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July 28, 2005


Urbano Jalepeño

The "problem" is self-evident: Indymedia tries to use anarchistic principles to accomplish real world tasks. Information and analysis requires parsing and without an editorial function, Indymedia sites are a pack of noise and conspiracy theories.

Independent media, without the logo... meaning radical left media is growing and doing well. Jennifer Whitney basically says, "here's a fever, there's a sore throat, and some sniffles." But she can't say what the virus is. Anti-authoritarianism is incoherent. Projects which adopt those principles unadultered tend to be self-limiting, self-contained, and self-obsessed. They value their process more than what they are supposed to be doing and their "process" ends up being as limiting as they think it is liberating.

I wish Indymedia well, particularly in the locals where people are actually producing work. It's been tremendously valuable in mass mobilizations. But as a source of information, I can't imagine using it beyond flash points.

red hot

The advocates of the anti-authoritarian philosophy can be counted on to avoid noting how their philosophy develops in the real world. They will continue to advocate principles that are unworkable at best and downright self-defeating at worst.

Whitney has made quite a name for herself in the alterworld of the anti-globalization movement (aka the Global Justice Movement) with her excellent reporting and work on the We Are Everywhere anthology.

When I read that book, I couldn't help but notice how GOOD it looked, and how gleefully INCOHERENT its ideas were. As if community gardening was more than what it is. The partisans of those ideas try to bunch a thousand things together and then get confused at their own creation.

Indymedia is a great idea and the network of nodes is important and useful to the extent that it outgrowns the scene that birthed it. To do that, people have to just come clean about what the problem is. I don't see that happening.

So people will continue to form new projects no doubt inspired by the "be the media" mantra, but I have trouble imagining real writers and media makers spending hours in consensus meetings and dodging all the scenester crapola from the vegetarian mafia. Why bother?

Good article, it's just not finished yet. There's a lot more to add and I wonder if the Jennifer Whitneys of the world will every write the whole thing.

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