Discussion of the upcoming PNB "public meeting" ploy
What follows is information and discussion on a development of the Houston Board meeting. John Murdock and other board members have proposed a series of public meetings to discuss changes in the Pacifica by-Laws. As you will see from the sample of writers below, there is a variety of opinion as to how the movement should respond to what most everyone considers a disingenuous proposal by an illegitimate board. Savewbai is not a discussion list, and therefore not the forum to entertain the debate that this post will no doubt engender among the readers here.
There are several unmoderated discussion groups devoted to Pacifica issues, where heated debate is in progress. If you are ready to receive large volumes of e-mail ( I mean a hundred posts a day) you can join this, and other discussions, on:
At 12:30 PM -0800 3/9/01, Craig Gingold wrote:
From: David R. Fertig, firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: The controversial resolution passed by the PNB march 4, 2001 in Houston providing that there be two public meetings in each signal area (thus "ten meetings") facilitated by the LAB Chair and Station Manager in each area, to discuss the "by-laws, policies and processes" of Pacifica:
I saw the PNB deliberations and discussion (as did Carol Spooner and Sam Husseini), despite Ken Ford, et al.'s largely successful efforts to illegally bar the public from the meeting. In fact, to give credit where it's due, it was Ken Ford that brought me (and Carol Spooner, whom I dragged with me) in to the meeting room.
This "Ten Public Meeting Motion," which was expanded from the sole topic of by-laws to include "policies and processes,"was thusly expanded by some PNB members in order to finally cast some sunlight upon the policies and processes employed by those currently in possession of Pacifica. Sure, others on the PNB no doubt hoped to use public meetings on the by-laws to legitimize their illegitimate policies and practices, others perhaps saw this as an (hollow and false, no doubt) appeasement and play to the court. Too bad. And so what?
I say take it and run with it. While one might fully agree that there should be no recognition of any right of the current board to engage in by-law revisions, I urge us to take advantage of the proposed public meetings if indeed they are to occur (and we should really press the issue), in order to compel the stations to open their doors and their mics to the issues of "Pacifica's Policies and Processes." Let me in to the belly of the beast!
Planning and participating in such meetings does not require concessions or recognition of the legitimacy of the PNB, nor does it require one to agree to any discussion of by-law revisions. If that comes up, I expect those opposed will certainly (had better!) outnumber PNB minions.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, as elsewhere, those opposing PNB's current moves have no access to the station thus the mics thus the listeners who have no inkling of the national disgrace that is being maintained by Pacifica's current "management." This is an opportunity.
Let's go at it, (yes, "respectfully") and in public gatherings drawn by on-air-announcements inviting all listeners to the meetings. These meetings would surely be watershed events garnering public awareness, stimulating involvement and discussion, and demonstrating the depth and breadth of support for Pacifica's mission, as oposed to the pablum and gravy currently being doled out by Pacifica under the watchful eye of CPB.
And if we press for the meetings and they don't occur, that's another example of duplicity for which Pacifica will have to answer in court. It can't hurt us so long as we're vigilant, and it can help an awful lot. I trust our strength, our ability to maintain focus and our inevitable success at returning Pacifica to its mission. I say, engage! And never let them say (to the court, or to the public, or to the spirit of Lew Hill) that we refused to talk.
Let's start organizing for these meetings now!
Not quite -- Ken Ford, when given my name, attempted to physically prevent me from entering. I pushed past him.
Here are my thoughts on these proposed meetings:
The Pacifica Board of usurpers has no right to take ANY actions regarding the bylaws, including holding "public forums" in each station area ... until we have a lawfully seated board. Then and only then should these forums take place.
I think Pacifica may want to tell the judge they have come up with a "plan" to revise the bylaws after these TownHall meetings and say that they have the support of the LABs & listeners for their plan. That could be very dangerous -- so, I think no one should participate in these things if they materialize & the word should go out that they are a manipulative ploy. Don't fall for it!
These proposed discussions re the bylaws are an attempt to peel off some of the "non-plaintiff" LAB members from those who have brought the LAB suit ... another divide & conquer ploy.
Finally, since 3 of the 5 LAB Chairs are plaintiffs in the LAB lawsuit, I think it would be VERY unwise for them to participate in ANY discussions w/Pacifica outside the presence of their attorney.
We are very strong right now ... they are trying to undermine our strength by throwing these "discussion" bones out. We were all united in Houston behind the statement read by Janice K. Bryant ... "Our differences are irreconcilable. Irreconcilable. I'll say it again, our differences are irreconcilable. The only thing we will negotiate with you are the terms of your departure."
There has been _no_ indication that the PNB will open the microphones to anyone. As to whether these new Pacifica sponsored meetings can hurt, check with the plaintiffs lawyers in all three suits, and I think the answer will be different from the one you suppose.
My own take is that the new, "conciliatory" face the PNB wore this past weekend in Houston is part of an overall effort to influence the judge(s) in the lawsuits and the movement in general by
1. Portraying themselves as in the midst of amicable settlement talks with some plaintiffs,
2. Stealing thunder from the efforts toward injuctions,
3. Dividing and conquering the larger listener movement using the public relations carrot without having withdrawn the administrative stick, especially at WBAI, and
4. Seducing the listener's movement away from support of the Pacifica Campaign by promoting the notion that they are amenable to something other than coercion.
It is important to understand why, in the midst of so much apparent "openess" on the part of the PNB, the movement united to walk out on them in Houston, condemning their disingenuousness, turning their backs and chanting "resign now" and it is important to grasp the longer range political significance of that stand in context.
It's important that we _do_ grasp its significance, in particular because of the PNB's plan to hold these "open" dialogs on "policy, process and the bylaws" with listeners in all the signal areas under the aegis of the various station managers and LAB chairs.
The PNB is trying to corner the LAB chairs into playing a role in their public relations campaign, in this case, one aimed at undermining the lawsuits, disarming the movement and pulling it away from the strategies of a funding boycott and a corporate campaign.
Further, while the PNB cannot discuss settlement talks per se with the judge, they can present information about any and all informal talks in court to bolster their case.
Meanwhile it also seems clear that their intent is to reduce the movement's sense of urgency around fund raising for the lawsuits, since, they suggest, talks are underway, and since the implication of that spin is that the $300,000 campaign to rasie money for the suits is not quite so imperative, if matters will be settled soon anyway without protracted court battles, and if the PNB is now "open" to listener's voices.
We are in a very dangerous passage, and we need to find the ways to empower the movement with a conscious understanding of the stakes in Pacifica's new strategies without undermining the moral and political authority and the appeal of the lawsuits within the movement.
A lot, obviously, gets concentrated in how we handle this here on our "own turf" in Los Angeles, not the least of which is the question of avoiding further divisivness in a local movement that some have done their utmost to polarize around issues that segue smoothly into all that's under discussion here.
But its also the case that more than local matters are concentrated here, and that what we are discussing, and how we discuss it in LA, feeds back into a national context, a national movement, to which we really must be accountable.
That accountability will become easier to fullfill as the National Steering Committee unanimously called for in Houston comes into being, but in the meantime it seems to me that we need to be very careful not to act in a unilateral way.
Amor y Lucha,
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