The free Pacifica movement
and democratization 7-14-01
( from the messageboard at: http://www.goodlight.net/wbai/ )
An effective call for WBAI LAB elections will be difficult without on-air staff support but not impossible if enough people come together on the ground to involve each community directly. However, to be candid, Ms. Leid's beliefs about how to serve the community should have nothing to do with determining what the community itself thinks.
There are many who pride themselves on the belief that "non-profit foundations" cannot be run effectively with true democratic structure, that an unaccountable top-down hierarchical structure that isn't slowed down or upset by the clumsy turbulence of democracy is necessary to ensure success in maintaining a consistency and clarity of the foundation's charter. Of course, these same "well-meaning" "progressives" are always quick to paint a horror story of losing Pacifica through fair democratic process. [WELL LOOK WHAT JUST FUCKING HAPPENED WITH AN APPOINTED BOARD PARADIGM! Geez!]
This argument, although many times bought into, is actually nothing more than a ruse to camouflage and protect threatened positions of political or structural power. This is true of LAB members, PNB members (who were originally LAB members), staff and programmers.
This analysis can also be applied to the entire cast of the Pacifica cabal (which reaches back to the early 1970's), to mask political interests that were actually behind the eventual purging of hundreds of locally produced programs with a pronounced radical bent under the guise of broadening the listener base. In the movement's haste to push this struggle to victory, we must never lose sight of WHY Pacifica's programming content was gutted of it's radical tendencies.
If we forget what is behind the cooptation and compromise that comes hand in hand with the CPB funding paradigm, for example, we will not be at the ready to resist those who are intent on reinstitution of this content control device, which emanates directly from the White House and the racist, fascist, genocidal national security state.
For Ms. Rosenberg to assert your elections proposal is too sterile, that it does not contain, nor would LAB elections themselves contain, enough political oomph to propel the effort to oust the PNB junta, I say what a load of unadulterated crap. I submit that the capability and motivation to support the lawsuits and street actions will quantitatively increase as the process of democratizing the LAB becomes closer to reality.
On top of this clearly evasive pose, Rosenberg actually suggests that a public mock "trial" of the "Bad" PNB members in absentia (being careful not to indict the three so-called "dissidents", Kriegel, Robinson & Bramson (who were ONLY responsible for disempowering the LABs!) would have any useful purpose other than as a diversionary circus at which the PNB would be burned in effigy while community dialogue regarding how it believes Pacifica's bylaws should be restructured is left to fallow.
[This "trial" idea sort of reminds me of how the Watergate affair, which had the CIA stamped all over it, has been recycled over and over in the liberal press for decades as a 'whipping boy ' with which to satiate the "left's" need to believe justice was served against those who empowered Nixon.]
To rhetorically answer Frank's closing rhetorical question as to why the LAB has such a limited record of actually reaching out to the community it's supposed to reflect, isn't it simply obvious that when it comes to power, self-selection (soon to be promoted again in the form of grandfathered and continued appointed seats) always trumps a fair playing field? Why spoil a "good" thing?
Miguel Maldonado's mantra that this (appointed LAB) is as radical as it gets, is unequivocally myopic and displays an intense degree of denial he and others in the community suffer from concerning the dominant role a lack of democratic structure at the LAB level has played in creating the potential for this crisis to germinate. Nor does Miguel speak justice to the significance of the commitment made in Berkeley to see LAB democratization and elections through and what that means in a philosophical context to this struggle.
The mind set emanating from NY that trivializes the need to democratize is reminiscent of the attitude that the programming changes that have taken place at WBAI during the Pacifica coup (1992-2001) are essentially nothing to be concerned about, unless of course one is referring to Amy Goodman, Bernard White and a few other stars. What a shame. I guess Pacifica airtime is really only good enough for the "best". So much for egalitarianism.
Push hard NY, we're counting on you now.
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