What do we need at Seattle Indymedia?
Indymedia must be run in
an open and democratic way
• No racist trash • fewer crude, thoughtless and malicious
comments on the newswire • a higher signal-to-noise ratio
(ie: be more like Portland Indymedia)
• democratic rights for activists
to discuss events and politics on the newswire
(including the politics of Indymedia itself)
• an editorial collective which is responsive
and accountable to the progressive community
In the beginning
I observed the birth of Indymedia in 1999 with guarded optimism. I understood the immense need of the progressive movement for a web-based news service to which anyone could contribute (and had proposed that activists take action to create such a news service in the first installment, in May 1997, of my "Party of the Future" series):
... by combining web database and collaborative filtering technologies--and
the vast amounts of free labor to which the progressive community will eventually be able to lay claim--we have an opportunity to exploit to the max a huge vulnerability that will be opening up in regard to the bourgeois control of the news. Progressive news services will use this technology to select and summarize from bourgeois news sources and place matters in a perspective revolving around the interests of the working class. Furthermore, such efforts will likely tend to merge into a single, common copyright-free distributed database to which all have access and which will serve as the fundamental technical form of both cooperation and competition among the various warring trends on the left.
-- Chapter 1, paragraph 112 (emphasis added) of How to Build the Party of the Future --
I also understood that many obstacles would need to be overcome in order for a news service like Indymedia to fulfill its potential to become, for many millions, a real alternative to corporate news.
Indymedia grows up
... along with its problems
Indymedia has been a striking success -- with more than a hundred locally controlled branches throughtout the world and a section of IMCistas (ie: indymedia activists) working to create a news service which is not controlled by the bourgeoisie. But the obstacles which stand between what exists now -- and the goal of a news service which provides a real alternative to millions -- remain. These obstacles will not go away overnight. More to the point, these obstacles will not go away without struggle.
The obstacles which block indymedia's development are related to (and similar to) the obstacles which are holding back the antiwar movement and other mass resistance movements: a lack of consciousness of the irreconciliable class antagonism which determines everything else in our society. Indymedia will develop as a result of the same social and class forces which will push forward the development of all the mass resistance movements -- for it is these movements which gave birth to indymedia. And the struggle for a news service that can effectively challenge corporate/bourgeois news -- is one front of struggle among many.