There were many emotions stirring within me as I read Nick Budnick's article "Corporate Media is the Disease." First off, I will let go of the fact that Mr. Budnick clearly had a personal axe to grind with spArk and Deva. That is obvious to any reader of the article. Instead, I want to comment on three important things that the article did not focus on: (1) First, Portland Indymedia keeps running through the actions of many, many AUTONOMOUS individuals. While acknowledging that spArk and Deva have and continue to work tirelessly on Portland Indymedia, what the article did not discuss is how countless others (from multiple countries) have put in thousands of hours of volunteer work to keep our virtual space alive. And not one of us has EVER received a cent for our work. I find it offensive, belittling and simply incorrect that the article suggests that the rest of us are merely drones following the "Pied Pipers". If the Mr. Budnick had cared to delve a little deeper, he would have discovered an army of dedicated activists (myself included) who proudly answer to no one but ourselves and perhaps god[dess]. (2) Second, related to the first item is the fact that Portland Indymedia is one of the most NON-HIERARCHICAL collectives of individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with. There is no legal organization, no titles, no hierarchy, and no rules. Instead, there are strong values and guidelines, mutual respect, tolerance, inclusiveness and a willingness to cooperate and listen to each other on all levels. The volunteers make an effort to really HEAR each other. Want something to change on Portland Indymedia? Then come on down to our weekly Saturday meetings at the Red & Black Café and GET INVOLVED. There is ALWAYS a place for you at our "virtual table". (3) Finally, one of the things that truly sets Indymedia apart from other forms of media is the fact that it is militantly NON-COMMERCIAL. We have never accepted advertising dollars and we never will. That allows us to follow our own CONSCIENCE, without being SLAVES to biased sponsors. If spArk or Deva were to approach the Portland Indymedia collective with a suggestion that we offer banner adverts on our site from the same sex industry that rings the cash registers for the Willamette Week, they would first be questioned if they had lost their minds, then examined for a government chip implant, and finally if they persisted they would be asked in no uncertain terms to end their involvement with our collective.
My involvement with Portland Indymedia over the last few months has been some of the most rewarding work of my life. I have the deepest respect for the thousands of Indymedia operatives and millions of activists worldwide who are working towards a future of hope---a GLOBAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT that grows by the day. As many activists say, "you are either part of the SOLUTION or part of the PROBLEM." I thank my comrades for being models of what it means to be part of the SOLUTION and not just one more cog in the wheels of the GLOBAL HYPER-CAPITALIST MACHINE.