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Here are some writings
related to Pacifica
Radio Network and KPFA 94.1FM in Berkeley,
California; radio watchdogs 'Save
KPFA' and 'Take Back KPFA'; and
micro-power community radio station Free Radio Berkeley, 104.1FM.
Many of the old perspectives, such as around tax issues, are passee.
Text coloring decodes as follows:
Black: Ken Ellis
Red: Marx, Engels, Lenin, etc.
Green: Press report, etc.
Blue: Recent correspondent
Purple: Unreliable Info
Brown: Inaccurate quote
Here is some stuff I would like you to consider, even though I am not around to propose it and defend it in person.
I have watched us struggle for many years over benefits and wages, and now that Pacifica has made its grab for the cash that you and I have raised, and the struggle between staff and management has intensified, I would like you to consider my ideas to rectify this situation.
But, first of all, there some very basic things that we will all have to agree upon before what I offer will have any validity.
What kind of an institution is Pacifica in the first place? Is this just another dog-eat-dog bureaucracy where the devil takes the hindmost?
Or are we really Radio with Vision as the fancy ads proclaim? An egalitarian commune, full of love and light that shines beyond the confines of our four walls by virtue of the radio waves that emanate from our bright new building?
Or, maybe a little bit of both, as it has seemed to me lots of times. Both a vicious bureaucracy and a temple of light.
Now, try to imagine how we could make this place a temple of light all of the time. One way to start would be to agree upon a way in which we could all participate in setting the levels of compensation for everyone we agree ought to be paid for their work.
We probably could all agree that management would probably have to make more than the downtrodden masses on the bottom, unless we wanted to get so radical that we end up alienating some group of people that we need to have on board, by virtue of their special talents, if they really have them.
We could probably all agree that those with seniority should be compensated a little more than those who are just starting out, unless we want to be so radical that we end up totally alienating that group of people as well.
We could probably all agree that the downtrodden masses ought to be compensated at some uniform rate known as the base pay.
We could probably all agree that middle management ought to get a fixed percentage above this base pay. We could probably all agree that upper management ought to get a higher percentage than that. We could probably all agree that the National Executive Director ought to get the highest percentage of all. We might be able to agree that, accounting for local differences, base pay should be uniform Pacifica wide.
We might not all agree that there could be any number of categories of pay in between the highest and the lowest, so we might want to keep close tabs on the special cases, lest they get away from us.
We could probably all agree that secrecy in the above matters is just an open invitation for all kinds of abuses, and that there is absolutely no place for secrecy in an egalitarian community, unless we want it to be something else, like a stinking bureaucracy, for instance.
We could all probably agree that New York costs more to live than Houston or Berkeley, and that people who work there might need some percentage more to survive. We could probably all agree that there ought to be a COLA raise granted annually according to the actual cost of living index increase.
We could probably all agree that a station that, by virtue of its excellent programming and fund-raising efforts, makes a lot of money over the course of a year, then this station ought to be able to reap some benefits in terms of increased take-home pay, according to a formula with which everyone could agree.
We could probably all agree that we could probably all agree on a whole hell of a lot of things, and I suggest that we all start to write things down on a list of things that we could all agree about.
I think that we could all agree that if we didn't try to then implement the things we could all agree upon, then this exercise would just be a waste of time, and we had just better let the bureaucracy rule.
Can a section of the "progressive" left walk into an "alternative" media outlet like KPFA and get all the air time they want and never have to be faced with an opposing point of view? Is the meaning of "alternative" media simply that a certain segment of the credentialed "progressive" left can get a monopoly on certain subjects by raising the danger flags and pointing to subjects that from then on should be forbidden to be covered by "alternative" media? Is "alternative" media so poverty stricken that it cannot afford to give opposing points of view for fear of alienating some "progressives" and their allies? Does an "alternative" media really just represent the interests of small groups that can stubbornly refuse to allow debate over controversial issues?
Did S.D. ask any of the people there if they were Nazis? How many of them admitted to being Nazis? Am I guilty of being a Nazi because I might have been in a room with one, or what? If that's the reason, then I must remind you that S.D. was in the same room with those alleged Nazis as I was. What if I got back to Berkeley and got to proclaim that 'I saw S.D. in a room full of Nazis' before she had the chance to say the same about me? Would that make HER a Nazi 'instead of me'?
On Wed, Sept. 2, I got to the station shortly around 9 A.M., after S.D. had been on the Morning Show, and a staffer greeted me with, "I understand you were at a Nazi Convention on the Fourth of July." What was worse was that I could tell by the look on his face that he was convinced that I was celebrating Nazi ideology or something along those lines.
After a brief explanation of what the situation actually was, I hoped that he came to realize that he had been tricked, but isn't it strange that someone who works at a progressive institution like KPFA could even be accused of going to a Nazi convention as though that was a typical recreational activity for that worker? Why not go back to square one and ask what could have possessed a hiring committee in 1984 to have hired someone who 'enjoys going to Nazi conventions'? Were there Nazi sympathizers on the hiring committee, and did they cleverly manage to augment their ranks by slipping another Nazi past the General Manager? Shouldn't there be evidence in my personnel file about Nazi tendencies? There ought to be a long list of atrocities against gays, lesbians, Jews, and racial minorities, shouldn't there?
I get pretty tired of having to defend my presence at tax and/or money reform conventions, or any other gathering where the lower and middle classes gather to discuss perfectly valid and progressive ideas on those issues. There is so much ignorance over what goes on at those tax meetings, and then this ignorance even gets put out over the air. The opportunity exists for intelligent debate on taxes to occur, but it hardly ever does, and maybe as long as an atmosphere of hysteria prevails, it probably never will. And that's not my fault, because I have told lots of people what goes on at the meetings I attend, and the meetings I attend always revolve around tax issues.
By now, I've been protesting unjust taxes for a decade. By the time 1983 rolled around, I had had enough of supporting the war machine, and with the advent of the Reagan era, the handwriting was on the wall as to the totally reactionary nature of the new regime, and I was driven to do what I could to prove to myself that I was not merely a "Good German" who did nothing of substance to oppose the crimes of his government. So, at first, I hung around with the Berkeley war tax resisters and learned a certain amount, but they tended to leave money where the IRS could get it, and to me, that didn't seem to reflect the essence of what tax resistance should be about.
Then in '84 or '85, Mike M. came to the station and we started taping ex-CIA agents like Stockwell, McMichael, Agee and others when they spoke or debated in the Bay Area. Many of these speeches found their way onto our airwaves. After this ball got rolling, and knowing that I had become a war tax resister, Mike got me to go along to some Constitutional tax meetings put on by Godfrey Lehman of the then "Constitutional Patriots Association" (superseded by the Free Enterprise Society). Later I went along to public meetings of the CHPA, or Constitutional Heritage Protection Association. I was apprehensive at first, but as I got to know the people a little better, I found that they were for the most part workers like most everyone else. It was the same kind of apprehension I felt when I first dared to go to a meeting of socialists back in the 70's.
The cost of membership in the CPA was out of my economic grasp, but the cost thereof in the CHPA was more affordable, so I joined up. Also, the quality of information seemed better, though there were some members with whom I would not be too quick to relate my past socialist affiliations. Some of them tended to blame Marx for the fact of the income tax, and they were generally quite ignorant (like some progressives I know) of Marx's role in history, economics, and philosophy. I tolerated that ignorance, recognizing the petty-bourgeois nature of this group and knowing there was nothing I was going to be able to do to change that. For the whole time I was in the CHPA, I listened to the information on how to prepare myself for court, the ways in which the Internal Revenue Code 'did not apply to me', etc., and I learned a few legal theories.
If I was of such a Nazi mentality as some would love to allege, I suppose I could have used my association with the CHPA to inquire of individuals about movements that might be further to the right of the CHPA, but I never did, simply because I never was of such a mind. At one meeting, things got a little strange. That was when the late Dave Moran took the podium and, in what was billed as a woodsy survival lesson, he talked about guns the whole time, and when the Organizer found out, he walked into the middle of it and demanded an end to the lesson. Dave died in a shootout with the police sometime after that. If anyone appeared as though he could have been part of a far-right organization, Dave was one. I don't miss him. And I never talked to him. I didn't think we had many mutual interests.
I don't think I ever attended a meeting that was composed of white males only, as I always remember women and non-whites in attendance, so how crazy could things get? I never heard anyone say anything so stupid as to drive part of the audience away. Why would women, minorities, socialists, atheists, and most likely other kinds of minorities attend Nazi propaganda meetings? Are there that many masochists?
Godfrey's meetings were always open to the public, and used to cost $10 until around the time of reaffiliation with FES, when they became free. CHPA meetings were free but limited to dues-paying members only. After CHPA self-destructed in the late 80's, I joined up with the newly affordable FES.
After Mike M. had passed some of the tapes of the CHPA meetings to S.D. and she found some "code words for Jews" in them (such as 666, the Anti-Christ, international banking, i.e., words I would not previously have suspected to decode to "Jews", and from their context in George's speeches did not think that that was the intent), she gave me the choice of stopping my association with the CHPA, or of losing her friendship. I politely reiterated my commitment to my path, but she told me that I would be sorry if I didn't stop going to those meetings. But I had so much more to learn about tax matters that I reluctantly wrote off her friendship, but it bothered me that there were people in the world whom I should have to meet in the hallways of KPFA once in a while who would even think of trying to play behavior modification games with someone who, being beyond the age of 40, was finally beginning to become secure enough in his own ideas that an encounter with a Nazi was not going to cause me to turn away from my path.
I really was left shocked and confused by her ultimatum and often wondered what was really going on. It just seemed like such a phony thing for one person to do to another, to ask them to give up an association that they found valuable even if someone of questionable background might show up at the same activities. I can only guess at what really was going on in her mind, and I still don't know for sure. The only "crime" on my part that I can detect was that I happen to be interested in the same sort of unjust tax issues that may also appeal to some who are involved in the politics of hate. I'm not really sure, because the politics of hate have never been on the agenda at the meetings that I'm interested in going to or for the most part have attended.
Thanks to "researchers" like S.D., it's difficult to get people I respect and who really ought to know better to believe that I'm not thoroughly intermingled with all kinds of Nazi activities. And just ask her who helped get her onto the air at KPFA in the first place. At first I was proud that I had brought in what seemed to be a valid erudite researcher onto our airwaves. That was the whole idea of the little collective that many of us collaborated on. And then the bleep hit the fan when we dared to put the organizer of the CHPA (George) on the air on Bari's 'Secret's Out'. When George brought up the topic of non-resident aliens on the show, S.D. was so sure that he was making "snide comments" about illegal aliens that she thought she would earn brownie points by complaining about these alleged "snide comments", none of which she was able to quote or document. She also made a couple of dozen other "mistakes" in her four page letter criticizing the event. I had to waste many hours refuting her analysis of what happened and the false background information she provided. Her analysis was such a tangled mass of truth, fraud and "mistakes" that it took me 13 pages just to rebut the major points. And nowadays she finds a Nazi sympathizer under every bed. Even Bari and Dennis, who have some of the freest programming on KPFA, are not immune to her wrath or wild accusations. 'Use the First Amendment, go to jail.'
I have never actively sought out Nazi material. Maybe it holds a sort of pornographic fascination for some people, and others might be attracted to such material, but I'm not. There wasn't a piece of that kind of trash in my possession until a few days ago, when I picked up a tightly-wrapped copy of the extremely right-wing, Hitler-idolizing, anti-Semitic "Racial Loyalty" newspaper off of one of many College Avenue doorsteps to which it had been distributed. I had never, up to now, seen an issue of anything like this uninhibited celebration of the ideology of whiteness, and was not prepared for what I was about to scorch my eyes with. It appears to be published by the COTC (whatever that stands for) that has "local contact points" in El Cerrito and Pinole. I tortured myself by closely examining it to see if it mentioned taxes, but I couldn't find a single reference. The paper isn't worth describing further, and of all of the tax meetings I have ever been to, I have never seen anything remotely like this at any of those meetings.
Aside from the lecture on guns, the only other anomalies were when Marx's name was brought up, and there was one character in the audience who was always bringing Marx down. He never said anything about Marx that I could subscribe to, but I realize that that was because he had probably never read anything by Marx himself, and had probably only read things about him that were written by his detractors. (Hell, I was a member of a "socialist" party in the 70's that did some of the same things to Marx that the middle class elements do now in the middle class tax meetings.) So, with a certain amount of maturity and understanding, I don't get totally bent out of shape by the garbage that I run into. If I didn't find an overwhelming preponderance of value in the tax meetings I attend or in the organizations I have joined, I simply wouldn't bother with it. If I could find a proletarian organization that had as good information about tax laws as the middle class organizations do, I would probably join them. Where are they?
The few times I go to major events, such as the one on the Fourth of July, I pick up lots of free handouts and don't get around to sorting them out until I get home. The worst stuff I saw, but didn't pick up, was from the Christian Patriot tables, and I do remember some homophobic stuff at one table that was quite explicit in its bias. It would never occur to me to bring any of that stuff back, because I'm not sure that anyone I know would be interested in actually seeing it. My instinct, when confronted with stuff like that is to just pass it by. Is that wrong? You can bet, though, that if hate or phobia kinds of stuff were the focus of my research interest in life, I would have done whatever my professional instincts would have told me to do, and if that included purchasing it for analysis, or some other way of dealing with it, I would have lived up to my professional responsibilities. But, that is not the kind of stuff I research nowadays. Am I also guilty because I can't do everything?
Unfortunately, there are newsletters like "Racial Loyalty" to remind us that they represent the actual thinking and sentiments of a certain segment of the population. This is an ignorant segment that feels that it is in competition with other racial groups for the means with which to make a living. Squeezed as they are between the upper and the lower classes, they are misled by the upper classes to take out their anger on the classes below. Instead of allying themselves with the lower classes to overturn the rule of the upper classes that oppress them all, they work in the interests of the upper classes by helping to oppress the lower classes, the result of which is the hatred and division of the lower classes among themselves. One of the possible reasons that this very ignorant group rebels against taxes is that they see the taxes they pay as going toward the maintenance of scapegoated groups like welfare mothers, the jobless, the disabled, the chronically unemployable, etc., etc., many of whom are female and/or non-white. Not being well-schooled in the matter, it's easy to guess that much of the tax resistance of out-and-out hate groups is based upon bigotry instead of a search for social justice.
It is not only the middle classes that are of an anti-tax sentiment for whatever reasons they have, for much of the burden of taxes falls upon the workers as well. I have studied tax and legal stuff for a few years now, and I have learned some of the ways that the upper class criminals bilk the working class out of part of their receipts. For instance, I can show that the IR Code does not authorize a "Notice of Deficiency" to be sent to a wage-worker who fails to file a return and ignores requests by the IRS to do so.
"SEC. 6212. NOTICE OF DEFICIENCY.
"(a) In General. - If the Secretary determines that there is a deficiency in respect of any tax imposed by subtitle A or B or chapter 41, 42, 43, 44, or 45, he is authorized to send notice of such deficiency to the taxpayer by certified mail or registered mail."
A student of the IR code will observe that the tax on wages is deducted and withheld - but not imposed - in chapter 24, which resides in subtitle C, employment taxes. How do these taxes get imposed in subtitle A? By wage-earners filing a return at the end of the year and declaring, under penalty of perjury, that these wages are income and taxable as such, i.e., by volunteering to declare these subtitle C wages to be subtitle A income, because most of us have been taught to do it that way, and do it by force of habit.
"Sec. 6012. PERSONS REQUIRED TO
MAKE RETURNS OF INCOME.
"(a) General Rule. - Returns with respect to income taxes under subtitle A shall be made by the following: ..."
What follows the colon is a long section of categories of individuals and corporations, etc., with subtitle A income with exemption amounts. Since I rarely have ever had subtitle A income at all, and on such rare occasions the income fell far below the exemption amounts, I could argue that I have never really been required to make returns of income. Up until the time I got educated, I always voluntarily declared my subtitle C earnings to be subtitle A income and ended up paying an income tax. If I had known better back then, I wouldn't have.
Many people are aware that if a person required fails to do so, section 6020(b) authorizes the Secretary to file a return for that individual, but what recent research has shown is that the types of returns authorized to be filed on behalf of the person under section 6020(b) do not include 1040's. Congress requested from the IRS that each section of the code be listed with the types of returns that are authorized by those sections, and that documentation is publicly available. In spite of this fact, the IRS has come up with a "substitute for return" program in which returns are filed on behalf of all non-filers, but this program has no authority in the code, nor in law.
How many people do you know who understand these aspects of the way in which taxes are imposed on the working classes? Do you think that the average worker who is ground down by taxes might be interested in such information? Or is this just an example of the kind of false information with which Nazis are compelled to deceive the naive and the gullible?
For 7 years, S.D. has gotten on the air and has linked all of the middle class tax protest movements with all kinds of violent hidden agendas. Out of all the meetings I've been to since 1984, I'm still waiting for someone to try to recruit me into their alleged violent hidden agenda. On the other hand, the anti-tax organizations I'm involved with now freely advertise their paralegal assistance for tax problems. Is it possible that a middle class tax protest group might be just what it says it is? Or must I be lying just because a falsifier like S.D. says I am? After all, since S.D. is the "expert" on all things on the right, she has to know more about what I am doing than I do, right?
The July 4th meeting in Sacto was the first meeting S.D. and I have attended at the same time in quite a while, if ever. When I saw her there, I suspected that she was going to try to use the fact that I was there against me. I just didn't know when it was going to happen, and when it didn't happen for a long time, I didn't think she was going to bring up my name in connection with the event at all, but she lived up to her record after all. How could she forget someone who chose to be free rather than give up his associations just for the privilege of not being on her shit list?
When Bo Gritz spoke, I didn't appreciate all the references to God and other Christian stuff, but when he said he would replace the head of the FDA with a holistic person, then, as a homeopathic practitioner, I could very well relate to that. How many other candidates would dare to make the AMA or the FDA nervous? And there were a lot of things in his program that were progressive. In spite of all of the good stuff, however, just the fact of his introducing God into his campaign rhetoric was enough to turn me off.
I don't question the validity of S.D.'s path of exposing the right wing, with all of its racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, etc. When she doesn't deal with tax groups that I'm involved with, then what she has to say sounds quite plausible. But there's more to life for me than worrying about everything that the Christian right does or what S.D. says about them. Especially when she has such an axe to grind that her passion interferes with her getting the facts straight.
I wonder why other people are not suspicious
of a so-called researcher who cannot find anything progressive
about groups that protest unjust taxes
and do the research that enables them to win legal cases. From
the progressive point of view, the fact that these groups can
now go into a court room and win against state
and federal taxing agencies ought to whet someone's appetite
for more information so that they too might be able to get out
from under the millstone of unjust taxation.
I think that researchers who would invalidate that kind of resistance
just because a Nazi or other right-wing
kook might have gone to a meeting that a tax
group has organized are incapable of getting their progressive
priorities in order. Or, maybe their priorities are not progressive
If a person is interested in tax issues, there is quite a difference in the quality of what one can learn from one organization to another. One of the interesting things I have found is that the more advanced the work around the tax issue, the less that religious doctrine and the politics of hate find their way into the information that that group presents. To ignore this fact is not to have done one's homework. To ignore this fact is to have such a disinterest in tax matters as to practically proclaim oneself to be divorced from the interests of the common working person in favor of the adventure of being hysterical over the presence of a Nazi at a tax meeting. The newsletters and other materials I receive from the organizations I work with are totally devoid of anything offensive. Now, how could that be if they are all just a bunch of Fascist insects?
The bottom line in every one of the middle-class tax-protest organizations that I've dealt with seems to be a deep faith in the free market to solve most problems, a faith in the right to accumulate and use property without government interference, and a faith that the Constitution is the best foundation by which their rights will be protected. After all, the Constitution was the document that secured all of these bourgeois rights 200 years ago.
The quite Jewish Godfrey Lehman who, during the holocaust, lost at least as many in his family as S.D. lost in hers, had another free meeting in S.F. on the 16th of September '92 (and on the 15th in Berkeley). The main speaker was Mitch Modeleski, who wrote an excellent and quite secular work on taxes, and had a table at the convention in Sacramento on the 4th of July. He happens to be an able speaker. He would be a good example of someone who knows his subject well and does not use the politics of hate in his presentations. Two or three years ago, he didn't know much about the Constitution or tax law, but he is such a good student the he can now lecture on these subjects. He has worked in S.F. and lives in Marin County.
Someone like Mitch could provide a badly needed balance to the utterly distorted and one-sided presentation given by S.D. concerning the actual goings-on at the July 4th meeting in Sacramento. As someone like myself who was there, along with a lot of other people from Berkeley and the Bay Area that I recognized, and as someone who attended a meeting that didn't sound at all like the description of the meeting S.D. gave, either on the Morning Show, or on Mama O'Shea's Show, I believe that KPFA owes it to their listeners to have someone like Mitch on the air to provide a balance to S.D.'s viewpoint. The subject of unjustly and unlawfully applied taxes very much deserves equal time.
Anyone who contends that what goes on at Constitutional tax meetings revolves around the politics of hate has either never been to one and speaks from total ignorance, or else has been to one or more and has filtered out the entire spectrum of progressive education that goes on regularly in that milieu and has only concentrated on ferreting out any little sign of right-wing propaganda. After gathering their material, they take advantage of a situation, such as at KPFA, where they can pass themselves off as progressives, whip up hysteria, and get the exclusive attention of a segment of the the staff and persuade them that the view point from where they proceed is perfect and need not be challenged by the extension of the right of equal time to the slandered parties. Look at how viciously S.D. has thus far campaigned against any time, equal or not, for Constitutionalists.
If KPFA cannot allow dialogue for Constitutionalist organizations, shouldn't it have a good reason why it cannot, so that the lies against the Constitutionalists can be rebutted? To refuse to have dialogue and debate on legitimate tax issues on the basis of alleged Nazi agendas is to be so ridiculous as to be laughable, were it not so painful for the victims of the slander and innuendo.
Therefore, this letter represents a request for equal time on the issue of taxes. To ensure the kind of fairness where no side is overlooked, I would suggest two or three programs to give each side a good opportunity to present their information.
The first program could be with Mitch and myself in which the alleged right-wing agenda of the Constitutionalists would be explored as well as the tax issues, with equal time for phone calls during which no questions are barred. This first program should be the property of the Constitutionalist viewpoint. Mitch has agreed to be available to come on the air when I talked to him on Sept.15th.
Then, on their own subsequent program, the opposition could rebut the Constitutionalist agenda to their hearts content, or do whatever they wanted, and that show could be the entire property of the opposition. From the record established so far, however, it is quite predictable that the opposition would never dream of rebutting the actual tax information such as presented around sections 6212 and 6012, but rather they will only repeat the same old accusations. Then, on a third program, if people are willing, the parties could oppose each other over the air, with one moderator or more who can be agreed upon by both parties, and with phoned-in questions.
I hope this proposed series is fair enough for all concerned. I am looking forward to a response before Thanksgiving.
Thank you for the materials you sent.
Enclosed is my letter to KPFA requesting equal time on the tax issue. It will take them a little while to respond, so I'm giving them until Thanksgiving before I start marching into their offices and personally finding out why they haven't answered me. I hope you are up to talking about other branches of the tax movement as well as the subject of taxes themselves. If the subject of other tax movements does not appeal to you, maybe you know of someone who might be willing to discuss this issue with us or me on the air.
There's no sense kidding anyone about prejudice against Jews, homosexuals, etc., within the broad tax movement. I've seen some of the Christian Patriot and other groups' materials. So, since the subject has been raised and will no doubt be raised again, I am looking forward to some rounded dialogue with you and/or another who can, in concert, handle the whole spectrum of inquiry into the tax movement. I have greatly admired your abilities to handle the technical details of tax issues without bringing any items of prejudice into the discussion, but I have never really sounded you out on some of the gorier details of prejudice within the ranks. I just can't get behind any theory about conspiracies of Jews or any other group. I've known too many poor and disenfranchised among any group you can name.
I got your material on the infiltrator, and can sympathize. I was thinking earlier that if you would like to draft a letter that I could sign and send off, I would also be glad to forward any subsequent response from her to you. But, I just remembered that S.D. was in a party of three at the July 4th convention, and I didn't recognize the 3rd person. The second person was her long time boyfriend, R.H. The aforementioned third person just might have been the infiltrator, so they might already be friends. All that the infiltrator would have to do would be to mention my name to S.D., and the jig would be up. We would then both be written up by name in the next issue of "Z" magazine. All I need is to give someone something solid to work with and my name is really "Mud".
So far, the worst they can pin on me is my previous association with the CHPA, meetings of which I attended with Mike M. for a few years in the late 80's. They always discussed taxes, but the late Dave Moran gave a lecture on guns one time, and that became proof that I 'must be a Nazi', if you can follow the logic.
To: 'Save KPFA'
To keep this from becoming just one more betrayal of the interests of the majority, we would ask them to include a statement of the purpose of their organization. If it is compatible with our own purposes and with the interests of the majority, their suggestions should be recognized and included.
We could also inquire as to whether they might be interested in sending delegates to a congress of listeners and potential listeners from all unions, progressive and community organizations, probably numbering hundreds of such organizations, maybe more. Each group would annually and democratically select delegates from among their own numbers, according to a schedule of perhaps one delegate per hundred persons. Groups numbering less than a hundred could cooperate with other groups to enlarge their total number so as to be able to elect a delegate.
A They would then indicate how many delegates would be attending, send in $5.00 or so per delegate for the costs of hiring the hall, and we would then be able to hire a hall of suitable size.
B Our statement of purpose would have to be drawn up first. Those interested in submitting a statement should be encouraged to do so, and then we can decide which one to use or which combination of ideas we could use.
C In the interests of democracy, the chairperson should be openly elected at the congress, and the congress allowed to set its own agenda.
D To prevent disruption, sergeants-at-arms could be elected.
It is my experience that where a seemingly dumb position has been taken by any bureaucracy, it is only because a scam of some sort is being run on people, and democratic processes will always take a back seat in favor of the scam. The democratic process at the public meetings of "Save KPFA" is quite flawed, and an agenda that doesn't reflect the interests of the poor and oppressed is being steamrollered. If this keeps up, the amount of support for the narrow agenda will probably be diminished.
When I arrived at Ashkenaz, I placed a stack of my minority-of-one democracy proposals on the back table, submitted one to each chair person, as well as to several of the audience seats that hopefully would have been filled, but it looked like it would be a small meeting.
Once again, the chair and the agenda were preselected. On what principle of democracy was that decided? It's as though all one had to do was to walk in and enjoy the show, and maybe even participate, and it was all for free. At least the agenda was opened up for amendment, and it was amended in minor ways. On the other side of the agenda sheet, there was a four part statement of purpose that reflected the interests of the steering committee that the larger group was asked to rubber-stamp. Some pertinent suggestions about the statement were made and ratified, but no minority committee proposals were asked for, nor were they desired, from the way the agenda was being pushed ahead.
On the question of democracy, they want a democratically elected governing board to oversee KPFA's bureaucracy, whereas, as a past member of the democracy committee, I became aware that each of the eight-or-so committee members had a different idea as to how to interface the proposed democratically elected governing board to KPFA's bureaucracy. There is an infinite number of ways to tinker with bureaucracies, but tinkering with bureaucracies will never yield democracy.
On the question of programming, they identified some of KPFA's weak points that united many of us at the meetings, but their proposal to reject national programming did not even barely address a possible solution to the quality problem. There is nothing wrong with excellent national programming if the content of what KPFA has in mind is truly excellent. Each program has to be decided upon one at a time. Must the idea of national programming be thrown out simply because of fears that it may not turn out to meet our expectations?
On the question of funding, they proposed the rejection of all corporate or private foundation funding, on the basis that there is no way that strings would not be attached somehow to the money. Once again, people are being asked to reject sources of funding simply because some people fear that strings will be attached to the money and the programming will become more bourgeois in perspective than what it already is.
On the question of outreach, they want "the station to reach out to all oppressed communities within reach of its signal." To this end they propose nothing concrete at all. But, under their democracy proposal, they suggested a "listener-run call-in show". So far, the only suggestion as to content for the show that I have heard so far has been for listeners to air their gripes.
In summation, it seems like "Save KPFA" has its own problems that need lots of work and community input. That discontent over KPFA's admitted imperfect processes and program content exists in the community, there is no doubt, but the steering committee seems to want to manipulate this discontent and direct the energy of the community to support an agenda that does not reflect the interests of the poor and oppressed. The agenda reflects the interests of a group that wants control over KPFA. They want a few people fired, to deprive it of funds from some big foundations, and to get a talk-show where people could air their gripes against the station. To acquire air time to do some real alternative programming seems to be beyond their imaginations.
Contrast the above point of view to finding a way to democratically divvy up the already offered air time. The opportunity to get voices on the air that would not ordinarily find an outlet should be taken advantage of.
The steering committee expects to do the thinking for the community and to have their thoughts approved at the large public meetings.
The steering committee has yet to allow the community to elect its own chairpeople and select its own agenda.
The steering committee might not understand that the need to control KPFA is a bourgeois need.
The steering committee does not seem to be able to imagine forms of democracy outside of bourgeois bureaucratic forms.
The steering committee does not seem to wish to contemplate a democratic way to divide the air time already offered by KPFA.
The steering committee claims to operate in the interests of the poor and oppressed, but has yet to propose a single item that would actually work in the favor of those classes.
Stop the wasted efforts to control KPFA, the way it is run, and the way it raises its own money.
Make the "Save KPFA" movement a class-based movement that expresses the interests of the poor and oppressed.
For KPFA to reject a reasonable and negotiable plan for the democratic and responsible handling of a block of its air time would certainly redound to the detriment of its prestige. Such a rejection would also reveal that the class nature of KPFA was worse than we thought it was.
Pacifica has been criticized recently for seemingly trying to concentrate more and more economic and political power into the hands of the national organization. Its ability to control so much of a station's activities from a distance, with the appetite to control even more, and combined with its conservative programming policies, does not bode well for the free exchange of ideas.
Since Pacifica is a non-profit organization, the upper class, instead of raking in profits as in a typical capitalist venture, receives higher wages than the lower classes.
Sometimes good results do not become realized simply because a group desires these results, even if they expend a great deal of energy to bring them about.
So, it looks pretty grim for them. Quite grim. Is there an alternative strategy?
Sometimes a core group at the top will have changed very little over a period of many years, while the wage-labor that does much of the work turns over many times.
Back in the 80's, I took part in an anti-income tax program that was objected to by a volunteer programmer (of that time period) on the basis that it was anti-Semitic in nature. The complainant argued that the anonymous guest had "Interspersed with his comments ... 666/the anti Christ and "international banking" ... both are codes for Jews". Up until that time, I had no idea that the guest was going to use those terms, nor that anyone in the Jewish community had ever regarded them as code words for Jews, for, on their surface, they seemed quite innocuous, and 666 had never seemed like anything more than a code word for the devil, if anything. A further charge that the speaker had made "at least one snide comment about illegal aliens" was debunked by pointing out that the speaker had several times mentioned 'non-resident aliens', a common tax term.
At no time after being handed a copy of the four-page indictment (which contained many errors of fact) of myself and others by the programmer was I asked to face my accuser. I was never asked to attend any of the many meetings that occurred afterward, in which I can only assume that charges were thrown around recklessly, and in which I can only assume that my name was dragged through the mud. Though written accusations were presented and responded to, and management participated in the discussion, no managerial determination of fact, blame, fault, reprimand or exoneration was ever observed or received. The Station never seemed to take a stand on the incident one way or the other, even though more than one staff member had been publicly attacked.
Because of the way the Station handled that incident, one can only wonder whether a similar incident in the future would also be handled the same way, and one could also wonder if a sloppy indictment such as the one alluded to would be all it would take to get a programmer or department head dismissed.
The resolution would also change the way in which Pacifica was regarded by programmers, but only for the worse.
It would seem that there are many people or groups in our audience who cannot handle bigoted (or allegedly bigoted) statements without suffering permanent damage. But, if that were really the case, they could sue for damages, and it wouldn't take too many before the First Amendment was totally dead. Then let them sue us for damages, and, if they win, let us admit that the First Amendment was a mistake and respond by working for its nullification.
There is a history of incidents in our organization in which serious programs on a variety of topics have been attacked by certain groups (and individuals, perhaps), and the intent of the critics has been nothing less than that of censoring the programs or programmers, in spite of statements by those very same critics that censorship was not what they were after.
I have little faith that the proposed resolution could ever be administered by any organization interested in freedom of speech in a way in which justice and freedom of speech could prevail.
Let's get some air time during which previously deprived community voices may at last express themselves.
Draw up a list of proposed radio programs that reflect real issues among the poor and oppressed.
Allow the community to add to that list, first come, first serve.
As for eligibility for program consideration, apply the yardstick of whether the proposed program meets with the interests of the poor and oppressed or if it merely represents some bourgeois agenda that already finds expression in the media.
Work out a way for the issues to be aired within legal and FCC guidelines and with consideration for fairness for all parties concerned.
In conjunction with KPFA, work out a way for the issues to be aired within legal and FCC guidelines and with consideration for fairness for all parties concerned.
The list of proposed programs would be submitted to KPFA on an ongoing basis for their consideration and comment.
Reserve a space within the allotted air time in which the activities of "Save KPFA" could be advertised, and in which further ideas from the community could be solicited.
Ask for our own KPFA mailbox labeled "Community Programming Department" or something else more suitable as a programming department than "Save KPFA".
"Save KPFA" should have a process by which any written positive proposals and ideas are examined by a committee between sessions, and reported upon at the following meeting, positive or negative. Those who take the time to actually produce written suggestions should not be invalidated by being ignored.
At the same time, the larger meetings have been asked from time to time to endorse material that has been written, but not even edited, nor looked at by an independent committee. The process by which material that supposedly expresses the interests of "Save KPFA" should be more carefully scrutinized than what has been our practice so far.
If "Save KPFA" were to be successful in stopping national programming, obtaining a democratically elected governing board, preventing funding from corporations, etc., what would its function be afterwards? Would those victories ensure that KPFA programs expressed the interests of "Save KPFA" or of the poor and oppressed classes? The only way that programming will ever express those interests will be when we can participate in their planning and content.
Some of the measures that have been proposed so far indicate an attitude that we could or should be a new controlling power block that would somehow be able to direct the energies of KPFA into channels that represent our interests, but that isn't how KPFA has ever worked. If we want some portion of KPFA to express our interests, we have to get involved ourselves. One of the ways to do that is to unite to persuade KPFA to relinquish some time to the community. If we can create new and interesting programs the likes of which do not find expression on KPFA very often or not at all, then the audience will support us, and they will also support KPFA.
That KPFA is a bourgeois institution is betrayed by its organizational structure, best described as a bureaucracy, as opposed to a democracy. There is democracy for the management, but not for its wage-slaves, as is typical for every bourgeois institution.
Bureaucracies express the interests of some segment of the upper classes and betray the interests of the poor and oppressed. At KPFA, the issue of race has been placed above that of class, as one example of that betrayal.
Most of the work done at KPFA is done by wage-slaves who have a large part is directing the day-to-day programming policies of the Station. But, there is a division of labor in which the biggest decisions are made by management, who also get to hire and fire the wage-slaves. The powers of the wage-slaves are limited, and management has the power to decide the policies that the wage-slaves are expected to carry out for them. Management also has more democracy available to it as a tool for hammering out these policies. They have Pacifica National Board meetings three times a year, the Local Board meetings, in-house management meetings, they can hire lawyers and consultants to help with thorny problems, and they can allocate and control money and resources to get their agendas accomplished. If individual wage-slaves are dissatisfied with the present policies or structure, they are free to leave and expend their energies elsewhere. [2002 - did I forget the workers' union?]
KPFA is modeled upon bourgeois forms of democracy, in which there is a division of labor along hierarchical lines. In this model is preserved the idea of class structure, in which a small upper class gets to decide all of the important policies among themselves and receives the most compensation, and a larger lower class receives a living wage for the pleasure of carrying out the policies and decisions of the upper class, and an even larger class of volunteers who receive no compensation at all. This kind of hierarchical division of labor, based upon the ideas of bourgeois democracy, is not unusual among non-profits and other alleged progressive groups. KPFA's division of labor can be described as a democracy just as much as the United States Government. Both of these bourgeois forms always fail to define themselves as bourgeois, however, as they generally do not want it known that it is a democracy for the few in the upper classes that exercise ultimate control over all.
Among progressive organizations, these bureaucratic forms are handy for preserving the particular ideas or policies around which the groups were originally organized. To preserve their identities and original agendas, groups have sometimes had to adopt bureaucratic forms of organization to keep possibly hostile competitors from taking over and changing or corrupting their original aims, goals and intentions. In this way, a founding group that was devoted to a certain cause may ensure that the aims of the group never stray from the original aims, no matter how much the staffs turn over or how many changes in the times may have caused obsolescence in various aspects of their missions.
Bureaucratic forms of organization can be equally effective in preventing democratic control over these organizations as well. As an example, the contradiction between an alleged revolutionary group adopting a bourgeois democratic form will most likely signify that the group has chosen to promote a particular line of revolutionary thought, such as Maoism, De Leonism, Trotskyism, etc., and that those who stray from these lines of thought will make themselves unwelcome.
Censorship: KPFA has made certain ideas unwelcome on its airwaves. Any criticism of the income tax is unwelcome. All that it took for such ideas to be banished was for a credentialed critic to claim that all of the people who propounded Constitutional reasons for resisting the income tax were connected with ultra right-wing hate groups and had no intellectual credentials, and then it seemed like most of the staff adopted this view without question.
My own experience is that those who expound Constitutionalist views and have fought against the system are not the ones who expound the views of the hate groups. The literature of the hate groups contains no reference to tax or Constitutionalist issues, and Constitutionalist literature does not contain the propaganda of the hate groups. In spite of my experience, it is easier for the Station to maintain its dogma than to examine the issues the way they should be.
There very well might be a good reason for this situation. Marx stated that "Taxes are the economic basis for the state and nothing more." There is a lot of sentiment within the Station that we will be able to reform the present system until we have eliminated oppression and achieve socialism. As part of this view, all that society has to do is to keep on voting Democrats into office, and this Democratic state will bring the desired progressive agenda to realization. So, why should anyone want to attack the economic basis of this state? In their view, the system will work fine if we can only vote out the Republicans and vote in the Democrats. Look at all of the progress society has already made under the system, and there's no reason why it won't continue. And this is mostly beyond debate on KPFA as well.
The Station also receives Federal tax dollars in the form of grants, and the fewer taxes the Feds receive, the less that the Station may get. The Station is also dependent upon the whims of the FCC, so the less that the Feds are aggravated by those who would attack their economic basis, the better as well.
The staff has thrown out their own good judgment on this, as on other issues, and has sided with the prevailing dogma. Since it is easier to follow the intellectual leadership, rather than fight it, even when it is wrong, the staff go along with the prevailing dogma. In such an atmosphere where a position has been accepted by the majority of the staff without question, rather than try to develop the ideas surrounding the disagreement, they bury the disagreement.
Program Content: There are many complaints that KPFA programming is too slanted towards music and various cultures, and not enough toward information that would nurture an activist community. In spite of strong community pressure to change the state of affairs, there is no move to change the direction, for reasons related to the bureaucratic control analyzed above.
In the '70's, the spread between music and talk was about 1:2, while today, it is more like 2:1, which is quite a shift. Maybe the reason for the shift is that the poor and oppressed are so much happier and better off than in the '70's, so everyone feels like celebrating more. Or maybe because it's because music promoters have gotten much more of a foothold in the running of the Station, and have managed to influence the Station on the basis that the music cannot be heard anywhere else, and that much of it comes from artists from communities of color, who are under-represented on the airwaves. Who is it that can afford to be philanthropic to under-represented artists, or even to the proletariat, but the radical bourgeoisie?
One might as well admit that if KPFA were to go to all of the trouble to raise money to run a radio station, they might as well have a say in how decisions governing the station are determined, and in the general content of the programming. He who pays the fiddler gets to name the tune.
For an organization that has adopted a bourgeois-democratic form of organizational structure to also express the broad democratic principle of free speech is a contradiction in terms, and all that is guaranteed is free speech for those who agree with the views of management, and only limited free speech for those on the outside.
In a world in which concepts like democracy are so ill-defined, misunderstood, and misstated, and with groups of competing interests - or classes - fighting for the scarce commodity of air time, having to live with a few contradictions may sometimes be the best compromise that a broadly progressive listening community can hope for.
If KPFA were under attack from all directions, and if there were forces trying to get control of KPFA in an attempt merely to wield its air waves for their own competing purposes, KPFA could very well rationalize its bureaucratic organizational form as a defense against pressures from these hostile forces, and they could still maintain a broad base of support from the progressive forces in their audience, even if their service to these progressive forces was not that all-inclusive.
If KPFA were not under attack, but chose to maintain a bureaucratic structure and regularly denied progressive forces access to the airwaves, and yet maintained that they were truly democratic in form and access, then they could easily be criticized.
If the forces that were critical of KPFA were undemocratic in nature, maintained bourgeois-democratic bureaucracies of their own, had no machinery for a free discussion of their own course of action, then KPFA's rejection of the pressures from these undemocratic forces would not be a tragic violation of 'democracy'.
If the forces that were critical of KPFA were as democratic as could be imaginable, then KPFA would have little valid reason for ignoring their input, unless KPFA were truly undemocratic in itself and merely expressed the interests of some segment of the radical middle class that had its own narrow agenda that could not be pre-empted.
The reality of the present situation may lie somewhere between the bounds of the previous hypotheses.
The "Save KPFA" plan so far includes: criticism of KPFA's non-marathon programming, criticism of its failure to pay attention to local affairs such as People's Park, criticism of its plan to fund itself from conservative foundations, criticism of the lack of democratic input to the self-appointed local board, the struggle for a talk-show in which KPFA affairs could be discussed, militant confrontation over these issues at local and Pacifica National Board Meetings, the struggle to bring mass-democratic control to a bourgeois-democratic organization, etc.
The nature of "Save KPFA's" approach so far has been to affect the whole apple with its bite. 1) They want to affect how KPFA funds itself. Were they able to influence KPFA in that manner, that could affect KPFA at every level of its organization. 2) They want to affect the decision-making processes at KPFA by getting themselves elected to various boards and to increase the power of those boards. Were they able to get themselves elected, especially to a majority of the board, said election could also have a profound effect on KPFA, so much so that the National Board might want to toss it out and re-organize it. 3) They want a talk show that they could run themselves and conceivably talk about KPFA issues, in spite of KPFA's rule against airing out its laundry in public. If they were able to air out KPFA's laundry, negative information about the nature of KPFA or other criticisms of its policies might have a negative effect on its community support. 4) They want to be able to affect how KPFA uses its programming time, in spite of the improbability of any competing interest yet accomplishing that goal.
As a result of goals that, if enacted, would affect KPFA to its core, "Save KPFA" might appear to KPFA as a hostile competitor aligned for a take-over, so these efforts have not been very well received by KPFA and Pacifica so far. And yet, the determination of the handful who persevere in their mission to bring change to an institution truly in need of more mass democratic processes is encouraging, however limited their results so far have been.
How does all of the above reflect on the strategy of a relative handful of community activists who are frustrated with and critical of KPFA and Pacifica? If "Save KPFA" were to stand back and study the situation and figure out what could possibly be accomplished by their efforts, what would they conclude? If they were to study the situation and try to figure out how the class nature of KPFA and the class nature of their own organization determine their own and each others strategy, what would they conclude? Is "Save KPFA" fully aware of how the left has organized themselves into bourgeois-democratic forms of organization in the past, and how these may never achieve greater than bourgeois-democratic results?
What if, instead of trying to change the direction of the whole ball of wax, and trying to command how KPFA funds itself, chooses the basic direction of its programming, and chooses how to govern its own affairs, etc., what if a movement were to arise that were to allow KPFA to exercise autonomy over all of these affairs - some of which are best determined, by the way, by bourgeois elements with a lot of experience in managing high level affairs like these.
If this movement had a block of air time they could call their own, and could do whatever they wanted with it (within limits to be negotiated and spelled out), they would not need to get on the air and rave against KPFA's alleged undemocratic processes and programming, because they would then be able to do the kind of programming that they really want to do. They could poll the community and find out how many of their issues were not being discussed regularly on KPFA and why not, and correct the anomalies using their own block of air time. They could practice democracy within their own ranks by democratically dividing up the air time among competing issues. They could establish a first-come, first-serve policy toward the issues and make sure that every issue that is relevant to the interests of the poor and oppressed came up and were discussed in their turn.
A plan like this would also be a way of separating the rank-and-filers from the bourgeois elements within our own ranks. Bourgeois elements would no doubt cast derision upon this plan and would want to keep on trying to affect KPFA from the top down. On the other hand, the rank-and-filers among us will recognize this plan as a way to get important issues to KPFA's airwaves in what may be the only physical way possible. Can you imagine - having a program idea, and not having to go to a department head for permission to air it? Not having to be told, "We don't have the time", or "Maybe when we get time."?
If our movement was one that KPFA management and staff could trust with the handling of their precious and vulnerable airwaves, such a scenario might not be a mere pipe dream. There are many among us who have already wielded KPFA's airwaves in an impeccable manner, and to the untold benefit of KPFA. We could act as a buffer between the rest of the community and KPFA staff, so that the latter would not have to use their own scarce time talking to and training fresh batches of faces during our air time block. A fresh experiment in community involvement such as this could redound to KPFA's benefit tremendously. It could mean that groups that were under-represented in terms of media access would finally get some justice, and, with guarantees of dialogue with the audience, any scam to defraud the audience with deceptive ideas would be exposed for what it really was. Even if a scam were to reach the audience, but was properly debunked, they could learn a lot from that very process. Does anyone remember the science of dialectics and the negation of the negation? A free interchange of ideas has to be part and parcel of any democratic plan.
A plan such as the above, were it to meet with enough support from all concerned, has as good a chance of success in affecting what KPFA means to the community as any plan. From KPFA's perspective, they should find it a relief not to have to worry about anything other than having to relinquish its ideological (but not its FCC-mandated) control over a weekly block of air time, rather than having the general operations of the Station influenced in some manner that might be totally undefinable in its impact.
Stop trying to bore from within. "Save KPFA" is so bourgeois in itself. Instead, simply articulate an alternative that others could support.
Some would complain that this would mean that they would have to get busy and do some work, they would have to get their hands dirty helping to dispense democracy, they would have to interface with the community and listen to their desires.
That may not satisfy them if they represented a bourgeois element in the community bent on control of the whole institution.
All of which is contrary to the goal of controlling KPFA from the top down, the goal of sitting back and telling KPFA how to run its airwaves, fund itself, and serve the interests of the 'proletariat'.
As proletarians, what are our interests besides our proletarian issues? What interests do we have in how the medium in which we might be able to express ourselves were to fund itself, govern itself, or express its own interests? As long as community radio were interested in truly being a community resource, they could not fail to respond to our concerns. In the past, community concerns have found their way onto the airwaves, in dribs and drabs, as some of us have been able to catch the ears of this or that programmer. Others of us, however, have been represented rarely, and the values of our ideas have hardly had a chance to compete in the marketplace of ideas.
It has been stated by top management at KPFA that "We are not a community access radio station", and it seemed to have been stated as a matter of principle, as though it should be engraved on a tablet, as if life as we know it would come to an end if KPFA were allow a certain portion of its air time to be a community access block of air time. It has not been suggested that the community access block should be given over to an anarchic, autonomous, free-form, rant-and rave session. How that block of air-time would serve the interests of the poor and oppressed classes in the community has not even begun to be negotiated. But, since KPFA is such a great believer in wage-labor, having many wage-slaves in its employ, we think it should be natural for the Station to allow the wage-slave element in the community to express its interests in ways unfiltered by the Stations' own representatives, unrepresentative of those interests as they sometimes can be on many issues.
Letter of Resignation to KPFA
Staff and General
Manager, Sept. 12, 1993 [Not used]
With this letter, I hereby terminate my employment with KPFA and Pacifica Foundation, and for the following reasons:
The basic conflict is one around working in a bureaucracy, where employees can be praised and respected for doing a good job on the one hand, and on the other, are powerless to exert any influence upon other aspects of their employment situation, and, most recently, over who will be chosen to spend an indefinite amount of time in their working environment.
As many insiders know, I was very disappointed when management did not hire a certain Engineer #1 with whom I have had the pleasure to work for more than a couple of years by now, and instead hired Engineer #2 based more upon the principles of affirmative action than upon common sense.
I foresaw the time when I might have had to take an emergency leave of absence, and I thought it was important that the Station act in its own self-interest by hiring someone who would provide a certain continuity in the Engineering Department in terms of knowledge of the Station's operations, a caring attitude toward Pacifica and its principles, and a good attitude toward maintenance and improvement of Station facilities. Instead, the colors of their hides overrode all of the other qualities of the two prospective employees.
For that reason, and many other reasons that have to do with the life-negating bureaucracies of KPFA and Pacifica, I am glad and relieved to take my formal leave of these bureaucracies on a permanent basis. I will continue to maintain my volunteer status, and to maintain the friendships with personnel I have formed over the years, and which have been of great value to me. I have learned a tremendous amount while at KPFA, technically and politically, and in many ways consider it to have been a privilege to have been able to work at the place that I really wanted to work at, to serve the listeners, and to have helped to bring them information that they have hopefully found to be of value.
There was a time when I thought that working at KPFA would have been very fulfilling, and on many levels it has been. But, enough is enough, and the situation that once engendered my personal growth will mean stagnation for me if I were to allow it to continue.
My wishes for KPFA for the future: that it begins to address the bureaucracy question, and that the staff soon begins to make all of the important decisions among themselves, and that the position of General Manager becomes one of advisory capacity only, to enable the staff to take advantage of management skills without being the wage-slaves of the Manager.
My personal experience with bureaucracy has shown that anarchy, censorship, fraud and secrecy are inevitable passengers on the bureaucracy bandwagon, and that the reason for adopting a bureaucratic structure springs from bourgeois ideology. That is why I have decided to make this letter of resignation public, so that people become aware of the reasons why I could never come back to KPFA or Pacifica in the status of 'employee of the radical bourgeois bureaucracy'.
Affirmative action: At one time, it seemed as though the most vocal advocates of affirmative action would stoop to any crime to drive white males out of the Station. The concocted racism of white males, their alleged perpetration of racial discrimination, and the endless backstabbing of white males, all combined to create an atmosphere of terror for white males and for some white females.
Most of the white people who realized that they were under attack did not stoop to respond in kind, for a variety of reasons. For a while, I tended to look upon the situation with tolerance, in the liberal manner of the 'white man's burden'. Later on, as the attacks intensified, I had to shed my white liberal guilt and fight back. The attacks abated, and I was treated in a more humane fashion once again. But, the whole episode had a poisoning effect upon my morale, which may not have recovered as a result of those wholly unwarranted attacks. I had the feeling that KPFA was a milieu in which the oppression of minorities by whites that occurred in the greater society could be turned on its head, and that KPFA had become a place where the oppression of whites by women and people of color could take place with impunity.
A brief review of what has happened will illuminate the situation as I see it. I also felt quite invalidated by KPFA not following my recommendation.
Not long after Engineer #2 was hired, I took an emergency leave of absence based upon an unrelated situation that had been building up for a long time. Unlike E1, E2 was quite unfamiliar with KPFA and Pacifica. Not long afterwards, and to no one's great surprise, E2 found and took a better paying job in another state.
By that time, E1 had also found a job and was not available for hire at the time, so KPFA had to patch together a staff of many part-timers, none of whom could make an immediate and long-lasting commitment until recently. KPFA survived, had an influx of new blood, and may very well have weathered the situation unscathed.
Consider what might have been a likely scenario, had E1 been hired in the first place. Chances are that E1 would still be at work, and there would have been a relatively seamless transition when I went on leave. Though of less overall radio experience than E2, E1 had the kind of familiarity with the operation of KPFA which I considered very important, and which only can be built up over a period of time. He had also been working very closely with the News Department, having wired up the new News facility while I was busy taking the old Shattuck Avenue facility apart. Many times he had proven himself technically, and I had no complaints. Plus, he had so many other characteristics that made him a natural fit for a Pacifica Station. In other words, I considered him a perfect hire for KPFA, and I will always consider KPFA to have acted extremely absurdly by not hiring him.
Also, every new recruit needs a certain period of familiarization in which one must guide the recruit down the hallways, find some kind of break-in tasks which will not break the recruit, and generally spend a lot of time with processes that would not have been necessary had the right engineer been hired.
Another way I felt betrayed was in the way, on the one hand, I had just been hyper-validated as 'the one who had saved the transmitter in the great fire of '91', while, on the other hand, I was totally invalidated by having my recommendation for an Engineering hire rejected. There was no consistency with the way I was treated. I have never been one to work the inside political track at the Station. Of the 8 years I worked for the Station, I do not recall a time when I ever asked Station management for any kind of a personal favor. But, on this very important matter, I did decide to cash in my chips, and I did lobby Management in one short meeting on this issue, as I did fear that common sense was going to take a back seat to affirmative action. And, as it turned out, my chips were few in number, and of as much value as the post-World War One German Mark.
There are no doubt those who would argue that I lobbied for this hire simply because E1 is, like I am considered to be as well, a white male. E1 and I also happen to be of quite different religious backgrounds, the representatives of which have historically fought like cats and dogs, but since I have never given a damn about religion, different backgrounds have made no difference to me. I lobbied for E1 because any hire other than his would have been illogical. Certainly there may be other engineers out there who are better technically qualified, but how many of them would take a pay cut to work for Pacifica's low wages? Major market engineers make close to three times KPFA's union scale.
Secondly, if I had been prejudiced, bigoted, or racist, what benefit would have accrued to me by telling E2 of the employment opportunity in the first place? As it turned out, if it had not been for me, E2 may never have read our bulletin board or otherwise informed himself of the opportunity, and it is fair to state that no one else was familiar enough with his situation as I was to have known that he was looking for some supplemental income. It was I who fearlessly informed E2 of the job opportunity because I had faith that those in positions of the power to hire would have put common sense above political interests. Was I ever wrong.
The contradictions in the way I was treated made me all too conscious of the way KPFA and Pacifica works, like a bourgeois bureaucracy, a bureaucracy in which there is democracy for the few at the top of the organization, and for those whose views happen to coincide with those of the bureaucrats, but little more than alienation, invalidation and wage-slavery for those at the bottom of the pecking order.
This letter is also a declaration of the fact that once again I have had enough of slaving away for bourgeois bureaucracies. One would have thought that I would have had enough of it in the '70's, but history more often repeats itself than one would sometimes like to admit, but, by now, I have relearned the lesson that I should have learned for good a long time ago. After repeating certain patterns for too long, I also wish to share this experience with other progressives in the hopes that someone will learn something from it, and for that reason, I make this letter of resignation public.
In a recent Radio broadcast, Ms. Scott, you declared that KPFA will make a commitment toward making sure that more than one side of the issues are covered. This was also an important admission that KPFA has covered issues one-sidedly. I consider that commitment to be of great importance, and long overdue. Some issues that need more careful scrutiny include 1) KPFA's bourgeois-pacifist endorsement of gun control, in so many ways invalidating the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the principles of the First International Workingmen's Association (1864-1872, has everyone forgotten?), 2) the invalidation of the aims and ideals of the Constitutional tax-resisters by slandering them all as connected with right-wing hate groups, 3) alternatives to AMA-dominated 'medical' treatments, including the on-going endorsement of vaccinations 4) KPFA's endorsement of the perspective of the left-wing of the Democratic Party on political issues. Listening to KPFA, one would think that if everyone who was in office was a Democrat, the nation's problems would go away, simply because of what these Democrats would allegedly do.
Another reason that I will be glad to never go back is the fact that KPFA fiddles while Rome burns. There is so much happening all over the world that demands attention, there is so much good issue-oriented programming that comes down the satellite that KPFA's audience never hears about, there is so much potential to develop local information-based programming, and still KPFA will consider little more in terms of new programming than training disc jockeys. And KPFA still wonders where its support base has fled. If KPFA wanted support, then it could help start another war so that it would preempt all of the fluff and change to a format that people really want to hear. But the last people who want to hear about the coming revolution are the bourgeoisie, and KPFA's bourgeois elements are no exception.
They will continue to promote music and culture, and continue to pretend that problems of racial bigotry, gender discrimination, economic inequities, etc. can be solved by passing yet more Democratically-inspired laws. They will continue to ignore the fact that the only thing that the human race will ever be able to begin to fix in our time is the political disparity between the rich and the poor, not the differences in the color of our hides, nor the differences between our genders.
July 15, 1994 (This letter most likely not submitted)
Dear Program Director,
I'm sorry to be so late in making my comments about the latest Pacifica Board Resolution, as documented in the June Programmers' Memo:
"Racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-Semitic or misogynistic programming has no place in Pacifica and shall be grounds for the summary removal of a programmer. The toleration of such programming shall be grounds for removal of a program director or department head."
It isn't really clear from the text what constitutes an offense, nor is it clear how many offenses are required to trigger disciplinary action or expulsive measures. It is not clear where the line would be drawn in applying the term 'anti-Semitic', say, if a program contained alleged codewords for Jews, such as '666', or 'international banking', but otherwise did not refer to Jews at all. It is not clear as to how carefully certain programs would be scrutinized in the quest to find fault with them. It is not clear how admissible the charges against the program would be if the bulk of the work of scrutinizing it were done by non-Station personnel representing some political agenda, overt or covert. It is also not clear whether normal disciplinary steps, such as are outlined in the union contract, might be side-stepped in the rush to achieve 'summary removal', which needs to be defined as well.
The resolution does not suggest what levels of the organization will enforce it, the kinds of processes that will be put into motion in attempts to eliminate programmers, program directors and department heads, the kinds of appeal processes that they will be forced to embark upon in order to clear their names, whether they will be entitled to trials by juries of their peers, or whether all of the disciplinary processes will take place within the confines of bureaucracies working in secrecy.
I cannot imagine what motivated the writing of such a resolution, but let me speculate, and let me be corrected at some point in the future if my speculations are incorrect. Perhaps some of the intent of the resolution is that: 'Bigoted statements should never reach the ears of our listeners.' I haven't seen where any pre-produced program that has been broadcast on our airwaves has ever fallen into that category. Even though I have heard negative comments about an African Mental Liberation Weekend, Pacifica has not made documentation of the allegedly offensive portions readily available as proof that such events really have happened. If Pacifica proved to itself beyond a doubt that the program was an example of bigotry, it certainly did not need the resolution to keep the programmer off the air in the future. Mechanisms were already in existence.
I think that many Pacifica people would agree that a program (subtle or not) that clearly intended to create prejudice on the basis of ethnic, racial, religious, or gender backgrounds would not get much audience support.
But, what if a program of such nature does eventually make it to the airwaves, and some people complain: Who is damaged by it? Certainly there are no broken arms or legs or damage in that sense, and listeners could certainly change channels, but it isn't hard to imagine some people being as offended as if a bigot insulted them to their very faces. If the offended listeners were also Station supporters, they could retaliate against such programming by withholding their support, and then it is the Station that becomes offended financially. Thus, the Station has a financial interest in keeping bigoted programming off the air, not to mention possible legal and FCC interests.
If there are already devices within Pacifica to deal with bigoted programs and programmers, then the resolution is moot. I can't imagine a bigot wanting to do a program on a regular basis on our airwaves.
... looks like a political device to enable some people to harass some programmers and department heads; it pressures programmers to pre-censor their material, or get fired for failing to do a the kind of job that would satisfy some critics. It looks like one more step along the road toward forcing a PC agenda down every programmer's throat. It represents a loss of the old Pacifica tenet that a well-prepared program should be aired and the audience allowed to judge its merits.
I find it contradictory for Pacifica to pass a resolution that is so reminiscent of attempts of the church and state to legislate morality. The identity of those who promoted the resolution should not be protected by bureaucratic secrecy. It would be quite democratic for them to stand up and be counted so that staff might have some context with which to assess their actions in the future.
Instead of passing resolutions that can only create terror in the hearts and minds of programmers, we should work on hammering out procedures that would protect the first amendment rights of all concerned. Let me briefly outline one, and I would encourage others to add their input toward creating a viable procedure: bad
1 Dana Doe does a program.
2 Group or individual complains to the Station, alleging faults A, B, and C.
3 If not trivial, D.D. responds personally.
4 Complainant is not satisfied, and demands blood.
5a Pacifica capitulates, and fires the programmer. Or,
5b Pacifica recognizes that there are political issues involved that require more investigation, and encourages more debate.
Obviously, there are so many variations on the above scenario that one could not even begin to list them all, but one could easily imagine that we could adopt a flowchart way of handling complaints that could be adopted by the whole Network that would also ensure a uniform standard of justice for all.
Program Proposal, February 6, 1995
I have followed your programs about the left with great interest, and now your hour per month program on 'Freedom Is a Constant Struggle' is my favorite on KPFA. In the early seventies, I didn't know anything about the left or socialism, but got interested in it, and got sucked into a group of anarchists who called themselves socialists. Because things didn't feel just right, I took the time to get to the roots of the problems in the Party and uncovered their anarchist ideology. When I tried to bring the problems of the Party to their attention, they used their long-standing weapons of bureaucracy, censorship, and secrecy to get me to shut up or get out, so I quit.
In '92, at the urging of another Party member who had gotten expelled but started his own "Discussion Bulletin", I started writing about my experiences and did a lot of research into the nature of socialism, anarchism, my old Party's connections with Engels, etc. I found a mass of evidence to confirm my suspicions that the old Party leadership had perpetrated gross fraud against its members and the class that the Party supposedly represented, and documented the anarchist fraud in a 600-page book, the manuscript of which was finished in December.
In '94, I also discovered a few contradictions within Marxism itself, which I figured were serious enough to enable competing ideologies, such as anarchism, to enjoy their own little niches in the marketplace of ideas. One problem with Marxism includes:
After smashing a monarchy, there is no theoretical problem with workers concentrating the means of production into the hands of the workers' state, but, in a democracy, the continued domination of the elements of force by the upper classes would prevent the implementation of such a socialist program after the victory of the workers' party at the ballot box, thus casting great doubt upon the usefulness of state ownership and control in the first place. A billion people have recently disposed of socialism as a means of bettering their lives, which has discredited it far better than what any right-wing ideologue could ever do on paper.
Then there are contradictions between Lenin and Marx. When he came to power, Lenin took the idea of expropriation to extremes and concentrated all land into the hands of the state on the very first day, in spite of what Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto wrote about expropriation supposing to be gradual.
Another of the fascinating aspects of socialism is that its economic system was supposed to be nothing less than capitalist. In the Communist Manifesto, the workers, after their political victory, were supposed to concentrate the means of production into their hands by slow degrees, and to increase the total of the productive forces as rapidly as possible. As productive forces have developed since primitive times, the absolute amounts of what the lower classes have produced have multiplied immensely, thanks to the use of machinery and technology, but the share of what the producing classes keep for their own use and enjoyment has gone down in proportion, the vast surpluses accruing, in our age, to capital. The portion of the work-day during which the producing classes work for themselves has decreased to around an hour per day, the other seven hours spent working for the government and the owning classes. From these enormous surpluses comes the wealth with which the right wing bribes politicians, buy out other companies in their mania to merge, etc. We could reduce their share of the wealth and increase ours if we took control of the labor market, withheld our services to create a positive demand for labor, causing wages to go up for a change, and curing joblessness at the same time.
In spite of variations in the program of socialism, even within the texts of Marx and Engels themselves, the one measure for which Marx was unreserved and unambiguous in his praise was reductions in the length of the working day. In his lifetime, he saw the workday go from no limits to a 12-hour day in 1832, to a 10-hour day in 1847, and to strong agitation for an 8-hour day that was won after his death in many countries by the turn of the century. A good portion of Kapital documented the effects of varying the length of the working day, both in theory and under the Factory Acts. Before my Party was captured by the anarchists in 1889, one of its planks included reducing the length of the working day to match the replacement of labor by technology.
Jeremy Rifkin, in his new book called "The End of Work", predicts the end of the mass labor market within 40-50 years, human labor to replaced with computers and automation. Electronic Engineering Times predicts the end of all physical labor by 2086. We are witnessing the beginnings of the 'end of work' in the last part of this century, and a lot of people who know what's going on aren't saying anything. It wasn't too long ago that a big yuk-yuk joke was: "You can be replaced with a computer", but no one is laughing any more today. What the left in general cannot fathom, or doesn't fathom on purpose, are the implications of the replacement of labor by technology. Because so many have not thought about it, and don't really want to talk about the history of betrayal of the working classes by the leaders of the socialist and communist parties, they simply cling to worn-out notions of some kind of socialist paradise that supposedly will arrive if we only elect enough progressives, socialists or Democrats to office to enact some socialist or progressive social legislation; and all they are willing to imagine improving is welfare, jobs programs, universal health care, etc., etc.
Many seem not to have the faintest clue that such programs will do nothing to halt the slide into joblessness and despair that so many in the class are headed for, simply because they have become redundant, or will never have a chance to be part of the work force, simply because they have been, or will soon be, replaced by a machine. Who knows what it will take to prove to the left that this is what's going on, and that nothing less than an intelligent plan will help us get out of the mess we are slipping into? Some of the most intelligent people I know deny that human labor will ever be replaced by technology to any great, earth-shaking extent. I wonder how many people a century ago were predicting the Concorde, people in space, engineering work-stations, or smashing atoms? What gives them the arrogance to assert that equally astounding developments will not occur in the future?
Many on the left have a smug self-assuredness that they know what they are doing, and they do not need anyone to tell them any different. They know enough not to be fooled by Republicans or the 'capitalist politicians', and they are doing their part to make this a better world. They are part of and give time and money to worth-while organizations, subscribe to all of the correct periodicals, etc. And yet, in spite of all of the good that they do, the world slips closer each day into fascism, disease, poverty, joblessness, homelessness, etc. How any leftist can be self-assured with a record like this, and how much worse things will have to be before they allow a little doubt to creep into their minds is beyond me.
I have always had faith that exposing contradictions in people's belief systems would help them change their minds, and it may be past time that the left began to look into just how self-contradictory are the ideologies of socialism and anarchism. Perhaps only then would talk about a reduced work-week eliminating joblessness, raising wages, getting people off the streets, eliminating crime, etc., make any sense. And that in order to make this reform work there would have to be a determined organization of the lower classes that would have to dispense with the bureaucratic, censorious, and secretive practices of the left.
To: The Coordinating Committee
of 'Take Back KPFA' - not used
Regarding the Meeting of 9-11-95
This is more of a formal complaint than what I verbally greeted Hulda with on the way to the meeting. The essence of my complaint then was that lately, some committees are not allowed to deliver even short summaries of what they have been doing between meetings, so I suggested that all lengthy new business ought to be remanded to the end of our big meetings, all routine stuff to be disposed of relatively efficiently at the beginning.
My request/advice changed nothing, all but the most favored committees were not given a chance to report back, and the whole process became ever more reminiscent of the old "Save KPFA" of two years ago, when the agenda hardly strayed from that of gaining control of, or punishing KPFA.
The Coordinating Committee should not have allowed the editing of two letters by the committee as a whole to monopolize the agenda, a process that took at least two hours, but could have been done some other way that wouldn't have interfered so much with the interests of the whole crowd. Also, time wasn't allocated to agenda items like it had been at previous meetings.
When I first heard that a Coordinating Committee would be created, my worst fear was that the personal agendas of a few would ascend to supremacy, to the exclusion of all other agendas. At first, my fears were allayed by profuse denials, and that its only purpose was to give the movement as a whole some direction. Well, its direction now seems to be that of merely repeating the agenda of two years ago, and my worst fears were not unfounded.
I would like to propose equal time and status for all Committee reports, not all of which will need full allotments of time, say 5 or 10 minutes. Committees with lengthy reports could move intensive audience feedback matters to a 'New Business' agenda item at the end of the meeting, and those who are interested in those issues can work on them for longer periods. Those who are not so interested can at least rest content that their own issues were not denied any time whatsoever. Many people walk out now due to frustration with the absence of decent process. If this issue is not settled or considered at the start of the Oct. 2 meeting, I will know that any future involvement on my part in these meetings will be a waste of time.
November 10, 1995
Dear East Bay Express Editor:
The democratic nature of 'Take Back KPFA' may have been overstated by Stephen Dunifer in his November 10 letter, considering that the real democracy of the movement occurred at its early meetings, when spontaneously formed committees expressed themselves freely. When a coordinating committee appointed itself "to give the movement some direction", meetings became dominated by the business of punishing, or trying to take control of KPFA, with no time allotted to those who are more concerned with building alternatives to alternatives. 'Take Back KPFA' might want to ponder Engels' question "Are we demanding from others free speech for us, only to abolish it again in our own ranks?"
February 24, 1996 (lost interest in this, not sent)
I listened with interest to your live interview with Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, February 20, 1996, in which you and Bernie talked about the interests of the people. Included in such interests (I wasn't aware were mine) were affordable health care, affordable housing, a higher minimum wage, and many other planks of the Democratic Socialist agenda.
Also, Bernie seemed to be saying that 'giant corporations own the major media', and that 'perspectives such as his are rarely ever mentioned there, certainly not often enough to influence the masses', and that 'consequently, people don't stick up for their interests as much as they would if they could hear them more often.'
First of all, I doubt that all of the interests that Bernie labeled as 'ours' are what we really consider our interests to be. Rather, the interests that he mentioned seem to be much more those of Democratic Party bureaucrats who are looking for administrative positions in government associated with precisely the reforms that Bernie listed. If the interests that Bernie mentioned were really those of the people, then it would show that we have really come a long way from the days when Marx stated that all that workers in democracies seem to be interested in is high wages and short hours. Indeed, if the latter two interests of mine were fulfilled, I would then be able to afford my own health care plan with money to spare for transportation and lots more, everyone would be employed, affirmative action would no longer be required, etc. Your obvious unfamiliarity with a perspective such as mine prevented you from challenging Bernie in a more well-rounded manner. What can be done to ensure that more well-rounded interviews take place in the future? Or, will the compatibility levels of interviewers with interviewees always override the interests of listeners for more sparkling discourse? If unwilling or unable yourselves to challenge Bernie, you could have given the audience a crack at him.
To: Brothers and Sisters of FRB:
At the leaseholder's October 23, 1997 advisory meeting, we decided to draft a contract between DJs. Additions and modifications are open to dialogue, and should be sent to a member of the contract drafting committee before the December meeting. The contract should be ready for adoption by the January '98 meeting. It is proposed that contracts will be maintained in an orderly fashion by the Scheduling Committee, so that there will be at least one contract per slot. As soon as adopted by the collective, signing will be mandatory for all new programmers. Present DJs will have until the April 1998 collective meeting to sign. During the May meeting, the Scheduling Committee will report on which DJs have not yet signed.
In an effort to promote the smooth and just operation of Free Radio Berkeley, we, the undersigned, agree to the following terms for acquiring and retaining time slots. On pain of invocation of the progressive discipline process, we programmers agree -
1 To pay our dues on or ahead of time, or work regularly in an approved capacity in lieu of paying dues, or ask to be excused.
2 To refrain from smoking within any facility housing FRB studios, within any FRB studio, or within 10 feet of any entrance, air intake, or open window of facilities housing FRB.
3 To arrive on time for our programs, and to leave on time.
4 To provide for coverage for our slots for the times we know we will be absent, and/or will not be able to do our shows.
5 To inform the Scheduling Committee of absences that we know will extend beyond a month.
6 Not to aggress upon the physical persons of other programmers, in or out of the studio premises.
7 Not to engage in conduct that could be construed as harassment of other programmers. Upon being notified that certain conduct is objectionable, alleged aggressors shall cease such conduct immediately.
8 Not to steal or damage any of the physical equipment, furniture, or media belonging either to FRB, or to rented facilities.
9 Not to write upon surfaces that are not intended to be written or marked upon, nor to tape up, tack up, pin up, or physically fasten anything to any of the surfaces of the facilities or furniture not intended for such attachments, without the permission of the owners thereof.
10 In the event of dead air, to enter the premises to fill the void with whatever material is deemed suitable, unless directed otherwise by any member of the Scheduling Committee, but angels can only be requested to play pre-recorded media that are on the premises, i.e., programs that are normally aired in that slot.
Charges of violating any term of the contract will be investigated by a fact-finding committee of at least 3 other DJs or invited others. All parties involved will be encouraged to testify. The subcommittee will report the results of their investigation to the collective.
The progressive discipline process will consist of 5 steps that will be followed consecutively:
1 A verbal warning initiated by a motion from the floor at a meeting of the collective.
If incidents persist, then:
2 A written warning issued at a meeting of the leaseholder's advisory group.
If incidents persist, then:
3 A month's suspension of the contract.
If incidents persist, then:
4 A year's suspension of the contract.
If incidents persist, then:
5 Termination of the contract.
In cases involving immediate danger to the operation of FRB, or immediate danger to anyone associated with the operation or maintenance of FRB, the disciplinary process may be invoked at steps 3, 4, or 5, as deemed appropriate by the leaseholder's advisory committee. The leaseholder's advisory committee is comprised of members of the FRB community, is selected by, and meets at the discretion of, the leaseholder.
To: Brothers and Sisters of FRB:
At the leaseholder's October 23, 1997 advisory meeting, we decided to draft a participation agreement between DJs and FRB. Additions and modifications are open to dialogue, and should be relayed to a member of the participation agreement drafting committee at the first December meeting. The participation agreement might be ready for adoption by a January '98 meeting. It is proposed that participation agreements be maintained in an orderly fashion by the Scheduling Committee, so that there will be at least one participation agreement per time slot. As soon as adopted by the collective, signing will be mandatory for all new programmers. Present DJs will have until an April 1998 collective meeting to sign. During a May meeting, the Scheduling Committee will report on which DJs have not yet signed.
In order to assure that as many voices as possible have accountable access to the airwaves, regardless of ideology or economic status; and, in an effort to promote the smooth and just operation of Free Radio Berkeley, we, the undersigned, agree to the following terms for acquiring and retaining FRB time slots:
1. To adhere to the Mission Statement*.
2. To pay our dues on time, or ahead of time, or to work regularly in an approved capacity in lieu of paying dues, or ask to be excused.
3a. To refrain from smoking, or burning, any substance within any facility housing FRB studios, or within any FRB studio.
Alternative wording for point 3:
3b. To refrain from smoking, or burning, any substance within any facility housing FRB studios, within any FRB studio, or within 10 feet of any entrance, air intake, or open window of facilities housing FRB.
4. To refrain from drinking alcohol or ingesting other intoxicating substances in the studio or within any facility housing FRB studios, or from being intoxicated (no matter where the substance was ingested) to the point where activities requisite to running the station, and relationships to others in the studio, are negatively affected.
5. Not to aggress upon the physical persons of other programmers, in or out of FRB studios.
6. Not to engage in conduct that could be construed as harassment of other programmers. Upon being notified that certain conduct is objectionable, alleged aggressors shall cease such conduct immediately.
7. Not to borrow, steal, damage, or tamper with any of the media, physical equipment, or furniture belonging either to FRB, or to the facilities.
8. Not to write upon surfaces that are not intended to be written or marked upon, nor to tape up, tack up, pin up, or physically fasten anything to any of the surfaces of the facilities, or furniture not intended for such attachments, without the permission of the owners thereof.
9. Not to use FRB facilities for any purposes for which they were not intended, including their use as a dormitory.
10. Not to engage in any activity or behavior that threatens the continued operation of FRB.
11. That, if changes are made to the wiring or placement of equipment during the course of a program, everything will be returned to their original places by the end of the time slot.
12. To treat equipment according to proper operating procedures.
13. To re-file station CD's, records, tapes, and other materials after our programs.
14. To clean up the messes that we - or our guests - make during the course of our programs, and to remove all traces of food to prevent infestation by ants.
15. Except in the case of seeing-eye dogs, or of other non-human life forms that might occasionally be integral to the course of a program, to refrain from bringing into the studio any non-human life forms, so as to prevent infestation of the studio or building by fleas, etc.
16. To be responsible for our guests, and for the people who are brought into the building during the course of a program, especially during the hours when the building is locked, and to not let people who are not familiar, or do not have keys, into the building.
17. If, as acting as a substitute, to identify ourselves to whoever lets us in, to inform the previous programmer what happened to the programmer we are substituting for, and to inform the listening audience of the temporary nature of the change.
18. To refrain from bringing firearms, or other weapons into the station, or into facilities housing FRB.
19. To submit a written proposal to obtain a time slot.
20. To meet with the Scheduling Committee, or to interview with a Committee member. The Committee will recommend programs to the collective, based on the following guidelines:
a. Reflection of greater diversity - gender, ethnic, cultural, political, etc.
b. Appropriateness of time slot to program content.
c. Similarity - or diversity - of content, compared with other FRB programs.
21. To abide by our written program proposals. Complaints will be forwarded to the Scheduling Committee, who will work with programmers to maintain compliance with written proposals, or to change the proposals.
22. To arrive before our programs are scheduled to begin.
23. Unless invited by the next programmer to stay on, to exit the studio in a manner that makes for an easy transition between shows.
24. To provide for coverage for our slots for the times we know we will be absent, and/or will not be able to do our shows, for up to 4 consecutive shows, beyond which the Scheduling Committee must be notified.
Except in cases of emergencies and illnesses, the progressive disciplinary process will be engaged after complaints of widespread sporadic absences, or after missing two or more consecutive shows without arranging for a substitute, or without informing the Scheduling Committee.
25. To inform the Scheduling Committee of absences that we observe on either side of our time slots.
26. To notify the Scheduling Committee four weeks in advance of impending resignation from our program.
27. In the event of dead air, to voluntarily enter the premises to fill the void with whatever material is deemed suitable, unless directed otherwise by any member of the Scheduling Committee. Fill-ins may be required to play programs of pre-recorded media that are already on FRB premises, and which are normally aired in that slot.
28. To inform the Scheduling Committee of our current addresses and phone numbers.
29. To report threatening phone calls, suspicious activities, or behavior to the Scheduling Committee, and/or to the appropriate authorities.
Charges of violating terms of the participation agreement will be investigated by a fact-finding committee of at least 3 other DJs or invited others, elected by the collective. All parties involved will be encouraged to testify. The committee will report the results of their investigation to the collective. At its regularly scheduled meetings, the committee will remind the collective of the status of all current disciplinary actions.
The progressive discipline process will consist of 5 steps that will be followed consecutively, except as described further down:
1 A verbal warning initiated by a motion from the floor at a meeting of the collective. If incidents persist, then:
2 A written warning issued at a meeting of the leaseholder's advisory group, or by the collective. If incidents persist, then:
3 A month's suspension of the participation agreement. If incidents persist, then:
4 A year's suspension of the participation agreement. If incidents persist, then:
5 Termination of the participation agreement.
In cases involving immediate danger to anyone associated with the operation or maintenance of FRB, or immediate danger to the operation of FRB, the disciplinary process may be invoked at steps 3, 4, or 5, as deemed appropriate by the leaseholder's advisory committee. The leaseholder's advisory committee is comprised of members of the FRB community, is selected by, and meets at the discretion of, the leaseholder.
1. To use time slots as desired, within legal and FRB guidelines.
2. To be informed of FRB and legal guidelines, and of any changes to them.
3. To attend training classes when offered to DJs.
4. To be informed two weeks in advance of schedule changes that affect our time slots, and the reasons for the changes.
5. To work within a safe and secure environment, and to have security problems addressed and/or remedied within 48 hours after notifying leaseholder.
6. To have access to a grievance procedure.
7. To fully participate in meetings of the collective, to have an equal voice and vote, and to volunteer for, or get elected to, the several committees.
8. To volunteer more time than what is involved in doing our programs for the further improvement of FRB.
Programmers may designate any other person or persons to assist them at any and all steps in the presentation and resolution of a grievance. The Grievance Committee will consist of three persons: a delegate of the leaseholder, a member of the collective to be elected thereby, and a person selected by the initiator of the grievance. The election of the member of the collective to the Committee will take place after each side has had an opportunity to spend up to 3 minutes explaining their sides of the story.
The Grievance Committee will meet at its own convenience for as many times as necessary to gather a clear picture of the issues involved, or come to a mutually agreeable conclusion, either of which will be reported to the next meeting of the collective by the Chair of the Committee, and, if appropriate, to be accompanied by a motion.
A. At its meetings, the collective will adopt the following agenda items in this order:
1. Election of chair.
4. Committee Reports:
5. Old Business
6. New Business
When appropriate, reports of committees, in part, or in full, may be remanded to New Business by a majority vote, on a motion to do so.
B. To allow for deep reflection on the content of long and/or complex proposals, and to allow for extensive communications about the merits of such proposals with others, proposals of unusual length or complexity will be submitted in writing to a meeting of the collective, but without making a motion at that time. Within one week of that first collective meeting, the written proposal shall be caused to be made prominent within the on-air FRB studio so that DJs who do not often come to meetings will be informed of their substance, and informed of the opportunity to come to the next collective meeting to voice approval, to otherwise comment on its merits, and/or to vote on its adoption. Adequate numbers of proposals will be made available at each general meeting during which the proposal is being considered. Where applicable, proposals that are adopted by the collective will be included in this participation agreement, to be updated no more often than quarterly.
Except in the case of emergencies whose bearing upon haste of adoption shall be made clear, no written proposal shall be adopted except in the manner of the previous paragraph.
C. If we see that our meetings are becoming difficult and contentious, we resolve to develop additional principles of democratic self-government that will create a smoother and more just process.
Signed and agreed to by: ______________ Date ____ / _____ /1998
Program: __________________________ Day _________ Time _____
* The other members of the committee felt that adherence to the Mission Statement should be required for our continued participation, but I think that the Mission Statement could serve as a guide to those who accept it as a guide, but should not forced upon those who regard it as an oath of loyalty to political correctness. This Affirmation Agreement should not include an either/or ultimatum about political ideology. Forcing prospective programmers to repeat, or sign on to, the Mission Statement smacks too much of Charles Hurwitz forcing workers to cut down the last of the redwoods. If any loggers refuse, plenty more are willing to help Charlie. Many prospective programmers may be willing to sign this Agreement to get on the air, but afterward may do just the opposite. Hypocrisy around any one aspect of the Agreement would only breed hypocrisy around other clauses. It may not be worth signing an agreement that was thereby doomed to be ineffective.
July 30, 1999
The e-mail recently and mistakenly sent to the Media Alliance proves that the Pacifica Network National Board no longer has an ounce of credibility, nor any moral authority to tell KPFA or its sister stations how to uphold the principles of free speech. If a supposed left-wing operation like the Pacifica Network can't tolerate control from below, and if a major reason its National Board hangs onto control with bulldog tenacity is so that it can sell its stations one-by-one, then this means that the Pacifica Board is 180 degrees away from a left-wing orientation.
A boarded up KPFA
is useless. My suggestion - an emergency
proclamation of eminent domain
from the City of Berkeley so that
the staff can get the station
up and running again with locally controlled programming. By means
of law suits, or whatever it takes
- get Pacifica off KPFA's
back, and make its airwaves the voice of the locals once again.
People could then be elected to a governing
board from each of Berkeley's 8 districts, and from each
of the surrounding counties within broadcast range, which elections
could be merged with the other political campaigns of June and
November. Control of KPFA would then
be a lot more democratic than with the existing immoral self-perpetuating
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