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
Published Date 3/15/11 3:16 PM
Some ideas from visionOntv
Get the best anti-cuts / direct action video flowing into your website or blog: http://visionon.tv/web/grassroots/embed
Come to a London VAN meeting:
Tuesday 15 March, 7pm, Pembury Tavern, Hackney
Sunday 20 March, 7.30pm, ReallyFreeSchool, The Hand and Racquet, 48 Whitcomb Street, London, WC2H 7HA (tbc)
Also, stay tuned to these independent media projects, and get involved:
Published Date 3/12/11 10:15 PM
Remember that the nuclear industry have always lied, with the explosion destroying all the cooling infrastructure its looking like a bad outcome. And them admitting they are pumping sea water to cool the core, the steam and super heated water has to go somewhere. All they are left with is a very hot steel container filled with corroding melting nuclear reaction spurting radioactive steam and water. Remember that the nuclear industry has always lied, if you live down wind or down current I would think about moving.
Just a though, as the are no clear views in these situations.
Published Date 3/10/11 1:39 PM
Alt Media + Grass roots reporting for March 26th TUC Demo
Saturday 12th March, 3pm – 6pm @ ULU (as part of March26 AAC Prep Weekend)
Calling all film makers, video shooters, audio recorders and radio enthusiasts, photographers, twitter reporters, DIY media makers, bloggers and writers. Together we are stronger >> Come and prepare and co-ordinate together for covering the massive March 26th demonstrations and actions >> Join Indymedia London and other projects including radio stream coverage, visionOntv and Reel News in discussing and developing plans for collaboration and grass roots reporting of the demonstrations >> If you have a project already underway come and present it, if you want to get involved come along ready to participate.
University of London Union, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY
Room numbers tbc
This isn’t a statement of truth more a way to help look at a recurring problem, and to help active participants to mediate the problem to a better outcome.
It is to do with the sort of people who get involved at each stage of an alt-project’s development. This is of course a generalization as people do fall into more than one grouping and shift between groupings during the project. Written from 10 years of direct practical experiences of the many different alt-groups that share the same dynamics.
First to look at the terms used:
Getting things done people
Are more interested in things happening than the process, though their process, as far as it goes, tends to be good otherwise they wouldn’t “get things done”.
Are the unsung heroes who do much of the work but receive little recognition. They are the “sustaining” core of any alt/project.
I am using the term in the positive sense to mean those who create and can work in structures. They solidify the project and thus sustain it, but when caught up with the “theorists” (who they are attracted to) and the “life stylist” groupings, they can institutionalize the dysfunctions as much as the original function.
Are a troubled “category” in alt-projects. The “consensus decision making process” tends to marginalize them as nobody has a “larger say” than anybody else. So their input, whether good or bad, tends to be submerged into “lifestyles”. Theorists who have come through any of the first 3 categories should defiantly be listened to with positive (but critical) ear. However this rarely happens as, as with the sort of “critical input” you are reading now, they have a tendency to come across as unfriendly to the majority of the project at stage 7 (the gathering) when these voices are most needed.
Grow out of the “hangers on” and are drawn to any open successful alt-project. At their best they “metamorphose” into one of the other categories and sustain the project. A sustainable alt-project has a clear and open way of facilitating this transformation. (or on the other side/more regularly is a functional closed project which also helps to keep the lifestyle drain to a minimum)
Project time line
1) “Getting it done” sort of people with inner drive start a project.
2) Soon mixed with “working people” and the few “bureaucrats”.
3) “Getting it done” people start to specialize into parallel projects. The weight of the project starts to fall onto the “working people” and increasingly the “bureaucrats”. We start to see “theorists” coming out of the first 3 categories and coming in from outside. “Hangers on” start to gather and a pronounced “lifestyle” side to the project begins to emerge.
4) The “getting it done” people start to burn out or move completely onto other projects. The “bureaucrats” start to be central to sustaining the project supported by the “working people’. The “lifestylists” start to form into groups around the “theorists”, and the “working people” are drawn into these groups.
5) The project is at its height but also starting to decay. Hopefully it can stay at this plateau for a period. The core project is the bureaucrats supported by the “working people” who are not fully caught up in “lifestyle” groupings. The lifestyle groups hopefully give as much energy as they take, but they are starting to exclude new “working” and “getting it done” people until the project starts to become dysfunctional.
6) The few remaining “getting it done” people with the longstanding “bureaucrats” and “working people” start to react against the decay, which sparks a debate amongst the “theorists” and “lifestylists” which generally paralyses any affective action to rejuvenate the project. The “bureaucrats” and “getting it done” people, alongside the majority of groups, call for a gathering to attempt to rejuvenate the project.
7) The gathering suffers from “the tyranny of structurelessness”, leading to a renewal of good will, but the consensus of the gathering exclude the “getting it done” and long term “bureaucrats” as they feel they cannot impose their view on the group. The consensus is created by the “life stylists” and “theorists” who have no or little experience of “getting things done”. Thus generally achieves little and refuse to even see the root causes of the project decay.
This process repeats itself with more or less success for a time depending on the particular nature of the project. For only practical action will keep the “bureaucrats”, “working people” and the now distant “getting it done people” engaged.
One of the parallel projects started by the “getting it done” people then draws the “working people” and “bureaucrats” that haven’t burned out into a new cycle. The burn-outs return to mainstream organizing/life.
This has been an attempt to give people a glimpse into the churning activist world, and help them make informed decisions on how sustainable to get involved – I hope it helps in small ways.
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Published Date 3/2/11 3:14 PM
Climate camp had success with its first three camps, but then its logic became … the root cause of climate change is capitalism, so we take on capitalism. They completely ignored that many and vastly more powerful groupings have attempted to take on capitalism and failed. So with this hubris, they beat their heads against a wall they could not possibly effect and unlike the situations at Heathrow and Kingsnorth where they had positive engagement with local people, they did it on their own. Hence, they produced no real effect over the last couple of years. Neither are they good at being honest. Over and over again have they attempted to spin failures as successes. Deep down people knew that they were failing.
@cynic: The Camp for Climate Action was started by people with a background in the road protest movement and others which followed it, such as RTS, but they were replaced by the people @bullshit calls “bourgeois little squirts”. I think we have now seen the limitations of the latter and their (middle) class-based politics and media obsessions. Yes, the objective political situation has changed but they have no new or re-invigorated perspective on the climate crisis. What this amounts to is the mainstream media is now looking elsewhere, so we’re off to where the lenses are pointing and / or where we can build careers.
Published Date 3/2/11 3:06 PM
This statement has also been published at http://dysophia.wordpress.com
A group of people involved in radical action around the environment and other social struggles who have been involved with and been affected by recent exposes of infiltrators have come together to create a joint statement on how the issue has evolved and been represented in the media.
We are issuing this statement in solidarity with all those, in the UK and beyond, who are facing charges or have been affected in any way by the work of the undercover agents recently discovered.
We are a diverse group of individuals who have been involved in radical action, including actions based around the environment, for close to 20 years. This has included organising the Stirling Eco-village, the Camp for Climate Action, Earth First! Gatherings, anti-GM decontaminations, as well as many other forms of social struggle. We have been up trees, down tunnels and on the front line. We have taken beatings from the police and received convictions for the pleasure, and we make no apologies for our belief in direct political action.
The media frenzy that followed the collapse of the second Ratcliffe trial was met with an equally frenetic flood of articles and comments in the alternative media. Many of these were infuriating and/or very depressing, particularly as all the anti-media comments posted on Indymedia seemed to conveniently forget the fact that the site was one of the main sources of information used by the journalists covering the story.
It is difficult to convey what we feel without falling into the same contradiction. Many of us who were very close to the situation wished to remain anonymous and refused to join in the flood of opinions and speculations. This was an attempt to avoid or at least not to feed into the media (and Indymedia) craze. This refusal to take a public position seems to have been interpreted as acceptance or even active participation in the media strategy.
Historically we have always tried to rise above the ‘society of the spectacle’ and it is has proven to be an important strength. We hope that comrades in other countries can comprehend the complexity of networks and political positions within the UK, and understand that the very public position taken by a few individuals in no way represents us all.
The environmental movement is not the only network affected by the recent exposures. We are all involved in different struggles beyond environmental concerns. Many movements, from animal rights, to migrant solidarity struggles have been targeted. Marco Jacobs was connected to the No Borders network, Lynn Watson to the peace movement. Mark Kennedy began to make connections to the animal rights movement, and had a ongoing interest in anti-capitalist struggles within the UK and across Europe. These are just some examples.
Despite this diversity, there is a tendency to refer to ‘the Movement’ without distinguishing that there is a broad range of social struggles taking place in the UK and elsewhere. These struggles often overlap, as is the case with our own activism. It is a mistake to suppose that the environmental movement is capable of representing all of the other social movements that have been targeted by the police in this case, and there has been little recognition of this by the people dealing with the media. This has shown not only a lack of solidarity with these struggles, but has explicitly played into the rhetoric of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ protesters.
Now that the sensation seems to have died down, we are making this statement in the hope that it will undo some of the damage that has been done.
How the ecological movement is being portrayed in the mainstream media We feel that self-selecting individuals and groups have gone to the media with a strategy that presents a movement of gormless idiots, that is totally ineffective and of no threat to the State, in order to argue that the placement of undercover officers is ‘unjustifiable’ and ‘over-policing’. This is a very dangerous position to take as it facilitates the repression of those who are being identified as a genuine threat.
Regardless of the intention behind them, the statements that have been made in the mainstream press appeal to a narrow sector of middle-class, left-wing liberals. Downplaying our radical tendencies is not a way of broadening the appeal of radical environmental demands. If anything, the very opposite is true, as anyone who has done stalls in the street is able to tell you.
[Indymedia does blah. Content is good, and free to use for non-commercial purposes under the Open
Content license. if you have questions, email someone.]
We are angry at the way the movement we have been so involved in has been portrayed, with such a profound lack of basic political understanding. We want to be clear we that are not trying to make things ‘a little bit nicer’ or tweak the system, we are challenging capitalism and the dominant ideology as being responsible for the ecological destruction of the planet.
The very nature of what we aim for is in direct opposition to the system, and it is therefore no great surprise that the State and corporations target us. The more economic damage that is done, or the more successfully the dominant paradigm is challenged, the more inevitable infiltration becomes.
As anarchists, we believe in solidarity, and autonomy. When we take action, we do so because it is an appropriate response, a valid tactic. We reject, therefore, the way in which several individuals have presented their ‘story’, in connection with infiltrators, as having been persuaded to act by them.
State informers have been used for hundreds, or even thousands of years. We have been dealing with and exposing police and informers as long as our movements have existed. Our aims are radical, and repression from the powers-that-be has always been expected and dealt with. We object to the way history is being re-written.
Relationship with the mainstream media We are concerned that the relationship with the media is coming to define the eco-defence movement and its actions. It is clear that the media has been given preferential treatment on access to materials
and this is breeding distrust (as clearly demonstrated in recent clashes on Indymedia). We reject the notion that the likes of
The Guardian and The Independent newspapers can ever be part of the solution to the problems we face.
Our story is strong enough that we will get the media attention regardless. We do not have to change who we are to satisfy
the wishes of these for-profit companies and their advertising agendas. High profile liberal journalists are not our natural
leaders or spokespeople. While the media is (at times) an important tool for activism, pandering to it is a dangerous spiral to
ineffectiveness, damaging the integrity of the movement in the long term for shallow, short-term goals.
Relationship with the police and the State The tone of many of the statements made to the press implied the need for
‘reforms’ or better regulations for undercover policing. We would like to stress that we do not want ‘better’ or ‘more ethical’
Some groups and individuals have used the mainstream press to call for police reform. However, in reality, the actual
result is an ongoing consolidation of power within the Metropolitan Police who have taken control of the ‘domestic extremist’
units, including those which ran various of the infiltrators. The police exist to protect the State, private property and profits. To
do this they use infiltrators and sleep with militants to get information. They also beat people in police cells, and frame people
for crimes they didn’t commit, etc. etc. Superficial reforms will never change that. Even if a public relations battle has been
won against the police and other infiltrators, they will no doubt regroup and continue their activities. Pretending that they can
be reformed is not just dangerous but serves to legitimise their on-going existence.
The victories of our movement will not
be won through The Guardian nor in the plush offices of civil liberty NGOs. They will be won on the streets, in our
communities, in the fields and in the forests. The ecological defense movement and the other struggles we are involved in
have grown strong because they have stepped outside the political campaigning/lobbying box and sought change from
multiple directions, such as working directly with communities, taking direct action and causing economic sabotage. Today,
lobbyists with very different agendas from our own, are using the space we forced open, and we should stop helping people
co-opt our work.
“Those most affected” The press and others have placed a morbid emphasis on sexual relationships in these cases. This
totally ignores the complexity of human interpersonal relationships and the range of emotions and experiences involved
here. We have all had different kinds relationships with one or more of the undercovers recently exposed, and feel very
uncomfortable by the assumptions made in statements and actions that took place in the wake of the media frenzy. Attempts
by third parties to define the abuses of trust experienced by the people who were close to these infiltrators (often in the name
of ‘solidarity’) have been extremely disempowering.
Unfortunately, some people (not just from the UK) have put pressure on people to act and to talk to the media without
considering their own personal well being, and the impacts this could have on others. We call for practical solidarity through
awareness; respecting everyone’s individual boundaries. We want to discourage people from talking publicly (or encouraging
others to do so) about relationships (again, of any nature) without considering the wider implications for others who are also
[Indymedia does blah. Content is good, and free to use for non-commercial purposes under the Open
Content license. if you have questions, email someone.]
dealing with this. We request that people make no assumptions and only talk from their own experiences.
Moving on This has been a difficult time, but it has also made us aware of how lucky we are to know so many people who
continue to act with dignity and integrity, and to be part of networks of resistance which stretch across the globe. The process
of the wave of exposures has revealed many false unities in respect to our politics. We call for solidarity and respect across
networks, we need to consolidate our allegiances and to support each other. The State will continue to use surveillance and
infiltration, and we hope that valuable lessons are learnt from this process, and not forgotten.
Notes  This statement was put together through a collective process that involved approximately 15 people, the majority
in the UK but a number across Europe as well. It includes people who were close to the exposing of various police infiltrators.
The point of contact is email@example.com – comments & feedback can be sent to this address.
 For more background on the story as it appeared in the Guardian see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/mark-
kennedy http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/surveillance http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/activism
 There are many threads on Indymedia relating to this, however, some key ‘debates’ are at
 BBC coverage of Ratcliffe trial & interviews http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDttEnl8r34&feature=related
This statement has also been published at http://dysophia.wordpress.com/
Published Date 1/19/11 11:41 PM
I love this image, it says so much about geek/life stylist’s that push bad technology down peoples throats till they vomit and go back to such black holes as facebook and twitter (though twitter at least is open).
And the solution doesn’t lie in single user blogging platforms such a wordpress as they aren’t designed to scale (when you add the needed plug-ins) to challenge corporate solutions.
Comment about this:
answered Oct 18 ’10 at 20:11
I’ve tried a lot of Open source solutions and I would like to highlight only two of them:
About: BP is created upon the WordPress Engine, with tons of features but still has some missing. Pros: it is really easy to set up and customize, there are plenty of plugins if you’re not wanting to mimic absolutely every feature Facebook has. Cons: it’s kinda not fully optimized for large amount of traffic, since its a pack of plug-ins built on WordPress (so it has to make some strange and twisted ways to get some things done).
It’s the only REALLY open source social community “a la Facebook” app.
Pros: You have ALL the features you would like, videos, photos, events, etc. It’s VERY similar to Facebook.
Cons: It’s not so-easy to customize… not so so hard neither. It’s still not fully optimized for large amounts of traffic, but still it’s much better at that problem than buddypress.
Depending on your developing skills i would recommend elgg (if you are better than worst) 🙂
But, give them a try, they’re the best apps (except for the ones one can make for oneself).
Hope I had helped!
From – http://stackoverflow.com/questions/698110/open-source-facebook-like-cms-social-network
We went with http://liferay.com as it is proven to scale, though it has its own configuration issues that we are slowly working through.
Published Date 1/18/11 3:22 PM
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