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Progressive Caucus Resolution 5-15-01


WHEREAS, in a media environment that is concentrated and homogenized, Pacifica Radio has become the single most important progressive national radio network and affiliate system in the United States over the past half a century ;

WHEREAS, the founders intended for Pacifica to *contribute to a lasting understanding between nations and between individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors*;

WHEREAS, in fulfilling that mission, Pacifica*s community radio stations produced programming that defied the conventions of the cold war and the blacklist, and gave a voice to the movements against racism, war and for the rights of workers, women, gay men and lesbians, immigrants, and the disabled;

WHEREAS, Pacifica Radio has developed as a community-based organization with democratic internal structures, unlike the hierarchical nature of mainstream broadcasting, both commercial and noncommercial;

WHEREAS, the current leadership of the Pacifica National Board has undermined Pacifica*s historic mission and institutional integrity as a progressive organization through a series of capricious and destructive measures;

WHEREAS, among those measures has been the undermining of the community and representative nature of Pacifica by disenfranchising and even banning Local Advisory Boards from meeting at the station and making the Pacifica National Board a self-selecting and self-perpetuating body, whose majority no longer reflects Pacifica*s historic constituencies and priorities;

WHEREAS, the measures of the Pacifica National Board majority have included the firing of the general manager and lockout of the staff at KPFA in Berkeley, California, in 1999, and the wholesale firing and banning of staff since the Christmas, 2000 coup at WBAI in New York City, in violation of the organization*s own procedures and union contracts,

WHEREAS, Pacifica has spent listener funds to decertify WBAI*s collective bargaining unit, excluding unpaid workers from union contract benefits and protections;

WHEREAS, Pacifica has repeatedly censored or attempted to censor its national programs, punishing and threatening personnel from Democracy Now and the Pacifica National News, where changes in the personnel and content of Pacifica National News have eviscerated its tradition of seeking news sources and perspectives absent from mainstream media and has led to a year-long strike by Pacifica news stringers worldwide;

WHEREAS, draft by-laws submitted at the Pacifica National Board Meeting in March 2001 would further erode the historic mission and democratic structures of Pacifica, permitting the alteration of the articles of incorporation, the possibility of financial compensation to members of the Board as the result of the sale of any of the network*s properties, and the concentration of greater authority in the hands of fewer and fewer people;

WHEREAS, the chairperson of the Pacifica National Board and its Treasurer have openly espoused the sale of KPFA and/or WBAI at Board meetings and in a mis-routed e-mail from the Treasurer;

WHEREAS, the Pacifica National Board majority has replaced the goal of public service with audience ratings, purged much of the progressive political and cultural content from Pacifica*s airwaves, and turned its Washington, DC and Houston, Texas outlets primarily into music stations;

WHEREAS, the New York Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, has protested that, *precious dollars raised from listeners are being used by the Pacifica Foundation to engage the services of union-busting consultants and law firms such as Epstein, Becker and Green;

WHEREAS, the management of WBAI, in New York, interrupted Congressman Major Owens and cut him off the air in mid-sentence during an interview regarding the crisis at Pacifica;

AND WHEREAS, in response to these measures there has been a national outcry among progressives, and a movement has developed embracing prominent authors like Alice Walker and Noam Chomsky, as well as a host of labor and civil rights organizations, community leaders, and protest movement of tens of thousands of listeners throughout the nation has evolved;

BE IT RESOLVED, THEREFORE, WE THE PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, strongly condemn the actions of the majority of the Pacifica National Board in systematically subverting this unique and precious national resource for progressives in the United States;


THAT no sale of any of the five existing Pacifica stations be permitted by the Pacifica National Board, and that a written prohibition against any such sale be made;

THAT a democratic process within the Pacifica National Board and the Local Advisory Boards allow Pacifica Radio to return to its original mission and commitment to community involvement and participatory structures in the life of its stations;

THAT the law suits challenging the undemocratic Pacifica National Board majority*advanced by listeners, the Local Advisory Boards and dissident members of the Pacifica National Board * be supported in their efforts to unseat those directors responsible for undermining Pacifica*s historic mission and practices;

THAT all those fired as part of efforts to reshape the stations and the network be reinstated, that all bans be lifted, including any bar against Local Advisory Boards meeting at stations if they include the general listener public, and that all *gag rules* prohibiting on-air discussion of station or network policies be ended.

THAT the rights of Pacifica workers be respected, in particular that the collective bargaining unit of UE Local 404 at WBAI, as originally constituted, continue and that unpaid staff continue to receive contract benefits and that all outstanding grievances throughout the network be expeditiously addressed;

AND, FINALLY, given the importance of Pacifica Radio to the progressive community, that more extensive hearings - including hearings in each of the five cities where Pacifica stations are located - be scheduled by the Progressive Caucus to address the Pacifica crisis culminating in a national forum to be sponsored by the Progressive Caucus and held in Washington D.C. in the next legislative term on Pacifica*s Crisis: Underlying Causes and Prescriptions for Renewals.

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