Minutes of the first proper Indymedia meeting to take place since May 2005. This meeting formed the first (brain-storming) part of a proposal on the imc-ireland mailing list by a list subscriber to "have an organizing conference in September to deal with important outstanding issues surrounding the running of indymedia.".
The meeting began with each participant introducing themselves and stating their involvement in Indymedia. It was then pointed out by the chair that there was too much on the agenda for a two-hour meeting so a discussion began as to what the priorities for the meeting should be.
12:30 Wider Collective:
The current theoretical structure was outlined but it's not currently working as it was originally envisioned. Problems with the current structure were then identified and barriers to getting involved were noted on the flip chart:
After the problems had been identified, participants were asked to brainstorm with suggestions to solve the problems as outlined above. To ensure that the meeting remained a productive one, participants were asked not to criticise other suggestions but to focus on presenting their own. They were asked to begin their sentence with “One thing that we can do is ...”:
For this section the participants of the meeting broke up into three groups each dealing with a question relating to the issues of gender and sexism:
1) What can be done to increase women's participation?
(As reported and minuted by James)
2) What is sexism and how is it experienced?
(As reported and minuted by R)
Sexism is when people are treated differently because of their sex/gender
In an indymedia context we felt that the perception of sexism is enough to convince people of a real sexism on behalf of the indymedia collective even when this is not the case. This perception is encountered in threads where people make agresssive accusations of sexism. This may turn some women away from becoming more involved as contributors or editors.
One person felt that indymedia.ie needs to be more proactive in dealing with the perception of sexism, by directly responding to accusations and encouraging women to get involved.
We felt that while the gender balance of the indymedia collective is obviously a problem, it is symptomatic of an activist community in which men are generally in the majority. Regular contributors to indymedia are predominantly male.
Perhaps women are deterred from becoming more involved in indymedia due to the assumption of gender roles, i.e. by assuming they wouldn't be abe to do any of the technical stuff necessary.
We were also concerned with tokenism, i.e. putting more women onto the editorial collective merely because they were women, without addressing the wider cultural and institutional problems.
Someone also remarked about the length of the procedure necessary for people to become editors, perhaps this needs to be made more transparent.
3) What Are The Barriers To Women In Indymedia?
(As reported and minuted by Ray)
13:40 Email List
The last item on the agenda was the running of the email lists. As we were short of time, we went directly to suggestions for improving the working of the email lists. The following problems and suggestions came up.
Finally, it was agreed that all proposals based on this brain-storming session would be discussed on the imc-ireland list. All formal proposals should be submitted to the imc-ireland list for consideration at the next meeting.
James volunteered to collate the agenda for the next meeting and if collating similar proposals would get the permission of the original proposers beforehand.
It was agreed that anyone making a proposal will have to physically present to present their proposal at the next meeting. If they are unable to attend themselves, they will have to organise a proxy to attend on their behalf.
It was then suggested that editors should discuss in the mean-time whether consensus or voting would be used for decision-making at the next meeting. Editors would have to agree on the standing orders before the meeting takes place regarding decisions running the site.
It was suggested that the Dublin collective should meet once a month as a separate entity.
It was agreed that minutes of this meeting will be posted to the Indymedia newswire. As the subject of the article includes how the site is run or could be run, commenting on editorial policy will be allowed but all other editorial guidelines will be enforced rather than having a repeat of the previous article on Indymedia where a lot of abuse was tolerated. It was also agreed that proposals for the next meeting could be discussed on the newswire report of this meeting.
It was agreed that the next real world meeting would take place on 7th October 2006.