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

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

 

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Entries with tag gathering .

What would re-booting grassroots media look like?

DRAFT

A series of un-conferences - focussed weekend events.

Intro to the event

Un-confrunces are called for a reason and are about a subject, generally with an idea of an outcome.

Invite all the existing groups and most importantly representatives from past groups to tell their stories and outline their ongoing projects. Invite groups from outside the activist/NGO ghetto such as London JAVA and hackspaces and many more etc.

The preamble:

Our culture is broken. Start with these two critiques of the failed grassroots media/geek culture and the failings of the NGO solutions to such issues.

A defining of open industrial standards and federation, a look at peer to peer and client / server.

This intro is to set the atmosphere of the event, to increase group feedback that question these streams in the workshops over the weekend.

When people arrive, a brief over view of the event and goto it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference Then everyone has their workshop/say.

The event would tend to split into 2 streams, Media Creators (story tellers) and Geeks (tool builders). “We” as the “organiser’s” would continuously gentley push to keep the streams entwined as they both need each other and need an emulsifier to combine for any length of time.

The outcome would be wide, we have a note taker (strait to public wiki) and audio recorder for each session (uploaded soon after)

What I would think important is:

* how to make media so it is part of a flow, rather than for a silo.

* Importance of linking, just getting this working would be a big step forwarded.

* using the corporate dotcoms as dumb pipes – not original sources – build peer pressure here - no sin by only posting to failbook and bird seed world.

* recognition of the problems with the widespread use of WordPress as top sites, fine as a blog/source, disaster as top down centre controled group/campaign site.

* importance of seeing media production as a production of media objects to be shared across the expanding network – not to be held as lost in personal silos or spent purely in the dotcom world.

* recognition of the danger and damage from closed (encrypted) working practices in activism/being pushed by some NGOs. The positive possibility of open working on the open web. Encryption has a limited role, encrypt everything is a clear and present disaster and the people un-reflectively pushing this need reasoning with, then pushing off a cliff ;)

At the end have report backs based on the 4 opens. How do the projects/groups meet these.

Concrete outcome:

* Get everyone to front page link to at least 3 complementary groups.

* Get peopule to review alt-media projects based on the 4 opens to spark off wider social debate.

A list from our perspective on good outcomes:

Put out the (existing) visionOntv video embeds, sign up some more moderators – they are a semi working example of the world we want to create.

Look at the newsflash, linking embed and funding site projects.

Find non-loon geeks to help build out the OMN tools, make links to other projects view the tools and micro formats

nourish a non sectarian single sign in for activism and beyond (look at https://www.grc.com/sqrl/sqrl.htm)

A geek view of this world

Am going to link to some existing “complex” projects that overlap to THE OMN KISS” project, examples:

https://tent.io/docs is the same project, just too far forward to be adopted, that is its not based on the past so would need to much of a jump to adopt, this is why we use RSS as that steping stone.

http://scripting.com is working from a “single user” perspective on very usable micro formats and standards-based projects. The technology being ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Node.js and RSS) used has good peer to peer strengths.

https://indiewebcamp.com same project but again from the “libertarian” camp, making it of limited use for outreach beyond this camp.

Just about all the parallel projects are about individuals first and groups second. For our more communitarian project we need to tweek/expand these code bases to make them useful. Also there is a strong geek start-from-scratch approach which means that their projects cannot lead any change but could become part of the change as it flows. We need to be the flow, otherwise we are all standing around in puddles – the sate of alt-media today.

Real Media gathering, how not to re-boot grassroots media

Draft

Firstly I don’t have any ill will to the people I know organising this event and would love it to succeed in being a part of the kindling to (re)light the fire of alt-media.

But we have 3 main problem groupings/failures blocking grassroots media (culture) from re-booting

Lets look at how they manifest as negative (can do a positive post on this subject, just ask or look back on my blog)

NGO “culture”

Geek “culture”

Activist “culture”

They all manifest in the upcoming Real Media Gathering, lets use this as an example and look at each in turn.

NGO thinking is a malaise that is filling the vacuum left by the catastrophic failings of Alt-geeks and activist spiky/fluffy debate separation. What is NGO thinking? Well in short its the way you HAVE to think to have a continuing payied careerer in a NGO. It in body’s bureaucracy, (respecting) hierarchy, endemic narrow liberal thinking or at the most radical rigid utopian process – leading to deadening bureaucracy.

Geek culture is dealt with here

Activist culture at its worst is bound by life style, the things you do tobe an activist, that looking/sounding/acting like the change is more important than being the change. Some of the people involve understand this, they are just to lost to take a way out of this malaise. This can manifest as a diversion between spiky/ fluffy and a ritualistic on/off spiting contest between these two mindsets. Change is often lost in this.

How do these manifest in the upcoming real media gathering/movement.

The headline main day of the event is made-up of top-down speakers repeating all the things people already know. For a grassroots gathering this is clearly problematic, think about it for a minute ;) This is how a NGO would organise a “grassroots” event.

Geek culture, the is a tech project going on in parallel with the gathering – its happening in darkness with no knowledge, input or interest. The outcome is likely a black box designed by geeks, now we know for a fact that this NEVER ends well. This is how geek's like to work, just trust us.

Activist grassroots culture is high on the banner header image but no existence in the headline speakers and a shadow in the workshops. They do have a little documented day after for this. No sparks and no rocking the boat, this comes full cirecal to NGO thinking were we started.

The have been a serease of these “NGO” re-booting activism conferences and gatherings over the last few years. I helped to organise some of them for my sins.

Much of the content of the event is fine, the workshops have content, what it lacks is any spark to light the needed media fire. Rubbing the damp sticks of NGO together isn’t going to do it, we need to break out of this malaise, and it's easy to do.

A bit of spell casting from the greek rainbow gathering - how to make this work in visionOntv

“Stupid individualism”

We are made this way

Many try to heal on different paths

Most Stumble from the individualism of there path

“all you need is love” sing the rainbow

“all you need is social/economic change” shout the activists

Both drift into baroness with out the balance of the other

To birth a world

 

“Rituals”

Rituals build and sustain community’s

Rituals bind together the individualism’s

Roots grow from these bindings

Roots hold the earth agenst the weathering of time

And from these rituals a forest grows

And shelters us from the elements (time)

 

“Beauty”

Beauty grows

Beauty grows from seeing each the same in the performance of the rite

The harmony of the Ohm

The chaining together to stop the nuclear train

Balancing beauty, unerty, grow the bindings

That make life beautiful

 

“truth”

Truth grows

Truth grows from the light and dark of the touched world

Truth is beauty balanced with social rites

Truth is from the forest, with out the forest the is no truth

 

“Life”

Life grows...

ENR - the foundation report

Report on Islip Gathering

June 14th to 17th 2002

 

 

Introduction

The gathering in Islip attracted an impressive attendance of representatives from a variety of alternative media organisations and independent video activists. Some had travelled from as far afield as Croatia and Germany. Eric Galatas, from the US-based FreespeechTV network, the event's sponsor, had travelled from Colorado.

 

The days were organised around a series of meetings and workshops, the agendas of which were decided and agreed by the attendees themselves.

 

Goal-setting

The first item was to establish the goal of the project. Everyone present contributed their thoughts and the outcome was a distillation summed up thus:

 

Create a video structure (network)

 

  • Enable production and screenings of a regular monthly Newsreal: CDs, video tapes, cable, satellite

  • Online co-operative network resource

  • Decentralised

  • Cafes or local nodes

  • Resource sharing

  • Global distribution

  • Use multiple formats and approaches

  • Establish European satellite and cable channel, screening programs 24/7

 

Which,

  • Connects and empowers local and global (virtual) communities and groups

  • Distributes existing programs

  • Facilitates the creation of new groups and programs

  • Enables information (skills, clips, events) exchange

 

Connected to existing movements, shall bring about positive social change.

 

Workshops

The group then split up into sub-groups to discuss strategies and problem-solving for three crucial areas:

 

  • Production of a monthly Newsreal (a complilation of segments from around European)

  • Distribution systems and publicity

  • Organising and fundraising

 

 

1. Production of monthly Newsreal

The workshop proposed the production of a monthly Newsreal defined as a compilation of segments of 5 minutes or less each totalling a maximum of half an hour (). Segments should be gathered and edited by a different group in different European countries each month so that workload and ownership of the project is shared. Countries outside the UK to provide English translated versions and all raw versions to go to non-UK countries for translation.

 

It was proposed that the Newsreal be made available in two formats: moultymedia(VCD) and VHS to accommodate different needs and facilitate wider distribution.

 

2. Distribution systems and publicity

The workshop proposed a three-stage plan to test and build an effective distribution system.

 

Stage 1: Test pilot the Newsreal using existing 5 minit segment to creat a news reel to be distributed to the current group. And locally screened. Usfull for fundraseing and explaning what the project is about.

Stage 2: Start posting out info on IMC video lists, Make a second “proper” news reel to be screened to sympathetic local groups. Assess feedback. Build a database of contacts of sympathetic groups and other interested parties who may be new to the concept of alternative media and conduct a second round of pilot screenings. Assess feedback and make any recommended changes to Newsreal. Assess and deal with any issues arising from production system. Make the project part of the IMC network – ie. Get it on the video IMC page.

Stage 3: the big lornch has to come after lydon as the main contacts will come from lydon…International launch of Newsreal. Proposed to coincide with the PGA (People's Global Action) conference in Leiden, Netherlands and the World Summit??? at the end of August screenings to take place in Leiden, other key European cities and possibly the US. Big publicity drive incorporating stunts and liaison with sympathetic journalists, aiming for national (as well as local) coverage in the mainstream media of all participating countries. Produce flyers and posters to advertise screenings locally. Post up info on Indymedia website.

 

3. Organisation and fundraising

The workshop proposed that participating organisations co-ordinate the production of Newsreal with independents sending their segments to the relevant group for that month. Each group should work on it for two or 3 months so they can get up to speed. Undercurrents can do the produces the first two pilots then I would sergest Cannal B produces the lornch issues and possebaly then the corations… its important that groups doing the production have a history of producing and segments (would argue that they should have produced 2 or 3 Newsreel segments before they take on responsabilerty for producing the news reel.

 

It was recognised that a large amount of translations would be required and that money should be sought for this.

 

Money to be raised by:

  • applying for grants (not-for-profit status of the project to be established beforehand)

  • profits from sale of Newsreal at screenings, through universities (People and Planet to distribute), festivals and other outlets

  • income from sale of Newsreal to FreespeechTV for monthly screenings and sales to mainstream media in European countries

  • we need to think about - sponsorship from ethical companies

 

 

Who are we and what is our purpose?

Participants agreed that we need to be able to define who we are and what our purpose is for those who may wish to get involved and for fundraising purposes. A number of definitions were proposed and this is still an area to be agreed on.

 

What happens next

  • Pilot Newsreal to be produced ASAP and copies sent to all participants to arrange small scale local screenings

  • Separate working group e-groups to be set up to facilitate ongoing discussions and organization – this is tempery – we need a new working websight.

  • Definition of project and purpose to be discussed online (Islip list) and agreed on

  • Grant-making bodies to be approached for 'emergency' funds ie small amounts, to cover production and administrative costs of pilot screenings

The European News real project - and being relevant

This is a DRAFT of a text i wronte 09/08/2002

The ENR was a global alt-media production/networking project in the USA it whent out on TV. I was reponsable for bring this project to europe after it had been runing in the USA.

This is my (failed) attempt to stop the project becomeing irelevent.

Every time this project takes a step I cringe, a shudder of shock go’s threw me. If we don’t ask the people who have done this before – and the are a number – then we are DOOMED to make the same mistakes and I for one don’t have much hart or spirit to go threw this sad alt-movement ritual.

So here is another go at wrighting up what I think the project is:

* It’s an indymedia style project- that is it is fundamentally decentralised and non-hieratical based on open publishing and non-re-editing of other peoples work.

* it’s a grass-roots project, that is it is about encouraging, faciliting and training people who wouldn’t normally use video as a tool for social change. In this giving them there own voice.

* it’s a project that is designed to link and strengthen existing video production groups and help to create new groups both within the indymedia network and outside it.

* it’s a project that at its bases is about creating a public focus for activist groups to facilitate and strengthen local campaigns and link these local campaigns together.

*** it’s a TWIN TRACK PROJECT, the euronewsreal it self is a tool for internal communication with in the movement. In this the existing video activist groups are mentors of the newsreal rather than creators – of course we will all produces segments but that isn’t our first priority.

*** the second track is OUTREACH – this is were the editing comes in, and our current higher production values are used to the best affect. The Newsreal is the opening segmemet of the screenings, ie. The first half. The main-feature is where the power of video as a tool for social change comes in, and it is this main-feature that we as existing video groups should concentrate on producing. Our job is to produces the main-feature such as globalisation and the media from Undercurrents, CannalB’s Genoa film, TroshenTV’s Europe film etc. This is the outreach social change part of the project.

* That is the newsreal itself is a tool for networking and training for the movement, its about strengthening connections and bring new people in, and hopefully (funding permitting) training them how to hold a camera steady (:

So fundamentally for us existing groups its more of a mentoring job. A good opportunity for thoues who need funding to apply for some to run training and networking meetings.

We will produces segments, but that isn’t the end all, of our job. The half hour newsreal is actually about creating a distribution network.

We will kill the grass roots nature of the project if we add a higheracky of editorial, not only will editing store up trubbal it will also take a much higher level of commitment – which I for one don’t have.

So at its base it’s a very simple “open publishing” system with no perment central higheracy. Its about expanding the alt-video moment at the grassroots and consolidating it at the level of existing production groups. It’s a low-level project to get us all co-operating. An internal networking project not an external social change outreach project.

Its power for changing the world is focused on the co-operation it creates rather than the half hour of monthly video. In this the video will have a much powerfuller affect than any highly produced project that founders on disagreements and the enevertabil burn out lack of support brings.

WE NEED TO LEARN FROM THE PAST!!!!

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