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DAILY REPORTS and Documents | iPNB Houston meeting info


Presented at the iPNB meeting in Houston November 22-24, 2002

[ The follow statements were excerpted by Patty Heffley at the iPNB meeting Friday evening]


statement of principles

by shawn ewald

A preamble such as this effectively rewrites the bylaws by being tacked onto them without actually touching the bylaws themselves.

Pacifica is not a "progressive" organization whatever that means. I believe that Pacifica's mission was intentionally left vague in terms of it's politics for a reason. If Pacifica is just an outlet for "progressive" propaganda how is that any better than it being an outlet for Democratic Party propaganda?

How do we stay true to this?

"In radio broadcasting operations to engage in any activity that shall contribute to a lasting understanding between nations and between the individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors; to gather and disseminate information on the causes of conflict between any and all of such groups; and through any and all means compatible with the purposes of this corporation to promote the study of political and economic problems and of the causes of religious, philosophical and racial antagonisms."

You do it by making a commitment to telling the truth -- and in many cases so-called "progressives" have been known to be as allergic to the truth as any capitalist/imperialist/fascist so and so.

As an anti-capitalist, I don't think it's useful for Pacifica to adopt an ideological "line" on capitalism. It is not Pacifica's job to tell people "capitalism is bad", rather it is Pacifica's job to discover and report on the "causes of conflict" and "study political and economic problems and the causes of religious, philosophical and racial antagonisms". I don't think that there is much doubt that the results of such research will draw people to the conclusion that "capitalism is bad" and they will arrive at that conclusion without being force fed the message. Pacifica should not be spoon-feeding people pablum nor force feeding them ideological gruel -- such a result may not be the intent but I fear institutionalizing an ideological line would produce that.

Overall I don't like this document because it is a series of imposed overtly ideological constraints and legalistic policies that really don't belong in a preamble (but some possibly may be more appropriate in some separate policy document) -- never mind that I doubt a preamble of any kind is necessary at all.



response to statement of principles - lyn Gerry

I'd like to chime in here as well on this even though others have expressed some of my concerns. I have had a problem with the rhetoric used frequently during the struggle about us being (or striving to return) "progressive" radio at Pacifica.

My most serious question with this is: what exactly does this mean, and who gets to decide what it means? Does a particular political faction then get to remove people from Pacifica for ideological infractions?

The issue of the broadcast of Michael Ruppert's material is one recent example. Ruppert, and others in the past, have been deemed "not progressive' and therefore suspect in terms of broadcasting on Pacifica. William Safire is certainly not identified as a progressive yet he has taken an outspoken stand against the Homeland Security Act. Scott Ritter is not a progressive yet he has been one of the most eloquent and informative, and tireless, speakers against W's Iraq war, while Marc Cooper, who is described as a "progressive" is excoriating the anti-war movement as fools.

Traditional liberals like the "progressive caucus" in Congress take the position that "states rights" is a right-wing position. Greens, also calling themselves "progressive" believe that local entities should have more power vis a vis the Federal government. Some "progressives" want gun control. Some "progressives" want to take up arms against the state. Some "progressives" want to ban pornography on the grounds that it exploits women. Some "progressives" oppose banning pornography on free speech grounds. Some people think that the Constitution makes us a democracy; some of us think that the Constitution is one of the major roadblocks to achieving democracy.

Mary Frances Berry described herself as a "progressive." Gary Null describes the Board hijackers as "progressive." It's pretty clear that there is no precise definition of this term.

Like wise, the term "positive social change." Eli Lilly I'm sure considers the Homeland Security Act very "positive social change" indeed.

What is of value to me as a listener is to be able to hear the various arguments for the above differences of opinion, and the philosophical, factual and ethical bases that are advanced in their support.

I don't see this preamble as necessary. I believe the original language of the mission statement is quite adequate. The real issue is to the extent that we live up to those goals in broadcasting. We may make resolutions and preambles all day long and they will be for naught if our actions fail to manifest that mission.

I presume that Bob's goal, and he can correct me if I'm wrong, is to provide a codified basis for preventing another hijacking. It was not lack of a code that led to this hijacking. It was the triumph of self- interest and ego over principle and conscience that enabled the hijackers. It was the desire for power over the desire for equality that enabled the hijackers. It was selfishness and cowardice that enabled the hijackers. It was pettiness and complacency that enabled the hijackers. It was an abnegation of the principles of solidarity and the prevalence of a culture of competition that enabled the hijackers. It was the knee-jerk identity politics that insulated anyone with dark skin in a position of power from criticism that enabled the hijacking of Pacifica.

The people who were inside Pacifica as well as important "progressives" - the ones who let it happen, and in some cases helped it happen, made their move under the rubric of "building a modern relevant effective radio network" to be the "leader of the progressive movement."

It is not the ideology of the broadcasters that must be defined for protection of Pacifica; it is the power relations that govern the way this instution's resources are allocated, and the way power is concentrated or dispersed. It is the way people are treated, and the thoughtfulness and ethical considerations brought to bear on decisions made in the organization that will either sink us or carry us forward.

At every station there is a morass of power politics, in many cases involving the same people who sat by and did nothing until they were personally threatened, and they seem to have learned nothing. I kept my silence on this during the heat of battle for the sake of unity and movement building but this needs to be said. Moreover, a fresh crop of people, newly anointed, has succumbed to the allure of the same "means to an end" justifications that created the slippery slope that led to the hijacking.

It's not what our ideology is that is the problem; its our behavior that needs to improve if Pacifica is to endure.


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