We ran into the trap of corporate social networking

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


#Oct20 – Brassed Off By Cuts

An live edit-in-camera piece by visionOntv reporter Hamish Campbell at the "Future that Works" demo in London.


ESF horizontal and vertical process and how they fail to balance from 27 01 2004 and 23 02 2004

Published Date 10/17/12 3:50 AM

In relation to

DRAFT – this is a e-mail dialogue that illustrates the issues of horizontal and vertical process and how they fail to balance.

Firstly the has been a lot of talk of me as some kind of egotistical anarchist… this is far from the truth, and by long experiences if anyone asks I call my self a socialist in anarchist circals. Maybe its time that we have a go-round of the e-mail list and introduce ourselves..

So a bit about me:

* was key to setting up the video side of the media centre in Genoa – 73 Italian riot police are facing prosecution and jail through my video work at the Diaz school raid have already testified to the prosecutors and have to go back for the court case in a few months. My video has helped to keep quite a few people out of jail.

* work full-time at undercurrents probably the most successfully alternative media organisation, prior to the IMC. Our work reached out to millions of people and helped to shape the globalisation movement that created the WSF. We tell stories that you don’t see on TV. You can watch one of our films here:

* helped to found the European Newsreal which is a half hour alt-news program that is regularly translated into 5 languages to be screened around Europe and broadcast to up to 11 million people on US satellite TV

* travel extensively, organising screenings, grassroots alt-media training workshops and setting up media centres at major events.

* recently have been have been involved in the creation of Oxford IMC and the idea of local news.

I see the ESF as a place to showcase alternatives by film and debate.

The horizontal globalisation movement has been going for a long time and its good that it now encompasses the SWP/GR who joined rather more recently ( and then some how, ludicrously, claimed to have invented it!) I in no way want to exclude the old left and would welcome the SWP/GR and GLA into the process – however they have to engage in the process and respect its diversity, rather than dominate and obscure it.

Hamish Campbell

UPDATE: later in the process

To try and clear up some of the purposeful misunderstandings:

I feel it is very important for the SWP/GR to be involved in the ESF process, though there very childish behaver – all this constant talk of the need to be grown up and serious makes them had to take seriously. They do have knowledge of creating (though they have a terminal problem of sustaining) large structures. They do know the language of trade unions and bureaucratic hierarchy and the will be many of them to deal with.

The problem lies in that:

* they are dominating, disrupting, dictatorial, and damming of any hope of open/democratic process which is key to the new politics that is at the core of the ESF.

* they and the people around them don’t trust democracies… and the ESF process doesn’t seam to be able to create this trust that’s us…

* the working group structure started out very well – but it cant be controlled by them thus cannot be allowed to continue… dose anyone get any idea of insecurity here… how can we bring the power back to the working groups which are working well.

* we as the ESF need to sanction them and then get on with the practicality of the London ESF gathering.

Can the ESF, that’s all of us, get back on a level with our collective hope and dreams… the SWP/GR are universally hated by a large majority of the alternative globalisation movement if they are seen to be at the centre of the ESF it WILL BE SERUASLY WEAKEND. Can they not be quite so blatant in there manipulations… and let some other voices into the monotony that is the current “dialogue”.

I for one wont the SWP/GR and the mare of London involved in the ESF process if another world is possible we have to start with the one that is here and now and that dose include them.

Hamish Campbell

UPDATE: the end of the process

Hi ESF organisers,

What should we do at the European meeting on the 6-7th? The 2004 UK European Social Forum will probably go ahead in a bastardised stunted form unless some fresh air and creative energy can be brought into the process. The current “Organising Committee” was concocted in secret, forced through a meeting by acclamation and is clearly/practically designed to exclude thoughts who aren’t mates of the GLA and SWP/Globalise Resistance. This small minority have by there dogmatic/manipulative view of alt-politics made the 2004 UK ESF process in to a farce.

It’s hard to know what can be done at the European ESF meeting, as these people have long experiences of packing meetings, manipulating chairs, imposing agendas and telling lies through nit-picking truth. With no dialogue between the different groups this meeting cannot achieve anything.

* Can the organising process be opened or is this a lost minority course? Perhaps the positive way forward here is to get good facilitation for the European meeting. Is it at all possible to make this happen?

* The question must be asked and answered – are the these lying/cheating/stealing comrades even part of the movement which we are all loosely part of?

Is the ESF process a space for people who – lie, cheat and steal?

* Lieing – they keep calling for openness were everything they create is closed.

* Cheating – the chars they continually install have no mandate for consensus all key decisions are decided before the meetings begin.

* Steeling they couldn’t get a consensus on there “organising committee” structure, and refused to listen to the many alternatives, so imposed one by packing a meeting and passing their motion by “acclamation” when it is explicitly stated in the WSF principals that decisions CAN NOT BE MADE BY ACLAMATION for this very reason of groups stealing the process.

This small anti-democratic clique have pushed through there agenda ending the stale mate they created in the first place so as to close the process down to them and there mates. It will now be very difficult to work with them to open up the ESF process as if they do they risk loosing all credibility. Realise this and having long experiences of lieing/cheating/stealing they have castrated the ESF to keep their domination as they cannot quietly dominate it. I feel that if the process can be opened in even small ways they themselves and there authoritarian tactics will be gradually sidelined… they will be, in true ESF spirit, one voice amongst many.

“What is to be done”

Hamish Campbell

ESF practicalities/culture/media working groups


F K off and do it your self page from 13 10 2010

Published Date 10/17/12 2:35 AM

F***K off and do it your self

This is a humorous response page to many quires we get.

This project is radically decentralized so you will be continuously disappointed and dis-empowered if you keep asking permission before you do things. LINK

And if you continuously need the “centre” to mediate communication between you and other members of the project then you will achieve very little and leave disappointed. As the “centre” will not do this beyond the first contact and occasional chase-up.

Its up to YOU to fallow things threw, we fallow the philosophy of “fail, then fail better” as a creative strategy, so the only way to keep involved is to embrace this.

So “just do it” to quote the famous capitalist enterprise (;


Interesting for me look at were how we started our project from 13 04 2008

Published Date 10/17/12 2:12 AM

It started as a mashup…


We have everything in place currently to run the channel and scale it up to 100K’s viewers and when the funding comes through we can pay to expand the infustructer to make the channel independent from copurte structures and scalable to much wider ardencies.

Building VisionOnTV

Here is a list of the resources we use to build VisionOnTV – its important to note that in our use of courpute infrustter we have a back up that can be brought into place to replace any part of the system – the advantage of copuret solutions is that they mean we can get on with building the thing we are good at rather than become bogged down in the technical backend infrastructure. But this independent infustructer is in place in the long term as we need it.

The key choice that is needed when the funding comes through is our CMS which will run the web front end of the project and the social networking for the content and channels.

VisionOnTV (FREE GPL) player app – a customised version of the open source MIRO media player projected 7 million downloads this year. We are paying a very talented programmer to work on this important open source project.

Feeburner (FREE COPUERATE) gives us very reliable RSS feeds with good user stats so we can know who and how people are watching our content. Feebuner takes the strain off our independent infrastructure so that we can expand rapidly with out worrying about scalability. We use a PRO feature to retain ownership of the URL of our feeds if we need to leave Goggle for what ever resion.

Feeddigester (PAY SMALL BUSSNES) allows us to publish on multiple hosting options and have it all come out seamlessly on one RSS feed. It empowers us to mix and match hosting from free streaming sights such as Blip to torrent sights such as VUZE, Broadcast Mashion and our owen CMS and torrent hosting ???? Feeddigest also gives us very esey to use and flexible imbed codes to create RSS widgets on partner websites and in our own CMS. Our owen CMS can replace feeddigester if needbe.

XBTITEAM (GPL and low cost PAYED HOSTING) torrent server alwes us to be independent from copurate hosting solutions and allowing full length HD quality downloads to millions of people vier our VisionOnTV player application. This gives us independence. We have a friendly cheap installing/support and hosting option for this for the people who write the software. P2P torrent streaming is coming on-stream which should allow us to move off free corporate streaming servers if/when we need to.

Broadcast Masion (FREE GPL) was our orional CMS which handealed torrents and direct downloads – we are retiring this and moving onto a new CMS as support has been discontinued for BM.

New CMS (GPL, hosted on own servers) – we cant make the desion on which CMS to go with till we have funding to pay the developer currently we have a choes of two CMS Druple or Life Ray both fully furfill our needs and have advantages. We have 2 seprut experienced developers ready to build us a druple web sight, still haven’t found a developer for Liferay yet. It will take 4-6 weeks to build the new front end/backend CMS

Greennet (PAY) currently we host our HTML web frount end on our greennet server we still have quite a bit of copaserty before we need to upgrade this

BlipTV (FREE) is our current streaming and direct dowenload host. We post to blip vier tubemogal with a channel tag, we then take a custom RSS feed of this tag from blip into feedigest which mashes it with the other RSS feeds from the channel posting hosts and passes it to feeburner were it is turned into a standard compliant media RSS feed with inclushers for the VisionOnTV app and other RSS podcatchers/feedreaders.

Greennet (PROBONO) we have a pro-bonoa PRO account (normally $500 a month) on Tubemogal which allows us to simultaneously upload to the 12 top free video hosting sights and track downloads and usage on each sight. This gives us huge distribution around the web with a single easy upload.

Vuez (FREE) easy to use torrent hosting we can use for user uploading and hosting, aspesherly useful for longer films and by technically inexperienced video producers.

Godday (PAY) alwes us to cheaply and easily setup domain forwards to all our channel pages so that you can access them all by a simple and memorable URL. Godday is a bit of a weakness and when funding comes through and the channel starts to grow we will move the domains to a more “political” reliable hosting company. But for know they give very easy access to all the feature we need to make thing work in a fast and flexible way.

Blix (THEY PAY US) we have a contract with Blix which is the largest video search engine in the world who will host and re-distribute all our videos to 12 major corporate search engines and add advertising on these search results which we get a 50/50 split of the revenue on these coupure sights. This will bring in revue for us and distribute the films much wider and as each film will have a link back to VisionOnTV. It outreachs to bring viewers to the better experience provided on by our own player app and streaming sight.

Youtube (THEY PAY US) we have a producer contract with youtube that means we get a share of the advertising revenue generated on there sight and on youtube embeds of our videos. We have over 700,000 video streams on youtube over the last year and XXXX subscribers. The advertismsts from Blix and youtube only appear on sight outside the VisionOnTV project – they will never appear on our pages or in our player app.

Shows (FREE) We have sponsorship in place already to cover the cost of some of our more outreach shows. AZ-of bushcraft and On the push, with a film deal in place for our show living in the future. Sustainability is falling into place for content producers, what they need from us is the widest distribution.





Some thoughts on project infrastructure.

We aim to give radical filmmaker the wides distribution possible of there content. The films we publish are distributed to over 30 web locations and are hosted on 10-15 different hosting partners to give both maximum distribution and inshore reliable hosting and robustness agenst censorship of our more radical ant-corporate content.

Redundancy of publishing Because of the way the RSS feeds are setup we can mix and match our publishing to any hosting source as needed in the case of censorship or losing a hosting source. We currently host our project blogs on and have backup RSS publishing pages there that are mashed into our channel RSS feeds as a backup if for any reason the are problems posting other ways – we aim to have at least 4 ways to publish to Visionontv. Our CMS, blip tag (vier tubemogal or direct), blogspot and our own torrent tracker.

Cloud computing or our own servers?

During the setup phase we have been using our own existing server at greennet and this should be scaleable up to a few hundred thousand viewers after this we need to think about switching to Amazon cloud hosting and storage using VM’s – the are pros and cons of this approach. As it will be built with VM it will be relatively simple to move out of the cloud into our own hosting if necessary for “political” resion and the use of torrents for media storage means that this is feasible which still reaching out to a huge ordeance. Our prooferd option is to build the project in the cloud and then deal with the possible issues as they come up – this will allow effortless scalability while having a safe fallback encase of censorship or corporate presser.

We are building the project so that it can scale and adapt fast and its is secure and independent.


A post from 19 09 2009 The is a whole load of fake citizen journalism going on

Published Date 10/17/12 1:47 AM

The is a whole load of fake citizen journalism thought going on in this debate Basically “professionals” here see citizen journalism as a way of getting raw material so that they can do “real” journalism on the cheap. But the role of the paid professional journalist is almost eliminated in the digital world as the institutions that support them are bankrupt. In the digital world people do media because they won’t to, not because they are paid to, paid too in the digital world is a hard sell and getting harder. It’s the nature of digital process, not a moral or social choice, people make this mistake – technology shapes our society – so make the most of it. Your old jobs you aspire to are finished, fading fast. If you won’t to be a journalist you need to re-create the profession which isn’t the same as defending the old profession.

Get to it

UPDATE: traditional media is learning to becoming the contemporary media and shaping the new in the image of the past…


Post from 29 03 2009 it is a technological project which can only come out of a community project

Published Date 10/17/12 1:13 AM

Our project is basically about technological standards – It isn’t about what people do with these standards – the standards them selves lean in the direction we politically desire inherently.

And these technological standards will not be brought about by technology, but the social use of technology, so we are creating a community of people around these standards – and it is this community that will create the technological standard. The technology by it self is powerless and will wither with out being embraced by an active and affective community.

So to repeat it is a technological project, which can only come out of a community project. If we treat it as only one of these (as people commonly do, then neither will work).


Dyslexia a curse or a gift

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


Life at London new media and independent broadcasting NUJ

Published Date 10/7/12 6:28 PM

Reflections on looking around the room at the 2012 NUJ DM conference – The union is by far the most democratic I have found, but this democracy is embedded in a deeply ingrained bureaucratic tradition. The is the establishment who have to keep the day to day of the union, there largely invisible agenda is hidden by the need to keep the whole thing running. Then the are a group pushing an agenda that is clearly rejected by the majority of the union that takes up a lot of time, they then feel victimised and build conspiracy around what seams to be mostly inefficiency. If they were building “transparency” I would support them much more actively if they were constructing… The problem is that they criticizes and add bureaucracy to a already over bureaucratic union.

The outcome of all this is much smoke and noise with little accountability, so as a newcomer you are put in the uncomfortable position of largely supporting the powers that be. And the root needs for change and renewal are lost from the conversation and decisions of the union. 


A personal perspective of trade union organising the NUJ DM

Published Date 10/6/12 12:13 AM

Some feeling about my personal experience of old school democratic trade unionism.

Friday Night

Had an interesting, disquieting conversation tonight at a social event after the work of the NUJ delegate meeting. I had been visiting the delegate meeting room every so often to dip in to try and engage with the process, and each time I had failed, due to bad sound, complex and obscure timing, and the opaque and ritualistic language used. Being me I looked around for a space were I could help out and found the students making media about the event – joined in there and worked with different students to make and distribute 6 video reports that day.

Back to the conversation in the bar, the overly serious youthfull man I was talking to, seemed surprised and a bit disapproving of my action. His convincing argument was that I had been mandated and “paid” to participate in the DM process, travel, accommodation and food being covered by the union. Its a strange feeling for a horizontal like me am I obliged to do work through this process?

Am more interested if the traditional union is flexible enough to work with a diversity of strategy as the current one is simply inappropriate for many people’s view of a contemporary union. As I see it my “work” at the DM is to see if I can work in this space and perhaps more importantly can this space work with me and people like me. The old problematic divide between the horizontal and the virticalist, think, the NUJ might be one of the few union’s that has wiggle space, we will see.


I’try again to engage with what am now appreciating is “power politics” the ritualistic fight for notice, resources and power. After a nights sleep, understanding, of my own aversion, and the democratic nature of this anti-consensuses process. Today it is the funding debate, get up early to be there on time, lets try and make it work as good to respect the attempt.

Going better, helps to talk to my fellow delegate sitting next to me. Much of the noise has the flavourer of sectarian infighting. By asking members you CAN find your way around the process. But its a Q. of motivation to engage and stay engaged. Is this the best we can do as the left?