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about portland indymedia
Indymedia emerged from the clouds of tear gas that filled the streets of Seattle in 1999 as a tool for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth. Then and now, the stories told through Indymedia come from the hearts and minds of people on the frontlines of the struggle for justice against tyranny. Since 1999, Indymedia has grown into a network of over 160 Independent Media Centers (IMCs) all over the world by means of a commitment to equality, decentralization and autonomy.
Portland Indymedia is an IMC for the southern Cascadia region of Turtle Island (an area temporarily demarcated as "Oregon" and southern "Washington" on some maps). Indymedia activism can take many forms, but is rooted in the Indymedia Principles of Unity which profess that the open exchange of and open access to information is a prerequisite to the building of a more free and just society. The Portland Indymedia principles of unity (see below) are based on this document. Portland Indymedia is not a membership organization; it is a tactic, a concept, and a movement that can be effectively utilized in many different ways.
Like all IMCs, Portland Indymedia hosts a website with an open publishing newswire to which anyone can post text, images, audio and video using the online publish form. Unlike a newspaper or other form of media, anyone is free to post their news and experiences (there are some exceptions, see the editorial policy. Articles posted to the site come from people in the community, and their words are never edited by IMC volunteers. The articles that are featured in the center column are taken right from the newswire, thus highlighting original content and reporting. This system empowers anyone to become the media for the purpose of sharing information and views that are blocked out or misrepresented by the corporate media; that is, to stand with the oppressed against the oppressors.
Portland Indymedia's structure is not derived from a centralized bureaucratic process, but from the self-organization of autonomous working groups that recognize the importance in developing a unified approach. These groups can be centered around a set of tasks (e.g., web design, tech, editorial), a type of media (e.g., video, print, web radio), an activity (e.g., promotion/outreach, reporting), or some other project. portland indymedia working groups can organize themselves in whatever fashion they find most appropriate to their needs (e.g., frequency of meetings, method of communication, open or closed listserves, etc.) as long as they stick to the portland indymedia principles of unity (see below).
In slow periods, Portland Indymedia has internal working group meetings, as needed, to make decisions about editorial policy or other things. During these times, public meetings are held only as volunteers have the energy to set up and attend these meetings. 3 weeks notice of meetings will be posted on the site when general meetings are occurring randomly.
General meetings have no set format; there can be discussions that involve everyone, hands-on training sessions broken out by working group, or whatever is needed at the time. It is highly recommended that food be included.
Occasionally, people who gather at these meetings might collectively address an issue that affects more than one of the working groups. In such cases, decisions shall be made by consensus, which requires open minds, active listening, and mutual respect. "Blocks" or the threat of a block to an idea presented at a meeting should not be made lightly.
"I block" means "I feel that the group has compromised its own values with this choice," or "If we move forward with this idea, I cannot personally continue to work with this group." The individual making a block should balance their opposition to the idea with their willingness to continue working with the group. Instead of blocking, an individual may also "stand aside" from a decision.
To address the individual making the block, the group will go around the circle to see if anyone else agrees. If no one else does, the blocker is asked if s/he wants to stand aside. If not, the individual needs to give another, new reason to block. Going around in the circle like this can happen up to three times. The individual making the block is then asked if they are choosing to stand aside or leave, and the idea passes.
Changes to the meeting schedual, as well as other interesting updates and info, are posted on the website, top of the page.
Portland Indymedia Principles of Unity