User:Chris

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This page replaces my home page on docs.indymedia.org — I have been locked out of that site.

Draft Comment

For this thread.

"Fake" sites and bitter ironies

Further up in this thread the UK Indymedia site is refered to as a "fake site", apparently without any irony.

This is ironic because the people calling this site "fake" wanted to shut it down, if they had got their way this site and this thread wouldn't exist. This thread doesn't exist on Northern Indymedia because their version of this article doesn't allow comments to be posted, they call the UK IMC site "fake" and "stolen", when they are the ones who wanted to steal it from the UK activist community and kill it.

Those wanting this site shutdown went to extreme lengths to ensure that the collective running this site (at the time called the Mayday collective) and Sheffield Indymedia were blocked from becoming "official" on the New IMC list, look at the archives from December 2010, January, February, March, April and May 2011 — a massive amount of time and energy was put into blocking (and also banning and purging UK Indymedia activists from lists and the global wiki site).

Now contrast this with the traffic on the New IMC list in the last year, August, October, December 2011, January and July 2012 — apart from IMC Oxford's application nothing has happened, New IMC applications from Venezuela-Centro, Alacant and Tunisie have been ignored — the people wanting this site shutdown put far more energy into the attempted closure of this site and the blocking of Sheffield than they have put into helping proposed new sites get established. They have also called for the archiving of the global site, though thankfully this hasn't happened.

At the last UK Indymedia Network meeting in Bradford, December 2010. the activists running the UK Indymedia site made it clear they wanted to continue, the following statement was read out at the meeting:

We are a group of long term Indymedia activists who have been helping run and maintain the UK Indymedia site for many years, we include activists from Wales, Scotland and England.

Indymedia UK covers global topics and parts of the UK not covered by other IMC sites in the UK, via the open newswire and we support this and want to continue doing this.

Disputes in the UK Network around the approach to controversial issues have crystallized into two approaches for dealing with them. We believe that the use of critical thinking, reason and evidence based research and source checking is the best approach, rather than simply censoring these topics.

Our aim is to maintain an open channel for information in a world where the ruling class controls the main flows of information via the corporate media, public relations companies and the like.

One aspect of the open publishing model, which was not foreseen, was the extent to which it could be used and abused for the purposes of disinformation. Our approach to this is not to close down open publishing but to take active steps to remove disinformation and expose the tactics and politics of those behind it.

Indymedia is not only a journal of the revolution, it is part of the terrain that the Empire's information war is being fought across.

With the convergence of the crises, which gravely threaten the existence of life on earth, climate change, Peak Oil, resource depletion, Imperial wars, Fascism, ecological and economic collapse and starvation, a radical alternative future is urgently needed, now more than ever. We want to help to enable humanity steer a course to a future of co-operation, peace, sustainability, equality, autonomy and non-hierarchical community.

We are committed to non-hierarchical, consensus based decision making. We wish to go through the New IMC process in order that we can be globally recognised as an autonomous collective, with our own independent site, UK Indymedia, http://www.indymedia.org.uk/.

The UK Indymedia sites is, and has for many years, been well used by activists both nationally and internationally, to circulate reports, news, analysis, media and information that the corporate media doesn't cover. People know where to find UK Indymedia, it's at www.indymedia.org.uk, we hold with Tim Berners-Lee, that "Cool URI's don't change" and believe the UK Indymedia site should remain on its current domains, indymedia.org.uk, www.indymedia.org.uk and uk.indymedia.org. We wish to be listed in the cities list as simply uk, rather than united kingdom. We think the UK Network should have it's own entry in the cities list. We wish to remain in and participate in the UK Network as a peer of the other collectives.

We are open and welcoming to new and existing activists who wish to join our collective on the basis on which it was founded.

Our Mission Statment and Editorial Guidelines only differ from the existing UK Indymedia ones in so far as references to "United Kollectives" have been replaced with references to "UK Indymedia".

When we fully gain our autonomy we wish to roll out long developed improvements to the UK Indymedia site.

Be The Media activists from London, Northern and Bristol did everything they could to ensure that the activists who wanted to keep the UK Indymedia site alive were purged from the global Indymedia network and they succeeded in this, accounts and list memberships were suspended, wiki accounts were deleted, lists were shutdown, and one result of their authortarian purge appears to have been an acceleration the death of Indymedia as a global project, at a time when it's needed more than ever.

Disinformation, trolling and the information war

One of the root issues at the heart of the UK Indymedia split was how to deal with the (apparently) professional trolling this site gets, the London / Northern IMC approach was to try to ignore and work around the problem, by, for example, removing the ability for articles to have comments posted to them.

An example of the disinformational trolling is the first (now hidden) comment on this thread — it's in my name but it wasn't posted by me, I didn't see this thread till there were over 40 comments here.

The approach that the people running the UK Indymedia site take to disinformation is different from the London / Northern IMC one:

One aspect of the open publishing model, which was not foreseen, was the extent to which it could be used and abused for the purposes of disinformation. Our approach to this is not to close down open publishing but to take active steps to remove disinformation and expose the tactics and politics of those behind it.

The above is taken from the Mayday Indymedia Founding Statement.

Another example of disinformation was an article posted to this site in June 2009, "Indymedia UK, the rise of the independents" — this is probably the best documented example of disinformation posted to this site and the documentation of the disinformation led to repeated calls from London / Northern IMC and others for the wiki page exposing the disinformation to be deleted — this is a really bad way to deal with disinformation.

London / Northern IMC continue to claim that the domain name, indymedia.org.uk, has been "stolen" (see for example this email from a few days ago), but they show no interest in resolving this dispute through the process of consensus decision making, we sought a return to consensus but the response was a witchhunt. London and Northern still have their indymedia.org.uk subdomains — nothing was "stolen" from anyone — the activists running this site simply prevented the London / Northern attempt to shut it down and asserted their autonomy.