PirateCon 2017 Brainstorming Session

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We held a brainstorming session at PirateCon, to talk about ideas for expanding the party platform, along with goals for next year. As a brainstorming session, the goal was to get ideas down on paper, rather than to make decisions. This is a set of notes from that brainstorming session.

Next Year

Next year, we'd like to have a lot of pirates running for office. But how do we get there? There are advantages to running candidates for local office: selectmen, library trustees, the conservation commission, or the planning board. In those capacities, you'll get to know everyone in town.

We've always supported the idea of ranked choice voting. Do we want to do anything with voterchoicema.org? They seem pretty organized, perhaps more organized than we are. We stand behind (and would probably endorse) what they're doing.

Would we be willing to primary a republican? Probably not, because it would involve someone running as a republican, rather than a pirate. Plus, independents may not want to feel trapped in a two-party system. Lots of people are fed up with the two-party system. They want something else. Ideally, there'd be as many pirates running as republicans.

60% of the Massachusetts legislature runs unopposed. We should have more contested elections. We should start legislative campaigns early -- during July or August -- before the main party campaigning kicks in. Putting pirate signs in people's front yards could help get us noticed.

We could focus on issues of interest to small business owners: taxes, healthcare, and cutting out regulations and red tape. We could be a city/local party that's business and/or tax-friendly.

Finding candidates

People who are into reform may be the most likely to run. There could be reservations -- pissing off an incumbent who might try to get back at you?

When recruiting candidates, we need answers to "what are you for". We need positions.

Having more (third) parties working on common goals can be effective.

Work with organizers that are working on pirate issues. Build alliances. Groups can maintain separate identities, even when working in alliance. Tabling at events is a good way to form alliances.

Be sure to keep your word. If you say you'll do something, do it.

Our policy could be a statement of principles: write a bunch of them down, and adopt the ones with the most traction.

We should have a position on gay rights and issues of social inclusiveness. (We've marched in the pride parade for years; this should be one of our issues.)

We can go after independent voting blocks: groups interested in school choice, veterans, suburban moms, seniors. Or the May Day coalition.

We could go after government corruption, patronage jobs, and such.

Why are people hesitant to run?

We'd like to do more outreach, and form more local chapters.

We could submit more testimony on legislation, and submit it to hearings.

Expanding the Platform

Our platform needs to address more issues. Ideas:

  • Environmentalism
  • Taxing pollution (rather than permits)
  • Conservation through captivity
  • Cutting middle-class taxes
  • animal rights
  • Dehumanizing corporations
  • A fairer tax system. Shift burden away from the middle class
  • Eliminate tax laws that allow corporations to have negative tax burdens.
  • Transportation. Potholes, more road capacity, replace intersections with roundabouts. General infrastructure; bridges and tunnels. Protected bike lanes. Making our roads less horrible. More civil engineering, less politics.
  • More fact-based analysis
  • Greater focus on regional planning. In Mass, we have the state government and city/town governments. Very little happens at the county level, but that regional perspective is very important for planning. Some state powers should be given to counties.