Translation from De Fabel van de illegaal 52/53, summer 2002
Author: Eric Krebbers
"The Jews belong on the bottom of the Red Sea." Everyone can share their views on Indymedia, including Anti-Semites. The internet activists of the "independent media project" evidently have less problems with censorship than they do with anti-Semitism.
So as not to be dependent on the commercial media, the radical Leftwing has traditionally set up its own projects, such as newspapers, magazines, radio and TV channels, and nowadays websites. The Leftwing media exists to transmit information which the Left considers important, and mostly they also serve as a forum for developing Leftwing analyses and for discussing resistance. Which discussions and analyses are dealt with is normally determined by the editorial board, or by the organisation to which the medium is connected. In the case of the Fabel-newspaper against racism, the line is determined by the whole group, on the basis of the political practice of the Fabel and the related discussions. At the moment, the main issues for the Fabel are the growing repression against illegal immigrants, the resurgence of the extreme Right, nationalism, anti-Semitism and fundamentalism, and the resistance against all these developments. In addition to this, the Fabel is working towards a functional Left and an anti-patriarchal framework of analysis concerning the politics of population. The editorial board writes the articles itself or approaches outsiders for a contribution. There is no space in this newspaper for pieces that do not contribute to the desired analyses and discussions.
Something very different is the case with a postmodern medium such as Indymedia, where the battle for freedom of expression and against censorship has taken center stage. In theory, everyone is free to contribute to the Indymedia website. This creates the impression of a fast growing tangle of totally diverse pieces. Random thoughts, scribbled down in seconds, are mixed with sharp and detailed analysis, stemming from long discussions. Everything is presented as equal and in this sense, Indymedia is hardly different from the rest of the Internet. Activists and other people who are interested can barely find the important articles in the midst of this postmodern cacophony. Opponents of the Left don't even have to resort to "censorship"; in this way the Left itself is making serious information inaccessible.
The Indymedia volunteers encourage discussions on their website and create space for debate at the end of every article, so that people can react. Many do. However the discussions and exchanges of words are often not clearly initiated or even steered in the slightest. They are basically left completely to chance. And owing to the fact that in postmodern circles everyone has the right to their own opinion and their own truth, fundamental criticism is quickly labeled censorship. The consequence is a random, unfocussed clash of opinions, without any serious development of the Leftwing position or any practical conclusions. This, incidentally, would not really be possible anyway, given that due to the use of pseudonyms one hardly ever knows who one is dealing with on Indymedia anyway.
Many of the discussions on Indymedia start when someone publishes something that is Rightwing. This rightly inspires opposition from individuals on the Left. The effect is a debate wherein the principles of the Left are up for discussion. This kind of debate don't help the Left further at all. Indeed, they are simply Rightwing discussions. In principle it is not possible for there to be any question on the Left that racism or anti-Semitism could be justified or even understandable. On the basis of obscure criteria, the editorial board of Indymedia assess whether contributions are acceptable. If not, they disappear in the "censorship trash can". Nevertheless, the articles remain visible and so Rightwing trash is never truly removed. It seems that Indymedia regards "censorship" as a worse evil than oppression or exploitation. Still, the removal of Rightwing propaganda can hardly be called censorship; in actual fact it is an important part of the Leftwing struggle!
Due to its policy of "open publishing", Indymedia is at risk of becoming a reflection of the opinions in society, and as we know, these are becoming increasingly Rightwing. At the point when Rightwing opinions can even be found on this kind of alternative websites, the normality of these opinions is underlined. And this is exactly what is happening with the rapidly growing anti-Semitism. Next to the justified criticism of Israel, Indymedia now includes more than 100 pieces that can be considered anti-Semitic. Only a handful of these is located in the trash can. The editorial board evidently considers the rest acceptable, or at best has not recognized the pieces as being anti-Semitic. Leftwing activists after all do not know much of anti-Semitism, and perhaps this is the reason that of all the Rightwing opinions, it is anti-Semitism that is the first to step through the open door of Indymedia.
A small selection of the by now more then 100 antisemite texts and quotes on Indymedia. De Fabel does not enjoy publishing them. But because a lot of activists have recently argued that antisemitism is not really a problem, we felt we had to print this junk afterall. Only a few of these quotes have been placed in the open bin by the Indymedia editors.
War against jews