-by Evelia Jones, Nancy Niparko, Dorothy Reik, Myla Reson, Will Ryan, Harvey Wasserman
An incompetent union-busting Junta is prolonging its control of the legendary Pacifica Radio Network despite the majority demands of its listener/supporters and staff at three of its major stations.
It’s saddled the Network with huge unsustainable debts and a disappearing listenership while trashing the listeners and staff that sustain it.
FOE Pacifica (Failing, Obsolete, Entrenched) has just voted a lucrative long-term contract for at least one of its leaders. Meanwhile it moves to sell at least one of the Network’s beloved, hard-won assets… its station building in Houston.
The FOE Junta has also attacked some of Pacifica’s most popular broadcasters--including Ian Masters at KFPK-Los Angeles-- who dare question the regime on airwaves once reserved for those who fight fearlessly for truth and justice.
The only thing that can save this vital progressive organ is a grassroots pro-democracy uprising that includes YOU!
In a network-wide referendum that ended July 7, a solid majority of the nearly 12,000 listener/supporters who voted, strongly approved “New Day Pacifica” by-laws meant to bring the Network into compliance with workable standards.
The landslide numbers:
Yes 6,640 (56%)
No 5,216 (44%)
Among KPFK (LA) listener-supporters, the approval was 76%-24%, three to one.
At this point, an honorable, competent Pacifica management would have respected the listener/supporters’ wishes and altered the by-laws as requested.
Instead, it acts as a Junta. To keep itself in power, it uses listeners’ money to pay high-priced lawyers to sue New Day and its principals (who are also Pacifica supporters).
It has thus told the Network’s supporters and the staff at three of its stations to DROP DEAD.
One has to ask: What’s in it for them?
Instead of behaving with dignity or grace, the Junta seized on an INAPPLICABLE obscure clause to contend that a staff vote against the by-laws change could “veto” the listener/supporters’ decision.
But the Junta also lost that vote among staff at three of its five major stations.
Using a murky, highly questionable list of alleged paid and volunteer staff, the Junta staged a parallel referendum in which 434 votes were counted alongside the 11,856 listener-supporters.
Of these apparent paid and volunteer staff, 172 at KPFA, KPFK and KPFT voted FOR the by-laws change, versus 80 against (KPFA was 69-27; KPFK was 64-29; KPFT was 39-24)
WPFW in DC is shown as voting 49 AGAINST the by-laws change and 5 in favor, a dubious 90% showing.
In sum, the four stations voted 177 in favor of the by-laws change, 129 opposed.
Joined with the 6,640 listeners who voted for the by-laws-- with or without the WPFW votes-- it’s an overwhelming mandate for change.
BUT then comes WBAI, infamous for its internal disarray, massive debt and tiny, shrinking listenership.
According the official Junta statistics, the staff at WBAI allegedly voted 132 against the by-law change, versus 1 (that’s ONE) in favor.
This 132-1 tally nearly doubles the staff margin by which the Junta is claiming overall victory. Without it, the Junta hands-down lost this election BOTH among the listenership AND among the staff.
But now they conjure an absurd, shameless, Soviet-style outcome… the kind of vote-count one would expect in a Third World country being overthrown by the CIA, or in Putin’s Russia or Orban’s Hungary, or in Florida 2000 / Ohio 2004 as rigged by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.
The FOE Junta is using this impossible WBAI “outcome” to grift itself outrageous contracts and to scam countless listener/supporter dollars to fund a lawsuit meant to trash the clear intent of the staffs at KPFA, KPFK and KPFT, plus more than six thousand listeners whose money is being grifted.
Here are the numbers:
What does the Junta really have at stake here?
A 99% vote in any free election is non-credible, a bright red flag signifying serious irregularities.
A wide range of other “problems” continue to surface. They are strongly reminiscent of the sophisticated vote thefts perpetrated by Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party over the past two decades.
Like so many Juntas taking illegitimate power, this one’s message to the public, an increasingly alienated audience and its staff at three major stations is clear: DROP DEAD!!.
Does the Junta really expect a legendary activist listenership to send it more money to fund lawsuits meant to trash its clear demand for new management.
To top it off: without a hint of irony or self-awareness, the Junta is also using listener money to attack the union of the very staff it says has voted to keep it in power.
Like classic autocrats, it shamelessly votes itself outrageous executive contracts and while trashing the benefits and pension plans of long-standing, loyal broadcasters and engineers that keep the stations going.
A petition circulating against this anti-labor outrage has already gathered more than 500 signatures, including that of former Doors drummer John Densmore.
Beyond the Junta’s grotesque corruption is infamous incompetence that’s driven the Network to the brink of collapse.
For years dysfunctional Junta management has failed to file timely audits, costing the Network millions in grants while jeopardizing vital licenses.
The FOE Junta now brags that it finally did an audit on time…but fails to mention that the auditors still voice deep concern about whether the foundation can survive another year.
That concern stems in part because the Junta’s proven incompetence, managerial instability and failing on-air fundraisers strip content and repel listeners.
That repulsion will deepen now that the Junta is trashing those listeners’ clearly stated wishes that the Network’s by-laws be revised.
Founded by peace activists in 1946, Pacifica has been in steep decline since by-laws enacted in 2000 proved unworkable.
Pacifica links to more than 200 affiliates. Its powerful signals should comprise a major progressive force. Such a plan was drafted by KPFK (LA) program director Alan Minsky, but was trashed. Minsky is now Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America.
Junta fanatics are known for vicious personal attacks. Endless public and closed-door meetings sink into hours of petty squabbling over personal rivalries and the regime’s lethal flaws. They accomplish virtually nothing while the Network drowns in incompetence, alienation and debt.
The entrenched Pacifica website is https://www.pacifica.org
New Day is at: NewDayPacifica.org
For a progressive activist network to be seized and destroyed by an incompetent union-busting Junta would be beyond tragic.
It would deprive our beleaguered progressive movement of a legendary voice desperately needed as our democracy is under fire: both nationally…and at Pacifica itself.
DON’T LET IT HAPPEN!!