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<nettime> IMC: the definitive report (part 1)
dr.woooo on Tue, 4 Feb 2003 06:57:18 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> IMC: the definitive report (part 1)


posted by anarchobabe on Sunday February 02 2003  {AT}  07:47AM PST 
Well, why I was writing the mail originally is this: I had some time to
think about IMC Scotland and all that, so I try to write an essy in three
parts, to be written as a basis for discussion to define indymedia and its
practise in Scotland. The first part focusses roughly a bit on the global
context (2 pages) and is based on the text The Sad Decline of Indymedia by
Chuck0 for the opening of the 100 indymedia webpage.  This text is quite
important as it basically should give us the freedom to ask for an
editorial guideline based on what we want rather when what the dogmatic
freespeech fetischists want us to do. Best to quote from it extensively! To
read somewhere on infoshop.org, if you are lucky enough to find it.
http://www.infoshop.org/inews/stories.php?story=02/12/08/2553147 The second
part will be a media analysis of indymedia, particularly focussing on the
webpages for imc Scotland, UK, Global ( to do the whole would be a theme
for a dissertation, but worthwhile, but this will be a very short version
with 8-20 pages. ) 

The third part should then built up on the media analysis and lay the basis
for reviewing the mission statement and editorial policy for an IMC

After having a bit of a think, I decided this approach would be the best,
as it will be difficult to push for a shift in editorial guidelines/open
publishing if there is no proper analysis on indymedia as media, focussing
on the institution and its ideology, via narrative, structure, organisation
and representation, by examining languages, pictures, audience, category,
form, style and so on. This means a bit of work and research, though. And
it means first to examine and write up the characteristica, and then to
analyse and to proof the analysis to get to a result. 

Of course we could also just wildly throw in stuff from all the other
indymedias, but somehow this option is not particularly tempting neither
challenging, and it might not be less work either, as dicussions have to be
held anyway. If there is a properly founded and soundly based analysis
(although it is subjective as everything) we should be able to work more
effectively on this with less arguments and with a more focussed
discussion, hopefully. 

The other point is, that both the mission statement, and the editorial
guidelines are overvalued; these are just an expression of the ideology of
the institutions; local and global, that means that strictly clinging to
the wording of these rules (like imc Germany does) is not particularly
necessary. However, the institution and its ideology have to be examined
more in depth. It is the underlying philosphy and its practise, and if
somebody has a different moral or ethical basis there will be a clash with
the institution anyway. Rules don't help with this. Of course
accountability and working collectively is important, and the power balance
between the users, the local and the global structures have to be

Structure of the text at the moment 1. Part I about "The Sad Decline of
Indymedia" http://www.infoshop.org/inews/stories.php?story=02/12/08/2553147
2. IMC Scotland and The Sad Decline of Indymedia. A media analysis and a
definition. 3. Conclusions, Mission Statement, Editorial Policy 

Indymedia Scotland, imc-process and more, Part I

This is an essy in three parts, it has been written as a basis for
discussion to define indymedia and its practise in Scotland.

The first part focusses a bit on the global context and is based on the
text "The Sad Decline of Indymedia"by Chuck0 for the opening of the 100
indymedia webpage. To read on infoshop.org. The second part will be a media
analysis of indymedia, particularly focussing on the webpages for imc
Scotland, UK, Global. The third part should then built up on the media
analysis and lay or review the basis for the mission statement and
editorial policy for an IMC Scotland.

1. "The Sad Decline of Indymedia" 

2. IMC Scotland and "The Sad Decline of Indymedia". A media analysis and
a definition.

3. Conclusions, Mission Statement, Editorial Policy

1. Chuck0 s essay about the "Sad Decline of Indymedia" hit hard in the
awareness of IMC Volunteers and Users; it was quickly acknowledged, taken
up and forwarded, reposted, read, spread and discussed. 

But why? 

First of all, the essay is brilliant in its construction and line of
arguments, and it expresses what everybody involved or sympathetic to
Indymedia is feeling and thinking towards the project sometimes. Timing,
Content, Expression and Author was perfect for this task.

Unfortunately, Chuck0 has not taken into account the "controll group", as
in fact, the problem of "The Sad Decline" does not only lie with
Indymedia, but with the whole Internet as such.

The internet had its moment in history, where it lay "bleak, blank and
beautifull". History was holding breath and gasping in excitement what was
coming next. Everything seemed possible. 

No limits but imagination.

And then, comparing to other of these moments in history, the enormous
global wheel of capitalism turns achingly forward again, taming the wild
urge of creativity, grinding these dreams to dust, burying all
possibilities, and forcing future into its usual channels of exploitation. 

It got commercial, and as waves of spam, business and speculations mix
commercial shopping and money-making with the great source of information
and computer passion it once was. Access to information gets more and more
restricted. Some newspapers now let their customers pay for accessing their
articles online, more and more university archives restrict the access to
high quality information and education, as well as e.g. professional
journals and databases hide their information and restrict access, or sell
it expensively. The surrounding in which Indymedia is embedded can not be
ignored. Indymedia and its role can not be examined isolated. 

This commercialisation of the internet goes hand in hand with increased
repression, more and more restrictions and control mechanisms to be
installed to get now unwanted users and non-adapted behaviour towards
capitalism out and away to make the internet/computers the exclusive place,
businesses such as Microsoft always wanted it to be. 

We praise at this point Richard Stallman and the whole free software
movement, GNU/Linux and whatever so on, which made it possible to make the
internet and computer stuff as accessible as possible. (Excuse my
non-technical wording and inaccuracy, you know what I mean.)

The other reason for writing this essay "The Sad Decline of Indymedia"
would be to detect weak points, to discuss if other users see the same
problems and then to try and resolve the problems collectively by changing
behaviour (rules) or by influencing their practise, adapting to the
circumstances. But the circumstances have changed, too, so is past and
present so easily comparable? And is it possible to change or to adapt the
"behaviour"/(rules) or did these manifest themselves as characteristics
of Indymedia?

As for such, we should think about trying to define what Indymedia is.
Indymedia is Media, and as such it can be examined as every other medium on
the base of media analysis, too. That leaves us with the questions towards.
category, languages, institutions, audience, representation,
organisation/structure and meaning. 

As there is not enough time and place to go into details here, we should
just focus a little bit for now on the institution. Indymedia is an
institution, that means that there are certain characteristics which its
audience expects. 

(To be continued under point2)

Such as Indymedia, such is "Chuck0" an institution in itself, even if he
as a person does not want to be it. The name is an institution rather than
a person, representing other media such as Mutualaid, Infoshop and so on.
So, "Chuck0" is not the editor of these media, he is these media, and
therefore in itself an institution

The power, which lies in this institution, and the fact of being an
institution, provokes as such jealosity, critic and resistance, independent
of content.

Of course, there are expectations towards institutions, which exceed the
expectations held towards an individual, depending on the representation,
the repeated "meaning" of the institution.

In this essay, if I remember correctly, there is also an argument that
people should stand up more to the defendants of the "open publishing"
concept. This is both right and wrong at the same time. Right is, that,
most folks, even activists, do not particularly like or appreciate
confrontation, neither physically nor ideologically/argumentative,
especially not with fellow activists.

We should at this point also acknowledge, that opinions are formed out of
experiences and the political surrounding, and therefore can not be
generalised as "the one and only" truth to be enforced onto others.

But, maybe, we too often avoid confrontation by not standing our ground.
This has also to do with the way arguments and discussions are handled in
the relatively small political scene. I won't go into details here, but
guess we all know what the difficulties and risks are. 

But wrong is the assumption that everybody could have the same effect by
criticising indymedia as an institution with its characteristics and rules.

As "Chuck0" is an institution, "Chuck0" is able to effectively
criticise another institution such as indymedia, where hardly anybody else
can; as it would be pathetic and hardly taken seriously for most others
trying. This is the significance of the essay "The Sad Decline of

----------END OF PART I---------------------------------------------------

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