The Brutal Smash and Grab of WBAI

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KPFA listener Steve Gilmartin's Statement to the KPFA Local Station Board at Its 10/20/2019 Meeting

So, first you float a petition for “Restructuring Pacifica” in order to eliminate any semblance of democratic governance in the middle of an election because….well, b/c you don’t like democratic governance and want to destabilize it and then get rid of it entirely by having self-selecting boards. But oops, hoping to make the petition enforceable by following the Pacifica bylaws with a vote at the national board, you can see that it will result in an 11-11 tie, so you can’t push it thru this year. But what you can do is break the tie by getting rid of Tom Voorhees, the one KPFA representative on the PNB who opposes the petition. After all, he voiced an opinion in an email against it. Can you believe it? Someone speaking up and explaining why he’s against what you want? So his removal will presumably break the tie on the PNB but meanwhile you just can’t wait because WBAI is bringing down the network! 

It’s a classic case of scapegoating. All of the stations have been doing poorly financially. In fact, BAI is the only station that’s gained listeners in the last year. And the worst financial decisions so often blamed on BAI—the horrible contracts with Democracy Now! and the Empire State Realty Trust—were actually the doing of Pacifica national, which like KPFA itself, has been profligate at a time when belt-tightening was desperately needed.  

It’s hard for me to avoid the conclusion that the brutal smash and grab of WBAI—during their fund drive no less—is designed to destroy the station and use the proceeds from BAI’s choice position on the dial to transform the network into a sleek national broadcast machine pushing Democratic Party / national security state propaganda just in time for the national election in 2020.

Here's the full 10/20/2019 speakout and public comment: Berkeley Speak Out on Pacifica Coup










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