I'm writing a lot because I can't come to the meeting today. I hope you'll consider my concerns.
I for one want OccupyMedia - like all groups of the Occupy Movement - to set an example for how objective media should work in an openly democratic society. It's for us to prove - without submission, that media can be independent and exist without spin. If we are afraid of how others will spin us, we will be playing mainstream media's game, and it's a game they've created and perfected.
There are going to be groups of people in the 99% that we each disagree with. If we start editing out voices now, then we are deciding that we're the de facto shapers of the movement to the outside world. When has the GA decided not to heckle?
Our movement does not advocate violence, but we certainly advocate strong feelings in an overtly numb society.
I think anger and depression alike are - for some of the 'walking dead' - necessary steps to waking up to the murder and tyranny trickled down to each of us from corporations and the wealthy oligarchy. We have a lot to be angry about. And the NYPD is well known for its corruption and abuse of power.
The people have a responsibility to remind their police force who they work for. I'm not saying heckling is the best way to do this - but its a debate we should cover. How are different occupiers, city officials, and police forces interacting - why the tension, what works and what doesn't... etc.
There are going to be videos of protesters heckling, being violent, engaging in illegal activity no matter what. I think we risk looking petty if we ignore factions we personally disagree with. I don't think we will ever look petty as long as we show, debate, discuss, and include in our media proportionate amounts of all our voices. In fact, we will look stronger if we confront the obvious disparity in our movement early on. In fact - I think our growing army of scattered and autonomous voices is exactly our strength.
Just as the GA aims to set the standard for an inclusive, transparent, and objective government, I believe the Media Team should aim to set the standard for an inclusive, transparent and objective media force.
This sounds idealistic - but that's exactly what this movement is - we're experimenting with fully living up to our ideals.
On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 3:48 PM, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2011 15:19:20 -0400
Subject: Re: [GlobalRevolutionMedia] we the people have found our voice
There is enough spin & smear about OWS without us providing target practice for them.
Objective journalism is a myth.
Media ethics exist within a bias.
The collective message is our ethic.
In short: of course we should not include police heckling, it adds nothing to the cause & makes us look petty.
Anger is for the weak-minded.
Sent from iP
I for one do not think we should include the police heckling. Though I laugh at how much money is being used to police this action and they were very underhanded and over handed in the first 3 weeks. I know that is not what we are about and it might play into the outside medias ability to portray us a certain way. Though they will do whatever they want any way.
But we do not want to condone it because we are setting a tone of behavior for people who are not even here yet. People who have not come to the park and joined. People who have never been at a protest before. We attract what we show on our promo videos. So do we want people to come because they want to heckle the police.
Just a thought.
On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 2:40 PM, Katie Davison <email@example.com>
Agreed. And as someone whose been arrested and encountered violence on the part of the NYPD over the last 3 weeks, I absolutely understand that anger. I am advocating moral and ethical high ground. I am not, however, saying we should silence voices.
This is a much larger conversation that has been developing for some time and needs to be addressed asap.
I will be sending out a draft of the media charter soon and am hoping we can all get on the same page to present it to the GA by end of week.
Weigh in remotely if you can.
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Tue, 11 Oct 2011 14:06:04 -0400
I agree with much of what you're saying Katie, but I do have some ethical concerns and counterpoints.
I think there's a way to include all voices - even the most angry and the most tame, while representing the majority in the middle proportionately.
I didn't see any violence in the video, and I believe anger toward the NYPD is valid, though I do agree that we should also make videos that try to get police forces on our side.
The movement may eventually risk subgroups breaking away if the Media Team / website does not represent everyone. I think we can figure out a way to do this responsibly and with the goals of the movement in mind.
I can't make the meeting today, but I'll be there all day tomorrow. Maybe we could wait a day or two before deciding whether or not to post this video? (This is a media group decision - right?)
SORRY if this debate is getting too nit-picky. It's not really about this particular video, it's more about the bigger conversation of the Media Team's purpose.
On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 1:26 PM, Katie Davison <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I agree with you on some level Kari, but we can not forget that what makes this different than anything prior to it is technology and social media. We have the capacity to work in outreach and movement building, i.e. go beyond purely documenting. I would argue that we have the responsibility to do so as a working group servicing the GA.
I want to discuss this further in today's meeting, but concerning heckling - that is not what this movement is about.
We are inclusive, not exclusive. We want to speak to the police in a way that makes them understand that they should join us.
I think heckling is irresponsible and childish on any protestor's part. That doesn't mean we can't archive a fair portrayal of what is actually happening on the ground, but posting things like that on our website implies that we support that kind of behavior... which feeds the negative portrayal of us that is already floating around in the mainstream media.
We have a responsibility to be better than that... this is about a fundamental value system underlying our Declaration of Solidarity.
Our media team and messaging should be reflective of that value system.
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Tue, 11 Oct 2011 12:57:09 -0400
Katie's concern speaks to something Abe brought up at yesterday's meeting: what are we doing?
Are we purely documenting, representing all our voices and messages? Or are we promoting / framing a more specific message?
I personally like the documentary approach. I think videos of heckling police officers and more radical forms of resistance can and should be balanced with videos of meditation groups, overtly aggressive cops, and all non-radical resistance.
I think the OccupyMedia Teams messages should be as scattered as the Occupy Wall Street Movement. And that - like the movement - points of unification will naturally emerge as we begin to work in larger numbers on longer term projects.