[IMC-Seattle] Reportback from Organizational meeting

rickh at riseup.net rickh at riseup.net
Mon Nov 22 21:30:52 PST 2004


This is a reportback from the Organizational meeting held Saturday, 11.20.04.

Attending:  Brandon, Catherine, Stephanie, Laury, Zapata and Rick

We first discussed and agreed to the following:  The entire Organizational
Structure will be finished and decided at the next meeting, to be held
December 5th 04.  All remaining issues will be decided at that point.

The meeting will be held at 1 pm, at 11050  8th Ave. NE.

It was also agreed that decision makers must have done collective work or
attended at least 1 meeting since the hiatus.

We agreed to table discussion and agreement on a new Editorial Policy, as
well as the proposal to de-activate the website.

Zapata has agreed to be the contact person for new volunteers.

We discussed each of the aspects of the proposed Organizational Structure.
 We agreed to some on the first reading, and then discussed the ones we
had concerns about.  We chose the ones that were of the most concern to
the participants.

Below is the proposed Organizational Structure.  After each section, I
have noted what action was taken, and changed the wording to reflect the
agreed to changes.

New Seattle IMC Organizational Structure

Mission Statement

The Seattle Independent Media Center (hereafter SEAIMC) is a democratic
media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate
tellings of truth. The organization is dedicated to using media
production and distribution as tools for promotion of social and
economic justice in the Seattle area and the state of Washington. Our
aim is to empower people to "become the media" by providing access to
available technologies and information.

We do not conceal our politics behind a false objectivity. With an
emphasis on local issues, we will seek connections to global systems.
intend to illuminate and analyze issues that are affected by the
increasing corporate domination of society and the subsequent erosion
democracy and equal protection under the law. We seek to generate
alternatives to the current biases inherent in profit-based and
corporate media and to contribute to the development of an equitable
sustainable society.


Operating Principles

1) We hereby abandon all prior governance structures, policies and
affiliations.  (AGREED)

2) SEAIMC organizational structure shall here fore be replaced by the
structure outlined in this document. (AGREED)

3) SEAIMC structure is not derived from a centralized bureaucratic
process, but from the self-organization of autonomous working groups
that recognize the importance in developing a unified approach. These
groups can be centered around a set of tasks (e.g., web design, tech,
editorial), a type of media (e.g., video, print, web radio), an
(e.g., promotion/outreach, reporting), or some other project.

4) A working group is formed by the General Collective and shall be
defined as 1 or more people engaged in
SEAIMC working groups can organize in whatever fashion they find most
appropriate to their needs  as long as they stick to the SEAIMC Principles
of Unity (see item #6).  A working group is responsible for reporting
membership numbers to the collective.  (WORDING  CHANGED AND AGREED UPON)

5) SEAIMC collective membership is granted to volunteers that are
members of one or more working groups,

- Collective membership allows participation in SEAIMC organizational
meetings. This includes:

+ Signaling approval in tests for consensus

+ Raising "blocking" concerns

+ Requesting a super-majority vote

+ Voting in a super-majority vote

- Collective membership requires:

+ Active participation.

+ Taking responsibility for words and actions.

+ Willingness to participate in conflict resolution if requested by
another member.


6) SEAIMC Principles of Unity

a) An open exchange of and open access to information is a prerequisite
to the building of a more free and just society. (AGREED)

b) The goal of all working groups is to provide an information
infrastructure for people and opinions that do not have access to the
airwaves, tools, and resources of corporate media. This includes audio,
video, photography, internet distribution, and any other communication
medium. We support open media making by creating forums for
groups and organizations to express their views, anonymously if

c) SEAIMC is a non-commercial, anti-capitalist democratic collective.

d) All working groups recognize the importance of process to social
change and are committed to the development of non-hierarchical and
anti-authoritarian relationships, from interpersonal relationships to
group dynamics. Therefore, they shall organize themselves collectively
and be committed to the principle of consensus decision-making and the
development of a direct, participatory democratic process that is
transparent to those involved. (AGREED)

e) All working groups recognize that the contribution of an
labor is a prerequisite for participation in the decision making
of a working group or at SEAIMC general meeting. Individuals who are
committing tangible labor to a SEAIMC working group are encouraged to
share their views but may not "block" a consensus. (AGREED)

f) SEAIMC members and working groups are committed to caring for one
another and our respective communities both collectively and as
individuals and will promote the sharing of resources including
knowledge, skills and equipment. (AGREED)

g) SEAIMC shall be committed to the use of free source code, whenever
possible, in order to develop the digital infrastructure, and to
increase the independence of the network by not relying on proprietary
software. (AGREED)

h) All working groups shall be committed to the principle of human
equality, and shall not discriminate based upon race, spiritual belief,
gender, age, class or sexual identity. Working groups are committed to
the ideal of building diversity within their activities. Bigotry of any
kind will not be tolerated. (TO BE DISCUSSED AT THE NEXT MEETING)

i) Consensus among members shall be the standard method of decision
making, but a super-majority of 85% can be used to resolve intractable

- Consensus shall be explicit rather than implied.

- Consensus decisions shall be made with a quorum of 60% of membership,
OR at least 8 members.

- WITHIN a working group, a different approach is acceptable if

+ The working group creates a new policy using explicit consensus.

+ The policy is written

+ The policy is distributed to all members

- A super-majority shall not be used unless an intractable conflict

- An intractable conflict is one that threatens the core values of the
group, or severely delays reasonable progress toward our mission.


j) Individuals and working groups agree to use Conflict Resolution
process to resolve conflicts. (TO BE DISCUSSED AT THE NEXT MEETING)

- Members have a right to safety and dignity within the SEAIMC. Sexual
harassment, intimidation, threats of violence, and acts of violence
against other members will not be tolerated and will result in
expulsion from the organization. (TO BE DISCUSSED AT THE NEXT MEETING)

- Members are expected to address concerns about individuals or groups
of individuals respectfully and in a venue that is appropriately public
and appropriately safe. (AGREED)

- Member concerns that have been respectfully raised and continue to be
un-addressed are priority business for the collective. (AGREED)

- Members uninvolved with the conflict at hand have a responsibility to
volunteer to help mediate conflicts. (AGREED)

7) Any individual or working group that agrees with this document is
asked to participate in the SEAIMC. (AGREED)

8) Membership will be revoked in cases of severe conduct violations of

9) Finances and Assets

a) SEAIMC corporate officers must be active in one or more working
groups. The authority of the corporate officers of the Washington State
Non-Profit Corporation Independent Media Center is limited to renewing
the Incorporation.

b) All finances shall be handled within the working groups and members.
SEAIMC has no need for any financial dealings other the cost of
yearly the incorporation. The corporate officers will request member
contributions to pay for the incorporation fees. If the membership is
unable or unwilling to donate the fee, the corporation will be

c) The SEAIMC will continue to operate the space at SCAN as long as the
arrangement is mutually beneficial. During the tenancy, all members and
working groups must abide by the access rules established by SCAN.

d) When SEAIMC relocates, it will be the responsibility of the working
group or groups to acquire and maintain any space they may need. If
than one working group needs a space at that time, they would be
encouraged to work together.

e) Any property not claimed by a working group 30 days prior to the end
of the SCAN tenancy will be disposed of. To be able to claim property,
working group must have shown tangible work towards a defined goal for
minimum of 60 days during the past 12 months.

10) Once this document has been approved, consensus cannot alter the
mission, focus or operational structure of the organization without the
following extraordinary measures:

- A proposal and meeting notice must be available two weeks prior

- A super-quorum of 75% or 20 members should be present at the final


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