Discussion in 'protest, direct action and demos' started by Tom A, Nov 24, 2016.
Evidence based politics!
It's a bit more complicated than that though. There's the question of what facts you pay attention to, and what the facts mean. You can't report 'the facts' without straying into these grey areas. To take a current example, much of the media is propagating the idea that Corbyn has had an inconsistent attitude on Brexit. This isn't necessarily untrue. But should we pay attention just to that, or also to the fact that May has had an inconsistent attitude on Brexit too? Okay, so we can report that both of them have been 'inconsistent' and that would be balanced and factual. Except does the word 'inconsistency' cover it? Not really. They both have very differing reasons for their complex/changing stances - it needs a lot of unpacking. Then there's a question of whether consistency is desirable in a leader. Isn't the ability to change their mind or compromise just as important? So what is this essentially derogatory word 'inconsistency' doing there? What would be the 'factually correct' word to use? And anyway, why are we talking about the leaders at all? Is that what matters? Who decided to talk about the attitudes of the party leaders as though they are important?
Dithering is rarely considered a positive thing when you're a political leader, and while holding a steadfast opinion on an issue and allowing no opportunity to be flexible is not a good plan when new situations call for new approaches, a leader should at least be able to justify to the electorate any changes to his or her views.
What I am getting at is those who will ignore and deny inconvenient truths - even going into conspiracy theorist mode when they are mentioned - because they present their organisation/movement in a less than shining light, and then sweep the issue under the carpet and let it become a festering mess, until everyone except them is pointing out how it's harming the cause. To try and bring this back on topic, that is exactly what happened to Indymedia UK, they took a "see no evil, hear no evil" approach to dealing with conspiracy theorists, the toleration of anti-Semitic posts, and the influence of problematic individuals within the editorial collective, and it then became a cesspit for such nonsense and more besides.
UK Indymedia : 1999 - 2016 - UK Indymedia
This is actually a good summary of all the highlights of the UK Indymedia project, and it's fair to say the G8 coverage in 2005 was the high water mark for Indymedia. I do however note that this list of high and low points of Indymedia ends abruptly in 2011, with the infamous 'fork' - its as if there was nothing really worthy of note going on in Indymedia from that point onwards. If you look of the list of actions covered you can see that this also drops abruptly after 2011, with no reports at all mentioned for the past two years of Indymedia's life.
Killed by social media.
Social media can easily provide a 'free' platform with its business model, which is what most gobshites want and will suffer the advertising and presumably the security risk also.
To me it's more of a case of killed by an editorial collective that (1) didn't know how to react to the rise of social media and (2) allowed infighting and the unchecked influence of a clique (the Mayday half of the fork) to turn Indymedia into something nobody really wanted except those still involved in Indymedia (which was a declining number of people). Social media was well established in 2011, but until the fork Indymedia could still have managed to change for the better and thrive, although the rot was setting in around 2008 with the Atzmon affair.
Social media allows a campaign group to reach out to far more people than Indymedia ever did, and it is a very useful tool as long as you don't put up anything that you don't want the authorities knowing - but that's true of any public site, including Indymedia, and the police did monitor (and possibly infiltrate) Indymedia when it was still an important tool for activists.
So how come this site - and many others - managed to survive in the face of the growth of social media?
Because sensible people like yourself were in charge of it, rather than idiots like freethepeeps, and therefore it remained a place that people wanted to use? Although when I returned here after many years, I noted that it was somewhat quieter than in pre-Facebook days, but it's still probably one of the busiest forums in the UK, even if it isn't as famous as it once was.
I'm kind of surprised - and pleased - that we've managed to carry on. There's definitely fewer posts per day - it's usually something like 1.5k per day down from a peak of 3.5k-ish - but there's far more people looking at the site.
Having an argument on FB is a fucking miserable experience. The pals of whoever you're arguing with often gang up against you and if you do crush your opponent with hard facts, they can just delete the entire thread.
I'm glad this place is still going. It still has its moments, and if you avoid talking about politics, people here are generally quite pleasant. I chose to post about Indymedia here because I knew I would encounter people who knew what Indymedia was, whereas very few people I knew on Facebook would have remembered or were old enough to hear of Indymedia. At the time of the original post, no one really acknowledged that Indymedia UK was finally dead.
I avoid that by only having people I consider actual friends (or at least can generally get along with) as Facebook friends - although I have had it deactivated for nearly a year after bitter arguments with friends of friends and having a news feed full of depressing shit. Keep meaning to go back and have a huge purge, but first there's books to read and box sets to watch.
IME Twitter is much worse for arguments, the 140 character limit is an invite to be mean and cruel as possible, and they instantly block you if you contradict them. Having a reasoned debate with people who have opposing views to you is not possible on Twitter, and even those with slightly different views will wilfully misinterpret what you have to say and twist your words.
I think urban found its niche of grumpy baby eating anarchists who are happy grow old disgracefully with each other's company bickering constantly over the important matters of the day.
Indymedia was never a forum anyway. It was primarily a newswire, and that part really has been killed by big social.
Theres a similar but much larger forum in Ireland boards.ie. But's a a broader church, I can't go there anymore, merely because the tone particular on social issues and politics has like most places on the net has become more reactionary, knee jerk, and right wing over the years, and those are three adjectives I would never use to describe Urban. I've had massive arguments on here and been banned, but this seems to be a rare corner of the internet thats gotten a little more mellow in the last few years.
Because I visit it and keep it interesting?
(that sort of thing happens here too, y'know...)
There is a dire need for something like Indy media or Schnews again right now. Not in style necessarily but in the idea of being a clearing house for keeping up to date with other campaigns and issues. One of the strengths of the anarchist milieu used to be how campaigns overlapped and reinforced each other. I see less of that now as people are confined to online echo chambers.
People gang up, but at least the thread - and the arguments contained therein - don't vanish. I remember one guy on FB went through and removed all my posts which left him with a very strange looking thread indeed. And then there's the matter of trying to actually find stuff on FB. Content seems to vanish down a black hole after a few days (if FB haven't decided to remove it themselves).
I had a LOT more time for SchNEWS than Indymedia. It was a bloody great news source but they never really got the web thing and so faded away too quickly.
We had a go but were basically swamped by Facebook.
This is the most annoying thing about Facebook - apart from their own 'memories' algorithm there's no practical way of finding past posts - it means discussions about anything other than trivialities are basically pointless
I did like SchNEWS - I've distanced myself from their ideology over the years but their heart was in the right place, and I also liked the DIY ethos and as much as it contributed to their demise, I saw it as no bad thing that it remained centred on a paper publication well into the Facebook era, if only they had managed to acknowledge that an online and social media presence is still key to survival in these days.
The original Freedom newspaper had some interesting points to make at times as well.
SCHNEWS had a Facebook and a very active Twitter. It had one of the first websites of its kind (1996?). So lack of online activity isnt the main cause of its demise.
The movement it originated from had moved on. Then groups and campaigns found other ways to self publish meaning that instead of going to Schnews for publicity, Schnews had to chase them for stories. The publishing schedule simply wasn't fit for purpose in a 24 hr instanews environment though. Only professional journalists can keep up with it. If it's something you do in your spare time you've got no chance.
I'd disagree. I think they could have done the online stuff much better and mentioned it several times back in the day.
But I don't want to slag the paper off because I think it was a very useful - and at times very funny - alternative news source. I designed one of the covers of their yearbooks by the way
I could imagine SchNEWS had great difficulty getting the staff, they could have gone fully professional but it would have mean they would have lost their DIY spirit and be subject to accusations of "selling out" by their supporters who expected it to forever remain a glorified zine. Your argument could easily apply to Indymedia as well.
Another alternative media publication that did actually provide a true alternative that is now sadly long gone is Manchester MULE - thankfully there's still the Salford Star.
Libcom were saying on twitter they other day that they were hoping to ramp up their news stuff... (this was in relation to the increasingly pro-Labour Novara Media).
did you do any covers for do or die?
Novara are kind of a case in point. The whole thing is a limited company, property of one Aaron Bastani. All of the journos are bylined and seem to be auditioning for Comment is Free. Grassroots radical media it is not.
I'm not sure SchNEWS could ever have been monetized to the point of going professional!
There is the Bristol Cable of course which is trying the model of local news run by a workers co-op.
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