The Declaration of Indypendence¶
The Lancaster Pennsylvania Independent Media Center (“LPIMC”) is an alternative not-for profit (non-commercialized) amplifier for civilian media and community action in and surrounding the Susquehanna Valley Region. We hereby declare that the media should be for the people, by the people.
The LPIMC believes well organized and empowered communities are much more effective in determining their own fates than any state or non-government organization. It is also our view that an increasingly profit-driven and centralized corporate media is contrary to the common good and the founding principles of Democracy; therefore, our primary goal as an organization is enabling people to have increased access to information, information technologies and enhanced control over their personal lives and its determinants through an inclusive and sustainable democratic civilian-styled media infrastructure.
The LPIMC utilizes media for grassroots-style organizing and information sharing. We give illumination to unique local celebrations, festivals and other happenings. LPIMC also offers a forum for media reform and the amplification of eclectic public perspectives on the continuum of issues and injustices that are important to the community in some way, especially those that threaten the dignity and wellbeing of individuals and populations, affect or disregard the common good, or have been marginalized, distorted and otherwise ignored entirely by the mainstream media.
LPIMC is committed to growing a civic multi-media network that is locally focused, decentralized, sustained by community volunteers, regionally and globally connected, culturally diverse and founded upon egalitarian principles of decision-making and organization. We believe civilian journalism, while helping to set the stage for the advancement of socio-political consciousness, critical thinking and an increased awareness of eclectic viewpoints on important issues, will also have a long-term positive impact on the wellbeing of our community.
Article I Authenticities
Section 1. Name
a. Lancaster Pennsylvania Independent Media Center
b. Alternate spellings: LPIMC, Lancaster/PA-IMC, Lancaster-IMC and lancaster.indymedia
Section 2. Logo
a. The LPIMC logo is a derivative of the original ((( i ))) IMC logo.
b. The LPIMC logo is a hand-held antique lantern.
c. The lantern represents education, wisdom, enlightenment, informed dissent and the illumination of injustice.
Section 3. Office and Mailing Address
a. Office: 150 Rose Dr., Lancaster, PA 17602
b. Mailing Address: P.O. Box 934, Lancaster, PA 17608
Section 4. Domains
a. The LPIMC domain is lancasterimc.org
b. Community Archive as of 12/21/2007 is lancasterimc.wikispaces.com
c. Indymedia Documentation Project (Twiki): docs.indymedia.org/view/Local/ImcLancas...
d. LPIMC mirror domain is lpimc.indymedia.org
Section 5. Fiscal Year
The fiscal year for the LPIMC ends March 20th and begins March 21st.
Section 6. Fiscal Sponsorship
The LPIMC fiscal sponsor is The New Society Educational Foundation (NSEF), a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501©3 public foundation, P.O. Box 30947 • Philadelphia, PA 19104-0947.
Article II Purpose
Section 1. Vision
The Lancaster Pennsylvania Independent Media Center is a non-profit participatory media organization. Our vision is to broaden the spectrum of public knowledge, literacy and equality through the illumination of important issues as well as work with communities, schools and non-profit organizations to create a more equitable society.
Section 2. Strategies
LPIMC advocates free expression within the context of egalitarian values; the decommercialization of information; informed dissent through participatory forms of civilian journalism and independent media making; and focusing on issues and celebrations of local importance, and injustices wherever they occur.
Section 3. Resolutions
We have therefore resolved to:
a. Challenge the notion that news and information is simply a commodity to be pre-packaged and sold, and
b. Develop participatory democratic structures for the proliferation of free information based upon principles of mutual aid and solidarity, and
c. Demonstrate through our actions a commitment to value people and communities before profit, and
d. Use an internal language that 1: Does not need to be interpreted for others; 2: Does not isolate LPIMC members; or 3: Hinder the recognition of the organization’s contribution to the community, and
e. Work to develop a local decentralized network that is respectful of local communities and traditions and empowers individuals and groups to develop their own voice.
Section 4. Guiding Principles
To implement these strategies, all aspects of the LPIMC media commons and its community-actions must:
a. Advocate for a media commons based on autonomy and mutual-aid;
b. Invest in sustainable media, actions and infrastructure to address the determinants of all forms of injustice;
c. Build capacity for all independent media-makers, including non-Indymedia;
d. Develop youth leadership, fair practices, media research, and the expansion of literacy;
e. Collaborate within the network to enable equal opportunities to information and media-making resources;
f. Partner and build alliances with local non-profit organizations and the public to democratize the media and build a partnership society;
g. Hold local governments, individual public servants, the private and non-profit sectors accountable to the common good;
h. Enable citizens to communicate effectively their own stories, feelings of autonomy and dignity;
i. Provide free resources and other information that assist in the improved control over individual health, prosperity and an enhanced state of physical, mental and social well-being as well as the realization of personal aspirations;
j. Provide free resources and advocacy for eclectic concepts in sustainable living;
k. Develop participatory non-commercialized and collaborative events that reflect our egalitarian values and strategies as well as celebrate diversity and the creative spirit;
l. Promote non-violent solutions to conflicts-interpersonal, domestic and international;
m. Assist individuals and communities in a way that can increase the capability to adapt and cope with rapidly changing environments and technologies.
Article III Decision-making
A. Basic Format
Section 1. Principles of Consensus
a. LPIMC makes decisions via a structured egalitarian decision making process based on consensus.
b. The LPIMC reserves the right to use more flexible egalitarian decision making processes as long as they are: 1. non-authoritarian, and; 2. participatory and inclusive to all.
c. A more detailed description of the basic LPIMC meeting format can by found at: lancasterimc.wikispaces.com/consensus
B. Alternative Formats
A Spokes Council is generally called for whenever there are large gatherings with several groups represented. The alternative forms of consensus can be used or invoked depending on the level of contention in a given meeting.
Section 2. Consensus by Default
a. Consensus by default is a method of decision-making used in place of a more structured consensus process on Internet lists for decisions that will not have long term consequences nor threaten the future of the group, such as with promoting features on the Editorial list.
b. When consensus by default is used list members have 24 hours to respond once a proposal is submitted to the list.
c. No response up or down mean consensus by default.
d. More than two list members who post to the list in agreement means the proposal will move to consensus sooner than 24 hours.
e. If there is one block or stated concern the proposal must either be discussed by the list members for re-proposal or withdrawn if the concern cannot be adequately addressed.
Section 3. Spokes Council
a. The Spokes Council is generally used for larger gatherings, the annual reviewing processes, or regional IMC gatherings, and is the preferred method of organizational decision-making during times of fluctuation or internal strife within the organization.
b. The LPIMC Spokes Council consists of Coordinators and working group representatives.
c. The LPIMC reserves the right to invoke the Spokes Council whenever it deems necessary.
d. Invocation of the Spokes Council follows the basic guidelines presented in Section 5, “Invocation of Alternative Decision-making Formats.”
Section 4. Quorum
a. A quorum is a minimum number of LPIMC participants needed for consensus votes that will have lasting consequences for the organization.
b. A quorum equals 51 percent.
Section 5. Invocation of Alternative Decision-making Formats
a. Any active member of the General Assembly can invoke the Spokes Council or another alternative decision-making format prior to the beginning of facilitated meetings.
b. It is incumbent upon invoking members to present sound reasoning, along with at least two consenting LPIMC active members.
Article IV Organization
A. General Assembly
Section 1. General Assembly
The LPIMC General Assembly is composed of working groups, affiliate representatives and elected officers (coordinators and the treasurer).
Section 2. Working Groups
a. The LPIMC is composed of specialized teams called working groups.
b. Each working group has a particular set of roles and tasks necessary for the sustainability of the organization and must be represented during the General Assembly and the LPIMC Spokes Council.
Section 3. Coordinators
a. Coordinators are LPIMC representatives elected by General Assembly or Spokes Council.
b. Coordinators perform roles and tasks necessary to the sustainability of the organization.
c. Any active LPIMC member can become a Coordinator.
Section 4. Affiliation
a. LPIMC can affiliate with other local non-profit, non-commercial independent media or non-profit organizations dedicated and in some way related to participatory media, community building or media justice.
b. Affiliates can participate in the formal consensus decision-making process but cannot block a proposal.
Section 5. Fellowship
a. A fellowship relationship is much broader than affiliations and can also include private businesses, local government and non-profits not necessarily dedicated to media production or justice.
b. Fellowships cannot participate in formal consensus process.
Section 6. Internship
a. Internship with the LPIMC is a partnership with local schools, universities and qualifying non-profits.
b. Interns, like all LPIMC members, are classified under volunteer status and are therefore not paid for their fieldwork experience.
B. Working Groups
Section 7. Existing Working Groups
Section 8. Decision-making
a. Working groups function autonomously within the organization.
b. Working groups can decide to use other non-authoritarian decision-making processes as long as the group agrees.
Section 9. Statement of Purpose
Working groups should have a clear statement of purpose.
Section 10. Assessment
Working groups should assess their practices and documents on a regular basis.
Section 11. Membership
a. Anyone can join a working group.
b. Joining a working group does not require prior approval.
Section 12. Meeting Representative(s)
a. Working group members will rotate who will represent the group during the LPIMC General Assembly, Spokes Council or regional, national and global IMC communications.
b. Working group members acting as representatives must act in the collective interests of their group, rather than their own subjective viewpoints.
Section 13 List Moderation
At least two working group members must actively moderate the working group listserve.
Section 14. New Working Group Criteria
a. Must have a clear statement of purpose
b. Must establish a basic communication infrastructure.
c. Must fulfill a specific need that is not being met by current working groups.
d. Must have and be able to maintain a minimum of at least five active members.
e. Must obtain consensus approval during the general LPIMC meetings within the basic protocol for consensus.
Article V Membership
Section 1. Criteria for individuals
a. Fill out the membership form.
b. Join a working group and/or listserve.
c. Attend at least one meeting a month and/or be active in discussions via working group lists.
Section 2. Rights of Autonomy
a. LPIMC respects the rights of individual members to act as representatives of the organization within the community.
b. All individuals acting as representatives are expected to respect the autonomous rights of other LPIMC members by honoring the tradition of transparency and openness when reporting back to working groups and the General Assembly.
B. Criteria for joining the Global IMC Network
Section 3. IMCN Principles of Unity.
a. The LPIMC agreed “in spirit” to the IMCN Principles of Unity (POU).
b. The IMCN POU can be found at this url: lancasterimc.wikispaces.com/POU
Section 4. Global IMC Membership
a. The LPIMC has agreed to the Global IMC Membership Criteria Form.
b. The form can be found at this URL: lancasterimc.wikispaces.com/membership+...
C. Alternative membership
Section 5. Alternative membership
a. Alternative memberships are made through collaboration between prospective members and the coordinators.
b. Examples of circumstances that may permit alternative membership includes disability, chronic illness, injury or restricted mobility.
Article VI Policies and Guidelines
Section 1. Non-association /non-sectarian Status
LPIMC is not associated with any one particular cultural group, political movement, private or non-profit organization, religion, gender, government, political party or political figure.
Section 2. Editorial Guidelines
a. Editorial guidelines have been established in order to preserve free expression while simultaneously protecting the dignity of contributors and members.
b. The Editorial Working Group is responsible for enforcing, maintaining and re-evaluating editorial guidelines.
c. The Current Editorial Guidelines can be found at: lancasterimc.wikispaces.com/shortedpol
Section 3. List Protocols
Each working group list should have a clear protocol sent to subscribers with information about the list, how to post, where to unsubscribe and the basic norms and protocols for posting to the list.
Section 4. Notice of Fair Use Policy on the Website
Unless otherwise stated by the author, all LPIMC content is free for non-commercial re-use, re-print, and re-broadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by LPIMC.
Section 5. Finances
a. Elected Officers (Coordinators) discuss the use of general finances for the sustainability of the organization.
b. The Treasurer’s primary role is managing the LPIMC account, holding the checkbook, signing checks and making sure monthly LPIMC expenses are paid on time and accounted for. S/he must also report the status of the LPIMC finances to the group during General Assembly or Spokes Council meetings.
c. The appropriation of funds to working groups and projects beyond previous allowances requires a consensus vote of the General Assembly, Spokes Council, or in special cases (such as between meetings) the Coordinators.
d. Finances must be discussed in full detail during the General Assembly or Spokes Council meetings.
Section 6. Amendments to the Bylaws
All changes to the Charter and Bylaws must be approved from the General Assembly or Spokes Council by consensus.
Section 7. Dissolution of the Organization
The dissolution of the LPIMC, its working groups, elected officers, Charter, etc. requires a unanimous approval from the General Assembly or Spokes Council.
Section 8. Conflict Resolution Process
Indybudsmen: When there are forms of interpersonal or inter-group conflicts that formal consensus can not resolve, such as conflicts between individuals, a person who is not connection to the issues or individuals at hand, and sometimes even not directly involved with LPIMC, should be selected to mediate the conflict.
Section 9. Assessment Process
In order to preserve both the integrity of the organization, as well as protect the common good,
a. The coordinators must initiate annual reviews of the functional procedures of the organization with respect to the bylaws.
b. This process is meant to preserve the integrity of the organization, protect the common good, and determine the level of consistency between daily activities and the bylaws.
Section 10. Notice of LPIMC Non-discriminatory Policy
LPIMC membership is open to all who agree to the basic Indymedia and LPIMC precepts without regard to race, color, age, gender, religion, political views, sexual orientation, national and ethnic origin, disability and veteran’s status.
Article VII Provisional Governance of the Coordinators
Section 1. Invocation of Provisional Governance
a. The Coordinators can, with good cause, assume all responsibilities for the organization, including temporarily suspending the General Assembly and making important decisions for the organization during periods of crisis, such as the initial start-up phase, phases of re-organization or other periods of crisis, such as low volunteer participation and other unforeseeable situations in the future..
b. The Coordinators must remain accountable to the organization and its members at all times and must be guided by the decision-making format outlined in Article III, Section 1.
Section 2. Revocation of Provisional Governance
The provisional governance of the Coordinators can and must be rescinded once the minimum requirements for the General Assembly have been met.