From Juan Gonzalez
Yesterday evening, two more members of the corporate clique which
has hijacked control of the Pacifica Board resigned. They are David
Acosta, chairman of the Pacifica Board of Directors, and Karolyn Van
Putten, a board member from San Francisco.
Along with previous resignations by board member Frank Millspaugh
and board treasurer Micheal Palmer, that brings the number of
defections from the corporate clique to four since January 31, when
I resigned from Democracy Now! and we launched our campaign.
As we expected, the combination of a massive listener boycott and
constant, non-violent direct action protests, together with the
ever-increasing legal and political pressures against the board, are
having an enormous effect. There are now only seven members left of
the illegally constituted majority still opposing the five
pro-democracy dissidents on the board.
In addition, Pacifica has reportedly postponed its July 1 board
meeting where the remaining members of the clique had hoped to elect
new board members.
All of this means we are closer to a victorious solution to the
current crisis than we have ever been -- but there are critical days
ahead and we should take nothing for granted.
During the past few days, lawyers from the anti-union firm of
Epstein, Becker & Green, who represent the corporate clique on
the board, have reached out to plaintiffs in the three California
legal suits, according to several sources familiar with the
discussions. Epstein, Becker wants to begin settlement talks as
early as next week. While we in the Pacifica Campaign support the
goals of those legal suits, we are not directly involved with them
nor in the negotiations with Epstein, Becker. I believe, however,
that we should welcome any good faith attempts by the two sides to
negotiate a swift solution to this terrible crisis that has engulfed
the entire network for more than two years.
We urge Pacifica board members Ken Ford, Andrea Cisco, John
Murdock and those remaining on that so-called "majority" to do the
honorable thing. They should accept the reality that those Pacifica
listeners who have been able to hear both sides of the story have
overwhelmingly rejected their policies. We urge them to arrange an
orderly resignation of their group and thus pave the way for a
transition board that can begin rebuilding the network under new
If these negotiations move forward as scheduled, we in the
Pacifica Campaign should be prepared to call a temporary "ceasefire"
in our direct action protests, so as to allow a calm and reasoned
atmosphere to prevail. But Epstein, Becker must demonstrate that the
board is serious about finding a quick solution. If it becomes
apparent after a few days that this is just another ploy to buy
time, to hoodwink the judge, or a maneuver to bring in fresh
replacements for the current clique, we can -- and we will --
immediately end the ceasefire and redouble our protests against the
individual board members. And they should be clear: we will do just
At the same time, we urge the plaintiffs in the three legal suits
to remember that an entire movement is placing its trust in them.
While it is understandable that the talks must necessarily be
conducted in private, the plaintiffs should resist whenever possible
gag rules or private agreements, and they should seek feedback from
supporters around the country before deciding key issues. They
should also stay united and rebuff any attempts by Epstein, Becker
to divide them from each other, or pick them off one by one. All the
suits, after all, are joined in one case.
In addition, our movement should reject any moves to seek
retribution against Pacifica staff or management who vehemently
fought against us during these difficult years. Everyone, especially
our adversaries, deserves the due process and fair treatment under a
new administration that Pacifica management so consistently refused
to its own employees and to anyone who opposed it.
Finally, the negotiators should insist on an immediate halt to
the senseless waste of listener funds that continues to occur on
orders of executive director Bessie Wash. At WBAI, for instance, a
security company during the past few days has been feverishly
installing a state of the art security system to control, monitor,
and track movement inside and outside the station. The new security
pass lock system, the surveillance cameras, and motion detectors
will reportedly cost some $50,000 (visit
http://www.pacificacampaign.org to see a copy of the bill for the
work that was recently supplied to the Pacifica Campaign). For a
station that recently lost more than $400,000 in a disastrous fund
drive, it is unconscionable to be forking out $50,000 in listener
funds to calm the seige mentality and paranoid fears of Bessie Wash
and interim station manager Utrice Leid.
To all of you who have sacrificed so much of your time, money and
energy these past few months to save Pacifica, I congratulate you
and thank you for your efforts. The end of this stage of the fight
is within sight. We need only stay vigilant and united and cling to
our movement's humanistic values and we will achieve our goals.
After that, we will begin the hard work of rebuilding Pacifica as an
even grander bastion of free speech and radical dissent than in the
past. Then and only then will we be able to proclaim that Pacifica
remains the only radio network in America that capitalism and its
fellow travelers failed to vanquish.