March 10th, 2013 General Meeting

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  1. Status reports
  2. New Treasurer
  3. Events Planning
    1. Party conference
      1. Choosing a location
      2. Speakers
    2. Boston Peace Parade
    3. Wake up the Earth
  4. Campaigns
    1. supporting a French Pirate's campaign for a by-election of French expats in US
  5. Materials
    1. Videos
    2. Pamphlets
  6. Statements & Issues
  7. National Party Info

Quick Notes / Summaries Re Proposed Bills to be Discussed:


  • srevilak - Steve Revilak, Arlington
  • mildbeard - Erik Zoltan, Framingham
  • jokeefe - James O'Keefe, Somerville
  • kendra - Kendra Moyer, Arlington
  • Véronique Vermorel
  • Sevan


Lucia needed to step down as treasurer. Steve volunteered to assume this role.

We have a list of [ potential venues] for this year's conference. We plan to make a venue decision during Thursday's IRC meeting.

Todo list

Review venue list; fill in missing information.

Meeting Minutes


Have a web-based spreadsheet to track expenses, and monthly bank statements. Need to file finance reports twice per year, at six-month intervals. The next filing is due July 20th.

Time commitment for Treasurer: a few hours to do the filing, but most of the time spent was in learning about the filing process. Probably no more than an hour/month.

Steve is willing to be treasurer; Kendra volunteers to help.

Several votes in favor, no votes opposing, one abstention (Steve).

We need to keep internal records of donations, but we don't need to report donations of less than $50/year. There is a revenue tracking component. However, it's likely that we'd only have to report a small number of donors.

Part of the treasurer's job is to work with office of campaign finance, to see how we can fundraise. This is a long-term need, but not an immediate need.

Do we have a position for someone who double-checks books? Not sure.

It's possible to enter filings electronically, bit by bit (throughout the filing period), the submit it all at the end of the filing period. That should make the job simpler.

Treasurer will need to see what kinds of income are allowed. For example, income made by offering VPN use through an affiliate program.


Venue comparison chart:

We're planning to hold a one-day conference in June. Our last conference had 40 people. We have a goal for 100+ people with this conference. Ideally, we'd like a space that permits the use of breakout groups.

We have a bit over $600 in the bank account.

Community church is a possible location. Good for public transit, but not good for parking. Not sure of cost, but shouldn't be too expensive.

Democracy center. We used this location last near. It's not handicapped accessible, and it's difficult to find parking. The space cost something like $100 dollars. Wireless access was poor.

First Parish UU Church in Framingham is another possible site. $20/hour, with optional add ons. Nice space, breakout rooms, plenty of parking. But bad wifi.

We could bring our own DHCP server and wireless access points, and plug it in to the facility's router. Then, the quality of access depends on the facility's bandwidth and internet speed.

What about having the conference at Sprouts? They have an upstairs and downstairs, which would permit two different sessions. Paid parking on Saturdays. Only the bottom floor is wheelchair accessible. Low cost for the space.

SEIU - 150 Mount Vernon Street space?

When you expect more than 100 people, who comes?

We've got 70+ registrations, and 300 people on our mailing list. At least half would come from those two pools. We could also attract privacy or internet activists.

What do we want to accomplish at this conference? Elections?

Elections could allow us to showcase some of our ideas, like instant runoff voting. But to illustrate these ideas, we'd need several candidates for each office. We'd need written statements from people, perhaps video statements. Some people might come in, being interested in some of our ideas.

Do we go for a big conference, or a series of smaller events?

There's power in numbers. It would be nice to have different events in different cities, but we can only do what we can do. There are ways to do runoff elections with mail-in ballots.

What kind of runoff voting were they using in CA? Some municipal election used it.

There's software. OpenIRV, for example. For our numbers, we could even do it by hand. But it would be good form to have good, easy to use software.

Getting > 2 candidates per position will be a challenge.

Mail-in ballots might provide a more inclusive election (as compared to strictly in-person voting).

We need to train people, get them excited, get them in the same room making connections with each other. That's the utility of the conference. This will be after pride. During the pride parade, we can hand out flyers about The conference.

Could we get a flyer/summary to leave at the FSF conference?

It would be good to have a statement about the relationship between Free software and pirate party. In past, FSF was concerned about the pirate party's position on copyrights; there was a fear that it would loosen protections afforded by copyleft. For example, if copyright were shortened to 5-10 years, a lot of free software would fall out copyleft protection.

How much money do we want to spend on our conference? We charged $5 last year.

We haven't been aggressive about fundraising. We might have more people involved if were were aggressive about fundraising.

Should we ask for $10? People might give more if we ask for more. But we don't want to exclude people who can't give.

Rough conference budget:

  • $100 for space
  • $25 for use of overhead projector
  • got back around $500 (based on last year)

Last year's conference got a lot of coverage. It was our biggest success last year.

We don't have to do food; we can just leave time for a lunch break.

We might want a budget of $100 for coffee and things like that. We're not out to make a huge amount of money, but it would be nice to make a little. We should try to stay out of the red. We have another conference scheduled for later in the year.

If we anticipate revenue, could we spend that on advertising for the event?

We need a volunteer to go to a few potential sites, and see what the wireless speed is like. (, or some such)

How long is the conference? Could be for the day. Could also organizing something that runs into the evening; have bands or a party afterwards. Assume 9-5 for conference, perhaps with fundraiser afterwards.

VFW post at Davis Square in Somerville?

What about having the event in a public location, with a sound system? People walking by may stop, listen, and take an interest in what we're doing.

Might be a lot of cost, but no revenue.

It would be nice to livestream the conference, if wifi permits. Otherwise, we can record it, and post video later.

Do we want a keynote speaker, do draw in people?

If we can get a good speaker, yes. If not, we don't have too.

Start time? Last year, the cast of characters changed between morning and afternoon. The press left after lunch.

Eric would like to do a "what is the pirate party" talk. There are lots of things to talk about: i2p, cryptocurrency, legislation.

We could structure things in "past", "present", and "future" sections. You really want to cover the history of what we're about as separate talks.

People should leave excited, and interested in getting involved. Or interested in running for office. There has to be an `ask'.

Perhaps each of our committees could do a talk?

We need to design the conference as more than just a series of talks.

Conference can have tracks. We could have a "client-server" track where someone talks to an audience, and a "peer to peer" track where we, say, show someone how to set up i2p.

Maybe one of the tracks should focus on getting people's concerns, finding out issues they're interested in. Discussion, take notes, share things.

If you talk about privacy, you have to a ready answer to "why is this important".

Session about crowd financing?

Action item: finish gathering information about the different venues, and make a decision during Thursday. Cost, capacity, flexibility, wireless.

Maybe designate one room as a snack/how-to/hands-on/chatting space?

Three rooms might be ideal. Two tracks, and a snack/chatting space.

June is after the college spring semester ends. We should be able to find some space at one of the colleges in the area.

Should we do 1/4 page flyer for FSF conference?

What about getting interns from different colleges, to put of flyers and such? Actually, we need to start working more with colleges in general; see what campus groups are out there, and what they're doing.

Budget: space, internet, food, and advertising. If we had 100 people at $10/person, then we have $1000. We might have $1000 - $1200 in donation. Figure $100 for food. $500 for space.

Advertising? Google Adwords? Would be buy advertising for the pirate party or for an event? Ad space on local papers? If we do something controversial that resonates deeply with the counterculture, that could resonate.

VPN affiliation program? One problem with the VPN provider; they sent the affiliate money to the wrong place. But that's a solve-able problem. Are there any liability issues with offering a VPN service? Not sure.

Possible Speakers

  • Susan Landau on communications surveillance and privacy
  • Cory Doctrow on the coming war on general purpose computing
  • Jonathan Zittrain, author of "The future of the internet and how to stop it".

Other Items

  • FSF Conference. Steve and Kendra are planning to go.
  • Boston Peace Parade (St. Patrick's Day). Steve may be only one going.
  • Wake up the Earth (JP). Perhaps tabling?
  • Freedom Rally/MassCAN
  • i2p videos
  • interns. We need an intern flyer. Perhaps a committed for intern coordination.
  • Steve saw Kade Crawford (ACLU mass) give a talk on the war on Terror. At the talk, someone posited that "you can't build a social movement about privacy ... you need other language". Perhaps a war on oppression, a war on surveillance, or simply the right to be left alone.