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Global Indymedia Women's Proposal
by sfbay-imcista
Monday Dec 22nd, 2003 9:07 PM
This is a proposal that is circulating through the Indymedia Network. It was conceived on the global IMC Women's listserv, which has over 100 women active in Indymedia on it.
The Proposal

sent to imc-process om Oct 14, 03

Proposal for New-IMC Process

The imc-women-list exists since summer 2001 and consists of women active in indymedias in Latin America, North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Since two years, we have discussed in many facets the depressing situation of patriarchal repression in society which unfortunately doesn't stop at the doorstep of leftist groups.

Many concrete situations came up, in which women felt discriminated against in their local group. In most cases we were able to support the women emotionally and to give advice. But we feel that this is not enough.

Women are a small minority within many indymedia groups, some groups only consist of men. This may be due to the fact that people perceive indymedia mainly as a website and don't realize how much work needs to be done concerning building political relationships, outreach, editorial work etc. Therefore indymedia attracts relatively more people who are interested in computing than people who are not. Accordingly, the underrepresention of women within indymedia reflects the underrepresentation of women in Information Technology related fields.

However, only some incidents in which women felt discriminated against within their groups were tech related. Several complained about being silenced in meetings, some had experienced open sexist behavior, many stated that there was a general atmosphere that made it hard for women to work within their indymedia group.

This means that gender discrimination is not only due to the fact that techies have an important role within indymedia and techies tend to be male. It is apparent, that non-tech as well as tech males discriminate against women.

Many of our male co-activists have taken an active stance against gender discrimination within indymedia. And we hope they will keep up this stance as we don't perceive our struggle as females versus males but as a general cause.

However, the discrimination by individual men and the patriarchal atmosphere in some groups has reached such a degree that we believe action needs to be taken.

Furthermore we believe that similar mechanisms that minimize women's involvement also work against the participation of ethnic and sexual minorities and maintain a homogeneous class structure.

We talked about different measures to change this situation. As a result of our discussions, we would like to propose that these issues be addressed during the process which new imcs undertake.

Proposal:

We propose that the following questions be incorporated in the application form:

A. How does the makeup of your collective reflect the diversity of the local community (e.g. in realtion to gender-, sexual-, spiritual-, and/or cultural-identity)?

B. If your group currently does not represent the diversity of the local community, particularly in relation to groups who are underrepresented in mainstream society and denied access to vehicles of expression, what steps will be taken to address this on an ongoing basis?

C. What steps will be taken to involve individuals in workfields new to them? What measures will be taken to overcome a gendered work division?
by explain please
Monday Dec 22nd, 2003 11:11 PM
>It is apparent, that non-tech as well as tech males discriminate against women.

How many do this? All? Some? What percentage?

by magpie
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 8:15 AM
it seems to me (a bio-boy working on my partriarchy baggage) that the proposal is a fine first step, but without more teeth it won't have much of an effect.

the imc in new york city has managed to maintain a token number of women (doing, as usual, a disproportionate share of the non-glamor work) over time, while still being a deeply hostile environment for women.... as you can see by looking at who the folks who've been able to stay in it for a long period of time are (boys), and whose departures have been dismissed as 'personal' rather than 'political' (women). the rotating-token mode is one of the current ways that alleged leftists deal with women (and queers, people of color, working-class folks, etc) in oppressive ways that construct ready-made alibis.

until an imc is taken out of the network for its treatment of women, and reinstated for cleaning up its act, i don't see broad changes as likely. and i hope that happens soon.
by is this really happening?
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 9:36 AM
Is this really happening, or is this accusation more COINTELPRO style disruption, aimed at sewing division and discord in the Indymedia community, the way it was so successfully sewn among the Panthers?

Let's hear NYC-IMC's version of the story before we decide.
by blech
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 10:26 AM
Anytime issues of sexism, racism or homophobia get brought up, the straight white men start running in circles yelling COINTELPRO.

Sexism, Racism and Homophobia are issues in activist groups for the same reason they are issues in mainstream society. Unfortunately in the last few years more and more male activists have found that by bringing up security culture, is a convenient way to dismiss anything. Not only does this make some activist groups uncomfortable for women, people of color and queers, but it also is a form of crying wolf.
by skip
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 10:41 AM
before believing anything that's so potentially disruptive from friends, much less anonymously on this board, inquiring directly at the source should be expected of anyone who seriously believes in the political and social struggle for justice. it's fair to expect this from all bay area activists too, not just those in nyc, as the bay area of course has a long history of being targeted by feds. just use your head, common sense, and don't be too quick to judge.
by blech
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 10:50 AM
This is a proposal about dealing with sexism in the network. It doesnt mention specifics about collectives that have had serious issues and is attempting to deal with this problem in a productive fashion. Telling women not to talk about abuse because it may disrupt the familly/network/collective is way too common and should not be seen as acceptable behavior.
by skip
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 10:51 AM
"Anytime issues of sexism, racism or homophobia get brought up, the straight white men start running in circles yelling COINTELPRO."

first, it does you no good to exaggerate. this is clearly not true. second, is bringing up COINTELPRO wrong? what the hell are we going to do about it if we can't talk about it? anonymous forums are, of course, no place to really talk about it, i know, but still...

"Sexism, Racism and Homophobia are issues in activist groups for the same reason they are issues in mainstream society."

true. what happened to classism though? where does that play into it? it may not be *the* single most important issue, but don't leave it out of your list.

"Unfortunately in the last few years more and more male activists have found that by bringing up security culture, is a convenient way to dismiss anything."

you probably haven't talked to them so directly about it. whoever these people are deserve it if you, whoever you are, are going to get on this board and smear "more and more male activists." yes, sexism is a terrible reality. no, it doesn't


"Not only does this make some activist groups uncomfortable for women, people of color and queers, but it also is a form of crying wolf."

first off, when activists in the bay area focus more on doing actual work that's relevant to the lives of the people they speak (out) for so frequently, and not just in a lip service kind of way, a more diverse activist scene will emerge. until then, activism will still exist all over, in every community, but the overall movement will be stunted.

second, bringing up security culture is a fair thing to do. like anything, using it to get what you want, however that's done, should be called out, but then dialogue needs to continue. isn't it Godwin's law or something that says anytime the word "nazi" or something is used, a discussion is over? well, with sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, too, the conversation, no matter how uncomfortable to some people, needs to continue, not be assumed finished.
by skip
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 10:56 AM
i do think these are important issues to focus on, that new IMCs should ask themselves and incorporate into their formation. how does avoiding the guilty white, heterosexual, probably-middle class, male complex get avoided in all this?

i'd be interested in hear what people's ideas are around the three points that this proposal makes are...
by this is all off topic
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 11:55 AM
Instead of discussing the proposal or sexism and homogeneity issues in the Indymedia network, things have once again degenerated to a discussion of security culture.
Cant people keep that discussion on a thread about secuirty culture? Perhaps it is a valid discussion, but why does it have to take place on every thread?
by could be a good discussion
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 12:06 PM
it would be cool, if people used this thread to brainstorm how to keep women involved! women and anyone and everyone else that isn't able to participate from a position of privilege. theres lots of stuff we could all do better, why not talk about that? i for one, like the idea of IMC getting off the computer and helping communication in otherways... billboards was brought up.... a paper (!)... or a community bulleting board system. i think that would enable people that are not so attached to a computer to use indymedia (and thats a lot of people).
by Veteran IMCista
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 2:10 PM
The proposal from the IMC women's list is a solid one, which I have circulated among the members of my local IMC (outside of the Bay area). There are some interesting comments here which merit responses. Anytime issues of sexism, racism or homophobia get brought up, the straight white men start running in circles yelling COINTELPRO. Actually, this behavior isn't limited to white men. I know of an older IMC woman who participates in an East Coast IMC who has used the spectre of COINTELPRO to manipulate decisions and policies of her IMC collective. And most of the time, these people citing COINTELPRO never identify themselves, so it is hard to figure out which sex they are. There may be white men who use the bogeyman of COINTELPRO to evade issues of sexism, racism and homophobia, but I think that people who bring up COINTELPRO are just irresponsible activists. Sexism, Racism and Homophobia are issues in activist groups for the same reason they are issues in mainstream society. Unfortunately in the last few years more and more male activists have found that by bringing up security culture, is a convenient way to dismiss anything. Not only does this make some activist groups uncomfortable for women, people of color and queers, but it also is a form of crying wolf. Security culure is often brought up for the wrong reasons, but I've never seen it brought up to dismiss these other issues, at least in this fashion. Another person writes: Rather than trying to tell our friends from our enemies, we should pay attention to the results of people’s behavior. If it quacks like a duck, it doesn’t matter if it’s a duck or an impostor. Either way, it quacks. No, you are simply wrong. If you really believe this, please stay far away from activist groups. Your argument here sounds like the relgious zealots who tied up suspected witches and threw them into the pond. Your call for zealotry will only stifle legtiimate conflicts that arise in activist groups. I have first hand experience with a group that was infiltrated by the local police. Contrary to the nonsense spouted about loud activists being "agents of COINTELPRO," the undercovers who infiltrated our group were quite, respected activists who everybody saw as doing a good job. If, for example, an individual joins an activist project and foments a split there, then leaves to join another activist project and foments a split there, do you really want that individual to join your activist project next? Do you even care if that individual is acting out a personal agenda or the state’s? Does it even matter? I think not. Either way, it quacks. You really don't know what you are talking about, since this isn't how the police operate. Most police operations are geared towards gathering information. Many activists have an unreasonable paranoid view that the police are behind all the conflicts and controversies that are natural to groups. Le'ts not give the cops too much credit for our natural human behavior, since they just don't have the resources to do everything that they are suspected of doing. I maintain that anyone who behaves like a deep cover, COINTELPRO type disrupter, may as well be one. If they slander, spread rumors, manipulate people, sew discord, division and disruption, it doesn’t matter whether they are working for the state consciously for a paycheck, or unconsciously for personal reasons. Either way, it quacks. This is just nuts! How long have you been an activist? Do you understand how much damage that you could do to a group if you accused people unfairly of being cops when they are just expressing their dissent within a group? Another activist writes: first off, when activists in the bay area focus more on doing actual work that's relevant to the lives of the people they speak (out) for so frequently, and not just in a lip service kind of way, a more diverse activist scene will emerge. until then, activism will still exist all over, in every community, but the overall movement will be stunted. This is a wise comment about activism and social change. In my decades of experience as an activist, I've noticed that groups that aren't doing any actual practical work and spend their time arguing about stuff are the groups who won't stay around for very long. Groups that engage in practical work also help prevent the disruption caused by identity politics, especially well-meaning activists who turn groups into coercive experiments in group therapy. I've seen this problems in IMCs, especially one that is racked by controversy because the core members aren't doing any actual indy journalism. Indymedia should be run by people who do actual practical work, not by people who think they have a more enlightened way of running the project.
by Green
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 3:37 PM
Yes, this is one of the most concrete ways to understand the level of concern there should be about 'security.' Probably posting an actual number with this would help people to understand.

Those numbers are mind boggling, and the plans that we've already seen are psychopathic, as well as sociopathic.

It's unfortunate to see that yet another person is either clueless, or is trying to spread disinfo. Did they also not even read the top story about the recent infiltration of Fresno Peace? And the follow-up stories where police admitted openly that they collect info undercover? Jesus. Wake up already.

As a reader, it's interesting to know about the position of women in indymedia. I hadn't heard any of this, so I'm glad to see people talking about it. The interesting thing is that in most of the activist groups I've been in, women are the majority. They are the ones organizing the meetings, making the phone calls, giving the speeches, etc. Doing everything. There was one where this wasn't the case, and it involved black nationalism. Women were still doing everything, but they didn't really have the stage, so to speak. They were in the background. Doing everything.


by ~Bradley
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 7:31 PM
> Let’s get back to the topic.

And bring the discussion of security over to:
http://indybay.org/police

> I support the proposal, at least as far as it goes. I feel, though, that it doesn’t go far enough into describing specific remedies for the problems we face.


I too support the proposal, but wonder why it only address up and coming IMCs, and feel it should include steps (goals) for alreadly established IMCs to work toward. These steps (goals) would not be a quantification of collective member (techie) make up, but rather layout a framework like the one suggested by nessie for "an active training program at every single IMC local. A combination of skill share sessions, classes, and one on one tutoring is called for."


> Personally, I would also support an active fund raising campaign aimed specifically at providing those IMC women who want to upgrade their tech skills with equipment and professional training. Would anyone else support that?

Yes, I would support that.
by ~Bradley
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 7:33 PM
> Let’s get back to the topic.

And bring the discussion of security over to:
http://indybay.org/police

> I support the proposal, at least as far as it goes. I feel, though, that it doesn’t go far enough into describing specific remedies for the problems we face.


I too support the proposal, but wonder why it only address up and coming IMCs, and feel it should include steps (goals) for alreadly established IMCs to work toward. These steps (goals) would not be a quantification of collective member (techie) make up, but rather layout a framework like the one suggested by nessie for "an active training program at every single IMC local. A combination of skill share sessions, classes, and one on one tutoring is called for."


> Personally, I would also support an active fund raising campaign aimed specifically at providing those IMC women who want to upgrade their tech skills with equipment and professional training. Would anyone else support that?

Yes, I would support that.
by insider
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 7:34 PM
a bunch of women were alienated and driven away from the sf.indy site. but i guess that doesn't concern you nessie. and i'm not surprised. please continue your cointelpro allegations and constructive dialogue in the new sf.indy group and on the sf.indy site since it seems thats really where the dialogue needs to happen
by insider
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 8:30 PM
... because if a woman is attacking people, its because she's a woman and its ok. if a woman is attacking other women, its because she's a woman and its ok. if a woman is scaring your children and small pets at night, its because she's a woman and its ok. if a woman fails to convince everyone that her out-and-out lies are true, its because she's a woman and its ok. now, if a woman disagrees with a woman, its because she's a self-hating woman who is probably a hysterical slut and you'll call her on her cellfone 1000 times over the next 3 weeks to tell her that. i wonder if these women have met the jewish fundamentalists?
by insider
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 11:28 PM
what is not okay, is one big intimidating white guy that has too much tech power in indymedia attacking women in his imc until most of them are forced to leave the group. and then using his technical access to further sabotage the new group. what also is not okay, is if the same power-crazed techie locks out activist groups from their websites during emergencies, calls people cops publicly, censors activist postings, and spreads lies throughout the indymedia network about the women, and then *still* continues to attack the women (even though they have left his group) so that most of them feel unsafe to even be in the same city as him. nope, definitely not okay.
by insider
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2003 11:47 PM
did you feel "safe" kicking on his door for hours at a time every other night for months on end while his neighbors threatened to call the cops as he hid inside, wishing you would just go away?
by too scared to deal with it?
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 12:18 AM
if she really was kicking the door down, it sounds like she needed to talk. why didn't you call a mutual friend to come and help her?
by xxxxx
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 12:24 AM
but, after a while, you run out of options.
by abuse
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 1:59 AM
So what I see here are two people arguing about a breakup on a thread about sexism.
"You did this to me", is followed by "you did this to me".
It looks like it was a bad breakup. Most people have gone through bad breakups.

Unfortunately, one person in this breakup is a tech person at Indymedia who seems to have had complete control over the sf.indymedia server. Tech powers were used to get revenge against an ex and the result was an ugly split in an indymedia collective (along gender lines?).

What makes many relationships between men and women unequal is power. Men often have either more economic power, more physical power or in this case more tech power than those they go out with. If a relationship deteriorates both people are bound to do ugly things to each other but abuse usually comes when power inequality comes into sway (see http://www.uoregon.edu/~counsel/abuse.htm ).

Tech power can be every bit as dangerous as physical abuse. Can your ex read your emails, spy on your online conversations, mess up your computer etc.. if one does a lot of work online, one can easilly see how someone can live in much more fear of an ex who is a techie than an ex who is physically abusive (the fear that they are always watching is a lot harder to verify). When people work together at a job or on an Indymedia site, tech power can mean that an ex can arbitrarilly deny one the tools needed to be productive.

Intimidating people thought control over tech resources should be seen as every bit as unacceptable as physical intimidatiion.
by Mediation
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 4:48 AM
The control of resources over tech stuff has happened entirely within the confines of a mediated agreement between two groups of people. Nice try to again sneak that in.

As for "reading people's email" or irc or whatever, anyone who is technical can tell you that knowing tech stuff is not being a magician. Is this real life or a hollywood hacker movie? Note that also you could commandeer the Pentagon computer and position laser satellite weapons at the person's house.
by FYI
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 4:50 AM
The people being described here might not know we are even discussing them, I am guilty to that as well. Let's keep that in mind.
by not at all
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 9:09 AM
"The control of resources over tech stuff has happened entirely within the confines of a mediated agreement between two groups of people"

(sorry for another off topic post but this deserves a response)

Certain techies in the SF collective convinced the collective to move a server to a place where only they could access it. This was sold to the group as being done for technical reasons (it was a faster hosting environment). Once the server got moved a split was demanded. The rest of the group was forced to give in to a split and did agree to things during mediation (the result was supposed to be two new sites linking to each other and starting with equal readership). But things didn't go smoothly since the sf techies decided to once again wield their tech power. Things started getting weird when the DNS entry for indybay wasn't handed over and the indybay collective had to wait weeks and got no response in regard to that. Then, before a split could happen smoothly and on the day of the SF mayoral election (when everyone was getting ready to do a lot of coverage) passwords for all women (and a few men) in the group were erased so people could not do editorial work. Then, the indybay DNS entry was messed with so the url pointed nowhere for about a week (the indbay url used to point to the same server as sf.indymedia so it appears that the sf collective wanted to make sure that regular users of indybay switched over to sf.indymedia before the split and would not find the indybay site). Finally the SF group agreed to point indybay at this site, but ownership wasn't handed over, so it can still be used as a weapon in the future. The current refusal of the SF collective to link to this site isnt an abuse of tech power in and of itself, but its its closely related to why indybay wasnt working which was only possible for the SF group to mess with since they had control over the DNS entry for indybay.

And why did all of this happen? The personal reasons behind sf.indymedia's behavior almost make it worse than if this was for political ends. The threatening to publically air private emails that were sent during a breakup was constantly used during mediatation in a very sexist and bullying fashion. The attitude of at least two men in the SF collective was "I'll air your dirty laundry if you dont do what I want, but if you even start to bring up my personal problems your a security risk".

I think the post that started this discussion was an attempt by women in various collectives to deal with problems like what happened in SF. By not specifically bringing up cases like SF, it seems like it was intended to be nonconflictual. Unfortunately the post has been spammed with weird comments about security culture, COINTELPRO, and personal attacks on women in the indybay group.
by start a new thread
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 9:16 AM
Can the women's proposal be reposted and then linked to again in the center column so all of this thread doesnt have to be read by people who want to discuss the actual proposal?
by sfbay-imcista
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 10:56 AM
I will re-post the proposal, so people can actually discuss it (hopefully).

But i will say that what happened in the SF-IMC is a very extreme reason why this proposal is needed not only for new IMCs, but for old ones especially. We are talking about 7 women in the SF-IMC that were alienated in some way by certain kinds of behaviour. 7 women.. that's a lot. It should give the indymedia community some clue, that something is not right here, and unfortunately it did mostly (not completely) fall along gender lines. It is not cointelpro to discuss this, it takes courage to tell people what has been really going on, it is not easy. And hopefully, other IMCs can learn from what happened here. Thankfully, the women haven't given up their Indymedia work ... they continue to work on this site :)
by skip
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 11:31 AM
that there's all this anonymous bullshit on this board by "insiders" and whoever. what some people say here may be true, it may not, but how in the world can anyone be sure of that? well, if they cared, they'd go directly to the source to try to work it out instead of spreading this kind of thing around here.

but in the end, my experience has been that it's basically too late for this bunch of people. positions have been hardened. nothing will be agreed upon in the future. move the fuck on. be happy knowing that you're right.

but for the love of god, why waste more precious energy on this nonsense? i'm included in that, of course, so on to the fresh thread to discuss the actual proposal.
by hmm
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 11:42 AM
Whatcha talking about? I know many people in the indybay collective are afraid of certain members of the sf.indymedia collective, but Ive never heard of any allegations in the opposite direction.

I have heard allegations of "rumor mongering" but most of those allegations go back way before the split and they go equally well in both directions (people feel like they need to talk when people act abusive towards them, is that a surprise?) Im sure the sf.indymedia collective is being told tons of horrible things about indybay members. Some could be half truths and some are probably outright lies. Its hard to know since no allegations have ever been brought to the attention of members of the indybay collective. All we have seen is a pattern of manipulation of tech resources to undermine our ability to work on a new site.

Its probably good that this conflict is finally comming out in the open. It didnt have to. The sf.indymedia group could have given over the DNS entry, only locked people out of editorial once the indybay site was up and linked to this site and made the split look like it was a positive thing (like the blurb in the center column of this site implies). The people in the sf.indymedia collective stepped way over the line in terms of abusing their tech power and its a concern for the whole network. The same tech people who were involved in this conflict host many other Indymedia sites and are involved with managing many shared indymedia resources. The conflict already spilled over into them messing with the SFLR site during the very week that it was raided. If the sf.indymedia tech people do decide to undermine this site, mess with the DNS entry again, gain access to and delete semiprivate email lists...perhaps people in the network will notice and start to move sites away fom the sf tech group's servers.
by gek
(gekked [at] blackflag.net) Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 1:10 PM
Wow, this thread is something else.

Since it is Christmas Eve, and I have about 8 million other things to do, I guess I only really have two things to communicate:

1) In all my time as an imc-tech, through many difficult situations, I have never acted outside of consensus. Sometimes I have refused to act when consensus wasn't clear.

2) Currently, individuals from the SFBAY group have made it their mission to make me (and other sf indymedia techs) violate the consensus of our group and transfer ownership of a domain to someone else. We have repeatedly told them no, we will not violate consensus to meet your demands. In return, we get the kind of insults on this thread, we get them e-mailing global people in private saying that we are "abusing tech power" because we won't do what they say and violate consensus, etc. Since when is respecting consensus a form of "tech power abuse"?

Unfortunately, the modus operandi of many members of the SFBAY group is to:
1) Demand something outside of consensus,
2) Insist that you are "abusing power" or "abusing [insert identity here]" if you don't obey them in a timely manner.
3) Retreat from group consensus and begin e-mailing misrepresentations and distorted one-sided claims to people in private, to get people "on their side" without the messy aspects of both sides of the story.
4) Use spam and comments on IMC sites here and there to increase the conflict.

So, no, SFBAY, we will not use our tech power to go against our process because you have told us to. We will not use our tech power to go against our process because you threaten us, corner us in person, insult us, our talk behind our backs.

Now, like I said, its Christmas Eve and I have a lot more important things to do than sit around arguing on some idiotic thread.
by ??
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 1:22 PM
What about the consensus SF-IMC reached when being forced to sit through 16+ hours of mediation with you?? Remember the mediation that cost hundreds of dollars of money that we earned? What about the consensus that group came to?? Why don't you honor that? Your new SF-IMC group does NOT have the authority to override the decisions we made in that mediation session, yet that is what you are claiming here.

Gek, you are acting outside of consensus. You are also not abiding by an agreement that was really painful and difficult for us all agree to... and why? To prolong the battle? To prolong the drama? Gek, you won sf.indymedia.org for you and your friends... now keep up your end of the bargain by linking to this site, stop spamming us, and hand over indybay.org and the money that you took from this collective.
by blech
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 2:07 PM
First we heard that the indybay DNS entry was the property of one member of the sf.indymedia collective and it was an issue of missed connections. Then we were told that it was being held in exchange for certain resources in the Indymedia space and this was a personal decission on the part of the DNS entry owner. Now we are told its the property of the sf.indymedia collective and that certain people are blocking a change in ownership (from others it sounded like gekked was the one blocking so if thats the case for him to talk about the need for consensus is confusing). How did the ownership of the DNS entry get into the sf.indymedia collective's hands in the first place? During mediation it was portrayed as joint property not something the SF collective could use as a bargaining chip (in fact the SF collective tried to hype up the value of the indybay url during mediation to get us to agree to allowing them to have sf.indymedia)

The whole matter of linking from the center column is another story. Was the lack of a link intended to bring the conflict out in the open? I mean, without a link from the most commonly used url we have to spend a lot of time and energy telling people about this site. I thought people wanted the conflict over with. Its really weird that the people most concerned about how the public sees the split are the same people who have refused to even try to make the split look civil on the site.

Indybay has:
"We're Expanding
San Francisco Bay Area IMC has formed two collectives to better serve the Bay Area. Feel free to post your news on one or both websites, and check each website for ways to get involved: http://www.indybay.org and sf.indymedia.org ."

Sf.indymedia has nothing about the split or the indybay url in its center column and collective members have even posted things like " the San Francisco IMC agreed to allow an East Bay group to form" and then try to make it sound like the DB wasnt shared to create this site and we somehow stole it with statements like "who is halfway awake can tell that this a new site with the articles from the old site, with a new domain name, a new design, etc. Anyone can get those articles, there are computer scripts that do that automatically for you." ( see Truth Time by insider • Sunday, Dec. 21, 2003 at 10:30 PM on http://indybay.org/news/hidden.php?id=1665898#1666435 ). Remember how during mediation you tried to fool people into thinking that one site having sf.indymedia with the other having indybay wouldnt make it seem like the indybay site was the new one? I wonder if any members of your collective actually believed those lies? Were you all bargaining in bad faith?
by 3rd party
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 2:20 PM
To "blech":

You got different stories because everytime SFBAY decided to lose their temper, and shoot off random emails to individuals, or corner specific individuals, or threaten specific individiuals, they were getting one person's interpretation of where the consensus process for SF Indymedia was -- on any given day, at any given time. That's why we ask you to NOT do that, and let us do it as a group. And yet you continue to do it. And you insist that before any consensus can be reached, we just "do what you say," even though any number of known mediation violations go unanswered by SFBAY at all.

And then we have the other people who are either delerious with some sort of unfulfilled vengeance or operating on about 10% knowledge of what is going on who mix up the incidents I describe in the first paragraph with sheer distortions framed to make us look like some kind of crazy conspiracy sent out as spam, comments, private emails, told to people we know, etc -- which is obviously just another form of the same intimidation technique.

Hopefully, by now, you know we aren't really ever intimidated and we will follow the process WE agreed on per the mediation, as well as our own internal process. And we will make damn sure you do the same.


by ??
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 2:22 PM
the equipment is ready and waiting to be picked up. the sf.indy collective has been notified that they should pick up the equipment asap. nothing is being held hostage. please come and pick up your stuff and stop using that as an excuse.
by define
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 2:31 PM
" meet their obligations "

What does that mean? I can only see one group openly violating most aspects of the mediation agreement. On the one hand we have the sf.indymedia group trying to use DNS ownership as a bargaining chip when that shold have been equal property of both groups, we have the sf.indymedia site not linking to indybay, and we have sf.indymedia people posting blatant lies and claims that people are cops to the indybay site. On the other hand we have vague acussations of "security violations" by the sf.indymedia group against certain members of the indybay group (most of which seem to relate to things that happened before the mediation agreement!!!!!!!!!).

Its rather amazing that after that mediation meeting where you all dismissed worries over tech power and the sf.indymedia url that you have the gall to post on here trying to make it seem like you have acted in an appropriate fashion. Did you all secretly agree before the mediation to give us the indybay url since you knew that you had ownership over it and could use to to get things? Did you try to make it sound like sf.indymedia and indybay had equal readership since you knew you could take down the indybay url a week before the split and make it so nobody used that url? Did you move the servers to Linefeed before the split was even talked about since you knew that that would make the mediation irrelevent since you could just take control over the old server? Did you agree to link to the indybay site knowing that since there was no enforcement you could just not do it and hope nobody found the site?
by so what?
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 3:24 PM
Agreeing to something and then claiming that one doesnt have to obey the agreement due to things that happened prior to the agreement is called negotiating in bad faith.
by quit playing their game
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 4:54 PM
I suggest to SF Indymedia people to quit playing their game on this message board.

It is clear from what is written who here wants to go by a sane, rational and fair way of working out the last few kinks of the mediation agreement. It is also clear which side wants to continue posting insults, innuendos, accusations, half-truths and BS on here.

For the last time, SFBAY, your methods of intimidation and bullyism aren't going to work. You will not hold a gun to our heads, violate the mediation agreement like 8 different ways, and then expect us to give in to you because you threaten us. We split away from you because you refuse to follow process, you insist on using intimidation and insults and gossiping instead of consensus, and we would prefer to have you do it to yourselves rather than us.

Nothing is more bad faith than the way you all have acted here, in comments, on SF Indymedia, on this site, in private email to people like Chris or Sheri in indymedia, and etc.
by some of us actually care about covering news
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 7:08 PM
Why does this conflict have to go on and on and on and on and on and one.

Can't both sites just link to each other and get ownership of their DNS entries and agree not to post to each others sites and then this whole thing can be over with. Getting rid of the ties between these groups seems like a way to move forward. As long as people in sf.indymedia.org own the DNS entry for indybay.org there has to be interactions between the two groups. As long as sf.indymedia.org doesnt link to indybay.org, people in indybay.org have to call activist groups and ask for them to add links. Why are people bringing back up things that happened before mediation. Don't people want this to end!!!!!!!!!!!!!
by green
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 7:48 PM
"authority to override the decisions we made in that mediation session"

I've done mediation before and have had the other person violate the agreement reached. It's infuriating, and generally the person believes they are correct, even though most would look at it and say they're insane. Insisting that they are wrong won't really do much, when they believe they are right.

It sounds like, at this point, things need to be in writing for the sake of later clarification, if nothing was formally recorded from the mediation. This thread seems like the beginning of that - it actually seems to be progressing somehow, strangely enough - but it's not the right place to discuss it. Do you guys have a groups list or something? Maybe one semi-neutral party could start a groups list, if you don't already have one. One meeting won't be the end of it, so it might be helpful to have a method to communicate within the context of a group, at all times, rather than letting anything build up over time, misunderstood. A record is created.

Sorry to hear about all the events and what people have had to go through. In a few years you guys will be experts at all this stuff - you never come out empty-handed when this much work is done, much as it seems hopeless at the moment.



by tired of this crap
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 8:44 PM
>Agreeing to something and then claiming that one doesnt have to obey the agreement due to things that happened prior to the agreement is called negotiating in bad faith.

That's not what's happening, not even close. If it was, you could cite an example.
by a3m
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2003 10:03 PM
some don't want to call it bad faith? OK lets just go with the known facts: that two sides came away from the table with agreements. Unfortunatelyt these agreements were incompatable with that understood on the other side of the table.

The agreement was dual. One was an understanding thast Bay got what they needed, the other was (an understanding) that what they needed was already took but they were free to....whatever.

So the process was broke. Thats why you say it over and over in as many ways as possible till there is no room for petty, ego gratifying "interpretation."

It ain't over till its over. back to the table kiddies. Palesitne wasn't settled in one round either.

P.S. I think the cointelpro argument is smoke up my ass and I resent it greatly. "{lets keep it in the family and play pretty to the "outside" world/ non family.,)

Cops and the families of drunks are experts at this one.

When is the settling of dysfunction playing into the hands of the enemy? when we are not fighting the enemy within, but playing hero and mr right.

Gee honey, I wish you would not scream when i pummel you with my fists. Do you want the cops to come and break up our happy family?

That's(one place) where I heard this weak shit before.



by Chris Thompson
(chris.thompson [at] eastbayexpress.com) Wednesday Jan 7th, 2004 11:03 AM
This is Chris Thompson, a reporter with the East Bay Express. I'm working on a story about the split between sfindymedia and sfbayindymedia/indybay. I gotta admit that the details are something of a mystery, and I can't seem to find anyone willing to talk about what happened. If anyone out there is familiar with the origin of the split and would like to talk to me, please call me at 510-879-3766. Thanks.
That's not how we heard it.
by Chris Thompson
(chris.thompson [at] eastbayexpress.com) Wednesday Jan 7th, 2004 2:06 PM
If anyone out would like to talk about some background details, I have a couple of questions unrelated to the split...

It seems that under this open publishing policy, anyone can post anything anonymously, although some Indymedia volunteers strike some of the more egregious flaming. If that's the case, how do I know that the guy who calls himself "Nessie" really is the Nessie who is apparently one of the central figures? Is there a protocol for verifying that the online handle really refers to the man?

As I recall, the indymedia phenomenon got started during the Seattle globalization demos of 1999. When did San Francisco get set up?

How many people are involved with the collective? Are they activists in other causes, or do they dedicate most of their time to this project? Does Indymedia have any formal or informal links to progressive organizations, does it operate independently?

What is the policy on actually publishing stories, as opposed to the commentary threads? Does an editor fact-check, proofread, and tighten up the pieces, or are they allowed to run as they came in over the transom?

How many people access this site on a given day? Of these, is it possible to know what percentage of these are local and what are from the other side of the country?

I understand that some other indymedia sites are beginning to rethink the open publishing policy. Has either indymedia or indybay discussed this? What are the reasons for an open publishing policy, and what are the demerits?

As you can probably tell, the story will focus on whether a democratic/collective approach to media results in amplifying perspectives that the corporate media ignores or just creates a cacophonous stew of white noise and gossip. Anyone who wants to talk can call me at 510-879-3766.

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