F**** (suggested) manual

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  • the English version is regarded as the official version.
  • Also available: French (original) and Dutch version.


The goal of this document is to describe the process and structure of the Pirate Party Belgium.

The process can be seen as a wave:

  • Like a wave, it progresses in a horizontal way. This means not top-down: we don't plan on having a small group of people to, based on their talents and or expertise, tell how things are going to be run. At the same time, we don't have any illusions related to the bottom-up: other movements (Indignados in Europe, Occupy Wallstreet in the USA, Movement of Februari 20th in Morocco, Takriz in Tunesia) are walking this path.
  • Like a wave, it is self sustaining. Meaning the project only needs itself to exist. What the Pirates do is what defines what constitutes the party. Nothing else should influence the party. If there needs to be criticism on the party, constructive criticism more appreciable and will be appreciated most.
  • In the end, like on all waves, like on all things, there will be froth, as Boris Vian would say. Which means this adventure will generate a multitude of small problems, which will require tackling.

The structure of the party is that of a distributed network:

The members of the distributed network are autonomous, free to act and to contribute (and thus also free to decline, to not participate), and are not submitted nor controlled by a hierarchical autority.

To allow for these relations to form between individuals in a distributed network, the members of the network should be considered as being equipotentials, meaning each member is considered having equal capacity to participate, from occasional militant to active, responsible, party member, and that all have the same capacity in contributing, without prior selection (as long as both are part of the network, which is obvious, but it helps when officially stating it). The members of the network are united around the common project. In this case, the project of the defense of the three pillars of the Pirates and the promotion of the world view that accompanies these pillars.

Cohesion of a distributed network is for a large part !?l’holoptisme?! ', that is to say the capacity of each member to have complete oversight, both horizontally (towards the other members) as on the system in its entirety. It's the opposite of the situation in a hierarchical system, where the ability to see the system in it's entirety is reserved for the hierarchy itself (in this case we speak of panopticism).

The strength of a political organisation as a distributed network thus depends on the flexibility of it's structures, the absence of hierarchy and dynamic leadership.

The power is in the structure and this power is not « representable » , there is no way to delegate this power


A Pirate Party member is in the heart of a distributed network linking to all sections of the party. He or she participates in all these «nodes», better said, has the possibility to participate in all these nodes.

  • By default, all members of the party are part of a Crew
  • If they so choose, members can be part of one or more Squads
  • A Coreteam helps to coordinate training, development, action and creation of Crews and squads.
  • An association, « The Black Pearl », provides support for funding, administrative and logistical management of the Pirate project.

The Crews

The Crews are the base units of the Pirate Party.

Their goal as well as their organisational reason, is to involve ALL the pirates in all workings of the party.

Definition: A Crew is a self-organising, local unit of the Pirate Party. Their goal is to help new Pirates, members of the Party, set up a network of people and to make their first steps in politics. The Pirates organise themselves and go about as they like, as long as they meet the following criteria and they fulfil their goals.


  • A Pirate can only join and/or set up a single Crew
  • A Crew is made of 5 to 9 Pirates. 7 is ideal: at 7, with 7 people, it is possible to sit around a single table and have a serious conversation. Above 9, the Crew needs to split and form 2 new groups. If the Crew has only 5 Pirates left, they need to join another Crew or find new Pirates.
  • A Crew is necessarily made of Pirates of both sexes.
  • A Crew needs to organise at least 2 Meetups a month and at least 2 Meetings a month.
  • All decisions are being made with a consensus. Votings are only used exceptionally because it is a sign of failure of the discussion. In the latter case, this needs to be written down in the report of the meeting.


  • Create bonding between the Pirates
  • Organise Meetups to give new Pirates the opportunity to join in
  • Recruit and embrace new members
  • Discuss, debate and act
  • Communicate and promote the main goals of the Party and the ideology of the corresponding world
  • Campaign

The Squads

They are the production unit of the Party.

Just like Crews are the socializing units, the Squads are the working units. It is there where the political policy making is being done (reports, actions, studies, propositions, course of action, ...)

Definition: a Squad is a working group of which is responsable for the decisions/positions/actions of the Party. A Squad formalises the impulses/initiatives/ideas expressed by the Pirates.

Validation Criteria

  • A Squad centers around a theme, a project or an emergency (see below).
  • A Squad is made of Pirates of different Crews. A Squad is made of a minimum of 2 Pirates (of two different Crews). A Squad can't have more than 2 Pirates of the same Crew.
  • A Pirate can be a part of as many Squads as desired (but, remember only of a single Crew)
  • The only conditions to join a Squad is the intention and the capacity to participate.
  • Decisions are being made with a consensus. Voting is only used exceptionally because it is a sign of failure of the discussions. In the latter case, the needs to be added to the report of the meeting.
  • A Squad has a single contact point for information (Wiki-page, mailing list,…) The transparency of the production method is a necessary condition for the legitimacy of the workings of the Squad.

Typology & Goals

  • Thematic Squads: these are the working groups of thematic work, such as: agriculture, education, health,… It is in these Squads where the position, decisions, studies, reports, etc. of the Party are being developed. The two necessary conditions are Sourcing and transparency. The first condition means that, like on Wikipedia, every element of the proposition and/or argumentation needs to be accompanied by documentation. The second condition means that the documentation needs to be accessible by everyone. This is necessary because the production of the party passes through the Liquid Feedback System.
  • Project Squads: these are the project groups. A project is being defined by a starting date, a deadline, a schedule, a final product and a Project Manager. This Project Manager is responsible for the project, the delays and the adequacy of the result for the Party. The Project Manager discusses with the Speakers to let them know the initiative, verify the uniqueness and gather all the human resources.
  • Emergency Squad: these are the working groups in case of emergency. If an emergency presents itself, 2 Pirates can apply for the installation of an emergency Squad. In this kind of Squad, the result has priority over the procedure. This is the reason why this kind of Squad can only be set up in case of emergency.

Interactions between Crews and Squads

Between the Crews

Every Crew needs to assign a Speaker. Preferably, someone else than the one which started the Crew. The Speaker is the contact line to the other Crews. He discusses - over a mailing list, a discussion forum or regular meetings - with Speakers from other Crews. The Speaker doesn't have an additional or otherwise dominating vote. The group of Speakers doesn't need to debate: they mainly assure cohesion, communication and synergy between the Crews.

Between the Squads

For the Thematic Squads, since their work is visible for all Pirates, there isn't really a procedure for communication. Like said earlier, the criteria for being a valid squad are sourcing and transparency.

Not a single decision/position/product can be adopted if they haven't been clairly and robustly argumented and if the proces which has lead to this position/decision/product hasn't been visible for every Pirate.

For the Project Squad, the Project Manager and the group of Speakers exchange useful information for the completion of the project. The Project Manager can ask the Speakers to use resources useful for the Project.

The implementation of the Emergency Squad, because of its usefult character, only needs to have results.

Between Crews and Squads

The work done in the Squads is reflected to the other Pirates through the basis in its Crews and through the Speaker. As said above, to join a Squad, there are no other conditions but the intention and the capacity to participate.

The Core Team

The Core team is a group made mainly out of the regional officials of the Pirate Project. In every of the four regions of the country, an official is identified. His function is to coordinate, within his region, the development and the actions of the Crews and Squads.

The regional officials coordinate the Pirate movement on a federal level in the Core team. They may be accompanied by whoever they like in the Core team meetings.

The Core Team is a collegiate team: the decisions are mode unanimous or with a full consensus. They can't be any voting.

Responsibilities of the Core Team

  • Official communication of the Party
  • Setting up the lists of the election
  • Investing in the candidates in case of elections
  • Taking care of the financial aspects of the party, which are connected to the Black Pearl

The Black Pearl

As stipulated in the third article of the statutes of the vzw/asbl: "The association aims to collect and manage finance, public and private funding and contributions from members of the Pirate Party and bear the operating expenses and election expenses. The association provides logistical support in terms of human, material and financial Pirate Party. It may perform all kind of acts whatsoever relating directly or indirectly to its purpose or to facilitate it."

In the fifth article, these statutes precise who is a part of the association:

  • the president, the vice-presidents and the general secretary of the Pirate Party Belgium
  • 11 people assigned for 4 years of which the head of the group of parliamentarians and the voting members of the office of the Pirate Party
  • 1 to 5 people chosen from the Pirate Party Bureau based on their competences, notably on financial, juristic, communication or study aspects.

The current administrators are Marouan El Moussaoui, Nofel Tiani, Paul Bossu, Jonas Degrave and Line Callebaut.


We'll define three types of meeting for pirates to get together:

The PirateBeers

These are informal get-togethers where the goal is to welcome and recruit new members. PirateBeers are announced and held publicly, and regularly. They are an opportunity for a prospective pirate, to take a first step and get more info about the project. They are organized by the crews, with the essential mission: a systematic, regular and convenient way to recruit new members.

These moments must be accessible: avoid gatherings around a large table (always intimidating) and opt instead for small group discussions. Each small group should be led by a member of the organizing crew.

The Working Sessions

These are formal meetings, with an agenda published a week ahead, and notes, published at most a week after the meeting took place.

These meeting-notes should contain at least the following elements:

  • Date and time of the meeting
  • Names of those present, excused and absent
  • The approval of the notes of last meeting
  • The report of the Speaker (see below)
  • The issues discussed at the meeting
  • Who is doing what in what Squad? (see below)

The Team Building Sessions

These are the other occasions where Pirates can meet (nights out, visits, LAN parties, participation to an event, symposia, drinking, ...)

This typology is important because it avoids confusion on the type of meetings. It makes involvement of new members in the party easier: it starts with a Meetup, next a Working Session where the Pirate methodology is explained, after which the new member is ready to join or form a Crew.

Financial aspects

The following rules apply to the Pirate Party Belgium, its Crews, Squads, Workgroups and every formal or informal structure which presents itself as an element of the Pirate Party Belgium.

  • All mobile and immobile goods are to be used in the framework of the realisation of the goals of the Pirate Party, and only in that framework.
  • Every Pirate can freely, after a request to the Coreteam, have acces to the financial reports of the Pirate Party.
  • Every banking account of the Pirate Party:
    • must be distinct of these of its members;
    • must require at least 2 signatures to acquire funds or make payments;
    • use the word "PPBE" or "Pirate Party Belgium" as its title.
  • Every banking account of the Pirate Party Belgium, including these of its Crews, Squads, Workgroups and every other formal or informal structure which presents itself as an element of the Pirate Party, need to have an audit every year in which a written finance report is presented. This report will be made public to all pirates.
  • Every Crew, Squad or working group and every formal or informal structure which presents itself as an element of the Pirate Party Belgium, must inform the Treasurer of the Party immediately after opening a banking account. This information must be handed over: the necessary financial informations (numbers,...) and the names and contacts of the responsible treasurers. On the request of the Core Team, the banking statements must be presented.
  • Every Crew, Squad or working group and every formal or informal structure which presents itself as an element of the Pirate Party Belgium, must take note that the funds collected for the Pirate Party are under the exclusive ownership of the Pirate Party. At the dissolving of a structure, it transfers all mobile and immobile goods and all funds and possessions to the Pirate Party Belgium.
  • Not respecting these financial rules lead to an immediate exclusion from the Party and possible further legal action.