Ilja Sun 6 Dec 2020 2:15PM
It doesn't matter that you wanted to be nominated for the board or for a chair, the result is the same. You publicly claimed on an international platform, to delegates of other Pirate Parties, open to everyone to hear, that"according to Wikipedia" you are "leading the Party in Belgium".
This isn't "creating an opening". An opening for what exactly? What exactly is the goal here? What is this about Pirate Party Vlaanderen, is there something people here should know? Is there something I should know? Are there problems that need to be resolved?
Jelle Debusscher Sun 6 Dec 2020 3:07PM
That is what Paul Bossu told me, and I meant the wiki, not wikipedia. Transcription is a bitch.
I currently am the Captain of the Antwerp Pirates, I have a mandate for the non-profit Mermaid and I work on multiple websites and social media platforms for the Pirates, also the Pirate Times editors.
At least I can say I'm pulling the Pirates forward.
My apologies for that one sentence, it still is no reason to put this on the front page of PPBE, slow news day?
Jelle Debusscher Sun 6 Dec 2020 3:14PM
We need a common mediachannel, where we don't start dissing each other.
Yes, creating an opening of cooperation since the PPBE has refuted being a part of PPEU and PPI while these organisations have grown and are our partners.
I find this way not workable where you without any communication start burning crosses or in this case an individual. Welcome to the world of politics? I think this has to stop now, I was purely out of interest looking to attend the meetings - as an observant, so without voting right.
Would this please you?
Renaud Van Eeckhout Sun 6 Dec 2020 1:57PM
Thank you @Ilja for reporting this issue in such a precise way :)
On my side, I can confirm every word of that message. But you don't need me to confirm it, the sources are there so anyone can check by themselves.
When we found out about the PPBE delegation at PPEU last weekend, I sent an email on a PPEU mailing-list asking clarification about this. One person (a former member of the PPEU board, I believe) understood there was a problem and removed Jelle from the list of delegates.
This email is probably why the PPI asked a proof to Jelle yesterday and today.
I hope we will have an explanation on this matter that could help us solve this problem and move forward.
Jelle Debusscher Sun 6 Dec 2020 2:55PM
Renaud Van Eeckhout Sun 6 Dec 2020 3:14PM
I don't understand your request.
I contacted the PPEU to know why they considered you the delegate of PPBE. They actually didn't check if you had a mandate, they trusted you.
Please, there are several questions asked, and you're avoiding them. It's not fun for anyone but let's solve it :)
bobrappe Sun 6 Dec 2020 5:11PM
Je vous remercie pour ces précisions importantes
Thank you for these important clarifications
Lander Meeusen Sun 6 Dec 2020 8:45PM
Hi everybody, I'll reluctantly pitch into this discussion, feeding what I essentially find a waste of time.
As for my part:
Ilja, you say that "we found out Lander nominated Jelle". Who exactly is "we"? And why didn't you guys let me know? (We've had very good communications last elections to get signatures in Brussels for your West-Flemish list, you know how to reach me.)
On the forum of PPI I wrote that I wanted to nominate Jelle as chairperson "if that is possible". As you (now) clarify, that is not possible, so we can all consider that nomination null and void. I can go into the reasons for my nomination, but that's a bit late and useless at this point. Too bad we didn't talk about this when you saw my nomination. Not very constructive.
As for Jelle's actions:
I leave that to him. I can't judge because I don't know much about PPI and PPEU. The reactions to what Jelle did (going behind his back to PPEU, public shaming on this forum) are a bit dubiuous in my eyes. I don't understand what you're trying to achieve? We have phones, facebook, e-mail. Why here and now after everything is done?
If I understand correctly, if Jelle wouldn't have participated there would have been nobody for PPBE, right? I wasn't at the meetings. Did Jelle say anything wrong?
As for PPI an PPEU:
It's nice to see these groups are growing, it gives us some (but not a lot) publicity here in Belgium, but other than that I have no idea what they are doing. It sounds to me like a bunch of people playing a show.
As for PPBE:
I understand Jelle's frustration. The Pirates of Belgium communicate through Loomio. I find that an inadequate way to communicate. I know there is a website, a wiki, pads. But I can't find easily accessible and readable info in the structure and people of PPBE. I think there must be easier ways. I've never seen a newsletter. There's no reply when I suggest to put something in the newsletter. I don't know who to go to to ask this. It looks a bit amateuristic to me, to be honest.
Ilja Sun 6 Dec 2020 10:06PM
There's a chatroom, which is also listed on the website. It's there that it first came up. So "we" is the people there. I didn't think much of it at first because no harm seemed to have been done, which is why I didn't react. But you are right, I probably should have. You are also correct that the nomination was phrased more as a question. I guess the people at ppi misunderstood this as an atual nomination, which indeed seems like an honest miscommunication. What happened today otoh doesn't seem like a simple miscommunication to me any more which is why I wanted to openly discuss what exactly the problems are. Loomio is the forum where we have long form discussions which is why I posted it here. I tried to keep it objective and made sure to tag the people involved so we could have a conversation.
As for the amateuristic looking part, this is one of the things we try to work on in the labs. But we have a legacy and few people and limited time to think/work around structuring things, better tools, etc. This doesn't make it easy and at times pretty overwelming. The same is true for articles and newsletters.
At least one thing seems clear to me and that is that there is indeed no good communication. I too think we had good communication, and even understanding, when we went for the signatures in Brussels and I'm gratefull that you took the time and energy to make that possible. Idk, maybe there really are two camps and we just hardly know about each other becasue of the ways we communicate or something. Personally I do not have an immediate answer on how we can solve this problem. Are there any specifics that you feel are missing that we can work on? Or ideas/directions we can take to improve this? Is this something you can help talk and/or work around? (Here or via another way if you prefer that)
Renaud Van Eeckhout Mon 7 Dec 2020 11:33AM
As for my part
Thank you Lander for giving your answer, sincerely. I also agree, we could have been more proactive and contacted you directly. Just keep in mind that all this happened in a very few days, we all have our personal stuff to do, and the message posted by Ilja wasn't blaming you, just explaining how we happened to discover the problem (and the person who informed us about it unfortunately didn't provide us with details so it took us some time to know what this was all about). So personally I'm glad you didn't try to act as a delegate for PPBE without our consent.
(note that, if I'm not mistaken, the PPI GA did wonder if you weren't a "delegate for PP Vlaanderen", which then led them to formally asking another PP to formally endorse Jelle as a candidate, which PP Czechia did "for the fun")
I leave that to him. I can't judge because I don't know much about PPI and PPEU. The reactions to what Jelle did (going behind his back to PPEU, public shaming on this forum) are a bit dubiuous in my eyes.
I guess you're talking about the email I send on a PPEU mailing-list? If yes, I just asked on what basis PPEU decided to grant the status of delegate to Jelle. Did someone send an email? Did Jelle show them some kind of document? etc. I received 3 answers, the 2 first ones didn't answer, only the last one did answer the question by stating that they just didn't verify and so just believed Jelle. This answer finally arrived yesterday morning at 9:44AM and I shared that information with the members of PPBE a few hours later in this very discussion thread. I don't see that as going behind someone's back, I didn't ask for any action from PPEU regarding Jelle.
For the "public shaming on this forum", I disagree also. The original message didn't shame anyone, it's just informing Belgian Pirates about public actions taken by Jelle which seemed more than questionable and asking questions. If there is someone who shamed Jelle here, it's Jelle himself by going at 2 different GA pretending to be our delegate, then telling he's a delegate for "PP Vlaanderen", then blame whatever on "PP Wallonia". He did that all by himself and so far hasn't provided us with a clear explanation on why he did that. If he is uncomfortable with having a public debate about public actions, I'm sorry for him but that's transparency and that's what Pirate Party is about.
Lander Meeusen Mon 7 Dec 2020 11:32AM
Everybody, on wednesday the Antwerp Pirates have an online meeting (it's the third time). you're all invited.
It's public, but i feel we can start addressing these fundamental issues there maybe in a very rudimentary way. If not, at least we can try to iron out the creases. And get into a friendlier, more constructive mode again. The title is in Dutch, but we can accomodate English (or possibly other languages).
Iedereen is uitgenodigd op deze eerste online bijeenkomst van de Antwerpse Piraten. Ook om gewoon te komen luisteren.
Na een kort rondje, staat dit voorlopig op de agenda.
1.Actualiteit: VN, PPI/PPEU
2.Brainstorm: ideeën voor acties
3.Vragen, varia, gekeuvel, ...
Ilja Mon 7 Dec 2020 4:23PM
I see it starts at 20h (and planned 'till 22h). I'll make sure to be there. Thank you!
Christophe Cop Mon 7 Dec 2020 4:20PM
Just Chiming in.
1) I don't like the idea that pirates self-proclaim any hierarchy or authority.
And being a captain doesn't give any additional rights as a pirate (well, it does give some tasks according to the PPBE statutes we don't live up to).
2) I do think we should have a delegate, and if there are no other candidates to do so, then I have no objections (the fact that someone wants to take up tasks should be encouraged). However, I would hold to the 3 pirate rule: support from at least 2 other pirates.
Anyway: let's be constructive : If someone can create a vote for having a Belgian delegate, for PPI and PPEU : great.
As for the pirates in Belgium: we are few in number and I only know that the Antwerp Crew is somewhat active (has an unbroken record of participation in elections). But if there are other crews: please let yourself be known.
If you are a pirate who is not member of a crew: Either join one, or create one. We probably should not limit ourself regionally, as active pirates are thin spread (so a Flemish Crew, a Brabant Crew or A Liege-Namur crew id need be ... )
As for "De Vlaamse Piratenpartij" : As far as I know it doesn't have any factual organisation or members. It is a name that is used sometimes to label pirates in Flanders though.
Gregory Engels Mon 7 Dec 2020 10:17PM
Hello, I was chairing the PPI GA on both days, and I like to point out, that on Sunday, as I asked to clarify Jelle‘s accreditation, in the end Pirate Party of Czechia have declared a sponsorship for his nomination „for the fun of it and for the sake of democracy“ as Michael Gill, delegates from PPCZ have put it.
As for the raised question, what PPI is actually doing, I invite everyone to participate in any of the activities that we are regularly organizing - especially the online meetings of the standing committees that we run to foster the networking between our members and exchange best practices in various subjects, from managing campaigns, finances, social media or press relations. Last year we hosted over 25 of sich meetings altogether.
Lander Meeusen Tue 8 Dec 2020 9:26AM
Hi Gregory, thanks for the information. Networking is fun and good. I guess, what could be useful, is some best practices in how to get elected. As I see it right now, there are maybe 10 active Pirates in Belgium. Therefore, I feel it's better to expand our group first, before spending time and energy in meetings like the PPI. Unless, there are some practical benefits like material and financial contributions for election campaigns, for example?
Gregory Engels Tue 8 Dec 2020 2:47PM
Of course, we respect the decision of any of our members to focus on internal capacity building rather than on cooperation and networking. However, sharing best practices is exactly what most of our meetings of the standing committees are about. We can also provide your designers access to the "Graphic Vault" on PPI nextcloud, where designers share source materials for flyers, posters, etc so that you could cut some corners in the design process. In fact, PPI has a "toolkit" for emerging pirate parties, we support a lot of our members by providing them some set of IT tools and services - I would suggest a joint "clinic" video call between whoever is relevant in the development of the PPBE and PPI Board, where we can discuss the specific needs of PPBE and if and how PPI could assist you.
Jelle Debusscher · Sun 6 Dec 2020 1:55PM