Date sent: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 22:21:31
From: Soula <email@example.com>
Subject: Random impressions of the 6/28 rally
the 6/28 5 PM rally, some of my impressions, up for corrections or additions:
It was a big crowd, with one lane (of the two lanes) in front of the building blocked off and filled with people. When we arrived, some little girls came up to us and gave us signs, on little bamboo poles, that they had made, painted with hearts: "I love KPFA".
Lavornne (sp?) Williams and Andrea Buffa, who had been to Washington, spoke. They had great spirit, but said they see we are up against a long-term fight.
The So-Vo-So singers led the crowd in a rousing rendition of "Ain't Gonna Study War No More".
It was creepy to hear about the ominous new armed guards inside the
building, who are free to come and go in any office, who do not smile,
who do not respond when spoken to -- other than that at least two of them
have announced that they used to work for the CIA. The cry "There is no
such thing as an ex-CIA agent" and "Once a CIA agent, always a CIA agent"
up from the crowd.
It was impressive how many ethnicities other than European the KPFA
people who spoke today represented. They decried Pacifica's use of
the "race card" to try to undermine KPFA, which is obviously already very
diverse in ethnicity of paid and volunteer staff. Apparently Pacifica
(Lynn Chadwick?) has rounded up some people who are calling themselves
like "People of Color for a Diverse KPFA" and they have issued a pro-Pacifica statement. Addressing this, one speaker said something like, "What they are trying to impose and we do not need is 'diversity from without'. What we want and what we have is diversity from within, from the ground up."
After most people had left, around 6:40 or so, a woman from Houston got the microphone and spoke about what happened to the Pacifica station there. I wasn't able to hear everything she said, but what I did hear was chilling. It went something like this:
This rally reminds me so much of what happened in Houston, the rallies, the singing, the signs, -- but it was not enough. They took our community station away from us. Now there is no political programming allowed, and they play muzak all the time. This is great, what you're doing, keep it up, but I'm telling you that it is not enough, you need to do something more.
So what would that "something more" be?
Robbie Osman had spoken earlier, and he said people come up to him all the time and ask "what can we do?" He has been at a loss, but he recalled Students for a NonViolent Society (?) which he belonged to. People formed small groups and discussed actions they could take. "People that you know and can talk with." Also, you can do things like talk to your Congressional representatives.
The words "83% stock option" were uttered, and I'd like to know what
that signifies. Is it the amount of money that listeners contribute
vs. CPB funding, or something else??
Diversity Coalition Press Release*
*[Please see the Editor's note following]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 1999
FR: the Diversity
Coalition in Public Broadcasting
RE: The situation at KPFA For further information call:
Peggy Berryhill, 707.875.9835
Rick Tejada-Flores, 510.883.9814
Karolyn van Putten, 415.771.1161
Jim Yee, 415.356.8383
Open Letter from the Diversity Coalition in Public Broadcasting to the Pacifica Board of Directors, the Staff and Volunteers of KPFA, and the General public.
The attached letter,
signed by the Diversity Coalition represents a broad range of organizations
working in public broadcasting that are committed to diversity, is an attempt
to present alternative perspectives on current problems at Pacifica Affiliate
station KPFA, to urge all parties to seek respectful resolution, and to
Chadwick, Executive Director of Pacifica.
We are concerned about the racist, misogynist and homophobic slurs that hav e been hurled at Ms. Chadwick, her staff and supporters and we call for an atmosphere of tolerance and an end to bigotry. Excerpted from the Diversity Coalition's letter: "The problems facing Pacifica and KPFA are not new ones. They have existed in various forms for the past 20 years. The underlying issue is about power; its overarching theme is about diversity and what that means for the future of Pacifica. The outcome, whatever that may be, is about how to bring about change.
Pacifica has defined the change in its long-term vision statement as an attempt to make the Pacifica stations more relevant and more representative of the audiences that they should serve. However, on a local level, the KPFA staff have defined the issue as their ability to make programming and financial decisions without oversight.
These are two completely
different formulations of the same issue - the exercise of power. In the
process of staking out these positions, what is lost is the common issues
that unite Pacifica management, KPFA staff, and the community. It is important
to remember that the current state of affairs at KPFA does not have to
be viewed as an "us and them" situation, nor do possible solutions have
to be limited to "either one or the other". We
believe we can find a solution that incorporates many perspectives."
We urge you read the attached letter to gain a better understanding of the situation at KPFA.
Principles not Personalities
First, this is letter of support for Pacifica and all that it stands for and secondly, it is to promote a more balanced vision of the future for Pacifica and KPFA and move the discussions from personalities to envisioning a truly diverse sound for Pacifica. The third purpose of this letter is to support Lynn Chadwick, whom we know well and respect. Many people have weighed in on the conflict and that is good. But it is more important to weigh in responsibly and to do so requires some background.
The current problems at KPFA and the Pacifica National Foundation are not, in fact, recent. They are rooted in the issues of community; community identity , community action and community development. The problems are system wide ranging from the local to national level and back again.
This decades long struggle is not a simple issue of strong personalities clashing. The current conflict is rooted in ideals and philosophy and how actions at both ends of community interpret and embrace these concepts. For the sake of all concerned we need to move this discussion forward. The struggle at KPFA and the mission of the Pacifica National Foundation are about how to best serve today's audiences.
This struggle has been ongoing since Pacifica's origins. Some of the issues are inherent in a national organization that is trying to get a progressive message out to as many people as possible. Within Pacifica are five local stations, each with its own audience, group of programmers, and staff with many visions for what the mission should be.
If Pacifica is going to make a difference in this country we need to get beyond the negative and join together to work for a positive vision. One arena we may all want to reflect on is the nature of the political actions of the left. The style of organizing that worked well in the 1970's, i.e., organizing against a common enemy, works against us in the 1990's when we are all on the same side of the street. How we move past this negativity and begin to organize together is the key to finding solutions, recognizing that a diversity of thought is critical to progress.
The underlying issue
is about power and its overarching theme is about diversity and what that
means for the future of Pacifica. The outcome, whatever that may be, is
about how to bring about change. Pacifica has
defined the change in its long-term vision statement as an attempt to make the Pacifica stations more relevant and more representative of the audiences that they should serve. However, on a local level, the KPFA staff has define d the issue as their ability to make programming and financial decisions without oversight. These are two completely different formulations of the same issue: the exercise of power. In the process of staking out these positions, what is lost is the common issues that unite Pacifica management, KPFA staff, and the
At this time it is important to remember that the current state of affairs at KPFA do not have to be viewed as an "us and them" situation nor do possible solutions have to be limited to " either one or the other". We believe we can find a solution that incorporates many perspectives.
The last major confrontation occurred in the 1970's when an influx of Berkeley advocates of "free speech" and a few People of Color began to enter the KPFA airwaves, offering what then was an alternative to the programming that was already established. Little has changed since the struggle in the 1970's.
The issue of diversity
in local and national programming has been raised in the current conflict.
While it can be said that People of Color have entere d the doors of KPFA,
few have stayed to become part of the
management or aid i n strategic planning for KPFA. There is a short list of the People of Color who have attempted to bring about change from inside KPFA. Those who did were given positions, either as volunteers or with 1/4 or 1/2 time pay. They were often relegated to "ghettoized" departments that reflected ethnicity or gender. A few have been Training Directors or Program Directors and fewer were General Managers and Business Managers. One true thing is that all were met with overwhelming opposition when they tried to make substantive programming changes that reflected the broader culture of communities of color, women and lesbians and gays. This has been true for 20 years and did not just erupt due to the current administration at the
Pacifica National office. A power conflict has been brewing for a long time.
Another truth is
that many people had to leave KPFA or Pacifica in order to produce and
distribute programs about our communities. Few of these "outside " programs
have reached KPFA audiences, the very audiences
that many of us started out to serve in the first place. This struggle for diversity on the airwaves isn't new. The definition of diversity has changed from the 1970' s when paternalistic attitudes determined whose voices belonged on the airwaves. In the 1990's People of color, lesbians, gays and women can champion their own voices and their own heroes.
The current climate at KPFA and other Pacifica stations has been one of an uneasy alliance of diverse factions with little or no agreement on the principles of the Pacifica Foundation. In addition, the cultural experiences have also been rooted in a consciousness left over from the 1970's. While this was a worthy concept for that era, we must pose the question of its relevance today, particularly when the question of diversity in programming is raised.
The 59,000-watt KPFA
signal reaches far beyond Berkeley; however, the air sound usually reflects
the Berkley character and philosophy. As we move into the next decade we
must ask ourselves the following questions: does Berkeley represent the
local and regional description of diversity in appearance and philosophy?
Does Berkeley represent the changing face of our national diversity?
The responses to these questions are part of the inner struggle and dialogue
that thus far have not occurred due to the standoff between the Pacifica
and local staff, a standoff that benefits no one.
You may have already read some things about Lynn but there are other things about her history in public broadcasting about which you are probably unaware.
Lynn first began
working in public radio in 1977 when she became the Director of the Feminist
Radio Network. She is not a newcomer to the Bay Area having lived and worked
here for over ten years. She is past Director of
Western Public Radio (WPR) where she worked side by side with our beloved Leo C. Lee . WPR, for those who don't know, is a non-profit training and production facility created to involve more people of color and women in public radio. She is also a past Executive Director of the National Federation of Communit y Broadcasters (NFCB).
In her role at NFCB
she demonstrated staunch support for diversity in community radio. Ten
years ago, for example, she promoted two initiatives that provided substantial
new funding for incentives for rural and minority stations. The first was
enactment of the step program and a few years later the rural and minority
programs. These incentives allowed rural and minority stations leverage to achieve access to the major funding, known as Community Service Grants (CSG). The CSGs have resulted in millions of dollars to these stations and their communities. These dollars also helped provide access to national programming services for rural and minority stations.
Through her leadership nearly all of the Native and Latino stations joined NFCB, as well as several of the African American stations. This was because Lynn consistently voiced her concerns for diversity issues on Capitol Hill and in the boardrooms of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and at the FCC as well. This is all to say that she is truly of the same mind as many o f us who have fought for decades for the inclusion of women, minorities, gays and lesbians on the public airwaves. Those of us who have signed this letter are pleased to see Lynn help lead Pacifica toward the millennium with programming that reflects the diversity of our society and promotes excellence. We are glad she was selected to do this job.
This letter is a "shout out" to all who would like to weigh in responsibly and examine the true issues surrounding the current state of affairs. Maintaining an "either/or" stance is a losing game. It is an unhealthy way to campaign. Let's not succumb to the "winner takes all" philosophy that exemplifies elite American society. After all, there are many other models .
Within the depth
of passions lie many truths and truth is not one sided. Let's see if we
can put our heads together and move forward. We think we would all agree
that we want a just and fair society and this is one
more opportunity to find a way to "walk the talk" and live the ideals we say we are committed to living. A commitment, however, to no change is not a solution for the future. We are reminded of a saying, " Most
people come fro m the past and re-create the present. Those who excel come from the future; their vision, their mission and it pulls them forward."
To all our relations:
of the African American Public Radio Alliance
American Indian Radio On Satellite, John Gregg Sr., Manager
Gays and Lesbians in Public Radio
Independent Television Service, Jim Yee, Executive Director
Native American Public Telecommunications, Frank Blythe, Executive
Native Media Resource Center, Peggy Berryhill, President
Western Public Radio, Karolyn vanPutten, President
*Editor's Note: Since the beginnings of this coup in 1995, Pat Scott, then Pacifica Executive Director, and now her successor Lynn Chadwick have, in various public statements, attempted to portray critics of their regimes as racist and violent, and to portray themselves as motivated in their actions by concerns about promoting racial diversity on the air. Lets look at some facts and history:
On January 1995, Pat Scott removed KPFK Los Angeles local management. She told the LA Times that more "multicultural" programming was at issue. However, the people she removed included Cliff Roberts (an African American who had been one of the founders of the Third World News at KPFA in the 70's) and Lucia Chappelle, an African-American Lesbian and co-producer of "This Way Out," an international Lesbian and Gay news program. Prior to that, Scott and Pacifica's National Management had removed Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend and most other radical Black programming. After Scott took over Pacifica, and under Scott's successor Chadwick, Native American, most of the Spanish Language and most programs giving a voice to young people of color were removed or drastically curtailed from KPFK. Those remaining genreally provide conventional perspectives. Something similar happened in Houston at KPFT.
At KPFA, the Scott-directed purges eliminated Black, Native American, Feminist, and Gay and Lesbian programming, claiming these programs were "balkanized" and no longer relevant.
The point is, the heist of Pacifica is not about race or advancing racial diversity. It has been about stamping out perspectives which seriously challenge the distribution of wealth, and the fiction of democracy, especially those likely to further inflame the resentment of working class/underclass people against the power structure in America. Directives have been given to several programmers, including Helen Caldicott and Amy Goodman, to soften their criticisms of Bill Clinton and American policy. Larry Bensky recently theorized that his failure to praise and defend Clinton during the impeachment trial played a role in his initial firing. That there are official ties to the Clinton administration and other governmental entities is irrefutable and have been demonstrated: The recent intervention of the Justice department at Mary Frances Berry's request, the Security Guards claiming CIA service, Chadwick and Scott's cosy relationship with the CPB run by Coonrod, former Deputy Director of Voice of America, to name a few.
African-American's on KPFA's staff recently issued a statement divorcing themselves from Pacifica's use of race issues as a mask for their power grab.
When their back is to the wall, the
Pacifica junta uses the same ploys again and again - claiming critics
are both violent and racist. The latest campaign is just a more skillful
iteration of Pat Scott's 1995 strategy. Here is a press release issued
by Scott in 1995. Compare it for yourself with the material coming out
of Pacifica now:
|PACIFICA RADIO UNDER ATTACK
KPFA RESPONDS TO LOCAL EFFORT TO DE-STABILIZE PROGRESSIVE RADIO NETWORK
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Berkeley - Physical and verbal attacks on managers of Pacifica Radio stations have caused the Pacifica Board and management to call upon listeners and supporters to reject these attacks and ensure the strength of KPFA by pledging support to the station during its current on-air fund drive.
Members of a group claiming to "take back Pacifica" confronted National Board members in Houston last weekend (September 30 - Oct. 1). After being provided open-ended time for public comment at two points during the meeting, they refused to leave an executive session so that the Board could discuss personnel and financial matters relating to specific employees. The group harassed Board members until hotel security was called to evict them from the premises.
The attacks seem to be in response to recent program changes at the five Pacifica stations. More than a year ago Pacifica began work on a program development plan designed to serve a more multicultural audience and increase the social impact of Pacifica programming. In an era in which right-wing talk radio show hosts have become the hot button in radio - with notable audiences here in the Bay Area -- Pacifica believes that the community broadcasting model has a bigger role to play. KPFA announced a new program schedule August 1 in an effort to compete effectively for audiences with strong, distinctive programming.
Marci Lockwood, manager of KPFA in Berkeley, reported receiving death threats in telephone calls. Unexplained recordings of repeated gunshots have been left on Pacifica Executive Director Pat Scott's answering machine. Garland Ganter, manager of KPFT in Houston, was assaulted last weekend during Pacifica Board meetings by a woman who threw an unidentified liquid in his face and damaged his car. Proprietary and confidential documents have been stolen from Pacifica offices in Berkeley, and employees have reported their cars vandalized. Unidentified callers have left messages on the voicemail of several managers threatening to take Pacifica stations off the air.
There is a right-wing crusade to cripple Pacifica,
the only independent, non-commercial radio network in the country, and
it has now been joined by a small band of local dissidents, calling upon
subscribers to withdraw financial support from Northern California's alternative,
multi-ethnic radio station. They are waging a deliberate dis-information
campaign and are attempting to destroy our funding -- eighty percent of
which comes directly from listeners. The financial demise that the right-wing
Initially formed to press the cause of several longtime volunteers whose programs were discontinued in the recent KPFA schedule changes, the group includes many whose names have never been numbered among the paid subscribers to the station.
Pacifica, which has in the past had its transmitters bombed and its employees threatened by right wing groups, suspects the current attacks to be the work of a small network of extremists who are hoping to see the Foundation put out of business. Listeners around the country have received letters asking them not to support Pacifica if it attempts to expand is reach.
Pat Scott said, "People who have attended meetings of these dissidents report spokespersons have attacked the stations as being run by "Jewish lesbians and fascists". We are familiar with these tactics and this sort of hate-mongering will not deter us from our mission to expand our audience and make our stations more accessible to larger segments of the community."
At one meeting in Berkeley, Amina Hassan, KPFA's Development Director and an African-American woman, complained about racial overtones during the meeting and was shouted down by an angry crowd.
Cecelia McCall, Vice Chair of the Pacifica
Board, said Pacifica will continue to meet the challenges of programming
to an ever-changing urban community and will not yield to bullies who hide
PACIFICA RADIO UNDER ATTACK
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *
CORRECTION TO PRESS RELEASE DATED OCTOBER 3, 1995
BERKELEY: PLEASE NOTE THAT THE QUOTE ATTRIBUTED
TO CECELIA MCCALL, VICE
THE PRESS RELEASE SHOULD READ: "PAT SCOTT,
PACIFICA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
* (then) Pacifica Vice-Chair Cecila McCall demanded this correction be issued after she learned Pat Scott had attributed words to her she had never said.
What is at issue here is grassroots control of media in America. The stakes are high because a minority of powerful interests is able to maintain control of the flow of information to the dispossesed majority, and keep them (us) ignorant and disorganized. Pacifica's role as a truly educational institution (capable of promotimg critical thinking as well as exposing the lies and deceptions we are fed) is understood to a threat to the "manufacture of consent." Worse, it is feared that Pacifica stations can become manufacturers of dissent, emanating from the bottom up and out of the control of "responsible" leaders.
The reach of Pacifica transmitters is large enough to accomplish that. Pacifica has claimed that its transmitters have the potentional to reach 20% of America. That is 60 million people. Lew Hill wrote that he hoped to reach 2% of the community. That would be 1.2 million people. The 1992 uprising in Los Angeles following the Rodney King verdict was said to have between 20 and 40 thousand active participants. With just that number, authorities were almost helpless, and they know it. They also know that the areas of the 5 Pacifica stations are home to a growing population whose labor is no longer needed, who are increasingly desperate and who have litle or nothing to lose. Can you see why 50 years of Free Speech Radio is too much? - LG
For an excellent analysis of how the issue of race is used as a propaganda tool in the takeover of Pacifica, we recommend this essay.
For more on the theft of Pacifica...