<< ImcCEEurope

<< ImcArmenia


Note before reading: this page offers the concerns of at least two active indymedia individuals in Central/Eastern Europe (boud from ImcPoland and MaxigasYo from ImcHungary) and is not necessarily shared by others. There were no ojections raised at all when IMC Armenia went through the new imc procedure. -clara, -boud

Concerns regarding IMC Armenia

IMC Armenia seems to be committed to open publishing of texts, and given the security situation, its "Board" seems to be about as open as is practical in the situation. The collective did have a publicly archived mailing list, and apparently has weekly face-to-face meetings, so hopefully it genuinely is or at least will evolve towards a more radically open collective as times goes on.

Now it does not appear to have a publicly archived mailing list.

However, it's probably worth raising a few points which might be surprising to people in most local indymedias - maybe IMC Armenia people will respond, and at least the debate will be started.

There is some danger that people might get bogged down in adminstrative NGO stuff instead of networking and doing outreach so that more and more locals can directly produce independent media. Their editorial policy is altogether very strange - with Editorial Boards and such. It seems to be more like a hierachy than a smooth structure of managing things horizontally. There may also be real security risks - repression against activists around Europe is real, and after all, someone from IMC Cyprus was targetted by the US government during (June?) July 2004...

Imc Armenia participants as Indymedia

  • focus on an easy mechanism for excluding someone rather than trying to understand him/her, risking the exclusion of trouble-makers, in contrary to most indymedia collectives where nearly everyone brings up annoying minority points of view at one time or another:
    • ImcArmeniaEditorialpolicy 9. Removing a member of the board: a member may be removed, by consensus, for serious dereliction of duty, failing to be objective in editing posts, etc.
  • contradiction in decision-making policy between consensus and majoritarianism : http://docs.indymedia.org/view/Local/ImcArmeniaEditorialpolicy
    • 1. All decisions will be taken by consensus.
    • but 3.In that case, the general board, which includes the Editorial Board as well as the separate editorial departments in its membership, will discuss and vote.

IMC Armenia participants in NGO (BEM YPAC), non-indymedia role

It seems that more or less the same group of people starting IMC Armenia are also starting an http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGO NGO - BEM Youth Progressive Action Centre. This has led to some confusion, as until 8 July 2004, they had a publicly archived mailing list called imc-armenia at lists.direkte-aktie.net, which was changed to a list with a secret archive around 8 July 2004, and subscription to the list requires approval from an administrator (as of 8 July: merry).

As an action list, unrelated to indymedia, this would be understandable.

However, maybe the list participants could decide to change the list name to avoid any confusion.

As of 9 July 2004, and as of 27 Aug 2004, the list is still called imc-armenia and is described IMC-armenia -- Indymedia Armenia which suggests that it is for indymedia, not for an NGO linked to USAID

Also, if they remain mostly the same people organising indymedia Armenia, then probably it's worth noting how they organise their NGO - surely we should try to push other organisations we're members of towards more openness, non-hierarchy, participation etc, even if this is certainly not any formal requirement. And it's hard to imagine more or less the same group of people both organising one organisation as an NGO and the other as an open, participative, non-hierarchical network...

A more or less point-by-point reply to \x93Concerns regarding IMC Armenia\x94:

sorry this reply is posted very late due to inexperience with wiki. to finallly set things straight, read here

( * focus on an easy mechanism for excluding someone rather than trying to understand him/her, risking the exclusion of trouble-makers, in contrary to most indymedia collectives where nearly everyone brings up annoying minority points of view at one time or another:
    • ImcArmeniaEditorialpolicy 9. Removing a member of the board: a member may be removed, by consensus, for serious dereliction of duty, failing to be objective in editing posts, etc.)

We make no mention of excluding anyone in the part of our policy cited above \x96 in writing a policy for removing a member, we\x92re attempting to address the very real problem of what to do if someone with editorial access to the site is harming the collective, not by presenting a dissenting viewpoint or by being a \x93trouble-maker\x94, but by failing to, for lack of better words, do the job that we\x92re relying on them to do: \x93serious dereliction of duty, failing to be objective in editing posts, etc\x94. If we need, for instance, to monitor the site in shifts in order to prevent it from being overrun by racist or fascist or deliberately libelous posts, and someone who claims to be doing this job isn\x92t doing it, why should we not be allowed to take action after coming to a discussion? How does this constitute exclusion of an opposing viewpoint? Every collective must have some kind of \x93exclusion\x94 or \x93removal\x94 policy \x96 why should we be penalized for codifying it?

(* contradiction in decision-making policy between consensus and majoritarianism : http://docs.indymedia.org/view/Local/ImcArmeniaEditorialpolicy
    • 1. All decisions will be taken by consensus.
    • but 3.In that case, the general board, which includes the Editorial Board as well as the separate editorial departments in its membership, will discuss and vote.)

This is just a misunderstanding: by \x93will discuss and vote\x94, we mean that the decision will be taken by consensus. (Note, if we meant that we would decide by some form of majoritarianism, we\x92d have specified what kind of vote would be required to reach a decision: simple majority? 2/3? A plurality?) When we wrote in 1., at the very beginning of the document, that all decisions would be taken by consensus, we intended that statement to apply throughout. As an action list, unrelated to indymedia, this would be understandable. However, maybe the list participants could decide to change the list name to avoid any confusion.

The mailing lists of the IMC group and the NGO group have been disentangled to avoid further confusion. The direct-action-list with the confusing name (being used for both IMC and NGO) is inactive, yet still not deleted, and replaced by separate lists for the NGO, and the IMC, on which only people involved are listed.

The reason why the archive was closed, is that it also contained messages about the NGO that is not open for other people. The Indymedia list is closed for security, which is in line with Indymedia practices.

(o USAID is a branch of a state terrorist organisation - the State Department of the USA, and it seems that IMC Armenia people, in their role as an NGO rather than IMC Armenia, had a representative of USAID present without actually warning people that s/he was a terrorist and an extreme security risk:  ImcArmeniaDirekteAktie040701a http://lists.direkte-aktie.net/pipermail/imc-armenia/2004-July/000254.html And that a rep from USAID had mentioned that much of their democratization project funding was still untapped - I believe I have the document laying out the USAID intiative and its requirments. I'll forward it, or a link to it, later, so someone can look into it with regards to YPAC)

No representative of USAID has ever been present at an IMC Armenia or NGO meeting; the NGO is not affiliated with USAID. The email quoted above merely mentions that someone involved in the project had spoken with a USAID rep, and that the group would look into the program that had been mentioned. One can hardly conclude on that basis that we\x92re involved with USAID. They said: hey, you\x92re starting a youth center, well. We\x92ve got some money. We said: No thank you.

A further note on USAID: we were originally considering hosting the site in Armenia on an IREX server in order to allow all Armenian users to access it (Freenet users here can\x92t access sites hosted outside of Armenia. IREX, precisely because of its connections, was deemed to be more secure than an unaffiliated local host \x96 the law is hardly on our side here, and there would be no problems for the authorities when is comes to taking down the site. But because of a number of issues, one of which is indeed the fact that IREX is a US/USAID program, we\x92re trying to secure a better host outside of Armenia and then work out another solution to getting through to Freenet users. We wouldn\x92t be trying to get the site on a Mir server in the first place if we weren\x92t just as concerned as you are.

(\x95 project director - there seems to be a plan for the NGO, which seems to be organised by more or less the same people as IMC Armenia, to be very centralised: o ImcArmeniaDirekteAktie040708a http://lists.direkte-aktie.net/pipermail/imc-armenia/2004-July/000274.html \x95 tasks: hire/fire volunteers - it seems that at least one volunteer in IMC Armenia thinks that the Director of the group in its function as an NGO, rather than its function as IMC Armenia, would have the power to decide who is included and excluded from the collective - maybe this was just a joke, but there is no sign to suggest this o ImcArmeniaDirekteAktie040712a http://lists.direkte-aktie.net/pipermail/imc-armenia/2004-July/000312.html)

Regarding these two points, and the more general issues raised with our attempt to start an NGO in Armenia, we must point out that registering an NGO required that we draft a charter that corresponds to the Armenian government\x92s requirements. Among those requirements are a hierarchical structure, a director with certain responsibilities, and all manner of other details that run contrary to a collective governed by consensus. The structure that we created, on paper, for the sake of successfully and legally registering the NGO is just that, a structure created, on paper, for getting registered. De jure, the NGO is hierachical; de facto, it is a collective and it functions by consensus. Without going through the structure of working out these positions and responsibilities, the group would be unable to legally accept funding, buy equipment, to function as a center at all.

We are open to any discussion and hope this clarified the issue.

IMC Armenia

Topic revision: r11 - 15 Feb 2006, MerryMerry
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