Anne was involved in indymedia, a project so amazing she wants to publish a collective memory.
To that end, she has sent a few of us* all a questionnaire. Here are my answers.
>>>> Who are you?
Some migrant. In a previous life I was involved in fair trade and other Christian community volunteering. I read a book on international trade that radicalised me and I thought that writing more books would raise more awareness. Then I came over to London and I was involved in reclaim the streets, from where the indymedia group forked. I was then involved in indymedia UK, then in indymedia London and also for a time in new-imc and even imc-process and listwork.
>>>> How and why did you get involved with Indymedia?
I thought all we needed to do to convince the whole worlds people to change their way of life so that the obscene abysmal differences of life standards between the poorest and the not-so-poor would disappear, would be to tell every one about those differences and their causes (like that book had awakened my conscience). As soon as I heard about what some people were doing in indymedia UK (then just in London), I just wanted to join them to make it happen or at least facilitate that others would write.
>>>> What was the most impressive moment during that time?
Working 24 hours non-stop reporting/facilitating/helping to report mayday 2001, in a squat, getting food from the communal cooking.
>>>> What was the most impressive event?
The Guardian copying our time line verbatim (and crediting it!)
>>>> What’s your best and what’s your worst memory?
The best was a day of action where we were in an office doing a radio stream, it may have been mayday 2002. The worst was the collapse of indymedia UK
>>>> What was the most annoying debate? Was is worth it?
Whether to hide or not an article by some alleged nazi. Of course it wasn’t worth it.
>>>> Have we lost or have we won?
It doesn’t matter. What matters is have we acted according to our principles. What matters is at one point we made the choice to stand up for justice and fairness and at least for a time we lived up to that choice and we put our hearts and sould on it.
>>>> Have we changed the world? How?
Every day. Interacting. Even if it is just interacting with our parents. That changes them and when they admire us for it, it is beautiful.
>>>> Would the world (of media) have changed just the same without Indymedia?
Hmm don’t they say Indymedia was the mother of all blogs? It was indymedia that invented and made possible open publishing, that anyone with a computer and an internet connection could publish their words and even their media to the world. Then the rest of the world caught up.
>>>> Did it matter? Does it matter?
Not to the mainstream media. But we never cared about them anyway, did we. It matters to learn that whatever there is an alternative to the existing that is valid, every one will then want to adopt it, and mainstream capitalism will then find a way to profit from it.
>>>> Were you proud when CNN introduced it’s ((i))
logo and the ‘I report’ citizen journalism thingy, or did you cringe?
I guess I cringed at the appropriation of an alternative by the mainstream, but that will always happen when the alternative is successful. In the UK, the police appropriated the phrase ‘reclaim the streets’ and I never heard an outrage. We don’t like private property so we refuse to own our words and our logos, and in this world managed by psychopaths you know that when you share out some one will profiteer from your generosity.
>>>> Looking back what do you think about Indymedia today?
It was a true experiment, a rehearsal of how we wanted to organise society after, or apart from, capitalism, but we failed the consensus decision making test and hopefully we learnt our lesson, which the new generation/s may or may not want to learn from.
>>>> What do you think about media activism today?
Media activism will be necessary for as long as there are injustices and unfairness. Doing it only on your spare time is not sustainable in the long run, however, and to make it sustainable, you need to sell out – to make a living out of it. But then as soon as we mentioned what we did for indymedia on a CV, we are selling out and living off the back of other people’s free work aren’t we…
>>>> What about the state of media activism and current projects?
I like that they exist and that they keep people active in activism. I wish I had access and energy to continue travelling around, reporting, doing cool things. But it may be time to settle down, who knows.
>>>> About yourself: (If you don’t want to answer these, fine)
>>>> Are you still an activist?
I think so. I have a blog in network23 and I’m writing a few books, and hey I’m a publisher! (Is that a publisher an activist?)
>>>> A hacker? A tech activist?
I give the occasional workshop on how to encrypt emails using Thunderbird.
>>>> How has Indymedia influenced what you’re doing now?
Maybe it gave me the assurance that ‘it can be done’. But generally, every single experience has taken me to what I am doing now, and indymedia was one long and intense experience.
>>>> What _are_ you doing now?
I’m writing too many blogs. Most of them are anonymous. Two of them want to be the embryo of as many other books, the first one will/should be about Marie Vesco who died in front of me while riding her bike, on our way to an anti-weapons demonstration; hopefully this book will serve two objectives, to tell her parents what she was doing in London and tell the ‘world’ that another way of living, another type of mini society inside a big city, is not only possible but it actually happened around her.
Also, I went to Palestine, wrote a diary and published it as a book, and currently keep distributing it. I go to hacker places too, and to the occasional critical mass.
>>>> Would you share what you know with other activists?
That has always been part of my activism Doing indymedia always consisted of sharing information by publishing it and/or teaching each other how to make media, wasn’t, isn’t it?
>>>> Is it ok if someone contacts you directly?
Posting a comment on this blog sends me an email.
>>>> What can you share?
Everything except my privacy, and with my permission.
* by all means if you happen to have been involved in indymedia and want to answer this questionnaire and be included in this collective memoir gathering please post a comment here indicating if you’d rather it left unpublished, and it will be collected with the rest of the memoirs anonymised if you want.