The People’s Media Manifesto

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Do you ever wonder about the mass media you consume? Whether it is giving you the information you need to hear, or whether the corporate media is in the habit of hiding as much news from us as it reveals?

We live in a world with massive media conglomerates like News International and AOL Time Warner telling us everything we know about the world outside our own immediate social relations. Sites like Facebook and YouTube do exist, offering hope in the form of distributed information sharing networks. But both are corporately owned and may someday, if they do not already, exercise editorial control over the content on their sites, just as Google Groups allegedly deletes USENET posts from their archive on request from governments, the military, and media conglomerates. What is needed is a media network that is completely anti-corporate: anti-organisation, bottom up and distributed. This is the People’s Media manifesto.

The People’s media is a brand. Its brand logo is the green circle in the blue square. By having a logo the People’s Media have a brand identity. All People’s Media video files should start with the brand logo displayed for five seconds, to create a sense of brand identity to all People’s Media work. There are very few distributed, anti-capitalist, anti-organisational brands in existence, and there are certainly none in the media. If the People’s Media ever emerged as a media brand alongside the BBC or the New York Times, it would be an great achievement for those who wish to bring back control over the means of production of information and news to the democracy and wisdom of the crowd.

Anyone can work for the People’s Media, making films of any length. All you need is a DV camera and some black clothes. The People’s Media always wear all black clothes – this is also part of the brand identity. A well known way of organising people for rallies in a distributed way, to avoid the police from stopping you from meeting up, is known as the black block. European political dissidents used to organise in the 1920’s by wearing black clothes, and looking for other people wearing black clothes. Groups of people wearing black clothes would form, and would find each other and form larger groups, until eventually a black block would be formed, an impromptu rally, a block of people that had self-organised without the need for meeting places or leaders. The People’s Media, like the black block, is distributed and self-organising, and it wears black clothes as a mark of its anti-organisational belief system.

To start with, the People’s Media should post their material to YouTube. As interest in the brand grows, and more people start creating content for it, a USENET group should be set up for community discussion and for posting links to People’s Media content hosted all over the Internet. The People’s Media should aim never to own a website or domain, in keeping with its distributed, anti-organisation structure.

What should the People’s Media report on? Well, that is for the people to decide. It must be said that many people will read this and never make a People’s Media film. Then again, many people see adverts for political protests and don’t bother attending. By the same token, some people see adverts for protest marches and do attend, even if London is several hours away by coach. It is these kinds of people who could and should use the People’s Media. If they did, the People’s Media would grow into an anti-capitalist media brand, reporting from anti-war rallies and G8 summits. If you like making films, making your films People’s Media films will eventually mean they are more likely to be watched by people, who are likely eventually to start searching for People’s Media content on the Internet, and so are more likely to come across your material. Whilst initially likely to appeal to activists, once established in the mainstream the People’s Media will naturally change in nature. It will truly have entered the mainstream when the first People’s Media pop video is produced.

Start making a mark! Create the People’s Media!

Majid Salim

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