[IMC-US] Indymedia Los Angeles 10th Anniversary Bash!
Amy L. Dalton
ald at riseup.net
Wed Oct 28 13:01:05 PDT 2009
On behalf of the Los Angeles Indymedia Collective:
On Saturday, November 14th, 2009, Los Angeles Indymedia will celebrate 10
years since the first Independent Media Center (IMC) opened its doors in
Seattle to cover and support the demonstrations against the meeting of the
World Trade Organization (WTO). LA IMC is hosting an all day event, open
to the public, encouraging current and former IMCistas to come out. There
will be workshops, food, music, and community groups sharing their
In November of 1999 there was little awareness in the United States of the
social, economic and environmental havoc caused by the WTOâs
undemocratic global trade decisions. There was great awareness in other
parts of the world, however, where indigenous groups such as the
Zapatistas in Southern Mexico were being impacted greatly, and farmers and
whole communities around the world were resisting.
These decisions, made by a handful of corporate elites, in step with
Neo-Liberal policies, were designed to benefit only the top players, and
were often adopted globally as official policy.
Some of the people here who were starting to feel and understand the pinch
were laborers and farmers. So when the WTO made the announcement that they
would hold their 1999 Summit in Seattle, Washington, these groups joined
forces with the fledgling anti-globalization movement in this country to
demonstrate and attempt to prevent the meetings.
>From the onset, the idea was to begin, in a positive way, to move
towards the ideal alternative world; a world in which decisions would be
made horizontally by consensus, and in which people would move in small
democratic affinity groups. This democratic urban-guerilla demonstration
technique, borrowed from the Spanish Anarchists, would later confuse the
hell out of the Seattle police who searched in vain for leaders.
A group of self-named âMedia-Activistsâ in Seattle who were there to
observe the organizing, feared that the corporate media would ignore or in
a worst case scenario, demonize the protests, decided to form a
media-collective called the Independent Media Center. This collective
would cover the protests, and utilize the Internet in a new way. They
would use software developed by Community Activist Technology (CAT) out of
Australia that would allow everyone to participate in media creation, post
their articles and comments, and publish their video and audio. Media
production and consumption was no longer a one way corporate highway. It
was the first stake in the heart of the capitalist
domination of the media system!
This would be done collectively and in solidarity with the protestors,
using the same principles of organizing; a modern fusion of classic
Anarchism, mixed with Indigenous Zapatismo and principles of
Of course all of this took months of training and organizing. A call went
out for volunteers, donations were sought, a storefront was rented and
filled with computer and video-editing equipment, and when the WTO
protests began in November 1999, the Seattle IMC opened its doors to the
world. The corporate press had no idea what just hit them!
The 1999 WTO protests, known as the âBattle of Seattleâ, marked the
beginning of the U.S involvement in the Anti-Globalization movement; and
Indymedia is what linked this country with the global movement. This was
an exciting moment for people who had been searching for just this kind of
toolâ¦.and the possibilities were tremendous!
IMC collectives almost immediately began forming all over the world. In
Los Angeles, A group of Media-Activists who had already been meeting, some
of whom had been in Seattle, started organizing to create an IMC to cover
the 2000 DNC which would be held in Los Angeles.
Starting with a small group, ranging from six to ten people, the weekly
organizing meetings grew until the event itself, where there were 1800
volunteers in the streets wearing LA IMC badges. The entire 6th Floor of a
building near the Staple Center where the DNC would be meeting in LA was
rented. The affinity groups, along with the Web group (later dubbed
âWebitorialâ), included Video, Audio (pirate radio), and Photography.
The âLos Angeles Free Pressâ provided a daily print newspaper which
distributed on the streets, and âDemocracy Nowâ had a space to broadcast
on Pacifica during the week. Since digital photography was not yet in the
offing, for security purposes there was a bicycle affinity group
designated to take the film outside of the area every night to be
processed. Almost every detail was covered. A water filter company
provided good water to the collective and local farmers brought in
The space was a 24 hour hub of activity, and a life changing experience
for many of the people involved.
10 years later, Indymedia remains viable and relevant. Hundreds of IMC
collectives have begun around the world; some more successful than others,
all under the banner of the original Mission to âUse Media Production
and Distribution as a Tool for Promoting Social and Economic Justice.â
Some Indymedia centers have adjusted to the needs of their communities,
and some have come under serious scrutiny in places where outright
repression of independent media sources is common. Weâve had both deaths
in our ranks, and great successes; and in many cases weâve served as a
link between communities to build and to create movement.
The LA Indymedia collective is making a call-out to the community and to
all other Indymedia collectives to come together on November 14th, 2009,
at the TOW space near Downtown LA, located at 1450 E. 6th St., L.A.,
90021, to commemorate, to share, and to discuss ways to move forward.
There will be workshops, lectures, film, food and live music, from noon
There will also be an Indymedia discussion circle. This space, in which
community members are invited to participate, will be a place for
members of different Indymedias to share ideas, compare notes about how
their various collectives have evolved, ways of reaching out to the
community, technologies, etcâ¦.
The LA Indymedia Collective
General questions: info at la.indymedia.org
Housing: imcla-crash at gmail.com
Tabling: imcbdayceleb at gmail.com
More information about the IMC-US