[Payment-discuss] feedback for my article about payment for indybook

sheri@speakeasy.org sheri at speakeasy.net
Mon Feb 12 15:04:30 PST 2007

hi deva,

i just don't see this as black and white as you.  i think absolutes are dangerous.  they tend toward the slippery slope of fundamentalist thinking.  in that world, we start saying, i am right and you are wrong.  or even worse, i am always right and you are always wrong.  or my imc is better than yours because we don't take money and we don't pay anyone.  we are more radical than you.  this just isn't true.  

you say that payment going into the pockets of people is the problem.  but the examples i know of was people were getting payment and they put their lifeblood back into the imc.  this is very different than what i see out in the normal business world of salaries.  there is a difference between a salary in this case and a stipend.  i disagree with you on that one.  call it what you want, but it looks and smells very different.  one continues to support the organization to the full extent of one's ability.  this to me can be a gift.  

the question about techies then is still unresolved if i go ahead with your payment definition.  i know many techies who spent hours and hours of work on indymedia work (running the servers, the backends, software development, protest support, etc.) and they were being paid by corporations.....where does this fit for you?  it seems that this is never really raised as a concern.  it's like that's okay.  i don't see it as being much different.

one no, many yeses.  

the zapatistas pay people.  

absolutes isn't a reflection of how things work.  we all hold pieces of the truth and we all err in our judgments here and there and we need all of us to figure out how to make indymedia work.  my assumption is that diversity makes us stronger.  

is there anything we can learn here instead of merely assuming that the other is wrong?

there is a power in the intention of good that people who have been paid to do work in indymedia have demonstrated.  anyone in seattle or beyond who knew jeffp would never have begrudged him the pittance he received to work 80 hours a week at the beginning of the indymedia network's birth.  the community supported him, here in seattle and beyond.  if people didn't know that that was the case, it's perhaps because they didn't ask or listen closely enough.

write a factual history - like the boston imc's mission statement says - passionate and accurate reporting of the facts.  don't be afraid of the bias inherent in your words or your heart, but let us look to the present and the future.

how we can we learn to move forward as a global network with differences.  perhaps there are subnetworks.  this subnetwork has this principle of unity which says no one shall ever be paid to do anything in indymedia, except....(i still truthfully don't understand the reasoning you express deva about how certain things are acceptable but others are not), and then another subnetwork keeps the same principles and articulates a clear expression of the limits of paying people or not and how this power differential shall be reflected upon in the local imc.  

abuse of power is what i hear as the concern for paying people, but we never really get to that topic.  i've suggested there are other ways that abuse of power exists in this network that might even be more insidious.  fleshing those out in a space of integrity and transparency would be good too.  if we really do care about the future of indymedia as a sustainable network.  i know i do.  the world needs indymedia to be strong and not to be divisive.  it feels like we're doing the infighting that the "system" would expect us to do....


there's an organization called resist.  they are pretty radical.  they fund pretty radical projects.  people have said it's okay to take money from them in the form of microgrants.  
> -----Original Message-----
> From: deva [mailto:drdartist at riseup.net]
> Sent: Monday, February 12, 2007 09:38 PM
> To: payment-discuss at lists.indymedia.org
> Subject: Re: [Payment-discuss] feedback for my article about payment	for	indybook
> I do not see there being a spectrum. Payment is payment. A stipend is  
> just a more pleasant way of saying salary. No difference. Stipend is  
> just more politically correct.
> If dollars (or other currency) are going into someones pocket to be  
> used by them as they wish, that is payment. If an imc gives one  
> volunteer a bus ticket or the money to purchase a bus ticket, to go  
> cover an event, that person is not getting paid. No money is going  
> into their pocket for personal use.
> I find this point very clear and simple. People disagree over whether  
> the principle should be followed, but the principle is clear.
> deva
> On Feb 12, 2007, at 12:49 PM, sheri at speakeasy.org wrote:
> > hi nick,
> >
> > thanks for the attentiveness to all this. i'd just like to make a  
> > wording suggestion.  salaries is really inaccurate in the cases i  
> > know of.  i don't know of anyone who received a salary in the early  
> > days.  we referred to what jeff and devin received as being  
> > stipends.  it was also limited and we never went on to seek out  
> > this kind of support at the expense of the work we were doing.   
> > that can be a slippery slope.  the money drives the decision- 
> > making, instead of the money being a support for infrastructure.
> >
> > i'm also wondering if we could try and clarify and define the terms  
> > a bit more.  toya raised this point around the definition of  
> > payment.  on one end of the spectrum it is salary, 3/4 of the way  
> > it's a stipend, in the middle, it's in-kind support, and on the  
> > other it might be a family trust fund or you work in a technology  
> > company that lets you do as much indymedia work as you like.  i  
> > think the spectrum is an important factor in the payment  
> > discussion.  there are no black and whites.  that's why what is  
> > behind the issue of payments is equally important.
> >
> > we can discuss the topic of facts and historical accuracy til we  
> > are all tired and bored (and upset and frustrated), or we can also  
> > inquire into what are our deepest concerns that have us say people  
> > shouldn't be paid for their work.  if people are paid to do  
> > indymedia work but the money comes from outside indymedia, that's  
> > okay?  but if they are paid to do indymedia work and it comes from  
> > within indymedia, that's not?  this confuses me a little.
> >
> > and i want to raise the issue of autonomy.  how does this figure in  
> > to the equation.  i know of local imcs who are vehement about their  
> > local autonomy, to the point where they feel that they are not  
> > bound to the network in certain ways....they have their own  
> > governance structures and principles.  and these imcs have not been  
> > quiet about their thoughts around this.  and to me this gets to the  
> > heart of the matter.
> >
> > what is the relationship of the local to the network.  autonomy and  
> > connection are a vitally important dynamic.  if you take away too  
> > much of the local autonomy, you move into centralized structures.   
> > if you give too much toward complete autonomy, you lose the  
> > aggregated power and mutual aid of the network.  there is a dance  
> > here.  it has always been central to indymedia's success.
> >
> > love
> > sheri
> >
> > love
> > sheri
> >
> >> There are many important points that Sheri and others have brought up
> >> about how things happened.  For the purpose of the article, maybe it
> >> could all be handled by adding in somewhere something like:
> >>
> >> Although some indymedia people received salaries since the first days
> >> in Seattle, we have also since that time often referred to ourselves
> >> as "all-volunteer."  The result is that some of us have assumed since
> >> the beginning that payment was an option for every collective, and
> >> others have assumed that payment was against some indymedia policy.
> >>
> >> peace
> >> Nick
> >> _______________________________________________
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> >>
> >
> >
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