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nettime-nl: Anarchives: Cancel All Debt: Media and Democracy in NYC
evel on Thu, 6 Nov 1997 15:32:18 +0100 (MET)


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nettime-nl: Anarchives: Cancel All Debt: Media and Democracy in NYC


Beetje lang, 
maar zeer vrolijk en chaotisch verslag 
van het Media & Democrazy Congres onlangs in New York, 
geschreven door Jesse Hirch uit Toronto.
gr
eveline


=09=09"we are a movement not a market"
The Anarchives =09=09=09=09Volume 4 Issue 8
=09The Anarchives=09=09=09Published By
=09=09The Anarchives=09=09TAO Communications
=09=09=09The Anarchives=09www.tao.ca

=09=09Send your e-mail address to get on the list
=09=09Spread The Word Pass This On...

               --/\--=09=09=09
             /  /  \  \=09=09=09Cancel All Debt
         ---|--/----\--|---=09=09NYC, IFIM, and M&DC
             \/      \/=09=09=09
             /\______/\=09=09=09by jesse hirsh
=09=09=09=09=09jesse {AT} tao.ca


-=3D~ -=3D~ -=3D~ -=3D~ -=3D~ -=3D~ -=3D~ -=3D~ -=3D~ -=3D~ -=3D~ -=3D~ -=
=3D~ -=3D~ -=3D~

23 years after i was born i went to new york city to free the media

it was a wild adventure about cultural perspectives and the scarcity of
space within a world of excess. i and i travelled by train through the fall
of new york state on a journey to reclaim an island 'sold' for a necklace,
and built with the paradox of freedom and slavery.

whoami? somebody with a stomach ache. i play many characters, and i do this
by studying and engaging culture. in the fall of 1997 this translates into
the study of network culture, and the liberation of the networks as the
basis of all free media.

our friends in struggle have made a call, so i and i ride the train gazing
soundly on a full moon with a setting sun, casting a light purple sky,
highlighting the red, gold, and green trees, that symbolize the fall of new
york state.

the movement of the social, the movement by and for the people, are
organizing their own communications and media. it is with this momentum tha=
t
i and i arrived in new york city to organize, mobilize, and agitate for a
democratic society. rumour had it that a 1000 or so people were gathering i=
n
lower manhattan for a so-called congress on what is supposed to be media an=
d
democracy. whatever this event was supposed to be, it surely wasn't. all
sorts came out of the woodwork to culturally transform the city and
themselves in less than a week. the winds of change swept hard throughout
the island and the many networks connected to it.

this is the story i have experienced with i and i, however i sit now with i
and craft the words to describe the phenomenon so you the reader may access
another perspective. since returning to my home i have first witnessed a
near hurricane wind storm and now as i write there is a fallout of light
snow, the world is in shock, and still we are a week until all hallows' eve=
=2E

on the day that i travelled, i awoke with a dream of tension and momentum. =
i
felt many behind me and a strong minority trying to block me. i had a sense
of being, coupled with a sense of belonging, all on the verge of becoming.
through the network by train i was headed to new york city as nasa launched
the casini probe, 73 pounds of plutonium, enough radioactive material to
destroy the planet several times over. destruction is in the air although
the land demonstrates a resolute beauty accomplished only by the random and
determined operations of life. america is a culture of self-destruction
mixed with self-absorbtion, this was clear to i and i as soon as we got pas=
t
tonawanda.

for the train ride i encapsulated myself with the book 'global media' by
robert mccchesney and edward herman: it's a run down of the mostly american
global media giants that are the latest purveyors of hegemony and empire.
the authors describe the assets, vision, and tactics of the corporate
broadcasters, but they almost completely neglect the telecom companies (the
big buck network utilities ready to enact the next wave of media
acquisitions), and out of a 200 page book they only spend 8 or so on the
resistance to global corporate power. after reading the book i felt as if i
and i were the resistance to the global coup d'=E9tat: the antidote to a
mortal virus of stagnation and mental negation.

off the train on the ground moving into the heart of the city, leaving penn
station and walking north up broadway heading for 107th, i and i arrive in
times square on columbus day. perpetual persuasion is promised by the light
in the middle of the night smothering a crowded town square enabling the
spectacle and the distorted reflection of the self. there is little room to
breathe or rest and anxiety prompts a quick exit to the east and north.
within steps we are in front of transnational corporate headquarters
towering into a glowing city night that has no stars save for the blimps an=
d
low flying satellites.

it was with great speed that we sought out joe friendly and his warm haven
just south of harlem. his apartment was full of collectibles, including a
full video editing suite, and a big picture of joe with fidel castro, the
former with a larger beard and an even bigger smile. joe's a mover in new
york city with a standard white van, altered by time and displaying the
slogans: 'fidel is so cool, clinton a tool' on the left side, 'cancel all
debt' on the back, and 'commercial tv will not give us the truth we need' o=
n
the right. joe produces 3 cable access tv shows across new york city as wel=
l
as doing work with wbai community radio. joe's latest project is a plan for
peaceful total revolution (www.pipeline.com/~friendly). mr. friendly helped
welcome us to the island with the traditional greetings after which i and i
closed our eyes after a long day's journey.


tuesday

waking to the city the next morning was both disturbing and expected. the
sounds never cease and the voices are most often harsh. the buildings
resembled hives, and the city thrived with a buzz akin only to intense and
co-ordinated hyperactivity. i and i were naturally disoriented and required
some form of natural adaptation to a new and hostile environment. quickly
after rising we walked from the upper east side to central park and the
heart of what felt like an island of destructive excess. putting our hands
on the tall and wide trees we saw a land of paradox, of bipolar extremes, a
contradicting reality that existed only so far as its contradictions. i and
i were travelling through cultural environments and in so doing adapting to
each one, allowing ourselves to blend and become part of each. it was with
this in mind that we spent our first few hours in new york city sitting and
walking through central park. even within this green sanctuary people were
still in a hurry as they biked, bladed, and ran from one place to another.
the park is the life in the middle of the city that keeps the culture of
death from imploding in on itself. the trees are the last anchors on this
island, while everyone else runs the rat maze they remain still providing
what little breathing air exists in the surrounding concrete jungle.

emerging out onto central park south i kept thinking about andrea, and
something she told me a few nights earlier, about keeping your head up, and
actually looking out ahead when you walk. low and behold the moment that i
look up to see the city in front of me, ted turner and tom brokaw walk into
the park with a small entourage. i stand for a moment to double-check and
verify their identity, true to tv, there they walked, and unable was i to
make a quick remark or democratic demand. only in new york as they say.

our day long walk took us from the upper reaches of central park, through
the eclectic diverse energy of the city down to the lower east side and the
fifth street community garden, one of the last few scraps of public space
being used for both community and popular needs. on the way to 5th street w=
e
stopped in stuyvesant park for a smoke and a rest, taking a moment to watch
the city move as those with no homes sat and waited for time to pass. just
down the street from the garden is blackout books the anarchist info-shop
(www.panix.org/~blackout), where i and i hooked up with a number of fellow
travellers from around the way. after a rest we made our way back to the
west side and manhattan neighbourhood network (www.mnn.org) on 59th street.

there i and i participated in a forum and cablecast put on by access for al=
l
(accessforall {AT} tao.ca), a new york based network of activist and community
groups working towards greater democratic participation by increasing publi=
c
accessibility to the means and forums of communication and expression. the
facility wherein the forum took place was an amazing public access centre
providing training for and access to television production, this of course
includes the use of 4 channels on the manhattan cable system. i and i from
toronto joined a number of community activists in the main studio to engage
in a discussion on public access to media, from television to the internet.
it was within this context that we put our minds together to see past the
immediate event horizon and transcend the self-interest to reach that ever
elusive public interest. how can we employ these communication technologies
to better our communities and societies? throughout an evening of discussio=
n
it quickly became clear that what we were addressing were concerns of socia=
l
policy and social work, rather than issues of technology or media. for we
use the communication tools to reach our fellow humans, and communicate our
own stories in response to others as an ongoing dialogue that draws out
social perspectives.

what are the effects of emerging network media? how will society be
transformed by the shift towards a knowledge based economy and society? one
thing is for certain: we just don't know. in fact the unknown seems to be a
recurring metaphor of the networked future we face. however what we can
identify in the present is a total lack of public consultation and debate
concerning the impact and effects of current technological change. when
asked what we would like access to i and i respond with clean air, clean
water, and a democracy, that being popular and universal access to the
decision making process itself. grand notions easier said than done, but
nonetheless they are the reasons why we are here and continue to struggle.
and it is with this in mind that we continue the discussion well into the
early hours of the next morning.


wednesday

after a short but sound sleep i and i are up again off to begin our day wit=
h
a picnic brunch in central park, this time joined by our fellow travellers
also from our home up north. we exchange our impressions of both the cultur=
e
and environment of this perplexing island, and our own amazement on how it
remains afloat without spontaneously combusting into flames. it is with thi=
s
sense of amazement that we journey to the metropolitan museum of modern art=
,
socially engineering our way inside with free admission. we travel from
egypt to china, from india to greece, through europe into the 20th century,
and then back to africa and out the door. as within the networks space and
time dissolve in the gallery with the power of movement and the perspective
of empire; a palace wired into the spoils and treasures of empire looted
through centuries of conquest and colonization.

the rest of the day became a blur of travel through the grid, mixed with
induced vertigo from the speed and density of the hive's incessant
hyperactivity. at the end of the path we found ourselves again in the lower
east side drinking beer on B avenue discussing a critical mass of radical
individuals combining their efforts and taking back their autonomy and
democracy. the american state is largely about self-interest, and the
continued enlargement of the self. our efforts towards democracy include
organizing against this self-interest under the banner of a larger public
interest that transcends any nation state or notion of citizenship.

that night i and i are able to connect to the internet for the first time
since arriving on the island . the connection induces a weird form of
reality shift that instigates a grounding and recontextualization that
frames our actions within our own community back home and the larger
movement of the social that has carried us to our current position. many
things are transpiring, sirens are loud and frequent, as the people desire
progressive change. i send an email to aweisman {AT} chass.utoronto.ca that says=
:
crazy shit going on here, earth is moving, stay grounded, knock on wood.


thursday

the next morning began with a wake and bake in the friendly van moving sout=
h
on the island along 9th avenue. at one point mr. friendly drove up to a
tandem of public schools out on the street for a routine fire drill and
yelled with his most poetic voice, "smoke more pot!" to which the primary
school booed and the secondary school cheered. it was with surreal time tha=
t
we arrived at Cooper Union and the first day of activities for the so-calle=
d
media and democracy so-called congress.

the supposed congress was far from what it was billed to be. to coincide
with the beginning of the event, the san francisco bay guardian published a
number of reports/exposes on funding within the american progressive
movement, and explicitly how the institute for alternative journalism, the
organizers of the so-called media and democracy so-called congress, had
allowed funding organizations to influence their agenda, to the extent of
allowing the ceo of one of the corporate sponsors: the body shop to be a
key-note speaker in the opening plenary. as a means of ghettoizing the
various contingents attending the event, the organizers constructed streams
to plug people into, often holding concurrent sessions that were in conflic=
t
with each other, or prevented certain participants from engaging with the
larger process of the event. while i and i came to the island to agitate fo=
r
free media, the organizers of the so-called congress waged an agenda 'to
professionalize the alternative media' and ensure that they and their fello=
w
self-interested careerists continue to get paid while the rest of the world
steadily slips into abject poverty.

it was within this context that i and i participated in what was termed the
'activist stream' a seemingly top-down exercise that sought to define 'medi=
a
activism'. with an emphasis on local and regional organizing we were asked
to explore the characteristics, experiences, identity, involvement, and
community participation within what was termed media activism. however
confusion quickly ensued as few were comfortable with the contradiction of
'media activism' except where it applied to a narrowly defined self-interes=
t
of success. groups largely from north america detailed their activities and
aims to facilitate individuals to participate in collective action that
stimulates critical thinking and invigorates progressive change. within the
context of media activism this could be translated as: 'engaging the
spectacle while demystifying it'. however i and i came out of this forum
with the reinforcement that media activism is window dressing on what is
actually community activism, or should be the movement for the social. the
session which originally was focused towards outcomes and an identified end=
,
gradually evolved into a process-oriented beginning, focused on the events
to come over the next few days, weeks, months, and years. after all we are =
a
movement that is just beginning to articulate and organize itself.


march against the media moguls

so it was with the energy of many friends, old and new, that we the people
gathered in times square, in front of the corporate headquarters of viacom,
to begin a march to reclaim our public space, our public airwaves, and
effectively our public mind. the march was set to visit several new york
based media conglomerates and demand that they answer to the court of publi=
c
opinion and relinquish their assets to popular control.

organized by the new york free media alliance,
http://artcon.rutgers.edu/papertiger/nyfma/, the street party included
ongoing performances by bread and puppets, folk singers, hip-hop artists,
activists, academics, workers, artists, and freaks, including i who played
the tour guide for the media mogul world tour.

as a merry crew of several hundred we paraded through midtown manhattan
beginning in times square at viacom, then stopping at disney, news corp,
time warner, nbc, cbs, and then ending at the museum of broadcasting. at
each stop speakers called for social justice and the return of
communications to the people, most notably shank from the prison rap projec=
t
who also kept the party bumpin' with his radical rhymes. repeatedly the
people spoke of the tyranny of corporate rule followed by calls to action
and demands for equal rights. related issues such as the MAI (multilateral
agreement on investments) and the impending wave of telecom acquisitions
were also raised to highlight the context in which the broadcasters in
question operated.

the people's party walked through the streets of new york surrounded by
towers of tyranny that pierced into the sky, symbols of power and stability=
,
champions of the closed and static mind. however the energy that coursed
through the diverse and dynamic crowd created a milieu that not only
fostered a class consciousness, but enabled this trickster to make a fool o=
f
himself in front of several hundred people while creating an enjoyable and
humorous environment for the people to take back their freedom and
communications.

when asked 'on who's authority we were acting?' i and i's response was to
read out loud:

Article 19 of the universal declaration of human rights:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right
includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive
and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.=
"

it is time we start examining the right to communicate, and with it the
communication of rights.

we walked against traffic and police with laughter and drumming.
conversations with passers-by were mostly enthusiastic, as we confronted th=
e
reigning gods of the nyc spectacle. we need to do these parties in our own
cities on a more regular basis, perhaps monthly with critical mass rides?

the nyfma has put up a web site for the march:
http://artcon.rutgers.edu/papertiger/nyfma/march/march1.html
and paper tiger will be releasing a video in addition to citizen vagrom
(www.speakeasy.org/citizen) and others.

that night we had a curried feast and were filled with the joy of the day.
after our meal we returned to the cooper union hall with our signs of
protest, only to be confronted by the conference organizers all dressed up
in their skinny digs to hear anita roddick ceo of the body shop declare her
supposed progressive intentions. after meeting old friends and introducing
ourselves to the new, we piled into the friendly van that seeks to cancel
all debt and rode uptown to the place we then called home.


friday

the next morning began with a panel on local media organizing, which
included speakers from new york, seattle, los angeles, san francisco, as
well as others on the floor from boston, philadelphia, montreal, toronto,
woods hole, gainesville, vancouver and elsewhere. i and i all discussed the
trials and tribulations mixed with the speed and success by which we try to
organize our local independent media to enable a democratic society. it was
a feel good meeting, but one that shared space with an understanding of a
long uphill path ahead.

the panel on local organizing was the first and seemingly last panel of the
so-called media and democracy so-called congress, which in spite of
appearance and collective belief failed to materialize. in fact what was
most overwhelming was the connections being made by and between the people
who had come to the island, gathered under the metaphors of media and democ=
racy.

Z magazine sponsored a panel called 'what is alternative about alternative
media?' which featured 4 speakers: michael albert and lydia sargent from Z
magazine, amy goodman from democracy now!, and salim muwakkil from in these
times. the panel offered a stark contrast to the rest of the so-called
congress discussing issues such as the influence of economics and funding,
democracy within the workplace and organizations, racism, sexism, and
various other forms of domination within the so-called alternative media.

the panel described a process of democratic egalitarian humanism that they
perceived as a true alternative to the dominant form of organizing, whether
within 'progressive' or 'mainstream' media. at the same time as this panel,
the conference organizers held panels on 'building a media and democracy
movement' as well as panels on feminist and queer issues; essentially
splitting the fringe groups (us) while giving the organizers a panel to
discuss the 'media and democracy movement' without the disruptions from i
and i the loud-mouthed radicals.

once the Z panel opened up to comments and questions from the floor the roo=
m
quickly gave way to an airing out of frustration over the corporatization o=
f
pacifica, the lack of democracy within 'progressive' media, the corruption
surrounding the organizers of the conference, and the need for wider
'international' organizing and resistance to dominant corporate media. the =
Z
magazine for october 1997 featured these and many other issues relating to
media and democracy (www.lbbs.org).

after the meeting on 'alternatives' concluded, many of the participants and
attendees then proceeded to a squatted room in the new york university
student centre to meet on the subject of international organizing and
continued mobilization, and agitation, for a democratic society.
approximately 42 people gathered to discuss an initiative at that time
called IFIM or the International Feration of Independent Media, a network o=
f
networks that had been organizing for what was estimated to be 2 years. a
number of organizations were either represented or declared interest in
participating in the efforts to create an international organization that
brings together the various efforts in the public interest to protect and
ensure the rights of all peoples organizing against exploitation and
oppression. a number of initiatives were announced that proposed either
networks or international organizations that worked towards these and
similar aims.

However as the discussion opened up there was uncertainty as to a stated
purpose, structure, and identity of the group as a whole. A number of peopl=
e
expressed discomfort with the term 'federation', associating it with a
distant and centralized power. Other people suggested that perhaps we shoul=
d
call ourselves the International Initiative for Independent Media, seeing
that without a recognized structure and clearly defined purpose we were not
yet a federation, and perhaps it was premature to call ourselves that. A
revealing character of the meeting however was found in the realization tha=
t
everyone in the room had email, and had pretty much arrived in the room
because of their activities or communication online. The group recognized
this bias and informally committed to work both on access issues as well as
preserving the right to stay offline and be involved.

after a lively and open debate on a number of different issues we decided t=
o
conclude and meet again in two days to continue discussing how we could wor=
k
together in a larger context and under a common banner.

i and i went from the ifim meeting to a regional videazimut
(http://www.tao.ca/videazimut/) meeting held at the paper tiger
(tigertv {AT} bway.net) tv offices on lafayette st. with videazimut members from
montreal, toronto, new york, san diego, and colorado. we discussed upcoming
meetings in seoul korea, berlin germany, and cape town south africa. member=
s
discussed their activities, interests, and experiences. also present at the
meeting was apc (association for progressive communications) representative
mark surman (mark {AT} web.net) who discussed possible co-operation between
videazimut and apc, as was occurring between free speech tv (www.fstv.org)
and igc.apc.org as well as the co-operation between tao.ca and web.apc.org.

this meeting of videazimut was another non-congress event that further
detracted and distracted i and i from the main event. any time we did retur=
n
to the circus' big tent we either met cooler freaks out front or got
attitude from the aggressive type-a personality congress organizers.
whenever we did make it inside we saw members from the floor either
complaining for more space to discuss their own issues, or in the case of
the friday night panel, no microphones for the floor to respond at all.

friday night had a party in the lower west edge of the island, just south o=
f
the twin towers of the world trade centre. a small room in nyu grad
residence was filled shoulder to shoulder with partying media radicals from
all over celebrating the company of each other and the struggle to breathe
clean air in a democratic society.

the night became the early morning as we rode uptown with 15 or so people i=
n
a van affectionately named 'CANCEL ALL DEBT' weaving through manhattan to
bring everyone to their neck of the jungle. when we finally arrived at our
haven on 107th we had spent nearly an hour and half partying in a truck on
the streets of manhattan.


saturday

after only a few hours of sleep i and i crawled into a subway headed
downtown to the cooper union. my friend leslie shade was speaking on a pane=
l
titled: 'insuring public space: fighting for public access' which examined
the social utility of community networks. from there i and i went to the
panel on 'international media activism' which featured speakers from
videazimut, the ifim, zapatista inspired initiatives, and the london
platform for co-operation in communications. while both of these sessions
were feel-good panels, i could not connect them with the rest of the
so-called congress. they just seemed to be coming from an altogether
different energy and source, much more aligned to the public interest rathe=
r
than some transparent self interest.

for lunch i and i met with friends from the damn network
(www.tao.ca/earth/damn/), a largely north american initiative to organize a
news network to cover and engage in direct action. we discussed similar
issues to what was discussed in the ifim meeting, as well as how we related
to groups like a-infos (www.tao.ca/ainfos/) and the ifim
(www.tao.ca/earth/). we decided to engage in an online decision making
process over the next three weeks over the direct {AT} tao.ca email list. also i=
n
attendance was tom lane from the a-infos radio project (radio4all.web.net).

for the rest of the afternoon, i and i were both exhausted after not
receiving a lot of sleep over the previous set of nights, and tired from th=
e
hyperactivity induced by the city. we both found separate places to take a
prolonged afternoon nap: i in the computer room and i in the 'cancel all
debt' truck.

we awoke to the closing ceremonies of the so-called congress and the
screening of michael moore's soon to be released movie titled: 'the big
one'. it was an enjoyable movie with a good mix of humour, direct action,
left-wing populism, and democracy, effectively playing off the tensions of
elite vs popular representation and perspective. however michael moore
joined what was now a loud voice of dissent and expressed indirect criticis=
m
of the so called 'media and democracy' so-called 'congress', poking fun
directly at the 'media heroes' portion of the closing session, and the
yackety-yak-yak of the award winners.

outside of the cooper union hall i and i met up with scores of wonderful
people who had either attended the event or had recently crashed on word
that large numbers of radicals were around and about. i should now mention
that this night was also my 23rd birthday, and as i exited the building i
was handed a rather large bottle of champagne and invited to a nearby club
to celebrate with friends old and new. at the club we danced and celebrated
as i wore a mickey mouse hat, surrounded with friends wearing googley-eyed
glasses, toasting my mother and wishing a happy birthday to all. for my
birthday and in appreciation for the performance as part of the mogul tour,
i was given an incredible djembe drum from the members and friends of the
new york free media alliance. thank you again. i was in birthday bliss as w=
e
rode home with another party in the friendly van calling for the
cancellation of all debt, this time with a stop at an organic health food
supermarket to pick up a yummy meal for the ride uptown.


sunday

the next day, our last spent in manhattan proper, was dedicated to meeting
about the IFIM. i and i were able to sleep in until nearly eleven am upon
which time we drove with mr. friendly to arrive at the ifim meeting a littl=
e
late as usual. the call for the gathering was met by somewhere near 50
people from many countries and continents, albeit predominantly north ameri=
ca.

after spending some time discussing the agenda, meeting structure and
duration, the group decided to split into smaller groups to discuss the
issues of identity, structure, communication, and future
meetings/gatherings. things began fairly slowly and there was some
repetition from the previous meeting, but a euphoria fueled most people's
efforts and attention spans.

in the working group i became part of, we arrived at the name the
International Forum for Independent Media. we felt that we were not yet a
federation, but that we were already a collection of existing and
co-operating networks. to call ourselves a forum was to more accurately
describe the initiatives that we already had underway, the environment by
which we organized ourselves, and the type of space we sought to create. we
identified ourselves as akin to autonomous forms of decentralized
participatory organization which operate according to free association.

however in the interests of accountability and responsibility we identified
the need for a recognized international secretariat and a possible steering
or advisory committee that would hold the secretariat accountable. we saw
the forum as essentially arising out of communication amongst different
peoples and with it the exchange of perspectives. the secretariat would act
as both a clearinghouse of related actions, analysis, and information, whil=
e
also enabling various forms of network and community based communication
that facilitate further organizing efforts, explicitly future networks
and/or federations to continue what appeared as a timeless struggle for
human liberation. we again recognized the influence of the Internet upon ou=
r
organizing culture and identified the role it would play in aiding the
secretariat to carryout forums for communication and organization. however
while the communications of the ifim would be largely internet based the
message of the forum would also be carried by the spoken and printed word,
as well as other forms of media and communication. we also felt that instea=
d
of having annual general meetings on the IFIM, that we rather organize loca=
l
and regional gatherings that are far more accessible to a greater number of
community groups and individuals.

when the smaller groups again joined to form a larger meeting of the IFIM
many of the working groups expressed similar albeit varying concerns. many
recognized the need for the discussion to be extended both in time and spac=
e
to accommodate the participation of others who could not attend that day.
much disagreement ensued as to the timeline and current status of the group=
=2E
by the end of the meeting a few decisions were reached concerning the IFIM:
-a consulta was to be held until jan 1, 1998 on the nature and character of
the IFIM
-a working group would be struck to organize and carry out the consulta,
they will meet on the email list consulta {AT} tao.ca
-tao communications media {AT} tao.ca was recognized as the international
secretariat for the IFIM

although this wasn't recognized or acknowledged at the IFIM meeting i think
that the consulta group is acting as the de facto provisional steering
committee and should identify themselves as such. their membership was
determined by both attendance at a nearby cafe after the IFIM meeting, and
also by their efforts at a latter working group meeting later that same nig=
ht.

i and i decided not to go to the cafe immediately proceeding the ifim
afternoon meeting, but instead were joined by other friends to have dinner
at a nearby chinese restaurant. we had a lively and enjoyable dinner, which
was followed by a series of regretful but warm goodbyes.

i and i took the subway uptown to mr. friendly's apartment, where we shared
a last smoke, conducted a few interviews for public access tv, and then
departed wishing our new friend joe goodbye while thanking him profusely fo=
r
allowing us to stay with him while in manhattan.

walking down amsterdam ave, lightly playing my djembe drum, i and i
reflected on what was a week of hyperactivity and thinking about media,
democracy, and society. we bring back energy and momentum to our
communities. our vision of our struggle and the path we choose to take is
remarkable clearer, a result of our networked efforts and the increased
awareness of who we are and where we stand.

i and i make a final stop on central park west to participate in a parting
tribal jam of words and drum. we are a mixed bag of characters drumming,
drinking, smoking, and reading back minutes and written pieces of the past
few days. into the early morning we discussed everything from the immediast
underground to the future direction of our own local groups. we also
discussed the international forum for independent media and our own
collective interests in being active in that project. the night ended with
shank rapping off the minutes to the afternoon IFIM meeting. with only a fe=
w
hours before our train is scheduled to depart i and i try to catch some res=
t.


monday

we woke up at half past five in the morning and hailed a cab on central par=
k
west and sped downtown towards penn station. packing in some bread, bananas=
,
and water, i and i climbed aboard the 12 hour amtrack train to toronto and
fell asleep for a good for or five hours. after another few hours we were
glad to have access to the geographic illusion that we were leaving the U$A=
=2E
it was if were transcending a cultural milieu that perpetually sought your
involvement and enslavement; a cultural perspective that required you to
look inward for your being, belonging, and becoming.

"although your mind's opaque, try thinking more, if just for your own sake
the future still looks good, and you've got time to rectify all the things
that you should
do what you want to do and go where you're going to,
think for yourself 'cause i will be there with you.
spread the word and you'll be free, spread the word and be like me, spread
the word and think it out, have you heard the word is love, it's the word
i'm thinking of, that the word is just the way, it's the word i'm thinking
of, and the only word is love, it's so fine; sunshine, the word is love."
(John Lennon 1966)

"just crazy enough for me to be here, the legendary guy, whatever his name
was, he said get yourself into the street, 'cause that's where the party
is!" (Jay Terpstra 1997)


the anarchives is a journal of spontaneity and creativity intertwined with
the desire for a democratic society where all people benefit from equal
rights and access to the decision making process as a whole. this issue is =
a
rough draft of my journal notes from a trip i and i took to new york in the
fall of 1997. shortly after publishing i will release two more papers as
derivatives of this draft: one focusing on the issue of access, and the
other focusing on the organizing efforts surrounding the international foru=
m
for independent media. the email list media-l {AT} tao.ca is currently being use=
d
to discuss this initiative. to join send an email to majordomo {AT} tao.ca with
the command 'subscribe media' (no quotes)



Jesse Hirsh - jesse {AT} tao.ca - jesse {AT} lglobal.com
P.O. Box 108, Station P, Toronto,  Canada, M5S 2S8

http://www.tao.ca/~jesse

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