Pacifica Campaign News
September 9, 2001
COUNTDOWN TO THE SEPTEMBER 19TH BOARD MEETING
Dear Supporters of the Pacifica Campaign,
As the summer recedes, the struggle around the future of Pacifica
is heating up.
A major showdown is looming as renegade elements on Pacifica's
National Board and Pacifica Executive Director Bessie Wash attempt
to unilaterally restack the Board at its proposed Sept 19th
telephone meeting. Such an action, in open defiance of the Pacifica
listener community, the Pacifica Local Advisory Boards, Pacifica
workers, dozens of Pacifica affiliates, and the entire Free Pacifica
movement, will constitute a serious escalation of the crisis. It
will be the political equivalent of Nixon's bombing of Cambodia. And
the Pacifica Campaign, like the anti-war movement in the past, will
respond with a vigorous campaign of nationwide protest that will
result in the removal of this reckless and unaccountable Pacifica
The Pacifica Campaign, and Concerned Friends of WBAI, are
planning a protest and tour of outrage in Washington DC on
Wednesday, September 12th. A demonstration will run from 1pm-5pm
outside Pacifica's national headquarter at 2390 Champlain Street, in
the Adams Morgan section of Washington DC (near the intersection of
Columbia and 18th). If you live in the DC area, please join us.
Otherwise call Pacifica National and Pacifica station WPFW on Sep.
12th and demand the resignation of Executive Director Bessie Wash.
(Pacifica National at 202-234-7487 or WPFW at 202-588-0999.)
This Day of Action is just one week before the proposed Board
meeting by conference call. While there has been a motion filed to
compel the Pacifica Board to meet in public, face to face with their
critics and with the Foundation's donors, we cannot count on the
courts to help us. We must exert maximum pressure and use every
Constitutionally-protected means of protest at our disposal. We must
stop the Pacifica Board hijackers from illegally stacking the Board
with more of their ilk in their attempt to destroy the network.
Please join us on September 12th. We will be putting out another
e-mail on actions you can take closer to the day.
Democracy Now! News
As you know, the Democracy Now! staff left the studios of
Pacifica station WBAI in New York on August 14 after Pacifica
management failed to ensure a safe, violence-free workplace at the
embattled station. Amy Goodman and the Democracy Now! producers are
now broadcasting the program from a safe studio in lower Manhattan.
But Pacifica managers refuse to air the program live and, instead,
are putting out old, taped shows.
Pacifica station KPFA in Berkeley has defied national management
and continue to carry the show locally and have even arranged to
distribute Democracy Now! to affiliate stations via satellite. From
WMNF in Florida to KGNU in Colorado, Pacifica affiliates are airing
the real Democracy Now! And in Los Angeles, revered KPFK programmer
Roy of Hollywood has been playing the previous days' Democracy Now!
from 5 to 6 AM, just before the station airs the censored archived
version of the show.
If you are in one of the four Pacifica listening areas not airing
Democracy Now! during its regular time slot, call your local station
and ask them to air the program. Call WBAI at 212-209-2800, KPFK in
Los Angeles at 818-985-2711, KPFT in Houston at 713-526-4000, and
WPFW in Washington DC at 202-234-7487 or 202-588-0999. Thank KPFA in
Berkeley for airing the show. Write General Manager Jim Bennett at:
1929 ML King Jr Way, Berkeley CA 94704.
On Wednesday, Aug. 29th, a majority of the Pacifica Board sent a
letter instructing Pacifica Executive Director Bessie Wash to
reinstate the Democracy Now! staff with back pay and to allow them
to continue broadcasting from their safe, remote facility at
Downtown Community Television (DCTV). The six signatories included
the five dissident Board members and Valrie Chambers of Houston. We
applaud Ms. Chambers for recognizing and acting on the actual
threats to physical safety that exist at WBAI under Utrice Leid's
management, and we hope that the unwillingness to sign of hardliners
on the Board like Ken Ford gives her pause when considering future
cooperation with them.
The Pacifica Board majority has been joined by the Rev. Jesse
Jackson, actor Danny Glover, and Nobel laureate Jose Ramos Horta.
They have all called for Pacifica management to air the program live
and direct. Jesse Jackson and Danny Glover were particularly upset
that Pacifica was not airing Democracy Now!'s groundbreaking
coverage of UN Racism Conference in Durban, South African.
There was a national day of action in defense of Democracy Now!
on Tuesday, Aug. 28th. Demonstrations were held in Berkeley, DC, New
York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Olympia,
Washington. Speakers at the various rallies included KPFA radio
programmer Dennis Bernstein in Berkeley and David Adelson, Los
Angeles LAB member and litigant in one of the Pacifica lawsuits.
Also, the Committee for Democracy in Mexico spoke in Los Angeles,
while the Disabled Veterans Association of California delivered a
letter of protest to KPFK. In New York, home of Democracy Now!, a
speech by Amy Goodman highlighted a morning rally attended by
listeners and community leaders from throughout the region.
Since Democracy Now! staff were suspended without pay and
involved in protracted negotiations with Pacifica management, we at
the Pacifica Campaign were concerned that the staff's union, AFTRA,
did not take seriously the genuine safety threats that exist at WBAI
in NYC. Our campaign to educate AFTRA's executives worked: on
Friday, August 24th, AFTRA prominently posted a strongly-worded
statement on their website, declaring WBAI unsafe for Democracy Now!
staff. (See http://www.aftra.com/)
The Position of AFTRA
AFTRA's new national President, John Connolly, reiterated that
stance when he spoke on Sunday, Aug. 26th at a Pacifica Campaign
fundraiser in LA. We are glad to see AFTRA doing the right thing.
(The matter of AFTRA's involvement in the attempt to replace the
hard-won United Electrical local at WBAI, while a number of that
local's members, including a shop steward, have been fired and
banned, still needs to be addressed.) It is worth noting that
Pacifica management, shortly after AFTRA's public posting, placed
TWO statements on the Pacifica website misrepresenting AFTRA's
position. But AFTRA has compelled Pacifica to remove those and
another statement from their website, and has demanded that a public
correction be made. AFTRA updated their statement, to include
comment on Pacifica's lies.
News From Los Angeles
On August 25th, working jointly with various Spanish-speaking
community groups, the Pacifica Campaign organized and hosted in Los
Angeles a ground-breaking bilingual conference, "La Participacion de
la Comunidad en la Radio: KPFK-Pacifica-Community Access to Radio."
The conference addressed ways that KPFK can serve Spanish-speaking
communities of Southern California and how these communities can
contribute to the growth and rebuilding of Pacifica.
All speeches delivered at the conference were in Spanish, with
English translations provided. Juan Gonzalez was the keynote
speaker. Other speakers included Leonore Lizardo, former KPFK LAB
and Pacifica National Board member, current and former KPFK
producers and programmers Arturo Lemus, Raymundo Reynoso, and
Fernando Velasquez. The Aztlan Media Collective and the Comite
Pro-Democracia en Mexico co-sponsored the conference.
On August 26th, a fundraiser for the Free Pacifica lawsuits and
the Pacifica Campaign was held in the Santa Monica home of Jan
Goodman and Jerry Manpearl. The garden and pool party, honoring Roz
& Howard Larman for broadcasting "Folkscene" at KPFK for 27
years, was attended by approximately 250 guests. Dar Williams, folk
singer / songwriter was the featured artist. Many other musicians
performed as well. More than $15,000 dollars was donated to the Paul
Robeson Foundation, a Los Angeles-based foundation that has come to
the support the Pacifica Campaign and The Free Pacifica Lawsuits.
The event was emceed by Theresa Bonpane. Michael Feinstein, the
Mayor of Santa Monica, and Juan Gonzalez were keynote speakers. John
Connolly, president of AFTRA also spoke, updating the guests about
AFTRA's position on the crisis at Democracy Now!
We Also Need Your Financial Help
As you might expect, it costs thousands of dollars a month to
keep a full-time staff of national organizers and scores of events
going on in several cities. We depend entirely on your contributions
to help pay for rent, stipends, travel, literature, mailings, and
equipment for special events. In addition, the Pacifica Campaign
provides major financial support to both wbix.org (WBAI Radio in
Exile) and Free Speech Radio News. Only your enormous outpouring of
support has enabled us to keep the constant pressure on Pacifica. If
you have not already done so, please write a check today. If you
have already contributed, please consider another donation.
Tax-deductible contributions can be made payable to the Institute
for Media Analysis/Pacifica Campaign. Our address: 51 MacDougal St.,
#80 New York, NY 10012
News From Other Pacifica Campaign
wbix.org -- The
web-radio project WBAI Radio in Exile continues to grow and train
volunteers, under the direction of Democracy Now!'s technical
director Errol Maitland and journalist Ryme Katkhouda. The team
unveiled a revamped website ( http://wbix.org/ )this week, and will continue
with their daily schedule of broadcasts. Their webcast of Democracy
Now! in exile was rebroadcast over the air by several affiliates,
until the KPFA-satellite broadcast system was set up. wbix.org has
obtained a used school bus, and has been reporting from Kansas City,
Minnesota, Madison, Wisconsin, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia,
NYC, Long Island, the Clearwater River Revival, and will be in
Washington, DC for the IMF/World Bank protests at the end of
Free Speech Radio
News -- The daily radio newscast from the growing ranks of
professional radio journalists on five continents who refuse to file
stories for Pacifica Network News (PNN), because of PNN's
acquiescence to management censorship, is now carried on more
stations than PNN. Pacifica station KPFA carries the newscast as
well as the "must-carry" PNN, although that station is discussing
dropping Pacifica's increasingly lacklustre excuse for a newscast.
To find out if your station is carrying FSRN, see their website at
http://www.fsrn.org/ or call the Pacifica Campaign
office. The news can also be heard online at their website.
NAHB protests on Maui -- Acting Board chair Ken Ford, who has
taken to threatening Pacifica listeners with arrest by the FBI
merely for criticizing him, continues to defy the will of the
listeners and the letter of the law by maintaining his grip on
Pacifica. To indicate the breadth and strength of the resistance to
his conduct, activists have been present on Maui this week to speak
directly to Ford's employers at the National Association of Home
Builders (NAHB) Fall Board of Directors meeting.
progressiveportal.org -- This activist website has
done tremendous work to expand awareness of the Pacifica crisis and
to enable thousands to take immediate action via fax and email. This
week, in addition to supporting the unionized workers of Krug Winery
in California, the site is facilitating thank you emails to Valrie
Chambers for her support of the DN! staff. Be sure to check it out.
Washington, DC Pacifica Campaign office to open -- Recognizing
that the bulk of recalcitrant Board majority members, Pacifica
National Headquarters and its slew of top-dollar hired guns such as
PR firm Westhill Partners and the white shoe law firm Williams and
Connolly, are all located in DC (as is behind the scenes
string-puller, former Pacifica Board Chair Mary Frances Berry), the
Pacifica Campaign is working to open a full-time DC office. We will
work to provide support for media activists covering the IMF/World
Bank protests at the end of September, by coordinating with the
Independent Media Center, or IMC. Hundreds of journalists will be
providing coverage of the IMF/WB meetings and protests beyond the
narrow confines of the corporate-sponsored media.
These are just a few of the many actions that the Pacifica
Campaign is helping to organize along with the rest of the Free
Pacifica Movement. Together we are going to win this struggle.