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Open Letter to the Global Indymedia Network from San Diego

by Phelps Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2004 at 10:53 PM

SF Bay Area IMC's open letter to IMC newswire echoes problems faced in San Diego and other cities.

The SF letter stated that "What has happened here with the SF Bay Area IMC seems to be quite unprecedented within the history of the IMC Network". Unfortunately it is not.

The San Diego IMC faced a similar internal conflict between two groups of collective volunteers.

Ostensibly the argument was about censorship on the newswire, revealing names of anonymous posters, and IMC principles of unity (POU). However, the dividing line could also be labelled personality conflict.

In November of 2002, the disagreement reached a peak when a group of activists presented a letter alleging that the SDIMC volunteers had violated POU's in revealing the name of an anonymous poster (http://www.sdimc.org/en/2002/11/2970.shtml and

http://www.sdimc.org/en/2002/11/3017.shtml). The meeting in question was marred by accusations,

yelling and hostility. Soon, the newswire was fucntioning like a message-board flame war. Accusations around issues of authoritarianism, free-speech, anonymity, police informants, and editorial policy took up much of the group's energy.

Changes were made to the editorial policy in an effort to increase group unity. However the changes in policy were not matched with action.

Venues for professional mediation were found and certain members attempted to organize a process to solve the differences. However, many members of the collective did not put any effort whatsoever into mediation and the process never took place.

Instead the group fractured into two factions. San Diego having a much smaller pool of volunteers than SF, ended up with 4 volunteers leaving and approximately 8 remaining.

After the split certain local activist groups start an informal boycott of the SD IMC and stopped posting their events on the newswire.

More recently the remaining IMC collective made their discussion group private to block out all but the IMC volunteers that they choose.

As with SF, the internal crisis effectively prevented the group from doing their work and discouraged new people from wanting to join the group. Like SF departing IMC volunteers removed equipment from the IMC space. Like SF there are now two groups.

You are not alone SF.

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no comment Sergio Leone Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2004 at 3:55 AM
Too much bickering Balktalk Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2004 at 5:54 PM

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