Many users of the UK Indymedia site will have seen some strange changes over the past week and may be confused over what is going on on the site. This is an attempt to explain what is going on behind the scenes as briefly as possible. Of course, it is our own version of events and others may dispute it.
First of all, it is important to realise that the Nottingham site isn’t going to change at all. We will still be here and our feeds will still appear on the Be the Media site. They disappeared from the UK site for a few days but appear to be working again today.
When it was set up, the UK Indymedia site was the site of a London-based collective which later split up into a network of local collectives. Over time, political disagreements and interpersonal conflicts led to a total breakdown of that network as a body that could make decisions together. This was formalised in the final meeting of the network in Bradford last year. Two competing ideas for the site existed that were not mutually compatible. Because all attempts to come to an agreement over the future of the site had failed, a decision was made to ‘fork’ the site into two separate projects. In the minutes these are referred to as Group A and Group B and which have since become known as Mayday and Be the Media. The minutes note that ‘Everything has to be done by the first of May’. After this date, neither group would be permitted to use the domains indymedia.org.uk or uk.indymedia.org or call themselves UK Indymedia. In other words, the decision lay the groundwork for the closure of not just the UK network but also the UK Indymedia site:
We accept to archive www.indymdia.org.uk, indymedia.org.uk and uk.indymedia.org and indymedia.co.uk as static html with a banner on
top of each page that says along the gist of “this a archived version of the site For a active version of this page go to a.indymedia.org, there is also the aggregator at b.indymedia.org.”
There will be splash page at / that links to the archive site, site a.indymedia.org and b.indymedia.org
We agree that henceforth noone can call themselve Indymedia UK, UK network and UK collective anymore.
- Minutes of Bradford UK network meeting, Dec 2010
Nottingham Indymedia was broadly aligned with the Be The Media collective, but we agreed to support the Mayday collective’s new Indymedia application.
In April, the Mayday collective disputed that the 1st May deadline still applied because the Mayday collective’s New IMC application did not look like it would pass before that date. All prospective Indymedia collectives have to go through the New IMC Process in order to be accepted into the network. The minutes refer to a.indymedia.org and b.indymedia.org. Since Mayday did not have an Indymedia subdomain, they claimed that the Bradford agreement did not apply. A feature explaining the implications of the fork was blocked by members of the Mayday collective because they did not agree that it was accurate. No resolution to this disagreement seemed possible and 1st May approached with Mayday aiming to continue maintaining the UK site and Be the Media aiming to implement the fork.
On 1st May, the Mayday collective did not implement the fork. Be the Media claimed that they had broken the Bradford agreement and implemented some of the changes specified in the Bradford agreement (archiving UK Indymedia and putting up a splash page to link to Mayday and Be the Media sites). Mayday called this ‘an attempt to shutdown UK Indymedia’ and undid the changes. They have also blocked administrative access to UK Indymedia to all members of Be the Media.
Those who want to know more about the ongoing events surrounding this disagreement should look at the UK Process list archives.
We hope that the situation can be resolved and that both projects can continue in independence from one another.