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.