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by R. Morie
Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2001 at 5:16 PM
this article is comprised of paragraphs. Each paragraph is made up of sentences, and each sentence is the sum of many words.
In August of 2000, I spent some time working at Patriotic Hall for the IMC covering the Democratic National Convention. I shot an assload of video, and was told that I would recieve the tapes in the mail in a few months. Well, here it is, 13 months later and no tapes. Furthermore, no accountability when I come to this web site trying to dig up an explanation. But that's hardly the point. In fact, it's totally not the point.
In the time that has passed since then, I have continued to visit this web site. I even spent many a week going down to the Hollywood farmer's market to buy those newspapers. I thought It would do me some good to keep up with the happenings. Well, it did.
I began to realize, the more I read and talked with others within the IMC, that a fundamental truth kept shining through quite blindingly;
You're simply malcontents, somehow equating yourselves as "victims" to the "system", (That system, by the way, is the FACT that you cannot make everybody like you.) and that the IMC's only means for survival is IT'S VICTIMS. It is this same reason that, in my youth, I abandoned the Baptist Church.
In that spirit, I have found many innaccuracies, more than likely downright lies, tryiing to support whatever you happened to be attacking at the time. Last summer's whole to-do with coffee had almost no truth to it at all, and this can be proven quite easily by ANYBODY OBJECTIVE ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY RESEARCH A TOPIC BEFORE PRINTING THEIR OWN PERSONAL SECOND-GUESS...
If it bleeds, it leads.... am I right?
but don't try bringing THAT up to some IMC type, they tend to mimick the pro-lifers by only talking, not listening; overprotective against having their little bubbles burst; much as a cyborg.
So yeah, if there is anybody out there who at least bares the job title of accountability, I no longer want the tapes back. I no longer want to share this bent perspective, either. I would recommend that anybody out there who TRULY had concerns regarding social injustice to do the same. I've reverted to spending my time ACTUALLY helping people, and it's more rewarding than being surrounded by riot cops on the square.
hugs and kisses,
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Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2001 at 5:37 PM
I also entrusted a few tapes of media coverage to a couple of individuals at the center. Included on the label was an ink imprint of mailing and phone contact information... I have yet to see, or hear from the individuals regarding my tapes.
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Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2001 at 7:56 PM
I understand your frustrations, and i do not know the full story regarding your tapes, but it seems as though you need to contact joanie or alan to find out where the tapes went. Have you done this?
Secondly, it's important to clarify the IMC is broken up into different affinity groups with different participants. It's unfortunate that the video group seemed to have a number of problems associated with it, but it's also important to remember that it is critical that individuals get involved and take responsibility to follow through on their criticisms. There are no managers here in the sense of customer service, so it is imperative that if you have a problem, you need to take pro-active steps to solve them. I think that making the effort to attend one of several meetings this past year may have solved your problems right away.
In the interests of solving this problem, i suggest you send a letter to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining in detail what tapes you are misssing and where you think they might be.
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by Paul Rosenberg
Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2001 at 8:33 PM
I'd second everyhthing Chris said, and just add that some media are more naturally suited to collective, non-hierarchical production than others. Web publishing is well-suited to this, particularly with the tools embodied in the indymedia sites--though it could always be better. Film production is way over on the other end of the scale.
I don't mean this as an excuse for anything unpleasant that's happened to people. I do mean it to say that some of us have simply gravitated to the more congenial forms and had more satisfaction doing so, while the road has been a good deal bumpier for others. It looks as if the video group is going to get itself reconstituted soon, but the long hiatus is quite understandable when you consider the nature of the medium.
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Thursday, Sep. 06, 2001 at 1:51 PM
I can sympathize with the frustration of those who sent contributed tapes that weren't returned. I may, in fact, have a few. I'll look through my box of DNC tapes and return anything that might have an address and name attached, then bring up the issue at the next meeting to find others. It would help if those who lost tapes didn't complain anonymously, but would identify themselves here or to the IMC list serve and describe what they are missing.
The video group reached burnout following 8 weeks of intense editing and bickering among at least 20 people - each with our own ideas, some better equipped than others to work within the consensus process (which seemingly runs counter to the way in which films, documentary or otherwise, are produced). In film production, specialists are relied on and, yes, deferred to for various tasks or decisions. If handled maturely, it's not an imposed hierarchy but rather a system of cooperation and respect towards all who are experienced in their respective fields. I believe consensus *can* work in small producing groups as long as specialists such as editors, producers, etc., can work and make decisions transparently and without undue stubbornness. The 'pros' must make a real effort to share their thought processes and experience (and lose the hollywood ego), and those who are less experienced but just as motivated should balance their own ideas with respect for people who have spent years honing their talents. In a town that rewards the fiercely competitive, this is asking a lot.
The video group hasn't really been active since, except for individual and small projects consisting of a few people. I look forward to working within the video group again, but have reached the opinion that 'producing' groups of around 4-5 people are about as large as can be effective. There are some wonderful precedents for this working method, like Big Noise Films. It's difficult to imagine "This is What Democracy Looks Like" being produced and edited by 25 people, though I'd bet at least that many folks contributed in a support capacity, i.e. providing footage or other help.
My two cents,
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Thursday, Sep. 06, 2001 at 3:08 PM
Aside from the video group, I wanted to address some of your concerns regarding dogma. Your email wraps up IMC ideology into one tidy package - an impossible notion. We are a collective of individuals, often with radically different political backgrounds and ideas, who work together, in spite of our differences, around a mission statement and a globally derived set of Principles of Unity. If you have a conversation with six different IMC members, you will get, not a party line as you suggest, but likely six very different views.
We do, however, agree that in order to create social change we have to create an alternative to the current model of information dissemination - the corporate media - and that's what we are attempting to address within the IMC.
As Chris pointed out, if you'd like to come to a meeting, I'm sure this would be much clearer to you.
Also, as a point of clarification, the IMC does not sell papers at the Hollywood Farmer's Market. Members of the collective involved in their own political organizations sell papers for those organizations, but that should not be confused with the IMC.
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Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2001 at 11:28 PM
I read the above email and responses with a familiar grin.
I to have had less than stellar interactions with the La ImCistas and other IMC activists in general. These interactions have led to my general estrangement with this developing alternit media Cabal.
That the IMC has not followed through with its promises to the video participants by now is a shame. It highlights the arrogance of those masochistitd and committed power trippers who do come to the meetings.
This having not dealt with the tapes points to a greater problem, a problem which forced me to no longer participate with the IMC (something I regret often but I feel to burned to wanna continue a relationship).
To me the IMC was a place to get things done- a tool to create kick ass media- to begin to kick the ass of the media.
It was also a place to pass through- a funnel with which to collectivize journalistic resources (video tapes, reporting skills, tv air time, etc) to spread them out to the unproffesional rabble- us.
My experiences with the IMC in the begining was great- than an organization with no top heavy beurocracy, a group struggling to buck in and out of affinity group hierarchies- power seemed to me to truly flow horizontally.
However I was aware of problems, than outside the area of my involvement in the IMC. From the get go the structure of the IMC always had problems incorporating the two communities which draw upon its resources (novice or amature activist journalists/and our own sanctioned Proffesional class of alternative journalists). In this binary the resource heavy (hence powerful) proffesional journalists have always had more clout- over the "amatures" (in my oppinion it is us neophytes, not the established left press who have always made us what we are to the main stream media and the activist community). My first souring interactions with the IMC's were with interactions with this group of people who acted as primadonas- in an other wise fluid environment
Secondly. In working with the LA IMC I noticed a group of people who seemed to be ultimately more interested in networking amongst themselves than developing content- distribution- programming- outreach- etc... What they seemed to do best was complicate matters with the game of internal politics.
Today some of these members survive at the IMC meetings as one of the current proffesional classes of the LA Imc Cabal (with its equivalants in Seattle/ and NYC IMC).
Those remaining in this social group seem to have consolidated there power and currently choose to wear the IMC as thier cross to bear- a label for themselves, and identity to wear. Some of this group have been rewarded from their service to the church of the sacred revolution with new computers, new cameras, media equipment, more prestige for their personal web sights. All goods from last summers spoils.
Ownership (or defacto ownership for some) of this former collective technology further fucks with the last issue I saw developing last summer. What has allowed the IMC's to develope as such a democratizing force in the journalistic landscape is the new technologies we all use. The dream of the IMC is to democratize technology- so as to spread out power, power to create and distribute media. However in the shake out from last summer who is left?
From the copious emails I still get sent to me I see the technology owners- those who have programming skills, own the servers, etc. Where's everyone else? Still waiting for their video tapes that the collective promised would be returned.
This group of defacto leaders can't seem to see outside of their self interests and their social network to get the people back their tapes.
As far as freedom to create within the IMC today? As the LA IMC has continued to develope since last summer it seems that only members of this social group alone have been able to contribute to the creation of the post convention LA IMC.
I have tried not to steer into my personal issues with the group, because I ultimately believe in their work and the IMC. However I hope that they recognize their arrogance and cliqueishness.
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