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IndyMedia Graffiti

Advertising IndyMedia by way of graffiti vandalism is counter productive...
First impressions are always big ones, and if the first impression SE Portlander's have of IndyMedia is one that promotes neighborhood graffiti tags that destroy both public and/or private property, then the causes that are truly important to IndyMedia, the ones that are good and just, will be overshadowed by public distain for your organization.

Today, Nov 11th, while out removing some of the countless graffiti tags that seem to be overtaking our neighborhoods, a man came up and tagged "IndyMedia" on a City of Portland street sign (corner of SE Ivon & SE 19th.) When confronted, he claimed that he was simply 'advertising' for IndyMedia, and that he had every right to do so on any city or county owned property. Further, that he had permission to do so; this was within his legal rights and that of IndyMedia. I begged to differ since I knew that he was in violation of laws that protect public property from such vandalism. (I you are thinking this is not a crime, then research the successful prosecution of cases in Portland for such vandalism. They have resulted with jail terms ranging from 90 days to 2 years, with an average of three years formal probation and up to $44,000 in court-mandated restitution; i.e., the courts have upheld such law.) When I explained to the man that I would be happy to file a report to resolve the dispute, or have the police come by and discuss the legality of the issue with him, he took off at a fast pace, adjusted his clothing to disguise his appearance and disappeared.

I have absolutely nothing against IndyMedia, against freedom of expression, peaceful protest, free media, and so on. Even civil disobedience has its place to affect change, the civil rights movement proved that. But tagging our SE Portland neighborhoods to promote your website it just stupid!

While I do not hold IndyMedia fully responsible for one individual's actions, maybe someone at IndyMedia might have the fortitude to state that this is not supported by your organization. I'll recommend that next time you have a meeting, or within your own blogs or postings, networks, whatever; you discourage this sort of action among your members and/or those who support you. It is counter productive to your organization and any cause you stand for. If you are the person who made these claims and did the tag, or support him, please quote me the law that allows any organization to deface city or county property at will. If you simply disagree with me, believing its crimping your freedom of expression rights to advertise in this manner, then let me know as I'd love to place some of my own advertising via graffiti tags for the causes I believe in on the hood of your car, on your bicycle, on your front porch; and please support my right to do so anytime I want, without your knowledge or permission, even if you find my message offensive to your own beliefs. Defend my right to do that and I'll defend your right to freely express your organization's right to advertise through graffiti vandalism...

From a twenty year SE Portland Homeowner who cares about the quality of the community we live in.

You just said it 11.Nov.2007 17:09

Joe Anybody

I don't speak for Indy Media
Anymore than you speak for them
For "we both" are thus Indy Media
There are no meetings (that I am aware of)
There are no blogs (this one here is one to a degree)
There is no leader or dean of discipline
I don't know who Graffiti-ed - (it wasn't me)
But your posted message was probably sufficient in conveying the message, to knock it off
Will the culprit read it or take heed to it is a god question..... I speak only for my self?

This world is full of individuals
Some times we wear apparel, shout out names, or brandish "a company logo" or their website
If a guy who likes the Yankee's spray paints "go Yankees" on your mailbox ... the "Yankees" themselves are not the people who control that spray painter nor have any liability or say-so.
Sure they could print on their programs "don't spray paint "Go Yankees" on mailboxes
But can they stop or control it..... hardly

I am not condoning nor speaking for..... I am just speaking like you did.... on Indy Media
I am sure that property damage is not allowed no matter who you "claim" to belong to or be "affiliate with"

Good luck
Become Active - you be the media!

"Distain"? 11.Nov.2007 18:16

part of the public

Personally, I have no "distain" for indymedia, whether people spray paint the name on signs or not. More than that, I applaud a person who would take the initiative to take a little public space to share their own message, rather than simply allowing those -with the money or the power to buy up street signs and billboards to be the only ones with a voice. Go graffiti-ista! Be the media!

hey 11.Nov.2007 18:58


"From a twenty year SE Portland Homeowner who cares about the quality of the community we live in."

I believe that someone making an indymedia tag is the least of the things that are degrading the quality of the community we live in. That is about like worrying about a kid coloring on the back of the airplane seat while the plane is crashing.

If you have not noticed, the plane is crashing. Not that I mean to ridicule you for being concerned about these things. I too would rather not see someone spray painting indymedia, but rather going door to door and talking to neighbors. The spray painting is itself a sign of the alienation all around, but it is a very small thing. However, the desire to police the neighborhood and impose an order that is not reflective of the actual situation is also a symptom of the dehumanization of society.

We need to come together and recognize the real problems and work together to address them...

Better than the bus ads, and billboards.. 12.Nov.2007 00:31

Another innner southeast homeowner

Why are you not against these?

Graffiti As Art 12.Nov.2007 08:46


Not only is graffiti art, it is one of the last vestiges of a truly free media that we have. It is a way in which to speak to your community, to share your thoughts, to communicate your beliefs. I prefer to see people do this in an articulate and creative way, but any way they do it is fine with me. Corporate and so-called "public" spaces that are no longer really accessible by the public are fair game. I am tired of corporate messages. I want to see the voice of my neighbors in these spaces, not the voice of ClearChannel.

In times past, there were public forums where neighbors could inform the community about what is going on in the world. Now, all those spaces are gone. Auctioned off to ClearChannel. Even public murals have been outlawed! (Ask the people from Mirador why they had to cover up the beautiful mural on their OWN FUCKING PROPERTY.) As if that isn't bad enough, we now have fascist little neighborhood dictators ripping fliers down off telephones and spraying over other peoples' graffiti. What gives them the right? Who made them the arbiters of the public sphere? The person with the graffiti can had every bit as much right to be out there doing what he was doing as the person who was out covering up graffiti. The difference is, one was intentionally trying to communicate with the community, while the other was intentionally trying to silence him.

(Must have been a damn liberal.)

Please. I live here too. And I would rather see graffiti than the self righteous little squares of off-color that people like you use to cover them up. What makes you think that's better to look at than someone's intentional message? It isn't.