[Imc-unity] Fwd: [IMC-Process] SAN DIEGO (responses to principles of unity)

Jason Reep jasonr@speakeasy.org
Mon, 05 Nov 2001 14:07:37 -0800

Hey All,

So San Diego had some pretty significant questions and disagreements.

One problem is that they responded to the un-revised principle #3.

  So, one more time, is the Principles of Unity working group agreed to the 
following revision as a proposal for both IMC-Process and the New-IMC WG to 
chew on?

#3 "Indymedia respects the right of those who wish not to be identified for any
reason. With this in mind, all IMC's respect the right of activists who
choose not to be photographed or filmed, and will encourage all contributing
reporters to do the same. It is required that anyone who wishes to record,
film or photograph inside a physical IMC space announce their intention in
advance to all present and respect the decision of any person(s) who choose
not to be included."

There is a lot more that San Diego had to say about the principles and it 
seems like now is the time to address these questions.

I personally would like to know how others feel about their rejection of 
consensus decision making.  I'm fairly sure that this is a core principle.


> >San Diego discussion and action on IMC's Principles of Unity.
> >
> >
> >06 August 2001 (Mark Conlan)
> >
> >Members Present: Guy, Jim (left early), Jonathan, Donny, Mark, Edward
> >(arrived late)
> >
> >NOTE: The entire meeting was taken up with a discussion of the Independent
> >Media Center Network's proposed Principles of Unity. In order to make these
> >notes more readable, each of the proposed 10
> >Principles of Unity is reproduced below. Following each principle in its
> >current form (including the notes from previous discussions of the document,
> >notably at the April 29 IMC conference in San Francisco) is a note that we
> >agreed to it in its current form, if we did so; or, if we did not, a summary
> >of our discussion. Any proposed new wordings for any section follow the
> >synopsis of the discussion and were drafted by Mark Gabrish Conlan after the
> >meeting for consideration by the members of San Diego IMC for possible
> >submission to the network.
> >
> >Respectfully submitted, Mark Gabrish Conlan
> >
> >++++++++++
> >
> >1) The Independent Media Center (1) (IMCN) is based upon principles of
> >equality, decentralization and local autonomy. The IMCN is not derived from
> >a centralized bureaucratic process, but from the self-organization of
> >autonomous collectives that recognize the importance in developing a
> >union of networks.
> >
> >NOTE 1: Strike "confederated." Change name of network to Independent Media
> >Center network. Concept of confederation still very useful and should be
> >integrated into charter somewhere but not in title. Requires definition and
> >education to dispel the connotations that many North Americans have for the
> >term "confederation."
> >
> >ACTION: Accepted by consensus.
> >
> >++++++++++
> >
> >2) All IMC's consider open exchange of (2) and open access to information a
> >prerequisite to the building of a more free and just society.
> >
> >NOTE 2: Strike "free speech" Replace with: "open exchange of and open access
> >to information"
> >
> >ACTION: Accepted by consensus. Jonathan asked, as a point of information,
> >whether "information" also meant opinion.
> >
> >+++++++++++
> >
> >[3) All IMC's respect the right of activists who choose not to be
> >photographed or filmed.] (3)
> >
> >NOTE 3: Bracketed for further working group efforts to pin down concept of
> >anonymity balanced with public nature of journalistic efforts. Also, general
> >statement of respectfulness.
> >
> >DISCUSSION: San Diego IMC members questioned the need for this section on
> >several levels, including whether we compromise our integrity as journalists
> >by agreeing in advance not to photograph or film people engaged in certain
> >activities. (The intent was apparently that we would
> >not compromise the rights of activists engaged in illegal activities by
> >creating and publishing evidence that could be used against them in court.)
> >As written this would give police agents the power to demand, under our own
> >principles, that we not use the network to expose them There was also a
> >question of why we draw a dividing line and say we will respect the rights
> >of "activists" but not of other people. Instead we should adopt ordinary
> >professional standards of journalists and allow individual IMC members to
> >use their judgment and discretion.
> >
> >MARK'S ALTERNATIVE: 3) IMC members shall follow the highest journalistic
> >standards in writing, photographing, filming and editing coverage of events,
> >and shall make every effort to avoid compromising the legal rights of
> >persons we cover.
> >
> >++++++++++
> >
> >4) All IMC's, based upon the trust of their contributors and readers, shall
> >utilize open Web-based (4) publishing, allowing individuals, groups and
> >organizations to express their views, anonymously if desired. (5) [The
> >original goes on to supply a link to a Web location for a proposed IMC
> >policy on open publishing.]
> >
> >NOTE 4: Strike "digital," replace with "Web-based."
> >
> >NOTE 5: Strike "without fear of censorship." Replace with appendix: Open
> >Publishing document. Possibly include anti-censorship philosophy and
> >references to Articles 15 and 16.
> >
> >DISCUSSION: Guy summarized the policy document referred to above, which
> >defines open publishing as follows: any individual can submit material to
> >the site and post it without it being subject to prior restraint, but the
> >site owner (the individual IMC) reserves the right to post-facto control,
> >including removing a post, so long as the criteria for rejecting a post are
> >spelled out clearly and all members of that IMC have participated in
> >creating those criteria.
> >
> >ACTION: Accepted by consensus based on Guy's explanation of open publishing,
> >above.
> >
> >++++++++++
> >
> >5) The IMC Network and all local IMC collectives shall be not-for-profit.
> >(6)
> >
> >NOTE 6: Rephrasing from proposed charter.
> >
> >DISCUSSION: Two concerns were expressed. Guy and Mark stressed that
> >"not-for-profit" does not mean that an IMC can't sell merchandise to earn
> >money for itself, or that it can't hire a paid staff person. It just means
> >that all money earned is put back into the IMC and its programs instead of
> >being paid to its members as shareholders. Also, Jonathan said his
> >understanding was one purpose of this clause was to prevent the IMC sites
> >from ever being sold to commercial, for-profit companies.
> >
> >ACTION: Accepted by consensus, incorporating Jonathan's point above.
> >
> >++++++++++
> >
> >6) All IMC's recognize the importance of process to social change and are
> >committed to the development of non-hierarchical and anti-authoritarian
> >relationships (7), from interpersonal relationships to group dynamics.
> >Therefore, shall organize themselves collectively and
> >be committed to the principle of consensus decision making and the
> >development of a [direct, participatory democratic process (8)] that is
> >transparent to its membership.
> >
> >NOTE 7: Combination of #'s 6 and 8 from proposed charter. #6 now contains
> >what was the first part of #8.
> >
> >NOTE 8: Requires better definition of terms.
> >
> >DISCUSSION: This was the longest and most controversial discussion of the
> >meeting. Mark said he dislikes consensus decision-making process and would
> >absolutely oppose any mandate from the IMC network that individual IMC's
> >must use it. He read the above not only as a requirement that all
> >IMC's must use consensus decision-making process but a statement that anyone
> >who objects to it is ipso facto being hierarchical and authoritarian  an
> >impression created by the fusion of what were
> >originally two separate statements, which Mark argued should be
> >re-separated. Edward pointed out that the statement as written refers to
> >consensus decision-making "principle," not process.
> >
> >Much of the discussion centered around the group's agreement that a
> >democratic and transparent decision-making process is desirable, but its
> >non-agreement that consensus process is necessarily the best way to achieve
> >this. Consensus decision-making advocates agree that the process
> >requires considerably more training than a process based on Robert's Rules
> >of Order and majority voting, both for the rank-and-file members and
> >especially for facilitators.
> >
> >The objection to consensus is that, even though the intent is to maximize
> >participation by all members of a group and keep a clique from dominating it
> >as can be done under majority rule, consensus does not always work that way
> >because you still have the potential problem of a few people in the group
> >being able to dominate the process simply because they know it better than
> >others. At the same time, the group agreed that it is important to safeguard
> >the rights of participation of all individuals, including those often
> >uninclined to assert themselves in meetings.
> >
> >ACTION: Mark agreed to draft a proposed new point 6 incorporating the
> >group's concerns above. After later discussion on point 7, Mark amended his
> >offer to include draftin proposed replacements for both points 6 and 7. The
> >drafts appear below following the discussion on point 7.
> >
> >++++++++++
> >
> >7) [All IMC's recognize that a prerequisite for participation in the
> >decision-making process of each local group is the contribution of an
> >individual's labor to the group.] (9)
> >
> >NOTE 9: Possible removal and insertion into the "Criteria for membership."
> >
> >DISCUSSION: As noted above, Mark agreed to incorporate this into a draft of
> >a proposed new point 6 and point 7.
> >
> >
> >6) All IMC members commit themselves to develop interpersonal relationships
> >and group dynamics within each IMC that avoid hierarchical, authoritarian or
> >bureaucratic relationships or structures.
> >
> >7) All IMC's commit themselves to making group decisions through a process
> >that is democratic, is easily understood by all members, and encourages and
> >facilitates full and open participation by all individuals who contribute
> >their time, efforts and energies to their IMC.
> >
> >++++++++++
> >
> >8) All IMC's 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. (10)
> >
> >NOTE 10: Addition of language describing commitment to each other and
> >communities and efforts to share knowledge and resources. (heart of the
> >matter, IMHO)
> >
> >ACTION: Accepted by consensus.
> >
> >++++++++++
> >
> >9) All IMC's 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.
> >
> >DISCUSSION: Guy suggested that this be broadened to include a broader
> >statement about the general sharing of information on "copyleft" principles
> >instead of being so narrowly focused on an issue specific to computers and
> >the Internet. Mark and Donny disagreed; Mark said he could accept the
> >statement as it stood but any broadening in that direction might discourage
> >writers, photographers and videographers from posting to the IMC for fear
> >they would lose their rights to their creative work.
> >
> >ACTION: Accepted by consensus, but Edward asked that the record reflect his
> >concern that this is too specific an issue to be dealt with in a set of
> >principles of unity, and should appear elsewhere in a more narrowly focused
> >part of the overall document.
> >
> >++++++++++
> >
> >10) All IMC's shall be committed to the principle of human equality, and
> >shall not discriminate, including discrimination based upon race, gender,
> >age, class or sexual orientation. (11) Recognizing the vast cultural
> >traditions within the network, we are committed to building
> >[diversity] (12) within our localities.
> >
> >NOTE 11: Added "class." Phrased so as not to exclude other forms of
> >discrimination while highlighting these as core.
> >
> >NOTE 12: Further definition of term "diversity" is necessary.
> >
> >ACTION: Accepted by consensus. Mark suggested that the statement also
> >include a commitment for IMC members to work on their own internal racism,
> >sexism, ageism, classism and homophobia. An lternative wording to include
> >that is offered below:
> >
> >MARK'S ALTERNATIVE: 10) All IMC's shall be committed to the principle of
> >human equality in general and non-discrimination based on race, sex, age,
> >class, sexual orientation or gender identity in particular. IMC members
> >pledge to recognize each other's differences in cultura tradition and use
> >their involvement in the IMC to work through their own internalized racism,
> >sexism, ageism, classism, homophobia and transphobia.
> >
> >++++++++++
> >
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