Content with tag activist history .

History of the visionOntv project

The original project was offlinetv and was a online network to setup screenings to bring people together and cross fertilize different radical campaigning groups. I was pushing it as “open” rebooting of the failing undercurrents video activism project.

Before this I had been making a meager living doing screenings by fundraising vie the copyleft ruffcuts video CD project. With the transitioning from dialup to broadband internet speed the was a possibility to move the the distribution of screening quality video to the spreading peer2peer web.As you will continue to see thought my narration here my core thinking changes little.

The first dotcon (enclosures) boom had bust, the web was still a health open network through the “open” pioneers were being pushed out by more mainstream fahernisata people, these people were being snapped up by the next wave of dotcon funding so the clock was ticking on the next boom (and attempt as enclosing the web for control and profit).

Fashernisa´s were all over the open web, conferences, events, media. Geeks were developing open standards - each one unlinked/incompatible with the next it was a "fun" time for “open”. This flowering of geek culture had its fashernista side, the were 100 applications for zipping files or FTP and no easy to use open tools - the geek problem.

P from undercurrents got involved to do the funding side, a lot of “brainstorming” was done. During this time we see a “splitting” of the project. It was obvious that streaming video - that is a technology for watching video real time without having a local copy was going to grow to dominate the next dotcon boom and the fashionistas were buying into this big time. This is a client server technology - from one to many - its old (traditional) media distribution. At the same time the was a subculture flowering or peer2peer technology being used for “free content” this was a “native” open web technology.

The “splitting” was around a miscommunication/misunderstanding of what was going to happen in the next 5 years. And “funding” pushed this in a bad way, it was easy to talk to funders about “online video” it was fahernista mainstream. Few had any thought to the “cost” of jumping on the #dotconS fahernista wave. And in time the rise of the #dotcons from the second boom that was rising for all to see.

The “brainstorming” lead to the project being renamed visionOntv - just for the funding and outreach - much easier to get funding. Why would anyone be interested in offlinetv and peer2peer technologies all the value was about “owning” online space. That is enclosing the commons was unthinkingly embraced as a good thing - a touch on controlfreekery.

This simple change was the first step to the project losing direction and failing.


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A big socerty community center the Hive Dalston

The Hive Dalston - big society community centre a product of voluntarism and activist fashion with dose of hipster. Started out as an exciting project between radical (free party/activist) squatters and a more mainstream arts groups. The idea was to take up and use the Tory “big society” legalisation that had been pushed though at the start of the Cameroon government but has been lieing fallow since.

The is a incentive for the social use of empty property, that landlords could get local tax exceptions for their empty buildings if these buildings were put into local community use. As with most Tory ideas this was actually a direct attack on locale democracy, by starving it of the tax revenue and potently replacing its core social services with volunteers rather than paid professionals. Any use of this “legislation” would have to walk a tipe rope to stay within the system, to sustain the project, while not falling into the trap of pushing the Tory agenda of privatisation and NGO thinking that are core to the ideas of a “big society”.

The Hive soon failed this tightrope walk and fell into the direct Tory project, the fragile radicalism pushed aside and the space filled with wannabe “arts” and NGO spiritual fashion, it became a scruffy “community centre” on the cheap. If it survives and spreads its a viable model for replacing what’s left of the pail shades of the bureaucratic “pay your way” centres that are left over from the more rigid social justice/culture as social good of the 1970's heydays.

The resulting burn out and walk away has left the Hive project less than shiny, its make or brake for it to find the next space. Can projects like this walk a tipe rope to stay sustainable while remaining relevant is the question. And do people care unuf for this question. to actually matter is the root of the issue of this post.

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Is the value in stirring up the past?


looking at the actavist groups I have been involved with. Its interesting to try and record your view of what happened and why it happened. Though as most people will have internalised a different view to yours  this can be painful for thoughs who lived through this history. This rises the question of is this a useful thing to do? 

"those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it"  George Santayana

The is deferentially a problem of circler behaver in media activism and wider issues:


* Problem of liberal views of activist history 

* Problem of activist memory hole - our web resources are transient and the backups disappear. The mentality of activists tend to be “we invented this – this is new – we are the first”

* Academics will work with authoritative sources – this is inherently biased

* ...

Omg . there's more of this stuff!

Hamish is once again taking the extremely arrogant position that his history is the true one, and those of us who have a conflicting version are in the "activist memory hole", most insultingly that we are simply "forgetting". It's a very good point about the death of actviist sites - that's a real problem for historians - but I just hope that the history is not written by this author, who will serve up everything conservative historians need to tell a story of internal strife and failure. (btw, my first degree was in history.....)
Posted on 03/04/13 00:59.
Well, he is trying to be the fact, if you look at the web, stuff is disappearing all over. This is not a problem with activism per se, but the faith people are putting into a relatively transient medium generally (paper also erodes, but not as quickly/mysteriously). I must say that the idea that thought does not progress, but is simply repeated, was born on me forcefully at a recent 'feminist' debate which seemed to feel it should include the discussion of make-up - and it was distressing. But yes, the attitude which says 'you should just learn from other wiser people who have gone before you ' - and therefore excludes anyone who can't read/has no access to books/is not part of a circle - is also an extremely distasteful one.
Posted on 04/04/13 23:57.
So it is a question, or rather a series of questions, which at least this has raised, and quite interesting - to the extent that abstruse philosophising is quite interesting, but grassroots more so - handsome is as handsome does, for example.
Posted on 05/04/13 00:23.
Rich i think you misunderstand the idea of blogs... they are the thoughts of the person who writes them... the world has moved on from gatekeepers and even the idea of "truth" is a more vague thing... maybe a diversity of opinions is a good thing but in activism we generally don't even have this...
Posted on 05/04/13 23:25 in reply to Richard Hering.
Interesting to read up about

I think thought dose progress, just that in activist circles I have seen many of the same (failing) thoughts to many times repeated... and I have been around to see this (:

Activism can be very excluding and this is one of its many repeating failings - when it cross fertilizes it burns - narrowing to monoculture... hummm sad.

When activism catches fire its exciting stuff. How do we learn now that is an interesting Q. for a film maker, will write more on this.
Posted on 06/04/13 00:05 in reply to t.
NB The wiki entry on Thersites is not helpful - Thersites in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, for example, is a complex and not unsympathetic character who represents the saying of things that other people do not want to hear. Sometimes they do not want to hear them because Thersites is right; sometimes, however, he is plainly wrong.
Posted on 07/04/13 16:37.