A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, the is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side the is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channals visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views

Enter your email address:

Hamish Campbell
Posts: 340
Stars: 250
Date: 01/10/15
Richard Hering
Posts: 67
Stars: 49
Date: 08/09/15
Patrick Chalmers
Posts: 7
Stars: 7
Date: 03/07/14
Matthew Paul Foster
Posts: 1
Stars: 1
Date: 27/12/13
John Sinha
Posts: 1
Stars: 1
Date: 22/10/13
Barrie Slipper
Posts: 1
Stars: 1
Date: 22/10/13
Posts: 4
Stars: 3
Date: 19/07/13
marc barto
Posts: 6
Stars: 6
Date: 21/06/13
Glenn McMahon
Posts: 12
Stars: 11
Date: 09/03/13
Posts: 3
Stars: 5
Date: 19/02/13

Trip up the Medway

From Rochester to Allington lock

Media Democracy Festival at Goldsmiths (review)

The alt-media gatherings have been suffering from the tyranny of the funders for more years than I care to remember. The is a big problem of the chattering classes in alt-media.

This is a DRAFT over view of the gathering from a working grassroots perspective.

Comments in italics are by me.

=== Festival ===

To help build a movement for#MediaDemocracy we're holding a big Media Democracy Festival at Goldsmiths, University of London on October 17th 2015.

9am - 10am: Arrivals/ registration - Great Hall

== Speakers ==

10am - 11.30am: Great Hall

The day will start with some great speakers setting the scene and explaining why Media Democracy is so important. Confirmed speakers include:

Setting the scene with “big” speakers and panels is a disaster that creates the very thing you should be trying to avoid.

= Aral Balkan =
A designer & social entrepreneur creating independent technologies that protect our fundamental freedoms & democracy.

Flash and fashion is what I see on his website, am shore he is a nice guy but - Have been on his site now for half and hour and I still don’t know what he is building – think this is to do with his strap line - Independence ★ Democracy ★ Design – he is building him self so he can speak at gigs more expensive than this. FAIL

= Natalie Fenton =
Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, Co-Director of the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre and Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy, a founding member of the Media Reform Coalition and Board Director of Hacked Off.

Agen am sure a lovely person but not building alt-media, she is talking about alt-media in academia speech in articles that are not assessable to “grassroots people” - must admit I asleep trying to reading the PDF's and am probably in one somewhere.

= Kam Sandhu =
A journalist and co-founder of Real Media, an independent news website and aggregator that campaigns for public interest journalism and against mass media distortion. Kam has written and produced several short documentaries, and also founded RealFare, where she spent over two years reporting on the effects of austerity on welfare and inequality before Real Media.

She works hard and is doing outreach grassroots media, but, she is directly responsible for building a portal strait out of the 20th century as her tool for outreach.... if she was talking about this experience it would ad-value – but she won’t be.

= Michelle Stanistreet =

Michelle is the elected general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (UK and Ireland). Michelle worked as a journalist for 10 years at the Sunday Express newspaper as feature writer and books editor.

Just to say I am a member of the NUJ and been to conferences, still occasionally go to branch meetings, more for the free beer and the chance that it might have changed than the union it self. The NUJ and altmedia history is interesting and would be good if she was talking about that directly.

11.30am - 12pm: Break, and the great chair re-arrange, Great Hall

== Open Space Unconference ==

12 - 6pm: Great Hall (with breakout sessions in various classrooms)

The bit that should add value! :)

The bulk of the day will be a self-organising open space unconference facilitated by Johnnie Moore. Everyone will be free to propose a session that answers our central question: How can we create media democracy?

Sessions already lined-up include:

* Drew Rose from Bristol Cable and Danielle Batist from Positive News doing a session on Media Co-ops.

Good background and positive news have done a interesting crowed funding relaunch – did it work?

* Andy Williams from Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and Sam Kinch from Hastings Independent on Community Journalism.

Academics – what do they bring to building in a practical way?

* Jonathan Heawood from IMPRESS and Natalie Fenton from Hacked Off with an update on Leveson and why a recognised press regulator could be good for small publishers.

The more traditional media side of the event

* Mike Flood Page of Open Democracy's OurBeeb will be asking does public service broadcasting have a future?

The more traditional media side of the event

* Matteo Bergamini from Shout Out UK's and Susana Giner from Youth Media Agency on Changing Perceptions of the Youth in the Media.

NGO's are rarely about media, more about social work, will this be talked about?

* Open Democracy's Adam Ramsay on How Climate Change is Reported in the Media.

Traditional media agen

* Richard Hering from visionOntv on How to Build the Citizen TV Revolution.

A altmedia project that needs a re-boot to escape sliding into a NGO world, am involved in this one.

* Bectu Writers, Producers and Directors branch members Chester Yang and Marcus Relton on their plans for a progressive internet TV station in partnership with the trade unions.

The is a long abortive history to this subject – have they/will they address it?

* Gail Bradbrook from Compassionate Revolution on collective acts of civil disobedience and media reform, looking at the legal side of sabotaging the media, brainstorming cheerful subversive actions.

A local NGO'sh media project?

= Film =

Alongside the open space they'll be screenings of related documentaries including:

The Fourth Estate with a Q&A with Director Lee Salter

El Diario de Agustin (Agustin's Newspaper), with a Q&A hosted by Alborada.


10 minute summary presentations running on a loop from Centre for Investigative Journalism:

The Centre for Investigative Journalism – An introduction to the organisation

Data Stories - Using data to find, write and explain news stories, from Excel to SQL

Interactive Storytelling - The cutting edge of innovation in digital narrative methods

Advanced Online Research - Tips and tricks for getting the most out of the internet

The FOIA: Problems and pitfalls - Getting the most out of your requests.

Information Security – Keeping your communication secure

Company Accounts – ‘Follow The Money’ investigations into illicit finance

= Workshops =

Half hour taster sessions run by the Centre for Investigative Journalism.


Data Stories - Using data to find, write and explain news stories, from Excel to SQL, led by Juliet Ferguson.

Might be interesting, but about producing media.


The FOIA: Problems and pitfalls - Getting the most out of your requests, led by Sid Ryan.

Useful basic stuff – but with out working alt-media what good is content?


Interactive Storytelling - The cutting edge of innovation in digital narrative methods, led by Marina Calland.

The problem is in the basics – not the cutting edge...


Information Security – Keeping your communication secure, led by Tom Sanderson.

This is a subject that needs a open descusern – were this will likely be a closed presentation?

== Party (and live crowdfunding) ==

6pm - late.

Live crowdfunding of media projects, spoken word, live music, and DJs. In the evening we're partnering with Filanthropy to organise a party from 6pm - late in the Student Union. This will include the opportunity for 3 projects to pitch to the room and invite pledges of financial and other support from the crowd (who will be able to decide which projects get £5 of their ticket money, plus anything else they feel inspired to contribute).

If you've got a media project that could really do with £500-1000 to help get you started then APPLY NOW http://s.coop/mediaform for your chance to pitch to the room!

= LIVE BAND: United Vibrations =
We're very pleased that incredible local band and festival favourites United Vibrations will be joining us for the party.

= SPOKEN WORD: Anthony Anaxagorou, Deanna Rodger and Potent Whisper =
These amazing wordsmiths will be kicking the party off with their inspirational lyrics and wordplay.

== Who's coming to the Media Democracy Festival? ==

We've already got loads of great projects and groups signed up to participate, including:

Real Media - an aggregator of independent news

Good project but needs to move out of 20th century thinking, think they might manage this and could become a core of a rejuvenated alt-media.

Hacked Off - the campaign for a free and accountable press

Trying to save the mainstream media needs to be done but its a loseing battle – and a distraction if this is the main option.

Consented - "a multi-media platform for those who aren’t accurately represented by the mainstream"

its another wordpress blog I have not heard or seen – could be useful as a part of a wider network but vanishing pointless isolated.

Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom - for a more accountable, freer and diverse media.

Trying to save the mainstream media needs to be done but its a loseing battle – and a distraction if this is the main option.

Positive News - the world’s first publication dedicated to reporting positive developments, recently transformed into the first a global media co-op.

Interested to find out what they have been upto.

Bristol Cable - a media co-operative – created and owned by people in Bristol who run free events, a multimedia website and a free quarterly print newspaper.

A local media portal - could be useful as a part of a wider network but vanishing pointless isolated.

The Centre for Investigative Journalism - Investigative journalism, critical inquiry, and in-depth reporting and research.

Takes up a lot of NGO'ish funding to help prop up the falling moral standards of traditional media – some one has to do it. But with out an alternative....

The IMPRESS Project - for independent self-regulation of the press - and looking set to become the first recognised press regulator under the Royal Charter that came out of the Leveson inquiry

Some one has to do it but were is the alt?

People's Assembly Against Austerity - bring together campaigns against cuts and privatisation with trade unionists in a movement for social justice.

A functionally closed silo group filled with bureaucratic infighting and power politics – more part of the problem than part of the solution

Permaculture Magazine - an independent reader supported magazine all about practical solutions for self-reliance.

Posh people doing things posh people do – nice if you can afford the lifestyle. Could be a “healthy part” of an alt – if the was one.  

visionOntv - who aim for the widest possible distribution of video for social change.

Has some interesting offshoots and what’s left of its video embeds are an actual functioning alt-media even if most of the tech is half broken. Am involve in this one http://openworlds.info/

Hastings Independent - the local non-profit community newspaper for Hastings & St Leonards on Sea

Could be part of a alt-media network if the was one.

Radical Film Network - a network for which those involved in radical film culture to work together and support its development, growth and sustainability.

Nice people doing nice things, but with the closeting of alts its rearguard and academic.

Shout Out UK - an independent news network that, via journalism, film and events, aims to show young people that politics has a direct impact on everything you do in life.

A 20 century portal I have not heard or seen, could become part of an alt.

Youth Media Agency - the National home for UK Youth Media: raising the profile of, and supporting, over 300 exciting media platforms.

Its NGO with not much going for it as far as my glance at their site sees.

Through the Cracks - a news website devoted to coverage of reporting, storytelling and news startups made possible with the use of crowdfunding.

Its a dotcom silo that will fad into irrelevance.

Alborada - a UK based magazine, events and documentary producer covering Latin America

Could be part of building an alt?

London Socialist Film Co-op - arranges screenings where people can see films and take part in a panel discussion.

I like their side bar link, but have never been to one of their screenings.

Inform My Opinion - a podcast series on various social, political, economic, environmental subjects and activism (mainly in London), featuring voices of people who are well-informed and those who want to speak.

Small, they have a RSS feed so could be part of an alt.

Let Me Look TV - broadcasting videos they like or have produced (mostly activism stuff), and helping others broadcast their material too.

Can only find social media...

Stop the War Coaltion - Stop the War was founded in September 2001 in the weeks following 9/11, when George W. Bush announced the "war on terror". Stop the War has since been dedicated to preventing and ending the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.

Mouldy chestnuts come to mind, closed and bureaucratic.

Goldsmiths Deptartment of Media and Communications

Goldsmiths Student Union

== Media Democracy Meetups ==

In the run up to the Festival we've been hosting a monthly Media Democracy Meetup in London

If you think Media Moguls and Press Barons have too much power and influence in our society, want to protect and democratise the BBC, would love to see media co-ops in every community or just work as an independent journalist, photographer or film maker, then this Meetup is for you.

We want all the various threads/ groups working on some part of Media Democracy to talk to each other more and hopefully become a rich tapestry and the beginnings of a power movement for Media Democracy in the UK.

Come along to meet more Media Activists, help organise the Festival and feed into our forthcoming Media Activism Toolkit. See also our related Media Democracy Facebook group.

Trip down the Thames to the Medway

down the big river

A world to win

A world to win


The possibility of building a better more just world is far away.


We have no alternatives to offer to the hegemonic neo-liberalisam.


Over the last 20 years we have a decay of left thinking and action.


From the 20th century hierarchical “stop the war”


To the 21st century anarchy of “climate camp”


The open internet which gave birth to the World Wide Web has fallen into the dotcom silos and locked in app echo systems of Apple and Failbook.


Our political institutions have been captured by corporations (Monbiot)


The left is little but shadow puppets playing on a cardboard stage, while Climate Change in hand with rampant neo liberal inequality are burning all that we ones held dear.


A world to win?


The are many of overlapping tributary’s to the wide river of sustainability and justice, the river is there for us to see.


The open internet is still their for a while longer and we have the tools to use it, just not the wile and co-operation to move anywhere.


Our “democraticish” political institutions are still in place (though leaning with decay)


Climate change is going to wash around the world, initially we in the rich west will be less affected than the rest of the world, this gives us a privileged place to affect the outcome of this wave of disruption and devastation. We will have power to challenge the outcome.


Moving to decentralised renewable power is inevitable (no matter what the neo-liberal fools do) this will mediate the eco-transformation climatechange brings.



The problem of the chattering classes in activism


All the quotes are from Oscar Wild.

“If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.” LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN

The chattering classes are a problem, they are a clear and present block on social change, they colonise successful grassroots movements. They take up dominant mind share and spend all of the institutional funding on pointless fashion/NGO projects.

Middle class privilege and education dulled by post-modernist “thinking” combine to make their voices loud and persuasive in the blandness of surtatety. They smother the creative sparks in the dampness of their passions, mind space is watered to a diluteness that kills the thinking of movements, the slightest change is dampened and reversed.

“Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everybody in good society holds exactly the same opinions.”

The chattering classes while being generally lovely people are a problem for the very needed possibility of an alternative to our current society. And its hard to right or talk about this issue with out seaming petty.

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their life a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”  DE PROFUNDIS

What is to be done? Think the can be overlapping strategy’s to address this, one would be small affinity groups working on different project based on common standereds so they interact and build on each other. The other would be the old left postative discrimination – though this it self is often “captured”. Ideas please?

“Never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon. Only people who can't get into it do that.”

Smartphone Solar Charging

Am thinking of running a workshop on small scale solar power.

Here is an example of a cheap set-up that will run your large smart phone (and charge a tablet)

This a Samsung Note phone to give you an idea of the size.

The panel is rate at 1amp were the 6000mAh pass through USB battery is rated at 2.1amp's

Thus the set-up will charge your phone as fast as if it was plugged into the wall, using the battery as a reserve of power to achieve this.

This is a light weight and cheap solution costing less than £40 a realy usefull travel and adventure tool.

Mobile Solar power for a laptop

Am thinking about running a workshop on portable solar power.

This is 32w folding solar panel with a battery pass through DC to DC transformer and 13' video editing laptop running adobe CS.

All Folds up and fits in a laptop bag.

The solar costs £200-250 and you need a relatively expensive ultra book with 3D graphics card to do CS editing. Portable solar will struggle to power a full sized editing laptop. Total cost just over £1000

How to re-boot grassroots media to help to re-boot the open web to create real social change


We need to get our current dispurate and weak activist sites to link to each other, then get NGO's to do the same. Then push out news river embeds to more mainstream sites to expand the network.

This project needs to be run as a non-branded open network based on open social and technical standereds.

The social side is based on linking flows of information.




Of course you can and should be all of the above, but to aid expansion and growth this is not insisted on.

The first two paths are easey, the last more complex:

* Producers, this is any web site that puts out an RSS feed, this is most sites on the internet [tick]

* Consumers, are at a basic level very easy to do using a javascript sidebar code or a custom CMS plug-in using the javascrit plugin the barrier to upkeep is slight so this can spread easily. [half tick]

* Aggregates are slightly more complex as they will need custom codeing, this all ready exists in a basic form for Drupal and Wordpress and the miro project. [needs work]

As the production side is already solved and the consumers side is relatively trivial this only leaves the Aggreaters as a steep path to take. We have a small budget to kick this off and is technically feasible.

The second part needed is actually the more complex one, how to get groups and individuals to implement open cooperative working practices. The issues that have to be bypassed/addressed/ignored:

* Geek culture is infeactured with encryption and fake technical privacy, this is fading with the victory of failbook and its fellow dotcoms and the disintegration and fading into obscurity of the geek privacy projects. But this will comeback and bite at the OMN as it grows out and builds the basic open tech. So we have to harden the project against this agenda by codeing the opens into the foundations of the project.

* The Trots and the Authoritarian tendency left jumping on the band wagon, this is solved in the same way as the geek problem as they actually share the same pathology of the 20th century illusion of control.

* NGO's this is solved by moving to fast for them to react, if we get bogged down this might become an issue of co-option. Keep moving fast.

To sum up build soled open foundations and keep moving fast.

How would the project look/feel

The open web and the sites that make it up would look much like they look today.

But the OMN project would socialise linking and sharing to create a network out of all the small disparate bits that make up the remains of this fading open web.

Production and consumption sites would gain a sidebar containing realtime updating links to “tag” based rivers of relevant content.

Aggregating sites would contain rivers of subject based content that they would sive and add value to be re-tageing. And creating meta articles linking to original sources. The feeds that production and consumption sites display would come from one of these aggreating sites.

The network would grow out organicly based on subject:

* a aggregating site could only handeal so many feeds before the human moderates are overwlemed this would lead to specialisation and a hirakey of subject aggreaters that would organicly mirror the existing real social interest groups.

* we would end up with specialisation, and a shifting network of overlapping bottom, middle and top sites which would all find ordnances and drive traffic back to the producing sites that feed the network.

* bottom sites would aggregate mostly original producer sites, middle sites would aggregate a mixture of original sites and tags from subject based bootem sites, finally the top sites would aggregate tag based feeds from the middle sites.

How would this look to the “users”

* It would be much easer for “normal” users to find relevant content on subjects that they are interested in, they would be introduced back to the open web by links on #failbook and #juduceserche engine. This growth of traffic would re-energise peoples websites and inspire the upgrading of meny moribund website projects and a move away from current hegemonic dotcom aggregation of #failbook and its siblings.

How would it affect “producers”

* publish ones and your content appears on 100's of sites driving traffic and commenting back to your blog/website and away from #failbook atel. The open web is being straggled by the pay to view throttling on these copurte silos, its a no brainier to move to escape this now. With the increased trafic you can put energy into upgrading your existen website to make it more relevant, the OMN would be active in providing the open tools and plug ins to make this happen.

What would this look like from tech prospective:

KISS open industrial standards based on trust and redundant data roll-back back functions to Handel the breakdown of trust that will happen some times.

RSS will be used as a database object exchange format, a tagging taxonermy will be used to shift and create the flows of these objects. Subscribing to tag based RSS feeds will be the bases of the trust network.

Open databases will hold duplicate meta data linking back to the original source of the RSS object.

*** the is a creative way of making the consumption of content more transparent and develop/user friendly – this will be talked about later ***

RSS feed aggregation would be base on trusted, strate through or moderated ie adding to a moderation cue in the aggregating sites.


3 months to build the seed aggreaters and basic javescript embeds/plugins

6 months to build out the seed networks

9 months to major launch

12 months to being a real alternative and play a role in saving the open web.

Food for thinking:

If you think this sounds oldfaserned you would be right it is, its the basics that needs to happen to creat a pool of metadate enhanced media objects. What happens after this? for ideas will add some links:




Boaters are a vibrant minority culture living a parallel life in the heart of our cities and countryside. They are currently under threat from Insidious gentrification. The Village Hall Butty will give them a space to gather and celebrate their community. The aim is to create a floating village hall for boaters, local residents and the myriad of people who visit the towpath every year. Through social events, skill sharing workshops, regular clubs and other activities – they aim to create a vital hub for information and advice with a focus on promoting sustainable living, integrating communities and protecting and enjoying the waterways.

To make this communal space on the London waterway a reality we need to raise the Crowdfunder target of £5000 in a few days time. We have raised more than half of our target now and funds are being sought via www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-village-butty

The brainchild of Alice Cade, Ian Horrocks and James Bentley, seasoned boaters who have lived on the canals and rivers for many years, the event aims to bring together the boating and land based community to enjoy and celebrate the waterways and the variety of people who use them.

Please help keep the village hall afloat for the local community to enjoy for years to come. Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/thevillagebutty or Crowdfunder www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-village-butty

One of the regular "jam on the butty sessions" the butty providing a space for local acoustic music

The Village Butty Project


They have raised just over half the funding and the is still 11 days to go (appeal ending 15th July 2015)

Events on all week, big day https://www.facebook.com/events/1680993855468109/

Please support this project by directly donating or sharing this post with your friends and relatives.

The longest and friendliest village in the UK is actually the London Canal Network. Its a tight-knit community of eccentrics and iconoclasts, mums and kids, working people and retires, a cross section of life live in a continuously roving/changing mix.

For the last 3 years or so James (and the Butty) have been providing a floating gathering place for this community, while trying to make a living as a events space. He was becoming exorsted and the sums went adding up so he decided to sell the Butty a few months ago, the was a uproar from the community of boaters who had been relying on this resources, a couple Alice and Ian decided to take on the project and grow it into a not for profit company – the Village Butty Project was born.

For this to become sustainable and independent the Butty needs a companion boat to move it, provide catering, light and working space. The is now a fund raise going on to make this happen. The boat has been sourced, the money is need to renovate into being the companion space to make the village hall Butty a self standing project. To keep this invaluable resource working on the “cut”.

You can help, clink on the links to find out more and directly support the project:

Go fund me link

Failbook link

Showing 1 - 10 of 339 results.
Items per Page 10
of 34