Monthly Archives: October 2006

Infoshop coverage of Indymedia activist’s death

On Infoshop there is a moving eyewitness report about what really happened at the barricades. Apparantly the footage has been recovered, too. I wonder if this is the first indymedia volunteer who died since indymedia was founded.

Infoshop reports:

“Suddenly, about a dozen people started shouting, donning masks, picking up Molotov cocktails (known as bombas Molotov) and cohetes (large bottle rockets typically shit out of PVC pipes the people call bazookas), and collecting rocks and sticks.”


“Many corporate news outlets, most notably those relying on AP “reporter” Rebeca Romero (widely believed to be on Ulises Ruiz’s payroll), have claimed it was “unclear” as to who shot first. It was the Príistas. From the ground, on the receiving end of the gunfire, there is no doubt as to who shot first. There is nothing “unclear” about it. It was the Príistas, shown by El Universal photos and local television to be armed to the teeth, who shot first.”

Basically since Genoa everybody knows that making alternative media can be dangerous, even more dangerous than mainstream media, and, tatatata and surprise – the main danger are the police and capitalist forces, not the protesters.
But there have been quite a few people close to indymedia been killed, in Argentina, or Indymedia activists have died or comitted suicide (I think there was a case..).

Yesterday, I was quite down. if something like this happens I am always reflecting if I do the right thing with my life.

But is dying on the barricades, protecting your ideas whilst fighting for fredom with the pen and the videocamera not a noble death we thought had last been possible in the Spanish Civil War?

On the other hand, I was reading a report on Narconews that begged him not to go to Oaxaca, but to Atenco instead.

Indymedia activist shot dead

Documentary filmmaker, photographer and reporter for various Indymedia projects Brad Will has been shot by paramilitaries in Oaxaca, Mexico, yesterday. Apparantly he died with his videocamera in his hand. Fellow friends and activists said they have been able to identify the murderer by the footage.

BBC, Reuters, Yahoo News and AP lied in their article that there would have been a shoot-out and unclear who shot first. However, LaJornada and witnesses say that protesters only had stones, slingshots and some DIY defences. It makes me really angry to read that on the mainstream media, as if to avoid the public getting too interested in what’s really going on in Mexico at the moment. I could rage all night long. It’s also insulting to the Indymedia activist’s memory.

Review of Dan Gillmor’s “We the Media – Grassroots Journalism by the people for the people”

Dan Gillmor:
“We the media – Grassroots Journalism by the people for the people.”

O’Reilly 2004/Paperback 2006


*** (3 out of 5)

The problem with books about the Internet is the timeliness: as soon as they are written, edited, published and printed, they are already out-of-date.
And whilst the Internet and world-wide web don’t explicitly feature in the title of the book or most of the chapters, it exclusively focuses on grassroots media on the Internet.
And, of course, the author doesn’t mention podcasting or “YouTube” or “Odeo” or “MySpace” or “CommentIsFree” or “Grokster” yet, as its actuality is based on the technology in 2003. The author tries to catch up in actuality a bit with the new introduction for the 2006 paperback edition, but the 6pages can not quite add the same in-depth coverage to complete the research.
However, the book has several big advantages: the whole content of the book is available on the internet, it is released under the creative commons license, which allows unlimited added contribution, changes and dissemination of the content, it includes a huge web site directory, glossary and index.

But the two paragraphs on Indymedia are more than disappointing in a 300 pages book on grassroots media.
Dan Gillmor seems to forget the limits of cyberspace, whilst he talks about trolls, spin and legal problems, he forgets that there is more to grassroots journalism than cyberspace.
There is no mention of leaflets, posters, pamphlets, talks, videos, books, radio/audio, meetings and other media formats grassroots media uses.
The Internet is just a tool for disseminating information and build opportunities for social networking, but he forgets the built-in disadvantages of the format and how and why to use which format according to advantages and disadvantages and to distinguish purposes.
He also focuses like many mainstream journalists on how to exploit the ideas and creativity of grassroots media projects for the mainstream, but of course without taking into account the underlying purposes and reasons of the grassroots media, therefore distorting the messages in the name of objectivity and changing it according to their totally different editorial and personal agenda.
Somehow these authors and journalists seem to miss something important: grassroots media is not an ally of mainstream media, it exists partly because of mainstream media’s inability for compassion, personal and editorial freedom and ethical judgment.

Unfortunately the book doesn’t really tells anything new either. So, it leaves a bit of a boring impression, although written entertainingly. For a factual, non-fiction book, it therefore does not fulfill its main purpose to introduce new knowledge.

Another weakness is the focus on main grassroots media, it actually does not give a round-up of the little community groups benefiting from the internet, but just mentions the big players, like Wikipedia, Kuro5hin, Slashdot, BBCiCan, and the semi-commercial ones, like OhMyNews, Technorati, Yahoo Email Groups, and professional Journalists’ Blogs.

Dan Gillmor should have titled the book “The Journalism of Participation”, as the current title and the content of the book does not deal with the power structures between readers and editors in most of the presented projects.
The book is good to slap traditional mainstream journalists with, grassroots media activists’ appetite will however not be satisfied.

Anarchy at the Edinburgh Radical and Independent Bookfair

This weekend, Word-Power’s 10th Radical and Independent Bookfair is taking place in the former Drill Hall “Out of the Blue” in Leith Walk. Michael Albert was fantastic with his presentation about a “participative economy“. It was just a so empowering and optimistic talk, that I now wanna run out and get and read all of his books. It was also a really Down-to Earth presentation. Also I enjoyed Achin Vanaik’s talk about the defintions of terrorism in the slot about “Political Terrorism and the US Imperial project“. He really distinguished very well between all the different definitions of this violent tactic according to purpose and effects, organisation and strategy, and he included state terrorism, too, which I found quite important. His talk was more structured like a lecture, but the audience definitely was able to learn a lot. I did audio recordings, I hope I can share them soon.

George Monbiot‘s new proposals on how to combat climate change were slightly more controversial but he is a very good speaker. I do appreciate the bookfair for the possibilities to hear about a variety of new visions and perspectives on the world and to engage with various points of view.

Unfortunately I exploded a bit at the “Talking Anarchy” session with Benjamin Franks, author of the new book: “Rebel Alliances: The Means and Ends of Contemporary British Anarchism”. But it wasn’t Benjamin fault at all, I just was reacting allergic to poor old Jamie and his academic focus on anarchism. It just seems to me that I can not recognize my kind of beloved anarchism in Jamie’s interpretation of it. I just wish Harry would have been able to chair the talk. He always evokes a very empowering positive lasting impression in the audience. Even more unfair is that Jamie is usually really nice and patient to everybody. But that doesn’t really help me in the heat of the moment.
But Benjamin’s book is brilliant anyways, he researched 15 years for it. It has a lot of in-depth coverage. At a first glance it seems to focus more on obvious organisations, but I should read a bit more of it before giving a definite verdict.

Dentist and Community Councils

After 3 months, I finally got a proper filling in my tooth. Really, I was very astonished when I found out that I first mentioned the lost filling on the 22nd of July, and now, finally, last Monday in the morning of the 2nd of October I got the filling.

Since the middle of August it started really hurting and then I discovered a black increasing hole in my tooth. I went to my NHS dentist and they first gave me a date, but when I appeared, the new alarm system had locked them all out, at the second date the pregnant dentist was sick and off work and the third I rang up to tell them I would be a bit late and they then cancelled the appointment and said I would have to wait a month till the new dentist would arrive, or come back in the morning and pay privately to have it done immediately. I asked how much it would be, but they even did not tell me that, so now I am pretty pissed off now and on a personal vendetta against the government’s erosion of the NHS services.

Some of my friends can not even sign up with that dentist, it is said he closed the waiting list and my boyfriend states he has been waiting for over six months to get contacted to have the waiting list reopened. I complained to the Community Council, but Betty Stevenson and our councillor alias Lord Provost Lesley Hinds did not believe me and undermined my statements, and I said I would investigate further.

At the moment I am quite furious with Betty Stevenson, but apparently a good way to get her furious would be to close ranks with Piltonsucks, as she complained about it and asked “Who has passed on the minutes of the last meeting to Piltonsucks?” Whilst nobody admitted to it, and I don’t think anybody really would knowingly do it – her attitude seems to me as bad as that of that website, just opposite political directions. In the Community Council I complained to her as the chair, that we ignore and do not tackle the most important issues relevant to our community, but she just disregards it, and any proposal I make in general.

She also put in writing a complaint about me writing an unsolicited article in the NEN (North Edinburgh News) and I told the Community Council at the meeting(s) before that I would like to write an article about what we do in the Community Council for the community newspaper, and that they agreed to it under the condition that I would pass it on to the chairman and the secretary before going to print, which I did, I handed it over personally to the treasurer and the chairwoman Betty Stevenson 3 days before deadline, reminding them that any proposed changes should go directly to the editor/subeditor. As the NEN has only 2,5 people of staff, this should not be too scary to do.

The community councils are usually regarded as being open, public and accountable to the community. However, it seems to me more and more that they start to resemble a closed talking shop, with no real decision-making power and only limited community link-up and support.