March 4, 2001 Contact: Vince Ivory 310.578.1623
Tracy Larkins 310.859.1031
Pacifica Listeners Earn Victory
Pacifica Board Elects Not to Pass New Bylaws
Activists Vow to Keep Fighting
Los Angeles, CA~ A day after 100 demonstrators picketed in front of KPFK, L.A. organizers claimed a victory for listener-sponsored radio, because controversial new bylaw changes were not taken up for consideration by the Pacifica National Board.
Yesterday’s rally coincided with the Pacifica National Board meeting in Houston and was held in solidarity with demonstrations in Houston and New York.
In L.A, activists donned giant, gagged puppets and waved colorful free speech flags, in an attempt to call attention to the controversy surrounding proposed new bylaws drafted by Pacifica Board member John Murdock of the corporate law firm, Epstein, Becker & Green. The bylaw changes would allow power adjustments to the Network that would make it more susceptible to corporate control. In yesterday’s Governance Committee meeting of the National Board meeting, Murdock withdrew the bylaw changes citing an outpouring of public concern from around the Nation. Tracy Larkins with KPFK Listener-Lab Alliance Workgroup stated, ”It looks like public pressure is beginning to hold the Pacifica Board accountable for its actions”.
Vince Ivory, from the Pacifica Accountability Committee added, “These actions are part of a broader campaign to reclaim control of the Pacifica stations for the local communities of listeners”. In recent years the Pacifica Board has worked to centralize power within the board itself and has openly attacked staff at stations KPFA in Berkeley and WBAI in New York that have been critical of the direction of the National Board. Murdock and other Pacifica leaders supported a hostile take-over at WBAI radio in New York, in which the management fired and banned several journalists from the station, changed the locks to the station in the middle of the night, and have now imposed a gag rule on the staff.
The gag rule has been adopted locally at KPFK, where programmers have been terminated or threatened with termination for exercising their freedom of speech in talking about the Pacifica struggle. Long time programmers have resigned in objection to the censorship by Pacifica management
Grassroots organizations and the Los Angeles listening community are committed to challenging censorship and the gag rule at KPFK. The free speech advocates have vowed to continue demonstrations until democratic and corporate-free decision making structures are reinstated throughout Pacifica.
Saturday’s rally was co-sponsored by: Action Resource Center, KPFK Listener-Lab Alliance Workgroup (KLAW), Pacifica Accountability Committee, and Industrial Workers of the World/LA-GMB; and endorsed by: International Action Center, Michael C. Ruppert/From The Wilderness Publications, People Against Racist Terror, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador/LA, Peace & Freedom Party/L.A. County Chapter, Aztlan Media Collective, Bob Long /member - Harbor Greens, Billionaires for Bush, Los Angeles Catholic Worker, Freedom Socialist Party, Radical Women, Ron Wilkins/Patrice Lumumba Coalition and H. Rap Brown Justice Committee, and L.A. Wages for Housework Committee.