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But let's not fetishize and then draw and quarter each other over every wrongheaded decision that's made.
Let's just WIN.

Editor's note:
I generally avoid posting materials about the local muck raking within our ranks on this site. The aim is to be a rapidly updated user friendly resource focused on regaining the Pacifica foundation and radio network. The site prioritizes the lawsuits, national board developments, event announcements, the elections process, and the efforts of the listeners.

There was a feisty, yet fairly functional general meeting of the Concerned Friends of wbai last night (10-4-1). The following is not a comprehensive report. It touches on some of the more substantial issues that make up the undercurrent of things taking place in CF these days. The closing line (also the headline on this page) is what inspired the posting of this message written by someone who I've witnessed as being level headed in his criticisms and approach, whether on the web or in person. To get more fully plugged in to what went down at the meeting join the discussions at:

Roger M.


Posted at: groups.yahoo.com/group/NewPacifica

From: Mitchel Cohen mitchelcohen@m...
Date: Fri Oct 5, 2001 8:54 am
Subject: Re: Concerned Friends Meeting

At last night's Concerned Friends meeting (NY), I introduced a motion to overrule the Coordinating Committee's "hiring" of a lawyer TO INTERFACE WITH THE LISTENERS' LAWSUIT, as Bob Lederer, under pressure from the audience, described it.

Please note those highlighted words: "to interface with the Listeners' Lawsuit." They have been omitted from the reports and commentaries posted to this list.

Those words are important. I have no objection, at least in principle, to CF hiring a lawyer for various purposes as Fred points out. However, Bob Lederer clearly laid out the purpose of this hiring and it had nothing whatsoever to do with what Fred expresses as his concerns, which may indeed be legitimate. But that's not the rationale that was offered at the CF membership meeting nor the coordinating committee meeting for hiring the lawyer. ANY lawyer, not just this particular one.

Patty made an audio tape of the meeting. Patty, please circulate an accurate transcription of Bob Lederer's remarks, and the remarks of Andrea, Audre, Patty, myself, and Carolyn. I will help transcribe, if you make me a copy of those sections of the tape.

Additional concerns about this particular issue: The Coordinating Committee had decided NOT to bring this item before the general body. (Ray LaForest tells me he was greatly upset with that decision and voted against it, but the cc decided otherwise.) That decision has now been effectively overturned by an informed and angry membership. The fact that there have been no minutes of Concerned Friends cc meetings was made plain for all to see; no doubt that's about to change as a result of all the brouhaha (brouhaha? Ha-ha-ha).

Second, the dissing of Amy Goodman, which I referred to briefly in my 2-minute talk, and which has set off a firestorm among the coordinating committee members present. I came in for the last 15 minutes of the cc meeting last Monday. (Andrea was there most of the time, and was the lone vote against hiring the lawyer for this purpose.) And what I heard was appalling. To Mimi Rosenberg's credit, she was arguing passionately against members of the cc who were saying that "Amy is not really one of us," and may "sell us out" -- the "us" being the fired & the banned. (I am amazed at how Concerned Friends cc -- the "us" -- sees itself almost solely as fired&banned producers at this point.)

There were around 15 people present at this juncture. Some responded to Mimi -- the words "traitor", "sellout", etc. were being flung rather carelessly, and some were associating Amy Goodman with those labels. Others defended Amy. Clearly, people were concerned about reports that the new management at WBAI would invite Amy back under certain conditions -- especially to do fundraising -- and that this would hurt the boycott effort if Amy chose to return and to pitch the station.

A number of producers felt that Amy should demand the return of the fired & the banned and should not herself return unless that demand was met. They felt they'd be left out in the cold, the movement would lose steam, etc. This discussion over Amy and her role is in my view a very legitimate one. The question of strategy for Concerned Friends and for the democratization efforts in general to some degree revolves around this. However, as often happens, those invested in reclaiming their jobs got a little too personal about it and lost perspective. The same thing, in my view, happens with some listeners as well who diss the producers PERSONALLY when they are grabbing to protect their jobs and losing sight of overall political goals. (The Producers -- hmm, I wonder if the movie version .... nah, let it go Mitchel .... Springtime for Utrice and Pacifica?)

This nasty tone occurs all too frequently, in my view, because there is not enough focus on the national corporatization of Pacifica, the interests behind it (the Democratic Party leadership), and too much commentary on the local personnages -- Robert Knight's and Bernard White's repeated mockery of Utrice Leid (pretty funny, but inappropriate); others' attempts to tar everyone in CdP because Jim Dingeman made some ill-advised remarks, etc.

The Listeners lawsuit is great, and seems to be working. It will encode the Rights of Membership, enfranchise listeners, provide voting rights, and establish accountability. The Pacifica Campaign is terrific and making a huge dent. WBAI-In-Exile is creating a "dual power" scenario that is part of a correct "inside/outside" strategy. WBAI.net (CdP) is keeping everyone informed to fight to reclaim Pacifica. Concerned Friends IS crucial. It's the general membership, and should not be ceded to any self-selected grouping. People CAN understand what's going on and come to democratic decisions, as we saw again last night, despite panicked attempts by coordinating committees to make those decisions secretly. The Elections Committee is producing necessary coherent plans for conducting elections to the LAB.

All these are successful strategies that we should not allow to be set in competition with each other by the foolishness of certain individuals. Sure, we all have our pet projects, our "turf". And there's too much attempting to control, to micro-manage what each sector is doing to win one's own own narrow interest. That's what the attempt to hire a lawyer to "interface" with the listeners' lawsuit is about. It's a stupid idea, not in the best interest of the movement as a whole. So we'll reject it.

But let's not fetishize and then draw and quarter each other over every wrongheaded decision that's made. Let's just WIN.

- Mitchel Cohen

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