[IMC-NYC] URGENT: Call Out for IMC Katrina Convergences

salaud salaud at resist.ca
Wed Sep 7 18:45:13 PDT 2005

Hash: SHA1

URGENT:  Call Out for IMC Katrina Convergences


In response to the hurricane disaster in New Orleans and around the  
gulf coast of the Turtle Island (United States) we are proposing that  
people using the Indymedia tactic throughout the Indymedia network  
respond by converging in the areas where the survivors of the  
hurricane are located and setting up Indymedia centers for survivors'  
use on a temporary to permanent basis.  It is proposed that this be  
done in much the same way that we do for convergences for other  
social justice events.  It is essential that the survivors of the  
hurricane have a chance to tell their stories about the event and  
tell their responses to the government's reaction/inaction.  The veil  
has been lifted from many people's eyes down there with respect to  
social justice in this country, it is critical that we help them get  
their stories out and empower them to continue after the storm has  
passed.  The opportunity for the people affected and for Indymedia is  
immense and the clock is ticking.

    Each person using the Indymedia tactic is probably wrestling to  
some degree with the question of "what to do to help."  This is but  
one thing that we have proven that we can do well with the Indymedia  
tactic as a network and it is something that we feel that we can  
actually do to help.  We went through many options including sending  
technology and/or people to go cover the event, providing resources  
to the few IMCs in the direct area that was affected, and some  
others.   However, the opportunity to setup convergence style IMCs,  
which we know are effective in many ways, seems the most powerful and  
helpful.  We know how to empower people to make media as Indymedia  
activists.  Let's go and do it either in our local area, if  
dislocated residents should be re-located there, but certainly in  
Houston and in other close areas.

    Typically, we have a bit of time to plan convergences and this is  
not the case now.  It is a challenge, and it moves the Indymedia  
tactic forward to be able to converge quickly to not only cover an  
event, but empower the people who experienced the event to cover it  
themselves.  This is something new, but we can do it.  In the past we  
have had to struggle to set up spaces and other resources to create  
convergence style IMCs. We believe that because of this type of  
event, which does not put the Indymedia tactic in the direct line of  
fire of police and other law enforcement who don't want to be  
exposed, that it will be easier to find these spaces and resources.   
In short, this is more of a community building experience than clash  
of capitalist versus anti-capitalist forces.  Being able to have the  
Indymedia tactic shift along this spectrum is necessary to the  
tactic's viability.  In short, let's go into somewhat uncharted  
waters and be more rounded and more effective.

   Dislocated residents from the hurricane area are in two sets of  
places.  They are the majority still in Houston and near the  
hurricane area and, secondly, they are being shipped in smaller  
numbers around the country.  In both cases the people affected have a  
lot of stories to tell and a lot of time to do it while their homes  
and lives are being rebuilt.  A slightly bigger IMC convergence  
should probably be put together near the hurricane area with the  
primary coordination of IMCs already there and smaller ones put  
together in towns with IMCs, primarily coordinated by the IMC in that  
city, and smaller one's put together by IMCs in towns without an  
existing IMC with the help of IMCs in the region.

   In particular, we are proposing creating convergence style  
temporary or potentially permanent IMC spaces near (within walking or  
close public transportation) to the places where dislocated residents  
are being housed.  These spaces could be easily donated by churches,  
schools, other aid groups, or gotten jointly by funds from IMCistas  
in the network or both.  These spaces would have at least a few, but  
potentially many, public computers for hurricane survivors to use to  
post their stories and/or check e-mail or use Voice Over IP to call  
friends or loved ones.  Details of exact policies that govern the  
usage could be worked out after the centers are setup and we see the  
actual response.  In addition, audio and video could figure into the  
picture if those resources are available.

    It will be necessary to inform and educate the survivors about  
what Indymedia is, where to go, and how to use it, as is necessary at  
any other convergence.  We are proposing the use of handbills with a  
short explanation of IMC, the resources available (Post your story,  
check e-mail, call friends/family), contact info for the local IMC  
(with radio station phone number, etc) and directions to the space.   
Of course, word of mouth and other thing that helps would work.

   The space should have banners or other postings clearly explaining  
the steps to post on the website and should probably be staffed and  
available fairly long hours.  We got more time than money.  People  
who come to use the space should be encouraged to get the stories of  
other survivors of the hurricane themselves using audio, video, or  
print.  Ultimately, the hope would be that the survivors can become  
their own media and use the center as a hub.  Perhaps, with great  
hope they could collectively take on the whole function of the center  
until they either returned home or continued the effort permanently.

   This sounds like a lot of work and short notice.  But, some things  
are definitely more with us in this situation.  It seems that since  
IMCistas do not need to be on the street risking violence and arrest  
filming, recording or otherwise monitoring cops or other capitalist  
types, the energy could be put into the IMC center itself in terms of  
education and outreach.  Its a different kind of convergence /  
Indymedia action altogether.  But, we think it could be really fun  
and rewarding.

   If you are interested in moving forward with something similar to  
this proposal in your area or in the hurricane area please begin by  
subscribing to this list imc-katrina-coverage at lists.indymedia.org or  
using this IRC channel #neworleans.  An initial online meeting about  
this  particular topic on irc.indymedia.org will be scheduled for  
Saturday, 9/10/2005 at 12:00 PM PST, 3:00PM EST.

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