International Media Collective Report

Jesse Hirsh (jesse@tao.ca)
Wed, 30 Oct 1996 09:45:49 -0500


Apologies to all who receive duplicates... otherwise please pass this along...

International Media Collective Gathering - Oct 27 1996 - Toronto Canada

1) Introductions

The gathering was called to hold a brain jam on the future of grassroots
international media organizing. The premise was that as we are becoming more
conscious of the planet as a whole, the potential for radical and popular
organizing is paramount. The corporate state is rising, and the gathering
sprang from a desire and need to wage a popular response to the current
corporate concentration of power.

Conference participants had travelled from Philadelphia, Boston, Syracuse,
Windsor, Guelph, Oshawa, and Toronto. Each person was relatively active in
media in some way, some how, whether through social justice, anti-poverty,
or other issues that brought them to media, and the desire to share the
activities and information that come through struggle.

We acknowledged that there were others who were unable to make it to the
meeting but had a concern and interest in our outcomes. We return the love
and warm wishes that were sent from Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary,
Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, England, France, Germany, Denmark,
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brasil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Chile,
Cuba, Thailand and everywhere else where people strive to be free.

2) Who is the Network?

The first issue was to examine the history of media networking and draw an
overview of existing efforts to bring people together and create various
networks of liberation.

One historical example was the Liberation News Service. The Service was a
project that grew out of the Liberation movements of the 1960s, and the
community of once flourishing alternative and radical media in North
America. The purpose of the service was to share articles, reports and
information between media outlets and organizations in various localities,
drawing together their struggles into a larger whole.

It was then noted that many of the movements from the late sixties and early
seventies began to fragment as participants in these groups began to focus
on their differences rather than their commonalities. Individuals broke out
from the groups to focus on their own specialities or specific interests.
One participant who had participated in the Students for a Democratic
Society said she left organized radical politics because of the splintering
effects caused by individual identity politics.

The revival in network organizing stems largely from the desire to reunite
the individual with the collective and begin again to find commonalities
among various groups and individuals. Media, as an organizational focal
point, presents itself as the common ground by which all groups can meet, as
all groups have the desire to express themselves to a larger audience. At
the same time however we acknowledged and respected the role of the
individual in making organizations dynamic and organic. Groups cannot be
free without the individual and individuals cannot be free without the help
of the group.

There are a number of organizations who are currently mobilizing along the
lines of 'media' networking. (See Apendix A) For each group we mentioned who
they are, what they do, and where they seem to be going. We also later
decided to send each of these groups a copy of the proceedings from this
gathering.

3) Our Goals

To unite all peoples world wide.
Help those without a voice, by helping them get their own.
Help those who are excluded by they current media system, by fueling a
revolution in expression and the means of communication.

Tie together existing and active centres, create links and relationships
between all of the active media and activist groups that are organizing.
Make connections between all the various elements of what is inherently an
International holisitic grass-roots revolution.

Create a democratic organization that not only encourages democracy, but can
and will only operate within democratic processes.

To be a self-sufficient self-sustaining ecologial community, creating an
organization that could economically support itself and its members.

One possible manifestation focused on by the participants in the North
American Media Collective was a news service with an active distribution
component. A news service or communications system can act as the tool to
continue fueling the network building already underway.

4) Structure

Are we a collective? Are we a network?
A collective only exists within the context of face to face communication,
and in order for us to exist across the boundary of geography, we must look
to the metaphor of network to describe ourselves. However when we are able
to directly communicate with each other in the same time and space, we are then:

The International Media Collective

The International Media Collective is a face to face immediast experience
that can occur any time representatives of at least two nations meet and
exchange information. The Media Collective as an entity is universally
inclusive, and everyone is a member of the Collective if they so choose to
be. The International Media Collective is the global manifestation of the
will towards self-expression and the right to self-determination as we use
any and all media possible to obtain and secure our freedom and identity.
The International Media Collective is a cultural and social gathering rising
from the commonalities found between various political, activist, and
artisitic communities.

The International Independent Media Network

When unable to meet directly, the various members of the International
Revolution can consider themselves a network. One proposed name was the
International Independent Media Network, as we are all media that can be
considered independent, we support and encourage the struggle for freedom,
rather than the rush to conglomerate and enslave.

The Network is inclusive, in so far as only those who exlcude are excluded.
We are multi-faceted at being multi-media, our decentralization comes
through a renaisance of expression. We are all regaining our ability to
speak, and with our new found voice we are screaming, 'The Emperor is Naked!'.

One of the main suggestions focused on during the one-day gathering was the
establishment or further development of International Alternative News
Services and Sources. Many of the delegates present felt it important to be
more aware of each other's actions, and receive even more information on the
struggle for our planet.

Some of the concerns in facilitiating such a news service are outreach and
accessibility. Both of these elements are key problems facing many
organizations as the push to build mass popular movements becomes more
paramount. What are the relationships between internal communication and
external communication, internal service and external representation?

Another suggestion was building directories, indexes, or listings of various
groups working on various projects, and through awareness and accessibility
many of these groups could begin working together, whether directly or
indirectly through a larger network. A similar idea was to publish indexes
or digests of news stories from around the world that dealt with the
struggle for human liberation. Each title or subject line could also contain
information on obtaining the related article or information.

One of the imoprtant elements underlying the discussion was the need to do
more with less, and be able to work with non-existent budgets. As a society
we have always yearned for more, now we really must learn to make do with
less. The Network must inherently build upon existing resources and efforts
already under way.

A-Infos, the alternative news service, was offered as an existing network
that has existed for a number of years both before the Internet, and now on
the Internet. (See Apendix B) However the issue remained how to extend
A-Infos further into the real world? How do we decrease the role of the
Internet in the current operation of A-Infos and make it more accessible to
the wider world?

The issue of regional and local organizing arose, and with it the need for
local action that organically grows into global mobilization. The Media
Collective (See Apendix C) was given as the model used in Toronto for local
media organizing. As an immediast effort to bring people together, the Media
Collective is the free metaphorical and organizational tool that anybody can
appropriate and call their own.

5) Ongoing Projects for the Network

Outreach - We must diversify and deepen our constituency.

Continue developing a news service with distribution carried out not only
through the Internet, but the rest of the physical world.

Develop and promote an inherently democratic structure and process that can
be adobted by one and all to ensure freedom and equality.

6) Conclusion:

We are spreading the meme of International revolution. We can only be free
when all are free.
We are all working together in the same struggle, only at different points
along and inside the circle.

The next meeting of the International Media Collective was proposed for
Syracuse New York to be held sometime around early January. However anyone
across the world is welcome to start meeting with various groups or
individuals and discuss the rising International Popular Revolution, and the
potential role played by independent media. Anybody and everybody are the
International Media Collective.

To subscribe to the International Media Collective listserv send an email to
majordomo@lglobal.com with 'subscribe media' in the body of the message.
Otherwise send comments, reports, and gathering announcements to
media-l@lglobal.com or anyone else who you think should know and be free...

Appendix A - List of Groups (perpetually incomplete)

Videazimut - International network for the democratization of communications
Z (magazine) Media Institute - North American network for alternative,
independent media
A-Infos - International Alternative News Service
Adbusters Network - International Culture-Jammers Network
European Counter Network
Australian Anarchist Network
The Media Collective
Counter Media (US)
AMARC - International Radio Network
Alliance for Community Media
Alliance for a Connected Canada
Union of Democratic Communication
Association for Progressive Communications
Industrial Workers of the World
Institute for Anarchist Studies
Institute for Social Ecology
FAMAS - Federation of Alternative Media
Public Interest Research Groups
International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX)
Student Activist Network (Canada)
Spunk Press - International Anarchist Archive
Micro-Power Radio Broadcasting Networking
Food Not Bombs Network
Freedom Press (England)
MonDragon (Winnipeg)
DevMedia - Media for Development and Democracy
Los Angeles Alternative Media Network
Free Pacifica
Refuse and Resist
Arm The Spirit
Homes Not Jails
Assembley of First Nations
Antifa - International Anti-Fascist Network
Canadian Labour Congress
National Campus Radio Association (US)
Native Media Networks
Zapatismo
FaxLeft (Toronto)

Appendix B - A-Infos

History of A-Infos

In February 1990 German anarchists invited to a European conference on the
requirements and perspectives of international co-operation in the Netherland
town of Venlo. During the meeting it was ascertained that there had been no
continued co-operation between the anarchist movements of the various countries
during the past years. Everyone involved agreed that one of the main causes for
this striking lack of international co-operation and mutual help between
anarchists was the desolate state of the single movements. This was further
amplified by the fact that most anarchists had to rely on media under
private or state control as a source of international information. This often
resulted in an enormous informational deficit and a distorted view of the
cultural, economical, political and social conditions in other countries. It was
also agreed that in the face of common problems and threats such as
strengthening nationalism and the internationalisation of capital power is more
important than ever. Therefore the present groups agreed on a lose but reliable
co-operation for the future to help establish and support anarchist contacts and
co-operation internationally and help improve the flow of information between
the different anarchist movements - the A-Infos Network. While this network was
originally a co-operation of European groups positive international responses
quickly helped expand it to a network of individuals and groups
world-wide, whose members meet every year to discuss the development of their
work and make decisions that concern the whole network. Meanwhile groups and
individuals from Belgium, Germany, England, France, Greece, Italy, Canada, the
Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Spain and Uruguay participate in the
A-Infos network. Members of the network are glad for any groups or individuals
wanting to join the network and support it with donations, translations, by
distributing information or publishing bulletins from their country. In the end,
we want to stretch the web of information widely and at the same time improve
access to it!

The A-Infos Bulletins

One of the first tasks the participating groups decided to realise, was to
regularly publish information-Bulletins. These A-Infos-Bulletins are meant to
contain factual and unfalsified news items on current events in order to present
an authentic picture of cultural, economic, political and social conditions in
each country. Interested people should have the possibility to inform themselves
about world-wide events independent from state or media censorship and
manipulation. A-Infos Bulletins are usually published in the language of the
country they originate from as well as in English issues and can be obtained
directly from the groups that publish them.

A-Infos goes Internet

In September 1995 the efforts to support contacts, co-operation and information
between anarchists of different countries made another leap forward as people in
Canada and England decided to enhance the A-Infos concept by the dimension of
electronic communication. Two lists were installed - one for discussion on the
A-Infos Network and single events or subjects and one in which news on current
events as well as bulletins summarising information from different regions and
countries can be published (at the moment, not all A-Infos Bulletins are being
published on this list). Both lists can be subscribed via E-Mail. Furthermore an
A-Infos page was installed on the WorldWideWeb in which all emails are
regularly archived and sorted by language and subject. In the near future,
A-Infos newsgroups will be opened on the Usenet.

A-Infos Addresses:

To obtain a single issue of or subscribe to A-Infos bulletins of one country,
contact the group publishing that specific bulletin. If you want to join the
network and publish bulletins from your country, let the other groups know.

- A-Infos Belgium: c/o Guernika, 65 Rue du Midi, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
- A-Infos Canada: c/o TAO, 320 1 / 2 Bloor St. W, Toronto Ont. M5S 1W5, Canada
- A-Infos England: No public contact address yet
- A-Infos France: c/o CES, Bp. 4202, 76723 Rouen, France
- A-Infos Germany: c/o Barrikade, Bismarckstr 41a, 47443 Moers, Germany
- A-Infos Greece: c/o pob. 11251, 54110 Thessaloniki, Greece
- A-Infos Italy: c/o Int. Sec. FAI, Via le monza 255, 20216 Milano, Italy
- A-Infos Netherlands: c/o pb 61523, 2506 AM Den Haag, Netherlands
- A-Infos Portugal: c/o Maldicao, Apdo. 21447, 1134 Lisboa, Portugal
- A-Infos Russia: c/o Tchernaya Zviezda, A/ya55, 109544 Moskau, Russia
(temporary)
- A-Infos Sweden: Box 15015, 10465 Stockholm, Sweden
- A-Infos Spain: Ateneo Libertario de Zaragoza, Apdo. 3141, 50080 Zaragoza,
Spain
- A-Infos Uruguay: cp. 6730, Montevideo, Uruguay

E-Mail and Internet:

The A-Infos WorldWideWeb page:
http://www.lglobal.com/TAO/ainfos.html

To subscribe to the E-Mail news-list, send a mail to majordomo@lglobal.com with
the following body: subscribe a-infos.

To subscirbe to the E-Mail discussion-list, send a mail to A-infos-D@lglobal.com
with the body: subscirbe a-infos.

Appendix C - The Media Collective

The Media Collective
'Bringing Culture Back To Resistance'

The Media Collective is a spontaneous, dynamic, holistic organization, that
includes the universe as its membership. We are artists, activists, and
people interested in reclaiming our environment, reclaiming our minds, and
thus reclaiming our lives. The Collective itself is a conduit for change.

The term 'Media' does not refer to an institution, or a technological
artefact, but rather to the environment in which we all live. Media are the
methods in which we communicate with ourselves, each other, and the world at
large. As we communicate, we forge the material reality in which we exist.

Centuries of empire, appropriation, and exploitation have consolidated and
centralized control of the majority of media. Corporate concentration
manifests itself as the realization of a true media monopoly, declaring the
birth of a new regime, and the end of history. His story has robbed us of
our sovereignty, robbed us of our land, robbed us of our voice, and may soon
rob us of our minds.

"and behind the most creative aspect of that insurrection looms aband of
reality hackers, merry pranksters, ontological anarchists, psychedellic
warriors, and intelligence agents; the bastard progeny of Toronoto's own
McLuhan: The Media Collective"

The Media Collective is a spontaneous proclamation of the self. It is an
uprising of the free individual spirit, shedding the chains of mental
colonialization, screaming shouts of joy with the self-realization of
identity.We break the homogeneity of the media monopoly by expressing
ourselves with our own media. We take back our media, taking back our
freedom, igniting a chain-reaction of self-expression, a revolution of many
minds uniting against a common enemy.We use guerrilla tactics and any means
necessary to defend our freedom of speech which is not defined according to
profitability.

We are involved in video, mirco-power broadcasting, radio, art, graffiti,
zines, performance art, food, street theatre, cartoons, faxing, fasting,
civil-disobedience, newspapers, music, hacking, phreaking, luddism, the web,
television, writing, email, video-conferencing, elite-crashing, talking,
loving, reading, ranting, telephony, protesting, analysis, and straight-out
revolution.

We are the virus of human liberation. We spread through the minds of all
people, spreading the desire for freedom and happiness. Everybody is the
media collective, and everybody can speak on behalf of the media collective.
We must all take responsibility for our future, and we must all take an
active part in our future.

We are the virus of unity. All may take claim under our banner as all are
subject to media, and all have an interest in controlling their own media.
We seek to decentralize power by decreasing the degree of mediation between
us. Together we can all help each other help ourselves.

We are the virus of language. We subvert the institution via the medium on
which it was built. Education accompanies transformation as the living
language flows among free people. We spread the word and propagate the
message of freedom.

We are the virus of action. We lead by example, allowing our actions to be
the spark that ignites hearts and minds to strive for freedom. We are the
convergence of thought and action, ideas and initiative, I and I bringing
down babylon.The Media Collective is an ambiguous, and amorphous organization.

Our members participate in primarily spontaneous actions, covering a wide
range of media and minds. Individuals make actions, the collective is the
forum in which to share these individual experiences.The Media Collective
meets on the 27th of each month. The meetings act as a forum for members to
exchange experiences, thoughts, ideas, and actions.Members outside of
Toronto are encouraged to organize local meetings, events, and take part in
their own spontaneous actions. Send comments, questions, and reports to
media-l@lglobal.com

"And one day all the slaves ran free,
Something inside of them died.
The only thing I could do was be me
And get on that train and ride."

"ety derriere les aspects les plus creatifs de cette revolte, il parait
evident qu'un groupe de casseurs, de joyeux farceurs, , d'anarchistes
existensialistes, de guerriers psychedeliques, et de flics du renseignement;
la progeniture batarde de McLuhan de Toronto: Le Collectif Media."

-=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~ -=~
Jesse Hirsh - jesse@lglobal.com - jesse@tao.ca

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