New Yorker's View of the World (rant)
off the newpacifica list
From: Andrea Cammarata
Date: Tue Mar 6, 2001 6:34pm
Subject: New Yorker's View of the World (rant)
Of course the yanking of Building Bridges yesterday was reprehensible. But not because Ken Nash is a an esteemed colleague, or because Mimi was wrongfully banned. Because we are losing our last remaining outlet for free speech radio. The case by case accounting of such instances of censorship at WBAI is important information for all of us to monitor and renews our resolve on a daily basis. But the incessant litany of every goddamn offense that happens locally within the station under the current "management," is a politically misguided attempt to manufacture outrage on behalf of particular personalities, and continually redefines dissent in local terms, sapping and misdirecting our energies. It goes without saying that these individuals deserve our support, but it can not be our paramount purpose. Every post-coup offense of this nature at WBAI, from the gag rule, the bannings and firings, to the increasing on-the-fly censorship as witnessed yesterday, has been utterly predictable, foreseen by many listeners, and has national precedent at the sister stations historically. The shocked posturing over these actions either says that New Yorkers are way behind the curve, or perhaps a bit too histrionic to see past their own noses.
The use of the NY listener base and individual programs on WBAI as a support for the reinstatement of individual staff, managers, and volunteers appears to this listener as increasingly self-serving and diversionary. The hijacking of focus away from the listeners by producers within their own meetings of Concerned Friends speaks to this as well. The lack of recognition, and downright hostility, paid to Patty Heffley and CdPNY, and the resistance to the democratization of the LABS, is yet another case in point. IMHO, the focus on personalities and individual WBAI producers is a wedge that has fostered divisions between these two groups, curtailed democratic process within them, and further inhibits the creation of a ground swell of listener mobilization and alliance that is imperative to our success at the national level. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking...
It is well past time for as many producers as possible within the station to find a basis for unity, to issue as a group, and stand very publicly behind, a principled statement against the PNB in its present and threatened future constitution. A statement clearly against the PNB, for the lawsuits, for the struggle to restore democratic governance structures to Pacifica, and one which acknowledges the listeners as the strongest and most radical constituency in the national movement to bring this to bear. Reinstatement of aggrieved staff must for now be consigned to the bottom of this list (except by UE). We need a unifying call to action from those within the station that emphasizes forming an alliance with the listenership, rather than mobilizing listeners on their own behalf, and further inspires coalescence rather than division among listener groups. A strong statement from NY producers that will demonstrate that they have eyes that see beyond the barricades that currently exist at 120 Wall Street, for those are not the front lines in this struggle.... Unfortunately, they may have to sacrifice their own asses to do it, in the way that it must be done, and we as listeners must also be prepared to let the "stars" fall from the sky. It is absolutely crucial at this juncture to lose the provincial focus on WBAI which continually subverts us from the true task at hand, and to build on the national infrastructure and momentum forged in Houston.
From: Mark Hernandez
I'm glad to see someone else finally see it as well.
At this rate, however, we won't reach critical mass until 2017.
It's not about individuals, it's not about each station.
It's about the _concept_ of free speech radio.
And the only real way to save it is to move action past the minions and the machinations, and get to the ringleaders...the Pacifica National Board.
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