Indymedia Scotland, IMC-process and more, Part I
This is an essay in three parts, it has been written as a basis for discussion to define Indymedia and its practise in Scotland.
The first part focuses a bit on the global context and is based on the text „The Sad Decline of Indymedia“ by Chuck0 for the opening of the 100 Indymedia webpage. To read on infoshop.org. The second part will be a media analysis of Indymedia, particularly focusing on the webpages for IMC Scotland, UK, Global. The third part should then built up on the media analysis and lay or review the basis for the mission statement and editorial policy for an IMC Scotland.
IMC Scotland and „The Sad Decline of Indymedia“. A media analysis and a definition.
Conclusions, Mission Statement, Editorial Policy
1. Chuck0 s essay about the „Sad Decline of Indymedia“ hit hard in the awareness of IMC Volunteers and Users; it was quickly acknowledged, taken up and forwarded, reposted, read, spread and discussed.
First of all, the essay is brilliant in its construction and line of arguments, and it expresses what everybody involved or sympathetic to Indymedia is feeling and thinking towards the project sometimes. Timing, Content, Expression and Author was perfect for this task.
Unfortunately, Chuck0 has not taken into account the „control group“, as in fact, the problem of „The Sad Decline“ does not only lie with Indymedia, but with the whole Internet as such.
The internet had its moment in history, where it lay „bleak, blank and beautiful" History was holding breath and gasping in excitement what was coming next. Everything seemed possible.
No limits but imagination.
And then, comparing to other of these moments in history, the enormous global wheel of capitalism turns achingly forward again, taming the wild urge of creativity, grinding these dreams to dust, burying all possibilities, and forcing future into its usual channels of exploitation.
It got commercial, and as waves of spam, business and speculations mix commercial shopping and money-making with the great source of information and computer passion it once was. Access to information gets more and more restricted. Some newspapers now let their customers pay for accessing their articles online, more and more university archives restrict the access to high quality information and education, as well as e.g. professional journals and databases hide their information and restrict access, or sell it expensively. The surrounding in which Indymedia is embedded can not be ignored. Indymedia and its role can not be examined isolated.
This commercialisation of the internet goes hand in hand with increased repression, more and more restrictions and control mechanisms to be installed to get now unwanted users and non-adapted behavior towards capitalism out and away to make the internet/computers the exclusive place, businesses such as Microsoft always wanted it to be.
We praise at this point Richard Stallman and the whole free software movement, GNU/Linux and whatever so on, which made it possible to make the internet and computer stuff as accessible as possible.
The other reason for writing this essay „The Sad Decline of Indymedia“ would be to detect weak points, to discuss if other users see the same problems and then to try and resolve the problems collectively by changing behavior (rules) or by influencing their practice, adapting to the circumstances. But the circumstances have changed, too, so is past and present so easily comparable? And is it possible to change or to adapt the „behaviores) or did these manifest themselves as characteristics of Indymedia?
As for such, we should think about trying to define what Indymedia is. Indymedia is Media, and as such it can be examined as every other medium on the base of media analysis, too. That leaves us with the questions towards. category, languages, institutions, audience, representation, organisation/structure and meaning.
As there is not enough time and place to go into details here, we should just focus a little bit for now on the institution. Indymedia is an institution, that means that there are certain characteristics which its audience expects.
(To be continued under point2)
Such as Indymedia, such is „Chuck0“ an institution in itself, even if he as a person does not want to be it. The name is an institution rather than a person, representing other media such as Mutualaid, Infoshop and so on. So, „Chuck0“ is not the editor of these media, he is these media, and therefore in itself an institution
The power, which lies in this institution, and the fact of being an institution, provokes as such jealosity, critic and resistance, independent of content.
Of course, there are expectations towards institutions, which exceed the expectations held towards an individual, depending on the representation, the repeated „meaning“ of the institution.
In this essay, if I remember correctly, there is also an argument that people should stand up more to the defendants of the „open publishing“ concept. This is both right and wrong at the same time. Right is, that, most folks, even activists, do not particularly like or appreciate confrontation, neither physically nor ideologically/argumentative, especially not with fellow activists.
We should at this point also acknowledge, that opinions are formed out of experiences and the political surrounding, and therefore can not be generalised as “the one and only” truth to be enforced onto others.
But, maybe, we too often avoid confrontation by not standing our ground. This has also to do with the way arguments and discussions are handled in the relatively small political scene. I won’t go into details here, but guess we all know what the difficulties and risks are.
But wrong is the assumption that everybody could have the same effect by criticising Indymedia as an institution with its characteristics and rules.
„Chuck0” is an institution, „Chuck0“ is able to effectively criticise another
institution such as Indymedia, where hardly anybody else can; as it would
be pathetic and hardly taken seriously for most others trying. This is the
significance of the essay „The Sad Decline of Indymedia“.
END OF PART I