imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

How You Can Save Pacifica

by IAIN A. BOAL Sunday, Nov. 01, 2009 at 10:50 PM

Further Reflections on the Crisis and How to Solve It How You Can Save Pacifica



How You Can Save Pacifica

By IAIN A. BOAL

The tsunami of abuse triggered by the alarm I sounded about the new crisis at Pacifica Radio in CounterPunch only confirms my diagnosis, were it not for the fact that among the torrents of sewage from envenomed nutballs there were many encouraging messages-in-a-bottle from dismayed supporters of the network eager to help save Pacifica once again.

There is no surprise, however, about the cast of characters who have lined up to shoot the messenger. Symptomatically, the interim Executive Director of Pacifica demanded that I retract what is all in the public record and dangled a lawsuit. It is an irony – or rather it ought to be – that the boss of a “free speech” radio network has a gag reflex.

A letter from a Pacifica Local Station Board incumbent/candidate from Los Angeles is a fairly typical specimen from the mailbag. Christopher Condon writes, “I have neither asked for nor received any endorsement from Grace Aaron. I know perfectly well Ms. Aaron's position and I have never raised the issue. It probably comes down to her signing my nominating petition along with many others, and I put ‘nominated by’ Grace Aaron along with others on my campaign statement.” Condon hangs himself with his own rope. As a cursory glance at my original piece will show, Condon either corroborates my point – the Executive Director didn’t endorse him, she just nominated him! – or confirms fears that far from taking a turn towards NPR (an allegation, by the way, I never made in the first place) the current regime is actually steering the good ship Pacifica onto the reefs of HIV denialism, fungus-inducing aerosols care of the CIA, 9/11 truthinesss, etc., etc. – in other words, conspiracist programming in the full-blown paranoid style complete with that tell-tale pressure in the voice.

My CounterPunch piece was neither about the cult of Amy Goodman nor the various factions jostling for their moment at the microphone. It was about the domination of the national and local boards by the likes of Aaron and Condon owing to a perverse governance structure, with grotesque consequences for programming and fund-raising.

More disturbingly, Gresham’s Law is operating to antagonize Pacifica stalwarts of generosity and good will like Noam Chomsky whose recent Riverside Church speech was offered as a premium without his permission and whose name was used to suggest that he was endorsing a particular slate in the current WBAI elections. Chomsky is so put out by the misrepresentation of his Riverside lecture on the front page of the WBAI website – implying that he has a new view on 9/11 – that he has threatened to forbid Pacifica to use any of his work for fundraising.

The religious affiliations, past or present, of the currently anointed favorite of the National Board is actually of zero interest to me, and irrelevant to my case. What matters is that Pacifica’s “new democracy” enables a cabal to impose any regime they want, staffed with its own acolytes. It’s not that the current crew is necessarily ruling by decree, but that the governance structure, put in place after the 1999 crisis, enables such practices. Indeed the logic actually encourages it. Coups ’R US.

To give readers an idea how far-fetched Pacifica governance has become, consider that in 2007 there were over a hundred meetings of the National Board. That may seem profligate enough; now it has bloated to the point that there's a meeting of Pacifica governance every night of the week (just go to http://kpftx.org/pacalendar/index.php to check out the calendar for this month).

The cost of this creature – a surreal camel-albatross hybrid worthy of any medieval bestiary - has mounted to several million dollars since the new democratic governance was installed six years ago. No one is able to compute the real figure. Pacifica’s bureaucracy would make Max Weber wince - more nation-state than radio network. Formally, the full Pacifica National Board is composed of ‘directors’ and ‘delegates’, having a minimum of 122 and a maximum of, er, 123 members (see Pacifica Bylaws, Article 5, Section 1, C). There are 12 subcommittees, comprised of the Elections Committee, the Coordinating Committee, the Technology Committee, the Audit Committee, the Personnel Committee, the Finance Committee, the Programming Committee, the Archives Task Force, the Affiliates Task Force, the Committee of Inclusion, the Committee to Investigate Racism and Sexism, and finally the Governance Committee. This last embodies the Foundation’s totemic mascot, an ouroboros – the snake that eats its own tail.

So we find ourselves today with a pyramid scheme which is mirrored at the local board level and where the mission has become…governance. Governance, in other words, as an end in itself. Pacifica has become its own tin-pot nation-state, though you might say that a more apt analogy is the justly reviled board of the modern corporation (to be sure, in petit bourgeois pantomime drag), since their hands are busily dismantling the firewall between governance and programming. The church-state separation expected in the rest of the media apparently does not apply to free speech radio Pacifica. Just take a look at the electioneering, which is dominated by people campaigning on promises about the programming they will bring to the air once elected, rather than the proper business of a board.

The current election unfortunately carries us beyond the parody as described in my October 6th article. Listeners suffering from election fatigue may have missed the latest developments. In addition to the usual fare – cronyism, attack ads, corruption, self-dealing, ad hominem abuse instead of debate on the truly pressing issues facing oppositional media in the US – the inept management has served up ballots based on an electoral roll two years out of date, thereby disfranchising 30 per cent of Pacifica’s new members and allowing thousands of ex-members to vote illegally.

The founders of Pacifica, as syndicalists and antinomians, had a strong aversion to bourgeois form and representation, with its periodic ratification of our masters by ballot. They would be appalled at Pacifica’s governance apparatus, though the rank incompetence of its bureaucracy they would no doubt dismiss with a shrug. What else to expect? The current elections at the network make Afghanistan look pristine. Actually the two are connected: military humanism abroad gets you Karzais, (neo)liberal electoralism at home gets you Condons. And let’s be clear – there’s nothing antiquarian about the democracy on offer in the parliament of Kabul or the control rooms of Pacifica. It is probably the face of the future.

Many have written asking what they can do here and now. My alarm call does seem to have breached the dam of silence, but clearly that is not enough. The shambles of the ongoing election is not likely to stop Aaron and Co from destroying what was left of the old Pacifica. Finding some Moses to replace Aaron is hardly the point. It is the structure itself that is rotten. In fact, it guarantees a repeat of the current disaster, and sooner rather than later.

Certainly, let’s start by scrapping the noxious bylaws that incubated this monster. But the only hope lies in a thoroughgoing renovation of Pacifica. The ship is going down. It will take a movement to wipe the slate clean, to get a new board and a structure congruent with the mission of Pacifica - governance, in other words, that aids and abets rather than imperils the network’s very existence.

Here’s my suggestion, addressed not only to all those who wrote to me in their deep concern about what is happening now, but to the Pacifica community as a whole (I sympathize with the sneers that will greet that phrase) including those who have long since turned off or stopped subscribing but still care about the state of the media in this country. It would take only 700 Pacifica subscribers – that is, one percent of the membership - to sign a petition formally demanding to start the process of tossing the offending bylaws into the dustbin of history. My mailbag suggests that there may be such a movement waiting to be born, and one moreover that is prepared to go beyond the narrow but necessary task of rescuing Pacifica from the new barbarians.

Those interested in supporting and joining in such an endeavor, please write to salvagepacifica@gmail.com up and running and we can begin the job of rebuilding an independent radio network dedicated to radical dialogue and the audio arts.

Berkeley,

October 26, 2009

Iain A. Boal is a historan of the commons, associated with Retort, and co-author of Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War (Verso). He can be reached at boal@sonic.net.
Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
a point of contention cowardice and conformity Monday, Nov. 02, 2009 at 1:34 AM
"I call it courage to speak forbidden truth" just wondering Monday, Nov. 02, 2009 at 1:36 PM
FUCK Pacifica Fredric L. Rice Monday, Nov. 02, 2009 at 5:29 PM
is it true what they say about Rice? not a FreeLoadeR Monday, Nov. 02, 2009 at 11:05 PM
the other side to be read also, no ? a repeater of what I read Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009 at 10:30 PM

Local News

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Presents Night for Hope O30 5:38PM

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Allo, quelqu'un ? Allo, quelqu'une ? D09 9:16AM

deral Government Officials are not allowed to take leaflets nor pick up items in privste D09 4:15AM

Communist Mouthwash Hides Nature of Nations Suffering in Comm Pyramids Ploys D09 12:01AM

Atlanta: metro Pillage, Poison Gas, Pricks D08 9:13PM

Atlanta Metro Suffers Under Pillage, Shame lso Political Poison Gases D08 8:41PM

Fed Says College Students Have More Debt than Previous Generations D07 3:08PM

Paraphysique de l'insurrection et de l'émeute D07 9:55AM

Corruption of USA government D06 4:14AM

"We live in a time of radical counter-enlightenment" D04 1:45AM

Did Woolsey Fire Cause Radioactive Fallout? D03 10:26PM

G20 Discusses Preventing Financial Crisis and Small Island Economies N30 3:10PM

Driver near Campbell San Jose researches Bus Traffic from Northern Mexico N29 4:04AM

The Death of Small Businesses in Big Cities, Explained N28 3:43PM

Felons Shw Ninjasred Heavy Truck Tyres N28 2:28PM

Paraphysique de la consommation/pollution N28 8:08AM

Paraphysique de l'effet spectateur N26 11:13AM

Condominium, terrorisme du capital N24 8:52AM

Debt and Tax Policies Needed to Prevent Crisis Says Finance Watchdog Group N23 2:40PM

Independent Media Crackdown and Global Social Movements N22 9:45PM

Abécédaire du fascisme restreint et général N22 8:41AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen Heads to Portland, Oregon N20 8:39PM

Socialism in American English N20 12:04PM

Noske, noskisme réactualisé N20 11:29AM

Oprah Please Stop Selling Dead Animal Pieces N20 3:32AM

Down In Smoke SF N20 12:03AM

Lucifers Banker N18 7:38PM

Paraphysique du scientisme N18 9:19AM

USDA Withholds Names Of Turkey Companies Spreading Salmonella N17 7:51PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy