rough notes from Keynote speeches on Friday Night.
if you were there, feel free to add to this, or edit this.

  • "Oppositional Politics and the Internet" Douglass Kellner is George Kneller Chair in the Philosophy of Education at UCLA and is author of many books on social theory, politics, history, and culture.

  • "Radical social movement media: their typical Achilles' heels and their surprising powers" John Downing is author among other things of Radical Media. He is currently engaged as editor-in-chief of a one-volume Encyclopedia of Alternative Media, also to be published by Sage

Douglas Kelner
Q: how come 'the revolution' never happened in the US?
A: Television
so, we need to make an alternative television!!

The blogosphere
after 911 - "Warblogs"
The blogosphere is a microcosm of the divisions in the is country and the "Culture Wars"

is independent, participatory media inevitably progressive? no.

bob somerby - blogger who savages corporate media

"information literacy"

John Downing
author of "Radical Media"
encyclopedia of Alternative Media

What is "Alternative Media"?
grafitti, street theater, etc.
often evaluated by size - if its small it can't have an effect, right?
this breeds fatalism and cynicsm.

Franz Fanon
essay about fighting in Algeria
about pirate radio station

the bush administration is testing the Vietnam Syndrome on us. how much will we take?


1. sexism/patriarchy in alternative media

2. people who think they have "a lock" - institutional egoism.

3. social class - alternative media people are affluent.

4. The Tyranny of Structurelessness
In the interests in avoiding power structures, we set up structureless structures, some people take advantage of this. (femisinst thinker Jo Freeman(?)) If you pretend that we're not into power, declare ourselves innocent.. "Once we declare ourselves innocent, all kinds of shit can happen"

5. Education leads to language that is not accessible to everyone.
jargon, tired language. living language is crucial.

The orgins of indymedia

in the 20th century 2 attempts to get rid of capitalism were failures:

1. Marxism/Leninism - complete failure, no light of hope

2. Social Democracy - let's talk our way into constructive change it moves increasingly to the right, and the middle is definied by the corporate media.

These are 2 dead-ends.
At the same time we really need change.
then, Seattle 1999 happened.

Socialist Anarchism
Indymedia is effectively "federal internationalism" - the global network is part of an organizing structure. there are no pat answers. but if answers will emerge, we have to talk together, globally.

plusses: multi lanugages. archiving, interactivity

Indymedia minuses
- obsession with recording opression (police violence) ["riot porn"] there should be stories about what people are doing to make the world better. and these stories don't have to be "monumental", huge stories.
There must be a sense of scale in coverage of oppression.

- tendency for IMC activists to be white. this has got to change.

IMC is mostly white and social anarchist, but people of color and low income activists are mostly marxists. (do the latin america IMCs know that?)

"This is not about talking to power, this is about talking to each other"

a book about why different type of people join different kinds of social movements
The True Believer, by Hoffgarten

why? maybe because working poor people can't sit through 3 hour meetings!? they can't do the concensus process for this reason.


Note, most activists within indymedia in latin america are anarchist leaning, even though the domainte activist culture cross classes is marxist. Most indymedia activists in latin america draw from young university educated radicals (as does the leadership of marxist groups). --RabbleRouser

Note: I was the person who asked the question that led to the comment in the notes "IMC is mostly white and social anarchist, but people of color and low income activists are mostly marxists." I wanted to clarify for the notes: I didn't want to imply that "most people of color in the US are mostly Marxists." I don't think that "most people of color" are anything, but I DO think that the vast majority of groups organizing low-income communities within the US are M/L, church-based, or liberal/reformist. The point isn't that there is some white middle class affinity w/anarchism, but rather that, on balance, many low income communities in the states are familiar with an organizing style that is very different than the one IMC's operate under. The solution? Better anarchist organizing in low-income communities, for one. --Chanders

-- SteeV - 19 Feb 2005
Topic revision: r4 - 08 Mar 2005, BradleY
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