Heartfelt thanks to Tom Gregg for this transcript

Partial transcript.
Host: Aniruddha Das.
Guests :Sam Husseini, Vijay Prashad, Biju Mathew, Dave Adelson (Chair of
the local board at KPFK and a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Pacifica National Board).


HOST: Sam [Husseini] is a chair of the local advisory board of WPFW, which is the Washington, DC, Pacifica station, and he's also communications director with the Institute for Public Accuracy.  We have Vijay Prashad..a professor of international relations at Trinity College in Hartford, he is the author of a book called "Caramel Brown Folk" and has been very active in organizing at a number of levels in the Asian-American community in and around New York.  And in studio we have Biju Matthew... a professor at Ryder College...here in New Jersey, and has also been active for a number of years in movements in the city.  So let's start with this issue, David, and one thing which has been put forward by a number of people on the national board is that stations like the WBAI represent all that is anachronistic, that Pacifica is a shadow of its former self and needs to be  brought forward.  Theres a quotation from Kenneth Ford, Vice Chair of the Board of Pacifica Foundation, in Saturday's New York Times "Pacifica has gone from being insignificant to irrelevant.  Do we serve people who are locked in time in the 60s, or do we try to stay current and expand?"  Would you like to comment on this idea of Pacifica being irrelevant and unimportant?

David:  I'd like to. ... Before I do, though, I'd like to correct one thing.  You said that the lawsuit was brought by local advisory boards. And it was actually brought by a number of local advisory board members, acting together, rather than by those boards as units. And its also important to say that I'm speaking on behalf of myself and on behalf of the plaintiffs from the lawsuit and not on behalf of my local board.  ...I wanted to turn the question around and ask your listeners, because Pacifica was created to be a place where the people who were at the mikes were addressing themselves to individuals in the audience.  Not a mass of consumers.  So, let's turn the question around and ask our listeners, you who are in your car or your living room or wherever you hapen to be, if someobody says that the programming on WBAI is "irrelevant", I'd ask the question, "are they saying that YOU, to whom this programming matters, are *irrelevant*?" And that's really one of the things that's at the heart of this whole thing, which is, are the people who depend upon the kind of programming that you do, are they of any importance in the decision-making that's gonna happen at Pacifica about the programming, and if so, _via_what means are they of  importance?  we can get into some of the structural issues and the history of how decisions got made...  I would like to ask you a question, which is, who is your audience, as you understand it...?

HOST:  the audience that has come up most visibly...is very mixed...there are about twelve hundred people who showed up for example at this meeting that  is being held right this evening, a teach-in talking about this whole issue...[from] Connecticut, and New Jersey and New York...

David: ...The "relevance" in the way that Ken Ford is talking about it comes from a definition that focuses on your audience  as a group of consumers, rather than as people who will take what they hear and act on it.  Lou Hill, when he  created Pacifica, was creating an outlet for people who would take what they heard and go and act upon it.   He was looking to establish a system for ethical communication  and what he said was  that when you have the dynamic of people who are put in front of a microphone to deliver an audience,   basically that is a manipulative relationship.  And that people who had substantive things to communicate (artists and thinkers) about the way that the world functions and, in particular, about the way power functioned in the world, and, very particularly, the way that power functioned in the US, that those people would have nothing to do with a, um, radio station whose goal was to maintain audiences of a certain size-- he wanted those people to be able to address themselves to individuals.  Now .. Ken Ford is saying it's not "relevant" because the audience isn't big enough and we don't make enough money...one of the things that many people who have raised a similar criticism have said in the past is (and John Dinges said this in an article in The Nation magazine, and it was echoed by David Giovannonni, who is an "audience consultant" for Pacifica) is that a Pacifica is just a shadow of its former proud self, of its former influential self.  But they also say "we're succeeding because Pacifica's audiences have never been bigger-- we've never gotten more money from the and there've never been more of them."  So there's a problem there.

HOST So there's a contradiction...

DAVID ...There's a contradiction... If you who are listening now are willing to view this as "at a distance" from you, that doesn't really affect you, that won't have any implications for your world, then ultimately, you will become "irrelevant" to that process, without finding a way to influence it, to be a participant in what is supposed to be a participatory relationship with a station.  And that's difficult. I am concerned about the relevance of the programming.

HOST: ...

DAVID:  ...stations like WBAI...go for hundreds of millions of dollars

HOST: ...Pacifica reaches 1 in 4 to 1 in 5 households, can reach.

DAVID  Yeah, the signal can be picked up by 1 in 5 households, but the financial value ... comes out of the fact that the broadcast signal can actually influence people's behavior.  And there are different models of how you influence people's behavior.  One is the commercial model, where you get them into an emotionally reactive state, and you give them messages over and over, and you construct a vision of the world and what's desirable through repetition, that influences how they behave. Pacifica's model has always been different-- it's to appeal to their intellectual faculties and to address questions of, "how does my life really work?", "how does it interact with the overall way the society works?"  In a way.. Well, people have talked about "well, let's not preach to the choir." Well there is the issue of TEACHing the choir  which is something different, that allows the the choir to go and convert the community, as Lyn Gerry has said.

HOST Right....let us take a look at some of the individuals who are currently on the national board of Pacifica and look at their political affiliations.  Sam Husseini, would you like to talk about that?

SAM Well, I actually think that Dave Adelson might be able to better adress that...Let me just point out one or two things... there is hardly unanimity on the national board, and I think it's a bit of a mistake to say that this is being done at the behest of the national board.  I have talked to board members within the last couple of days, who are not notified of the actions being  taken at WBAI. For example, Rob Robinson, a board member from the Washington DC area, has a lawsuit pending against the Pacifica , against other people on the board.  There are 3 lawsuits, one by members of the local advisory boards, which Dave Adelson is spearheading, one by 2 of the national board members Rob Robinson and Rabbi Kreigel in Los Angeles, and a third put together by listeners....I can speak about one, and that is John Murdoch.  And, he is, is, does not have, he is not the chair or vice chair, but it seems fairly clear to me, from sitting in on meetings, that he is calling a lot of the shots.  He is currently rewriting the bylaws of Pacifica, he is a lawyer at Epstein Becker Green, which is a corporate law firm, which on its web page describes itself as working to ensure a union-free workplace, he represents HMOs in litigation, thats his specialty,

DAVID On the management side.

SAM On the Management side. And and that law firm is also the law firm of Pacifica, so I'm not  sure what the ethics of that situation are.

HOST:  That's the law firm of Pacifica, representing....

DAVID Well..., they're representing Pacifica in some of the lawsuits presently against them, there's been  attempts to get them disqualified on the grounds of conflict of interest.

HOST Very interesting, so, Dave...?

DAVID:  I think what your listeners need to understand is something about the structure of Pacifica.  Which is ...Pacifica is the foundation which holds the licenses for the five stations in Houston, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Washington and New York.  There is an executive director of Pacifica.  And that Executive Director, as things stand now, is responsible for the hiring and firing of the managers at the 5 member stations.  The managers at each of the 5 member stations have essentially complete autonomy over the  operations of the station, although obviously if they do things at variance with what the national administration wants, they're subject to being removed, in the way that Valerie Van Isler was removed, in the way that Nicole Sawaya  had her contract not picked up in Berkeley.  And in both those cases, they sparked uprisings of the staff, who understood what was going on as an assault on the autonomy of those staffs.  And one reason for the vigor of it was that they understood that in the overall political context of Pacifica, in which the governing board has made mo....  The basis of all these lawsuits is, the governing board has changed its bylaws, how it elects its own members...

HOST: We'll go into that in just a second...

DAVID: So Bessie Wash is the executive director. Now the power, essentially, to execute things in Pacifica comes about from...  Who are the members of the General Board of Pacifica, who are in  a position to influence what Bessie Wash says? who does she report to? Basically, she reports to the executive committe of the Pacifica Board. so Executive Committee memebrs have a lot of influence.  But the core people that I would say are actively driving things are: (well, to a lesser extent now) Mary Frances Berry;John Murdoch, as Sam said, (who is a lawyer with a firm that does management-side consulting and aids in maintaining a union-free workplace); the treasurer of the board, Michael Palmer (who is, um, a broker for CB-Richard-Ellis, Coldwell-Banker-Richard-Ellis, in Houston, he was the one who sent the infamous letter about the potential saleof KPFA, or recommending that they sell WBAI instead, because he said they had a more dysfunctional staff, and that ... it had more value and that it would be an easier thing to sell).There's Ken Ford, who you mentioned, who's the Vice Chair, ... who works for the National Association of Home Builders, which is a lobbying group for the construction indiustry

(UNCLEAR) And who, I should say, his term has technically expired.

DAVID Correct.

UNCLEAR This is one of the procedural irregularities that Rob Robinson and  other board members are putting forward in their lawsuit.

DAVID  Yeah, basically, at Pacifica .. they've played rather fast and loose, and the people... did things as they wanted, rather than by the book, and that left them open to a lot of these legal actions.

HOST  ... to play the devil's advocate, I say, "okay, well you've pointed out these people, you've pointed out these rather suspicious political affiliations, but what is the evidence that they are actually doing anything that is nefarious in the Pacifica context, I mean somebody can be a banker..."

DAVID:  ...Let me just give one more example... Mike Burt, which is the former co-owner of the Denver Nuggets Backsetball team, which has made a lot of money in the buying and selling of radio stations along the way. And you're absolutely right:   somebody's profession doesn't necessarily damn them. I would say that ... the Palmer email, there was a misdirected email that Michael Palmer, the treasurer, (he was then treasurer-elect), sent to Media Alliance, by accident, that had been intended to go to the chair Mary Berry, that that's the sort of most obvious smoking gun, this discussion of the sale of stations in order to get rid of obstreperous staff and realize a profit on... well, excuse me, not "realize a profit," but "liquidate the asset" so that asset gets to be at the disposal of the national board itself.

I guess my biggest problem with whats going on has been this mass reconfiguration of the broadcasting operations of Pacifica over the last 5 years by people who had no role in building that house of billion dollars worth of value.  they are now claiming that they should uniquely have the right to decide what happens.  But Pacifica was built by the support of its listeners and by the activity of its staff over many years, and the history is that the Governing board never really had leverage over operations quote, "on the ground" if you will

HOST right...

SAM  Further evidence of nefarious activities is looking at the statements and what they hold up as the model.  For example, I used to live in New York... I was shocked when  I came here to Washington DC, WPFW plays about 85% jazz.  ... This station has been held up as the model...by the current national leardership, that's clearly the direction they're going in, to castrating the political relevancy, towards stifling voices like Amy Goodman and others for their .. progressive serious perspectives and driving out professionals, I mean they want to be NPR in terms of political content, but not in terms of sound quality and professionalism.

HOST:  ... could you give examples of the.. lack of news coverage...?

SAM:  There is no local news, at WPFW...

HOST:  This is in a station which is right in the capital of the country, there is in fact no... I remember reading, that they rarely have any representatives in any of the press conferences at the Press Club...

DAVID:  Just to play the Devil's advocate, Pacifica would argue that, "well, the reason  for that is that we're under-resourced and we have a bunch of flaky volunteers...and what we're trying to do is increase funding so we can establish news departments. For example, the Houston station is just now bringing a news department on line."  Sam, you might want to mention what happened at the A16 protest [April 16 protest agiainst IMF and World Bank], against the globalization movement when the folks involved in...


SAM ...such a source of information for it, and they've had absolutely no desire whatsoever to be a part of that either in terms of organizing it , even in terms of covering it, even things like the Million Mom march, the Million Family march, things come and go here in Washington DC and WPFW is just sitting around fiddling, they're playing jazz

HOST:  .. 80% of the time. yes... and this, as you say, is being held up as  the model by Pacifica

DAVID  Basically what they're doing, and they're very clear about it, is promoting an essentially market model of broadcasting.  They're moving from a community-based broadcasting, that involves any number of people who are active in the community and [who] need to communicate social jsutice issues, to a model of "target market programming" where they decide the target market on the basis of whatever, (we dont even have to attribute what their political ideals are..)  Whatever the decision-makers' political ideals are, or economic desires or what have you, that that's gonna determine what market they identify, and the essence of "target market programming" is that you choose  the profile of the person you are trying to reach, and you try to keep them tuned in for long blocks of time.

UNKNOWN:  If I might add one footnote to that, I mean, Democracy Now, I think, raises a good amount of money for the network, so why are they trying to undermine it? I suspect...

DAVID:  I can tell you why.  The reason is that her audience doesn't match the audience being programmed by the rest of the programmers at the various stations, so it contradicts the goal of ... getting people tuned in and keeping them tuned in for long blocks of time (because in the rest of public radio, the time you spend listening is the best predictor of the amount of money you'll give at pledge time.) So if her audience tunes in and tunes out for the rest of the programming and the other programmer's audience tune out for hers, you've defeated the purpose of what they're trying to achieve.  And what I believe they're trying to achieve is... a habituation, basically almost an addictive response, like the  way people may drink Coca-cola, to turn on the radio, at  given times during the day, you listen, you accept what you hear, et cetera.  It's treating your audience, the people who are listening at this moment, as we speak, as consumers, not participants.

HOST:  Go ahead, Vijay.

VIJAY PRASHAD:  ...I appreciate how Davuid has framed this, but I actually think that that confuses the issue a little bit.  The contradiction may not necessarily be between market-driven _versus_ community driven, because I think _ideology_, and words like "the left" should not be left out of this discussion . ... It's not just that that actions of this board of that new liberal agency is just based on some kind of willful belief that you know the market will determine things. They're more clever than that. I think that they are trying to do a switch on the left and use words like "professionalization," use some of the kind of advertising language of "market" to actually make a right-wing turn.

DAVID?:  absolutely, "we're not progressives but we play some on the radio"

HOST:  This is close to the half-hour mark, so this is WBAI, 99.5 ... into the automatic question... political vision...So the question is, how did Pacifica get into this current strait, where it is willing to so easily digest these ideas of market efficiency, and "professionalization," and use those as  ways of diluting political content? David?

DAVID: By the way, I just wanted to go back to what your other guest just said.  In every alienation of common resources throughout history, the claim is always made, "we're doing this for market efficiency", whether it be the enclosure of the commons in England, whether it be the logging of the forest, anything like that, the claim is always made, "the people who are here and present, (who rely on this resource for sustenance of themselves and future generations), their interests are trumped by the interests of another group of people (who are not present and who actually don't care about this particular resource--they're looking for, for example, lumber for their tables)," and that is a very deeply political question, and it has always been disguised in the cloak of greater benefit for a greater body of people who are not themselves present at the moment, and that's always the argument made by the powerful intruder...

VIJAY: Well, David, not always... The first philosopher to enunciate the argument was John Locke, in the Second Treatise of...

HOST  Well, Vijay, I don't think...

VIJAY: This is very much linked to a kind of economic understanding of how political systems should function.

DAVID Agreed.  You were asking something very technical about how it happened to Pacifica.


DAVID  First of all,people need to know that it's not just unique to Pacifica, it happened throughout noncommercial broadcasting. In 1992 an article was published by Rachel Anne Goodman, (and people can go and find links to this material at www.radio4all.org/freepacifica...that described a process in 1992 that was sweeping through noncommercial stations throughout the country, whereby station administrations were basically  establishing target market programming, pushing out volunteers, pushing out advisory boards, pushing out community participation, going to "target market programming."

And one of the key architects of that was Lynn Chadwick, who was then president of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, and whose ex-husband was involved in something called the "Healthy Station Project" which went around to stations and established  this. The process that Rachel Goodman described in 1992 was something that began to take hold at Pacifica in about 1994 or so.  And it was a sterotypic process,  and some of the same actors were involved, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was involved, Lynn Chadwick,  who ended up as Executive Director prior to Bessie Wash, was involved, and it was one of the people who was involved in KPFA recently so basically, there were, if you look back at the Gingrich congress, there were threats of the de-funding of public broadcasting, and that was used to get all sorts of public broadcasters to ... oh excuse me,  to get control of various public broadcasting stations by people who bought into the "target market" model of value, and who had a disregard for the political value of those stations in their community, so they were saying,  "we're gonna cut off your funding, and you better learn how to make it on your own."

And people, staffs were worried about pay cuts, so they were willing to go along with things that administrations would do  in order to "up" the fundraising, and, at all these stations, obviously the people who were exclued no longer had access to the air,  and the people who had access to the air, had an interest in what was going on, or, in some cases like at Pacifica where there's a gag rule prohibiting people from going on the air and  talking about internatl matters, if you  went on the air, you'd only get that one shot and then you'd be out of there.  So there was a situation in which there was no ability of anybody who knew what was happening to communicate it.

And the people who were doing this were very clear on the way to go about doing it.  The other thing is, um at each of the stations, there was always a ... competition for air time and the rest of it, so when the national administration, primarily  in the person of Pat Scott, who was executive director on the mid 90s, began to  establish a series of changes, and for example she issued a memorandum to the local boards that said, "we're about to do a massive reconfiguration, and if you refuse to go along with this, if you are opposed to it, you are advised to resign immediately.  If you do not, and if we find that you are doing anything to countermand these  policies and directives of the national board, you will be dealt with.

It was an active threat, that said, anyone who doesn't like what the executive is doing, is gonna be kicked out, and indeed, that happened,  but she was smart enough to do it, you know, one at a time, and they always personalized the issue..,, so for example, let's take the current case "this is about Bernard White, and about what Bernard White has or hasn't done," or "this is about Amy Goodman, and what Amy Goodman has or hasn't done", and as long as they can make the  argument that it's about these specific things, your listeners, the people who are listening now, will say "oh look, that's just some little fight about  some internal little political spat over who has control."

But the power battle was no longer over who got what programming spot, it was control over the entire institution. And with the assistance of a variety of consultants, of a variety of legal means, et cetera, this reconfiguration proceeded, and the key to it was, a change in the bylaws of Pacifica that was effected by the governing board last February, '99, where they gave themselves the right to elect their entire membership.  Prior to that, local boards had elected 2/3rds of the available seats on the national board.  But it was a very tenuous form of control, because people would be elected by the  local boards, they'd go up to the national board, and  then they'd be in one of two camps:  either you were "in" with the people who had control  over the levers of power,  and therefore you got access to information and you could participate; or you were opposed to it and you were excluded from knowing anything that was going on, you were instantly marginalized... and that's the essence of the Robinson and Kreigel suit...

So what people have to realize is when they hear on the radio somebody get on and say "oh, there's nothing wrong, this is of no importance, this is a minor question,".. It's a flat-out lie!  This is a question of control over the largest independent, that means not corporate- or state-controlled, broadcast entity in the United States, if not the world, that broadcasts on a weekly basis to 800,000... of the politically most active people, and most conscious people in the entire country.  This is not "no big deal" or "just an internal matter."  The struggle is really happening, but it has been kept out of the limelight long enough..

And one of the ways that it was kept out was by an argument that said "we're doing this to increase relevance because the programming has become irrelevant." ... For example, some of your listeners may remember that they used to receive a "Station Folio", that described what was going on at the station, and what the programming would be. That was wiped out at all five stations, that was the substrate for communication between the station and the listeners, wiped out. When that happened you had a few isolated cries here and there, but no ability for people to link up and see the shape of entire process as it was moving forward unless they had happened to read, in the Whole Earth Review, Rachel Ann Goodman's piece on what happened throughout non-commercial broadcasting or unless they were hooked into some community broadcasting in a direct way. So that's how it really happened, in my view.


HOST: Sam Husseini, would you like to talk about listeners can do about it.? First . listeners lawsuits or other procedures that are effect trying to reverse what has been done, what are the ideas being used behind these lawsuits, and primarily, the most important asset, the listeners, what can the listeners do to work on this question.

SAM: The most important thing that they can do is inform themselves about it and organize and try to democratize the institutions, ...one other good web page in particular is pacifica.net if people haven't looked into that, they should. The Local Advisory Boards  they are  part of what the Pacifica Foundation leadership is attempting to do is disempower the Local Advisory Boards, so people should be going to the local advisory board meets to try to make sure that the local advisory board is doing all that it can to remedy the situation, to stand up in what ever way it can to the Pacifica management and their assault on the basic values of the Network ...and if the Local Advisory Board is doing that, they should give it their support, and, they should be looking at the lawsuits.

There are 3 lawsuits. Some of the people will want to inform themselves about that. And these lawsuits are expensive, or some of them are. Some people may want to take a look at backing them in some way .

They should also be simply trying to spread the word. I don't know how much media there has been on this in New York. ..And try to get people to pay attention to this. I'm very heartened to hear that there is quite a meeting apparently today of about a 1000 people

HOST  More than a thousand people..between 1200 to 1500 people here in New York City.

SAM:  People should look into that, and I know there are a couple of INFORMATION  HOTLINE NUMBERS , if they haven't been given out yet, I will try to give them out ...and they should be forming whatever subcommittes of diffferent support groups, and so on. There are several such groups around the Berkely area in the Bay area , that's what led them to back off
from their lock out and shut down of KPFA last year.May I give the HOTLINE NUMBERS?.

HOST  Please do.

SAM:  The Hotline numbers are 1-800-825-0055, repeat .....and 718-707-7189

HOST  ...So David would you like..

SAM:  Please. I have tried to brief, because I know your other guest has.. Host:  Yes, what I do want to is to spend the last 10 minutes is a sort of idea, a vision of what community radio means.

HOST :  Yes.

SAM:  I would say that the most important thing your listeners can do is keep their eye on the prize, not be distracted by... I mean the details of  who's doing what to whom are important... but to get it inside them as deeply as they can find it, that the ability to communicate about issues that are of importance in depth is crucial, and it is that ability that is under assault. It would be nice to say go to this group, go to that group, and do something.

The groups are forming, there these forums, but it's going to be a complex process. I decided a long time ago that it was worth a lot of my attention and effort. ...and I hope some number of the people listening right now will recognize how crucial an institution like Pacifica is and has always been, for all its flaws and warts, and not themselves be disuaded from finding a way to make a difference.It's going to take to some doing by each one of them. These are just starts...And if people want, there are on the internet any number of and links and sites that people can go to Free Pacifica  is a good place to start as is Save Pacifica .

HOST  freepacifica and savepacifica. We will spend a couple of minutes right at the end repeating these web sites and the numbers, but I would of course, request you to do that.

SAM:        Sure.

HOST Could you spend a couple on minutes talking about the lawsuits and what the listeners can do?

SAM:   Well, the essence of, at the core of all three lawsuits is the recognition that the by-laws change was illegal. Basically,  as long as the governing board has control over its own membership,there's not much that anybody can do.We had 15, 000 people in the streets of Berkeley protesting for free speech and it was a very difficult thing.That's necessary but not sufficient.There are other claims as well. They have used  Foundations funds for things antithetical to the.. to the
mission of Pacifica.

I am a little bit uncomfortable asking for funding for support, but people can make their own decisions when they inform themselves about the lawsuits at the web sites. But basically, if it's possible to get the court to recognize that that change in the by-laws was illegally done, and recognized the rights of LAB 's as members, it will be possible to institute an interim board that then would presumably listen to the demands various communities. At the time that that happens, if anyone wants to, it will be important for them to be linked in to the various groups that are doing this kind of work. Also, the listeners' lawsuit which was brought by Carol Spooner in which she got the Attorney General to grant them the right to sue on behalf of of the Attorney General's office essentially,

HOST of  California?

SAM:   In Californa. That demands that listeners be made members See, Pacifica is  not actually a membership organization. Your listeners are not members of the Pacifica Foundation, they have no voting rights,..they have no standing...

Voices overtalking:     In fact, in fact, many of them feel as though they have been fired...

SAM:  They have been fired, yes,  and there is no structural means for them to  do anything about it.so they are left with various kinds of protests, to writing angry letters, or just being frustrated. And it is the hope of the current adminstration that they will become frustrated with the difficulty of the asserting their interests and will therefore, walk away .

But there are ALL sorts of efforts in ALL sorts of groups in ALL signal areas ..to find ways to plug people in so that their voices can be effectively heard and it may take one or two tries so that your listeners to find - the people who make that internal committment-  to find an outlet for the way that they like to do work. But you're only going to get a true democratization when the people who care to participate in a meaningful way, can find a  way to do so.And some of that has to be created  through their own creativity.

HOST   To mention in passing, that Carol Spooner is coming to New York and she would be here, there is a tentative date set, January 3, when she would have a meeting, a large meeting here talking about the listeners' lawsuits, so  people that are listening now should mark that date.

SAM: There is a concern that YOU (The Asia Pacifica Host) you may not be here next week for allowing this conversation to happen. And one of the pre-eminent things that the people listening to you right now, if they value the fact that YOU  were willing to take a courageous stand, and DO this, when it was a threat to your ability to communication  to them in the future, THEY are going to have to be there for you if that happens.

HOST  Yes, thank you very much. Yes, thank you very much indeed for saying that.


HOST Well, let's spend the last 10 minutes opening up the discussion now. We've talked about the progressive restriction of the orbit of Pacifica in the name of "professionalization", which is of course, a red herring. In the name of "professionalization, they are getting rid of some of the most professional of the journalists, attacking Amy Goodman, got rid of Verna Avery Brown, Dan Coughlin, some of the best journalists..

SAM:  Yes, Laura Flanders,

HOST  Exactly, so some of the best journalists and most professional journalists were let go in the name of  professionalization.

So, what is the vision of community of radio? And may be here our two guests who haven't had a chance to talk so far, Biju(Mathew) or Vijay(Prashad). Would you like to start up by what you think the community in community radio should mean?

VIJAY:  Biju?

HOST  Go ahead, Biju.

BIJU:  I think what most important to note here is the whole charge of "irrelevancy". I think that the central and most important thing for all of us to realize is that this is happening PRECISELY at this point because we are getting relevant.You know the history of the American Left Movement for the last 20 or 30 odd years is that we are goiong through a process of rebuilding the Left andd the Pacifica Network is critical to that process of rebuilding.There were moments in the  past wherein we felt that we were not reaching enough of an audience, or the audience was growing far enough or fast enough.

That in itself brought the issue of rebuilding the Left, and I think we are at a point, when we are at a cusp, at a moment when we are all set to build the Left in a very significant way and, this attack comes at exactly that moment.Now, the central idea I think, has been kind of articulated in some ways already in today's'program, Thus far, we've been listener supported radio station and as a network, it is listener supported.The whole question is can we get closer to some notion of  a listener controlled radio station in the sense of direct participation, in the sense of being there, local structures being far more a part.

Now, in connection to that, what I really wish to say is that one of the most specific ways of doing that would be to let a lot of organizations and movement structures that exist in the local area come in and empower the local staff and the local station in ways I think you know, that have already probably started happening up in Berkeley but it can also happen in every other place. What is important there is that there are a lot of structures that have now emerged in most of  these areas which are part of the fact that I mentioned, that the Left is being rebuilt in a very significant way. And if we can allow the energy that is there in that re-building Left, the momentum that already exists in the process of rebuilding, if we can allow it to come into this process of Pacifica being reorganized FOR the people, then we will be really successful.

HOST:  Vijay?

VIJAY:  Firstly, I think the existence of the Asia Pacifica Forum, is the furthest Left of Asian programs anywhere on American radio. I have looked around, looked through old magazines, et cetera. I have never found a Left program of the (?word) Asian community, so I think we should that it is very important.

The other thing is, I think I  feel uncomfortable if our fight is only for FREE speech.I think our fight is for LEFT speech. Because again, if you take the Asian community, there are plenty of Asian radio programs in New York. There are programs that play music, whatever, there are programs that tell you some kind of calendar of events for the community; there are all manner of programs that are relatively independent or of a kind of corporate control. I mean that they are also a sort of a kind of community radio. But, they are not LEFT speech radio, they are almost follow along the grain of the local leadership of the community. These programs are not saying critical things about the big community leaders and such. They are playing as much mesmerizing music as, it may not be jazz, but it is mesmerizing music - it's like the pied piper leading us all off to some devastated hamlets of the future.I mean that I think that the fight is,

HOST( interjects) : May be not to some devastated future, but maybe just leadingto the sari stores..( general laughter)

VIJAY:  Okay, the sari stores.(more laugher) which ever devastated future..

HOST   And the spice stores (again laughter)

VIJAY:  And the spice stores, too.(general laughing), what ever, some kind of terrifying future.

BIJU:  Yes. It's pacification, rather than Pacifica.

VIJAY:   You're right, pacification, rather than Pacifica.

SAM:  It's PASSIVE-ification. What they are gunning for is an audience that will   remain passive and who will interpret social activism as writing a check at fund raising time; you hear it all the time: "If  you want to be making a difference, support us."

BIJU:  "write a check!"

SAM:  Exactly."If you want to make contribution,support US." It is a process by which the institution wants to make its listeners make the institution powerful, rather than the institution attempting to make its LISTENERS powerful in their OWN political action.

HOST  I think that (Interrupted)

BIJU:   If we restrict our imaginations, to JUST free speech, I think, you know,  it's a little dangerous out there, because there are all kinds of speech out there that have  plenty of space on the dial. This is an institution(Pacifica inferred) of Left Speech, and Asia Pacifica Forum is a Left Asian viewpoint. I think that is important to recognize.

Voice?  In support of what Biju just said, the whole idea of Left Speech and in the processof rebuilding the left, if I may connect the two ideas, that is exactly what I meant when I said we need to go to ALL the grassroots structures that exist, that have been built over the past decade, and get them involved in this fight.

So, what I would say, straight away to the listeners, that if they are out there, whatever structures of the left that they are connected to, what you need to do is find ways of mobilizing within that structure, so that we win this battle against Pacifica being turned into some sort of, .um..some sort of PASS-ivity station.

SAM:  Aniruddha, may I read a quote of Lew Hill's that goes to the heart of what he created Pacifica for? It's very quick.

HOST Go ahead.

SAM: Actually, it's from a gentleman named McDonald, somebody that Lew Hill read. He said: McDonald concluded, in the words of one scholar, that something disastrous had happened in in his lifetime. This disaster had befallen not only the Holacost's many victims, but the entire world, indeed human consciousness.Dwarfted by the bureacratic state, by modern war, by deterministic ideologies, people were, in McDonald's view, losing the capacity to know what it meant to be human.McDonald drew on a concept that gained enormous currency after the War. Being human or having a self, required being and communicating directly with other people. What made McDonald's take on this theme distinctly pacifist was his contention that both the modern state and the deterministic ideologies like Marxism, Leninism or corporate liberalism coerced or tripped people into not listening to each other, and thus, into not being human.

HOST  I am sorry, we're really running out of time,So thanks very much> You were listening to David Adelson, Chair, KPFA Local Advisory Board and a plaintiff in a lawsuit; Sam Husseini, Chair, WPFW Local Advisory Board; Vijay Prashad, Professor of International Relations, Trinity, and Biju Matthew, Professor at Ryder College. Thank you very much.I am Aniruddha Das, your host at Asia Pacifica Forum. Tune in to APForum at egroups.com or tune in next Wednesday at 9:00 P.M.