Pacifica Campaign


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 democratic rules.

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 that.

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 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.

In solidarity,

Juan Gonzalez