Indymedia is an open, anti-hierarchical, horizontally structured network which, contrary to the mainstream/ institutional Media does not function aiming at financial benefit . We do not seek to substitute for institutional Media nor to fill the information gaps that they allow for. We don't pursue any kind of relation with them nor any reconciliation.
Our aim is not alternative journalism.
Speaking of alternative journalism, we mean this kind of journalism which, in contrast with the dominant tendency, settle with simply providing a qualitatively different kind of information, which might in some points have a "competitive" anti-capitalistic content, but in no case do they endorse this philosophy as a starting point.
Our anticapitalistic action does not restrain in IMC, on the contrary IMC resulted from it. We consider Thessaloniki s IMC to be a part of our general action. It is important that we invite everyone to participate, not only by contributing their thoughts and judgements but also by suggesting anti-sovereign action in the real ground, wishing to avert the reproduction of the two different roles , those of journalists and viewers ,and to propose anti-information and active participation. Such an attempt, having originated from the principles mentioned above, could inevitably be no other than an independent and anti-hierarchical attempt.
But what does "independent" mean ?
It does not, under no circumstances, mean politically neutral.
To start with, it suggests that it encourages the participation of independent, autonomous people, because this is the only way for them to ensure their collective, independence-autonomy. This presupposes that the interactive participation and contribution of those people squares with their will and attempt to realise and achieve a generally self-organised and independent way of living
Participating in IMC, should not be viewed as an debt one should pay to a revolutionary process external to the IMC, nor of course should it be thought of as an occasion for journalistic charity. On the contrary, it should be considered as a way of life, consciously selected by one person. As a result, we are able to conceive of the fundamental features of the IMC, those consisting its foundation principles, namely the anti-hierarchical-horizontal structure and the faith in financial and ideological independence.
IMC, should not only keep clear from the institutions, an attempt that boils down to refusing cooperation with institutional organizations, political parties etc. Above all, "unauthorized" means being against the official institutions.
IMC, should hold the opposition to any kind of hierarchy not only as a way of functioning internally, but most importantly of all, they should propagate the anti hierarchic practices to the society. Hence, it is not sufficient for the people who participate in the IMC simply to act in an anti-hierarchic way, but also that they seek to put this conduct in practice, so much in their political action, as in their every day life.
Our purpose considering Thessaloniki IMC is to use it as a place ( electronic or real) of exchanging ideas and information, a place of communication between individuals and groups from the Greek, Balkan and European area and not only. We regard it as a piece of action resisting the global capitalistic system and its structures, the suppression and humiliation of human beings, the destruction of nature ,sexism, racism and nationalism. On the contrary, we put forward self-organization and anti-hierarchy, anti-authoritarian action, solidarity and creative confrontation, pursuing the social liberation.
About the link between Indymedia and social movements, we consider that Indymedia resulted from the protestors need for a different kind of information, opposite to the one provided by the institutional media and liberated from the agency of the so called "leaders" and "contractors" of each movement. Indymedia is the grassroots of self- informed people.
Nor can IMC be separate from the social movements and the places (countries, streets, cities, social centers, factories, jungles) where these movements conflict with power. No movement is static. All of them are dynamic, subject to evolution and change, they gr1ow stronger or they lose their hopes, they are sure for what they want or they are trapped in the leaders promises, they fight against system or they try to reform it, the most important is that they develop with time. IMCs that are separated from movement procedures and don t affect or get affected from social struggles are doomed to social isolation.
Indymedia being part of the competitive movement is the ability of building communities locally and globally, communities with the potential of becoming a force of controversy.
Indymedia should constitute a danger to the system. As the history shows, the authorities always try to assimilate what they can t suppress. Indymedia is in target. (See European Peripheral Magazines Conference in Lund which is sponsored by the Swedish Government and where some IMC from Europe have already accepted to participate).
It is a widely shared point of view which suggests that by handing the anticapitalistic material of imc over to the commercial media which cover a greater range of the total of the population , we manage through this indirect but think, how clever( !) way, to sensitise the society , meaning to get people start thinking and acting in an anti- system way .(this the point of view accepted by many people from the whole of the European imc and which was first presented in the imc Europe meeting in Berlin ,18-20 January .2002 )
"In this way we manage to exploit media "was a popular argument to the question, " Do you agree with the promotion of anticapitalistic material through the dominant media ?"
The argument itself does not seem that convincing, considering that it is not that easy to deceive the institutional media enterprises and make them play the game on our side against their own interest .
This naive point of view overlooks the crucial question : why do the commercial media want imc s material ? It is clear that this material has content opposite to the reason the institutional - commercial media have for existing. Functioning the way they do, imc aim to the abolition of companies, of multinational media and of course of the hierarchical structures of working conditions.
The answer might not, after all, be so obvious ..
Finally, which is the reason that imc nets were created in the first place, could it be to advance our material through institutional media ? This is the second point where we can spot another contradiction. Maybe what happens is that the dominant institutional media are the ones that make use of us, and that they will make a full attempt to achieve this in the future
In most, imc can be thought of as : a collective of independent media organizations, hundreds of journalists activists and organizations suggesting grassroots along with a non - corporate , non commercial coverage of important social and political issues.
We would like to invite you in an open discussion on those topics via internet. We believe that we have the potential to develop indymedia a lot.
For the grace of bringing this discussion about, permit us to set some questions, as the main subjects of our consultation.
One of our worries is the attitude of imc towards the commercial media, non-government organizations, parties etc . another issue of equal importance, is the financial problem and the evaluation of the different ways of funding and financial support.(selling videotapes , interviews , donations. )
Finally, there is a lot of discussion on the relation of imc with the anticapitalistic movement, and how it is possible for indymedia net to be an essential part of this struggle and not just a tool.
We will be glad to receive your thoughts about all the above.
With struggle regards,
The editorial group of IMC of Thessaloniki,
Original version : http://thessaloniki.indymedia.org/firstletter.php3