[Imc-europe] Something is rotten in the state of Denmark - the athens indymedia (hi)story
dpdt1 at riseup.net
Mon Jun 9 20:54:35 PDT 2008
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark
This is a translation of the document publicly distributed here in Greece
by members and ex-members of the athens IMC plenum. Despite the fact that
the distribution of the proclamation has only just started, it has already
aroused a large, wide and public dialog in the political community of
This dialog as you might imagine, concerns the current state of the athens
We are sending you this proclamation in order to inform the wider IMC
community about the events that took place within the athens imc
administration team and led to the publication of this text. We strongly
feel that everyone should be informed on what is going on inside the
collective for the last 2 years and why people have left or were forced to
leave the athens imc collective as these are problems that perhaps other
indymedia centers around the globe have already faced, or will face in the
We think that its not just an internal conflict but something much more
political and important as the current administration team of the Athens
IMC strongly promotes censorship and political discrimination on the
published material at the site of athens imc, thus endangering the very
existence of the indymedia center.
In brief, Athens indymedia collective has turned into a really small group
of persons who have very little to do with the indymedia culture. For
example just this small group has managed to throw out of the assembly the
majority of the collective using petty methods and violence (physical and
psychological). The so called open assembly of the Athens indymedia
collective has ceased to function following the golden rule of the
consensus in the decision making process and is gradually turning into a
small Stalinist group that doesn't follow the Principles of Unity of the
indymedia network. So under these circumstances it was easy for some
persons to discard more than the half of the Athens indymedia collective.
Nevertheless we won't give up. We have already made a first big step with
the publication of the following reclamation and solutions and
propositions have already begun to emerge, with the support of the
Athenian political community. For the first time in quite a few years now
the subject of IMC is reentering the political agenda and a lot of people
are expressing their opinions on what is happening here.
We will keep you posted.
The text that follows is the reclamation that is distributed in Athens.
The exiled part of the Athens IMC plenum
What is Athens Indymedia? Τhis may be a wrong question to begin
with. Without it being able to be defined clearly, since each one can
have his own point of view on it and since it's not something static,
but it changes like the movement itself does, we could say that Athens
Indymedia is not a specific thing which purposes to a specific goal.
It grants our need for information in a totally different way than how
the mass media do. It is an electronic tool, open to everybody and not
only to specialists. Communication and information becomes
bidirectional, not one-way, and every post is open to further
commenting. Surely, besides its informing complexion, Athens Indymedia
is also a space for exchanging ideas and experiences, since many times
on the occasion of an article, long debates have began, in which
everyone can participate.
In other words, we try for Athens Indymedia to be a space with
anti-hierarchical and direct-democratic structure, with an anti-regime
role and in its fields (information, discussion) to materialize these
characteristics, premising the principle of consensus. For these
characteristics to be safeguarded, an editorial guideline is being
used as the common minimum political agreement, whereby the published
material is being rated from the administration team and the users,
and the basic principles of every IMC worldwide are being adopted.
There must be an administration team (A.T.) which cares for this
project's good functionality and its evolution, so that it stays
alive. Obviously, for these characteristics to be preserved, the A.T.
must function according to these and each individual who participates
in the A.T. must uphold such structures and purposes.
But, our experience from our participation in the administration team of
Athens Indymedia, showed us a completely different situation. Specific
people systematically manipulate the team's meetings and they attain this
by any way could serve their purposes, which we will hereby mention.
At first, as an external consequence of these people's behaviour over
the medium, the Athens IMC is getting further and further from what it
claims to be: a medium for non-mediating information, a weapon of the
people who fight and form the radical, revolutionary, antagonistic (or
name it as you wish) movement. How could it be something like that,
when the administration of the posts is prejudiced? When personal
sympathies are of higher priority than the editorial guideline? When
the site users are treated as people who don't need any answer or
discussion and not as political individuals. When criteria for editing
and posting features are based on "what we like"? When discussions are
being administrated in favor of one or another aspect, without any
compunction, because some of the administrators support one or another
side? How can a tool like Athens Indymedia be anti-hierarchical, when
administrators and users have been constantly separated? And finally,
how can it be any of what it claims, when terror, slander, physical
and psychological violence prevail within the A.T.? After all, how are
we going to reclaim the media, if its administration is being more and
more condensed, ideologically closed, detached from us?
Results of all these things mentioned above, happening in Athens IMC,
are obvious to a lot of people, affected by those. They are not just a
consequence of random occasions or natural large-scale changes within
the movement; instead, they come as a result of very specific
manipulations by very specific people, in the administration team, who
have been committed in expropriating the administration of the medium
at any cost.
At second we would focus on the internal consequences of some people's
behaviour towards the plenary of the Athens IMC. We saw, that because
of these people and because of the ones who didn't react to the
authoritative behaviour of the former, the plenary cannot bear the
principles mentioned above (anti-hierarchy, direct-democracy,
consensus), since it has to deal with personal attacks, threats,
violence and expulsions. There is an unofficial central committee
which doesn't report to anybody (not even to the ones who react) while
requiring from the "workers" to obey their decisions; blocking with a
veto new people that they don't like; mercilessly insulting,
threatening, provoking and defaming members of the group; even making
fractionising efforts, in order to exclude the arguers, the "annoying"
ones. We would need plenty of pages to even summarize what has
happened and been spoken in and beyond the plenary of the AT; and
there is definitely, no space for the documents that we have in prove.
Some cases are indicative:
4 incidents of violence against members of the Administration Team
by the same person (while the plenary was taking place, even once
against a young female comrade)
Expulsion of people from the collective
Unjustified disqualification of A.T. members from internal digital
tools (removing access, dropping accounts etc).
Members of the A.T. (some of them were forced to leave) have been
defamed for being dangerous, traitors, unreliable, indy.gr* agents,
agent provocators sent by political organisations, non-political,
tech-freaks, sexists etc...
Personal threats like "I will find you and I will ..."
Blocking the return of an ex-member with a veto, and turning the
plenary into a trial including a full bill of indictment.
Dispersing the Technical Team of Athens IMC.
Putting limitations on the operation of a radical website hosted on
athens imc server, maintained by another collective
Re-occurring deletion of internal discussion posts and widespread
censorship on the opinions of the A.T. members.
Of course, the text you have been reading is not the first reaction
against what has been happening beyond the Athens IMC operation. We
have found ourselves in a dead end, facing such practices, and the
alternatives we had to choose from, either led to no results, or we
didn't follow them for preserving our political principles. The tactic
of trying to give small battles, based on argumentation and a right
attitude according to what Indymedia is supposed to represent, was
meant to fail: the arguments were unfortunately weaker than the
expulsions, the vetos and the politician tricks. The option of
applying the "talion law" required us to be immoral, which is not
allowed by our political culture. Fascism cannot be fought with
fascism, nor can hierarchy be fought with applying authoritarianism.
The end does not justify the means. Staying inactive and distant,
would lead us into being guilty due to our silence. Quitting would not
be a solution either; not after so much contribution to the medium and
since we have both personal and collective opinion for what should
function in another way.
Due to the vain authoritarianism of some people, the current state of
the Athens IMC administration is described by a totalitarianism, an
increasing distance from the spaces and the movement ideas and by a
widespread sense of decay. All these make us believe that there is a
movement's need to re-define from scratch the role, the character and
mainly the organisational structure of Athens Indymedia.
We don't quit, we denounce. We won't remain silent in front of the
authoritative practices we face. Time has come for a wider discussion
to be opened, among the medium's users, on how to reclaim it.
The exiled part of the Athens IMC plenum
Animix - DevNull - dpdt1 - fourier - LA - matafanas -
mathousalix - T at kis - tespa - vevek giorgos - Thodoris M.
*indy.gr is another indymedia-like site.
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