North American Media Collective Gathering

Jesse Hirsh (jesse@lglobal.com)
Fri, 11 Oct 1996 14:27:28 -0400 (EDT)


[Page 1 - backside right]
North American Media Collective Gathering
October 26-27 1996
Amaranth-Bauhaus
330 Dundas St. West
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 596-9399
email: jesse@lglobal.com
www: http://www.lglobal.com/TAO/imc.html

[Graphic of an Earth First! / Food Not Bombs! fist
penetrating a smashed TV set & wielding a pencil]

"What governments should really fear
is an expert in communications technology."
-- Subcomandante Marcos

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The transnational corporate state runs the world, and does so through the
fragmentation and separation of all peoples. It attempts to determine what
information we should see, hear, and read as "news", what products we should
consume, what lifestyle we should lead, which political party should retain
control, and what wars we should fight against each other. It isolates the
human spirit through promoting neoliberal values of "global
competativeness" in a never-ending downward spiral leading to minimal
levels of human rights and living standards. It deflates the work of radical
and progressive activists by refusing or distorting coverage of their
campaigns within the media monopolies that it owns. It finances a cartel of
corporate-journalists, advertising executives, and social psychologists
forcing activists with insufficient resources and information distribution
networks to compete against one another in order to promote social justice
and ecological issues. But as the transnational corporate state rises, so
does the resistance to it.

The time has finally come to form an truly alternative international news
service that would gather and, more importantly, ACTIVELY DISTRIBUTE
activist information. We are all waging a similar struggle, and by coming
together we make ourselves collectively stronger. We must develop a direct
action news center: a comprehensive, web-centered database of international
actions to resist forces of oppression. We must maintain an international
activist newswire service to act as a conduit between electronic information
and print, radio and video sources, and to create solidarity between
bioregional and global struggles. We must help bring together the wide
variety of anti-poverty, human rights, labour, indigenous, lesbian & gay,
feminist, anti-racist, prisoner-support, squatter, and ecological activists
with radicals operating within the field of the alternative media.

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All over the world people are shedding their mental colonialization and
expressing themselves freely, creating their own media where necessary.
Their are countless groups all over the world who are using whatever they
can to vocalize their dissent and freedom. From small to large most of
these people are motivated by both a sense of opportunity presented by new
media, and a sense of dire urgency. Each individual who becomes infected
with the virus of freedom reacts in their own way. Radical media groups
and networks have popped up across North America and internationally, such
as Boston's Z Magazine and Z Media Institute, Vancouver's Abusters Magazine,
California's Prevailing Winds Research, and England's Spunk Press. There
are the internet-based Association of Progressive Communication and
international FreeNets, there are student and campus-based activist media
networks, and there are also various independant publications, community
access radio and televison statons, and associations of alternative
journalists, newspapers and radio stations across the world.

During the Democratic National Convention in Chicago an alternative media
collective developed to cover counter-convention demonstrations, providing
alternative video, audio and print coverage of the alternative events
ignored and belittled by the mainstream media in Chicago. This group,
called CounterMedia, became the focus of police attention throughout the
week, perhaps because its uniquely active style of covering alternative
events confused and frustrated Chicago Police, who arrested several members
during the DNC, raided its mobile vans and destroyed video equipment in the
process. This unprecedented media experiment was a success because the
collective made great strides toward becoming a multi-faceted alternative
media network. The CounterMedia collective and some of its equipment is
still in place; CounterMedia is currently having discussions as to what the
next step should be.

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It was apparant that CounterMedia fulfilled an important function during
Chicago's 700+ Active Resistance counter-convention of anarchist activists
from across North America. By bringing together radical media activists
from across the continent to cover Active Resistance and other events during
the Democratic National Convention, CounterMedia added fuel to process of
developing an international radical media group. Some of the groups that
were present at Active Resistance, such as Food Not Bombs!, Earth First!,
Sister Subverter, Anti-Racist Action/Anti-Facist Action, Critical Mass, and
collectives working in support of political prisoners or in solidarity with
human rights struggles are all part of North American or international
anarchist networks, and there is just as much of a need to develop an
international radical media group organized under similar consensus-based
decision-making methods and units of autonomy like the issue-specific networks.

In Toronto, following the election of a right-wing provincial government,
another insurrection developed to strengthen the development of a free
radical culture. Bringing culture back to resistance, artists and activists
joined to break the homogeneity of the corporate media monopoly by
expressing themselves through video, mirco-power broadcasting, radio,
graffiti, zines, silkscreening, performance art, street theatre, cartoons,
newspapers, music, hacking, luddism, web site devleopment, television, and
billboard liberation. And behind the most creative aspect of this
insurrection looms a band of reality hackers, merry pranksters, ontological
anarchists, psychedellic warriors, and intelligence agents; the bastard
progeny of Toronto's own McLuhan: a group known simply as 'The Media
Collective'.

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Members of the collective gather frequently for small project-based group
actions, and hold large monthly gatherings to update and plan future
activities. Participants have included individuals from Adbusters Magazine,
Ad Death, The Bitch Brigade, Channel Zero, CIUT Community Radio, Critical
Mass, The Dope Poet Socity, Earthroots, The East Timor Alert Network,
Econautica, Eye Video, Food Not Bombs!, Guerilla Media, Happyclown.com,
Idio/Audio, Inter/section, The Network of Independant Theatre Workers in
Ontario, The Ontario Coalition Aganist Poverty, Post-Industrial Design,
Radio Antifa, The Ripple Effect 8th International Festival of Theatre of the
Oppresed, The Toronto Free Community Network, Web Grrrls, and the Who's Emma
Anarchist Infoshop Collective, along with numerous individuals working on
their own projects. Toronto will host individuals and groups from a variety
of alternative media sectors during the International Media Collective
gathering, following The Metro Days of Action, a week of city-wide
shut-downs and protests culminating in the largest demonstration in Canadian
history against the right-wing corporate agenda of the Ontario provincial
government.

Throughout history communications media has been monopolized by those with
malicious intentions to subdue and exploit others. Propaganda has been used
during the Crusades, throughout the Inquisition, by Columbus, Cortez and
other plunderers, throughout the 'blood libels' and pogroms in Europe, as
the notion of 'Manifest Destiny' to justify the slaughter of First Nations
peoples in the Americas, as justification for the slave trade, through
'reefer madness' in the 20's, by the Nazi's during WWII, to justify the
incarceration of Japanese in internment camps and the bombing of Hiroshima,
during the McCarthy Era witch hunts, to justify and perpetuate Apartheid, to
dehumanize anti-colonial resistance groups as 'terrorists', in the war
against the 'Vietnam Syndrome' during 'Operation Desert Storm', in the
backlash against feminism and employment equity, and in the scapegoating of
the poor through neoliberal welfare reform and 'corporate downsizing'. It's
time that people working towards a compassionate world free of oppression
take back the airwaves and the press and revolutionize the media.

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North American Media Collective Gathering Itinerary:

Saturday October 26th
10:30 am - Metro Days of Action march begins from the marshalling site at
Coronation Park and Gore Park in front of The Canadian National Exhibition
Princes' Gates on Lakeshore Blvd. west of Bathurst. The march then proceeds
east along Lakeshore Blvd. to Spadina Ave, north on Spadina to Front St.,
east on Front St. passing the Metro Convention Centre (where the provincial
Conservative party is holding its conference), north on University Ave. to
Queen's Park.
1:30 pm - Rally begins at Queen's Park, lasting for aproximately 2 hours.
4pm - Civil Disobedience actions at the Toronto Stock Exchange: Bay & King
10pm - Registration and Opening Party: Amaranth-Bauhaus 330 Dundas St. West

Sunday October 27th Amaranth-Bauhaus 330 Dundas St. West
10am - The Need for an International Media Collective
noon - vegan organic lunch
1pm - International Media Collective Development
5pm - vegan organic dinner
7pm - Local Media Collective Gathering

To register for this gathering, or for information on tabling, billeting or
workshops, contact The Media Collective at: (416) 596-9399 or jesse@lglobal.com