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by San Francisco Bay Area IMC
Friday, Jan. 09, 2004 at 5:59 AM
It is with much sadness and urgency that we inform the greater indymedia community about the ongoing crisis within the San Francisco Bay Area IMC.
Open Letter to the Global Indymedia Network from SF Bay Area IMC
It is with much sadness and urgency that we inform the greater
indymedia community about the ongoing crisis within the San Francisco
Bay Area IMC.
Previously, we had attempted to resolve internal conflicts among group
members by engaging in formal mediation, which ultimately resulted in
an official split of the group into two and a list of specific actions
upon which each side agreed. This letter is being sent out only after
these agreements have not been respected by the new SF IMC collective
that has split from us.
As many of you know, the SF Bay Area IMC had been using both
sf.indymedia.org and indybay.org since its inception. The SF Bay Area
IMC website had been hosted on a linefeed.org server which was operated
by the tech members of our collective.
Our IMC has now split into two groups. When a few of the tech members
began to have personal problems with other members of the collective,
these tech members demanded a split of the collective. The resulting
dynamics within the group continued to worsen. It created an
environment that made it difficult to continue working together and
also discouraged potential new people from joining the collective.
While most members of the collective opposed any kind of split, the
aforementioned tech members insisted that they would split anyway,
because they wanted to and because they could.
The tech members who wanted the split also had convinced the rest of
the group to agree to move the site to the linefeed.org server. They
claimed that this was merely a technical issue which would enable the
site to run faster.
The members of the splitting group also began making viscious and false
accusations about other members of the collective. This even went as
far as accusing some members of being security risks and/or police
The splitting group began to take control of the linefeed.org server
that the SF Bay Area IMC website had been hosted on by kicking off all
other IMC members from access to it. At the same time, they also cut
off access to other local activist websites (such as the Food Not Bombs
News website, liberationradio.net and passionbomb.com) that were being
hosted on their linefeed.org server. These other websites were
affiliated, to greater or lesser degrees, with members of SF Bay Area
IMC with whom the splitting group members were in conflict.
When it was clear that this internal conflict had reached a stalemate,
a neutral professional mediator was hired to conduct a series of
The continuation of the internal crisis was effectively preventing the
group from doing their work and was discouraging new people from
wanting to join the group. Most collective members were fed up with
having to deal with this conflict. As a result, during the mediation
process, the rest of the group reluctantly agreed to split the group
and further conceded to the splitting group's demand to give up the
sf.indymedia.org domain to them. Also part of the mediation agreement,
the rest of the group was to keep indybay.org (which at the time still
pointed to sf.indymedia.org) and also to create a new domain of
sfbay.indymedia.org. This new domain was to be used along with
indybay.org once indybay.org was handed over from the splitting group.
The mediation agreement was officially finalized on November 13th,
2003. Since that time, members of the new sf.indymedia group have
backtracked on their agreement in multiple ways. The indybay.org DNS
was supposed to have been handed over by the Monday following the final
mediation meeting, November 17th. But this did not occur until over a
month later, in mid-December. And although this "handing over" has
resulted in indybay.org now pointing to the correct site, they continue
to refuse to hand over the indybay.org domain ownership, which they
still control. Also, immediately after the mediation, they locked out
the group that was now sfbay.indymedia.org (indybay.org) from access to
sf.indymedia.org. In combination, these actions left the rest of the
group without a website for over a month.
During this period, the new sf.indymedia group has been hiding posts of
news stories to the sf.indymedia.org newswire (such as an announcement
about a live streaming coverage of the recent mayoral election by Enemy
Combatant Radio) made by members of the indybay.org group, effectively
censoring the indybay.org group.
The new sf.indymedia group has also refused to place on their website a
link with an explanation about the split, as both groups agreed to do
as part of the mediation agreement. Nevertheless, the indybay.org group
put up the explanation and link immediately after the site was up,
after the DNS switch.
Also, members of the new sf.indymedia group have been engaging in
tactics of doublespeak by accusing members of indybay.org of precisely
the kinds of acts that they themselves have been responsible for, such
as lying, manipulating, and threatening.
In sf.indymedia.org's recent application for status as a new imc that
they submitted to the New IMC Working Group, they stated that their
"supporting groups were too numerous to mention." While we didn't speak
up then, since we had agreed in good faith during mediation not to stop
their new IMC process, we now feel, in light of their actions, that
they should be asked why they failed to list those groups and to show
who really aligns with them. As far as we know, local activists and
groups and members of other IMCs who are finding out about the split do
not support them nor their actions.
List of violations of the mediation agreement by the new
1. The sf.indymedia.org group has refused to put up a blurb and links
about the split as agreed to during mediation.
2. The sf.indymedia.org group failed to switch the DNS for indybay.org
until over a month after the mediation agreement.
3. Before the indybay.org DNS was eventually switched over, a member of
sf.indymedia.org pointed indybay.org to a non-existent IP address,
causing many people to stop using indybay.org.
3. Immediately after the mediation was over, a member of
sf.indymedia.org withdrew half of the money from the imc checking
account, and then refused to negotiate the price for stickers and
t-shirts advertising the sf.indymedia.org web site address. According
to the agreement, the groups would split the money in the bank account
after sfbay was reimbursed for the mutually agreed upon price for the
stickers and t-shirts, and sf.indymedia was reimbursed for pieces of
equipment that sfbay wanted to purchase.
4. The sf.indymedia.org group has deleted the SF-IMC email list and the
Enemy Combatant Radio (ECR) email list without warning, before anyone
had the chance to back up three and a half years of work and contacts
contained in the lists' archives.
5. The sf.indymedia.org group has gone against the agreement by
redirecting aliases to their new email addresses.
List of actions by the new sf.indymedia.org group that violates the
indymedia Principles of Unity
1. Members of the linefeed.org server (which now hosts
sf.indymedia.org, other IMCs and activist websites) have sabotaged
local activist websites hosted by them that were connected to
2. The sf.indymedia.org group has been repeatedly hiding and deleting
legitimate posts to their newswire by local activists whom they see as
being connected to indybay.org.
The end result of all of this is that techies with positions of power,
and a personal vendetta within an IMC collective, have effectively
hijacked complete control of the website from the rest of the
We believe that the behaviors displayed by the members of the new
sf.indymedia group/linefeed.org are offensive and unacceptable, and
that they have abused their powers as tech people within the IMC
network to manipulate and bully others to get their way.
We, the undersigned, request the following from the global tech working
group and other IMCs in the network:
1. The ownership of the indybay.org domain should be handed over to the
current members of indybay.org immediately, and
2. sf.indymedia.org should immediately put up texts and links about the
split on their website as they should have already done as part of the
If both of the above requests are not met immediately, then we ask that:
1. The new sf.indymedia.org's status as an IMC should be revoked, and
2. The current members of the new sf.indymedia.org should be denied
access and control to the sf.indymedia.org domain, and
3. in the event that the new sf.indymedia.org group should lose control
of their domain, that it be handed over to the current members of
indybay.org instead of being destroyed, since it is an established
community resource, and
4. the money that paid for the mediation should be refunded to the
current members of indybay.org.
We also request that all IMC websites update their links to the San
Francisco Bay Area as http://www.indybay.org.
We are hereby challenging the legitimacy of the new sf.indymedia.org
group for violating its own Principles of Unity by their abusive and
We want to stress that we believe this is an urgent, critical matter
that is in the interest of the entire Indymedia network. What has
happened here with the SF Bay Area IMC seems to be quite unprecedented
within the history of the IMC Network, and we hope that we can depend
on the support from all IMCers to help resolve this conflict and
maintain accountability within the indymedia network.
Sarah Olsen - San Francisco Bay Area IMC, SF Liberation Radio
Lisa Sousa - San Francisco Bay Area IMC, AK Press
Mark Burdett - San Francisco Bay Area IMC
Pauline - San Francisco Bay Area IMC
Sunny - Enemy Combatant Radio, San Francisco Bay Area IMC
Zachary Ogren - San Francisco Bay Area IMC
Wayne Wong - San Francisco Bay Area IMC
Peter Maiden - San Francisco Bay Area IMC
Karen Martin - San Francisco Bay Area IMC
Jino Choi - Revolutionary Anti-authoritarians of Color, SF Bay Area IMC
A. Mark Liiv - Whispered Media
Dan Mattson - San Francisco Bay Area IMC
Pod - Enemy Combatant Radio, Whispered Media
Matt Fitt - San Francisco Bay Area IMC
Jeff Taylor - Whispered Media
Lani Riccobuono - Enemy Combatant Radio, San Francisco Bay Area IMC
Lauren A. - San Francisco Bay Area IMC
The San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center collective can be
contacted at sfbay at indymedia.org.
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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 20 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
|Oh I see - so NOW it's censoring
||Hex anon w/ encryption
||Friday, Jan. 09, 2004 at 6:59 AM
||Friday, Jan. 09, 2004 at 7:05 AM
|The commies had it coming.
||Friday, Jan. 09, 2004 at 7:17 AM
|The ghost of Cointelpro
||Friday, Jan. 09, 2004 at 8:53 AM
||Friday, Jan. 09, 2004 at 9:23 AM
|splits, anarchy, socialism, etc.
||Friday, Jan. 09, 2004 at 10:40 AM
|solid solutions - but will we impliment them ?
||Hex anon w/ encryption
||Friday, Jan. 09, 2004 at 12:18 PM
|Supporting evidence of sf.indymedia.org's violations
||Sunday, Jan. 11, 2004 at 2:35 AM
|gotchaman - not infiltration
||Sunday, Jan. 11, 2004 at 6:06 AM
|"This open letter is proof of what it yields... "
||indeed it is
||Tuesday, Mar. 30, 2004 at 5:16 AM
||Tuesday, Mar. 30, 2004 at 8:33 AM
||Tuesday, Mar. 30, 2004 at 8:27 PM
|what's the matter, brig?
||Tuesday, Mar. 30, 2004 at 9:50 PM
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