ionnek at aktivix.org
Sun Jun 5 15:16:35 PDT 2005
Argument in favour of having a new-imc process. Main functions of
new-imc: To be a welcoming comitee rather than gatekeepers. To allow
aspiring imcs to get to know the complex ins and outs of the indymedia
network in a "learning by doing" way. An idea: to have a blog dedicated
to the new imc process.
since jay has asked for views on new-imc, here u go:
I agree pretty much with melpomenes description of the role of new-imc.
The list archives themselves look pretty dry - application, short sharp
questions, deadline, welcome. You can get the impression that it is a
purely administrative process, that the function of new-imc is more to
be gatekeepers rather than a welcoming comitee. But those who have
helped a new imc group through the process know that the new-imc process
is much more than the visible bureaucracy, that it involves
conversations sometimes online, sometimes offline, building
relationships, introductions to people within the network who can help,
discussions on what all indymedia technical terms, communication
channels, philosophies are all about. It would be nice to see more of
this empowering process reflected in the archives or somewhere else.
Maybe we could have a new-imc blog to which sponsors can contribute and
discuss things they are not sure about. But this shouldn't amount to
additional workload for those who sponsor a new imc - more a discussion
forum that doesn't need to be short and to the point, a source of mutual
I think these debates, both between new collectives and existing new-imc
volunteers and within the new collectives themselves are a very
important entry to the complex social network called indymedia.
People are learning by doing - they find out which lists are important,
what to expect from them in both positive and negative ways, they gain
confidence in approaching people (if they don't have close relationships
within the network already). They come across the principles of unity,
discuss them, understand them, agree or disagree, interpret them
according to their own local needs. They figure out what things like
"open publishing", "horizontal", "consensus", "liaison", "free software"
can mean in their own local environment, they accept or adapt them,
sometimes the local discussions spark off debates on the global lists. I
can imagine that some collectives might decide, as a result of this
process, that indymedia is not really what they want to do - but afaik
til now that has only rarely been the case.
So - i believe that the new-imc process, ideally, is a very practical,
very hands-on way to get to know a complex network. A process that can
be a good starting point for future collaboration, and maybe also a
process that can point out which conflicts to expect.
When the principles of unity were discussed and drafted, I saw them more
as a description of what indymedia is or wants to be, not a theoretical
philosophy removed from the everyday reality of most imcs. There is much
space for the peculiarities of local collectives - some collectives
might be full of cool free software techies, others might operate from
borrowed windows-boxes and focus much more on content or outreach. And
When the new-imc working group first started, I was worried. I thought
this was the first step towards an institutionalisation of indymedia,
the first serious attempt to set up a bureaucracy, something to replace
the friendly, informal support I had experienced when imc uk first
started. But as the network is growing bigger, it is getting more and
more difficult to find your way around it, and i think having a working
group that responds to new people is crucial. And I believe that "the
techies" who control the url don't want to act like autocrats in
deciding who "gets" an indymedia.org url - i believe they rely on the
network to make these decisions by consensus. Maybe we could automate
the new-imc process (download your imc ;-), but really, for me the most
special quality of indymedia is that it is a global social network with
a very wide but tangible political outlook, a network that makes good
use of technology but is not restricted to it. There are lots of
websites with quasi open publishing functions, but give me just one
example that compares with indymedia!
I still think that we are treading a fine line between collapse of the
network because we are getting too big to be a "disorganisation", and
suffocating of the network because we are turning into a traditional
institution. But I also think we are so far keeping the balance...
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