New Pacifica Bylaws Passed
From: Carol Spooner
Date: Sun Aug 24, 2003 5:22 pm
Subject: New Pacifica Bylaws Passed
[Feel free to forward/repost]
NEW PACIFICA BYLAWS PASSED
Approved by the Interim National Board and three Local Advisory Boards as required under the Legal Settlement Agreement -- Interim Pacifica National Board June 26, 2003, KPFA LAB and KPFT LAB July 9, 2003, KPFK LAB August 23, 2003
Four years ago, in July 1999, when Mary Frances Berry, Lynn Chadwick, and that crew spent $500,000 to send armed guards into KPFA to occupy the station, throw the staff out & arrest them and their community supporters -- there was nothing anyone could do but sue. We set out then to democratize Pacifica so that there would be another way to get rid of bad management and bad boards. Some said it was impossible, and it nearly was. And the price exacted for it was very high. Deep divisions were revealed among us, and fears and even hatreds. And agents provocateurs are always with us.
With the legal settlement agreement 1-1/2 years ago, in December 2001, a power vacuum was created into which many rushed to secure their place in the Pacifica of the future. I believe that with the KPFK LAB vote to approve the bylaws yesterday a means was created for everyone to win. It will be what we make of it, of course. But the means is there.
We have created a hybrid model of a workers' collective and a membership organization of engaged listener-sponsors. By bringing the listeners and staff/volunteers together to form local and national oversight boards, I believe the creative fire and vision can be found that is necessary, now more than ever, as the hand of American corporate fascism plays its endgame in a nuclear world, as self-consumption cannibalizes and wastes us all, as oppression and poverty and disease spread the degradation of despair and the tragedy of hatred, and as ecological disaster threatens all life on Earth with annihilation. The fire of resistance that drove Pacifica's founders must now be renewed -- if we are not to go quietly into the long night.
There were and remain forces that seek to silence Pacifica, to pull its political teeth, and they will use every means to sap our strength and set us at each other. Do not let them do it. Hatred kills. Do not listen to it. My dear friend Robbie Osman said to me not long ago: "The myth of the 'Chosen People' leads to mass murder." There can be no "Chosen People" among us, only volunteers in service to Humankind and our Mother Earth.
So, nominations for board seats at the five stations will open very soon. Elections coordinators are on the job already at KPFK, KPFT & WBAI, and soon will be at KPFA and WPFW. Volunteers are needed to serve on elections and outreach committees. Check your station web page soon for details on how to get involved, and listen for on-air announcements, or call the station manager. It is imperative to the survival of Pacifica that we find the very best people we can to serve on our boards and to preserve and protect Pacifica in these perilous times. We need people of all races, colors, creeds and nations to stand together in mutual support.
To some of you I owe a personal apology for making a commitment I could not keep. In all the furor, you may not know that I was one of the authors of the original "KPFA model" elections that required our boards to be made up of a minimum of 50% people of color and 50% women -- and provided post-election adjustments to insure those minimums were met. I fought for that model against all comers, first at KPFA, and then across the country for a long long time. And it was with dismay and sorrow that I had to abandon it in the face of mounting legal advice that this would put Pacifica in serious legal and financial peril. If such risks are to be taken with Pacifica, I believe the decision to do so must be made soberly by elected representatives who are fully informed and who can be held accountable for their decisions -- and after full on-air discussion with our listeners and staff/volunteers. But abandoning "diversity requirements" pulled the rug out from under many who legitimately fear exclusion from Pacifica's governing bodies. For that, I am deeply sorry. And I pledge to do everything in my power to see to it that diverse boards are elected. This is a pledge I ask everyone to join in, both in helping to find candidates and when voting in the elections later this year.
There are too many people to thank for their long labors ... to those on both sides of the bylaws debate who argued with passion and principle without descending to personal invective or intentional distortions of the truth I want to thank especially Dave Fertig, Janice K. Bryant, Acie Byrd, Diallo Kantambu, and in the end, Dick Gregory, as well as the KPFA LAB; for moral support and wise counsel, thanks to KPFA General Manager Gus Newport; and for unwavering clarity and unflinching courage under fire, deepest gratitude to WBAI LAB Chair Miguel Maldonado, KPFA LAB Chair Susan da Silva, KPFK LAB members Farah Davari, Loraine Mirza and Don White, and KPFA LAB members Joe Wanzala and Miguel Molina.
I think I'll close out with two quotations from Emma Goldman, first: "Social and economic well-being will become a reality only through the zeal, courage, the non-compromising determination of intelligent minorities, and not through the mass." These "intelligent minorities" are the Pacifica community, and I have deep faith in all of us.
And: "If I can not dance, I want no part in your revolution." Let's dance!
The newly adopted bylaws are posted at www.wbai.net -- "Draft B."
And, finally, the guidance that carried me through the past four years --
A HOPI ELDER SPEAKS
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