Sunday, May 18, 2014

The end of..... what?

An interesting first-hand account of the scene when the clock ran out for Pacifica in Exile.


  1. Wow, what arrogance and self-delusion to call it an occupation and evacuation, when there was no violence or bloodshed, nor any real danger to life or limb. From this account, Margy Wilkerson comes across as the one mature individual in this account. And the gall of this Borgstrom, to keep the doors locked for thirty minutes more. This kind of petty mean-ness is a mark of impotence. What Reese radicals fail to grasp is that the world outside Pacifica is a lot more competitive, nasty and vindictive, and it gestated Reese, who seemed to have swooped down on the Pacifica foundation motivated by opportunism of some sort. I like how the discussion with Ann Garrison sidestepped all facts and arguments and came down to her personal choice - the NPR is too right wing for her... ergo her faction has the license to file specious legal documents that get nowhere in court and to distort the facts to sit their personal ambitions (Tony Norman). I find Reese's actions so offensive and unethical, that there is no parity with the Save KPFA faction. The bottom line is that KPFA are the good guys by virtue of not having taken reprehensible actions detailed in the Judge's ruling. Had the situation been reversed, Summer Reese would not have been nearly as magnanimous, recall her remark, that she promised lawsuits and to take away peoples homes if anyone interfered with her occupation of the Pacifica. Had Reese tried pulling this off is a corporate world,. there would have been follow up personal lawsuits for damages filed by the Pacifica board members' lawyers, there would have been follow investigations for professional ethics violations and malfeasance (had she been a professional), not to mention corporate security a la Blackwater forcing the doors open promptly at 9 AM to allow the Pacifica chair access to the premises.

    1. Simply to compare perceptions:

      I see these all as soft, spoiled children, who imagine that shouting or waving a placard is a bold and dangerous revolutionary act. They imagine that their 'positions' have consequences when they are, indeed, only tokens of their narcissistic impotence.

      ~ 'indigopirate'

  2. Interesting – thanks for posting that.

    It seems to me clearer than ever (if possible) that *none* of them are 'up to it', nor have been for many, many a year.

    I sincerely see no point in anyone attempting to 'save' WBAI or Pacifica. In their early years they provided a means to air (literally and figuratively) content that simply wasn’t available elsewhere.

    There are now many better options for such content, principally via the net, yet the thinking at WBAI/Pacifica is so constrained by past models that they can see these options only as supplements to their precious licenses and signals.

    Those licenses and signals are theoretically of value with respect to the presentation of worthy content, but given the institutional fuck-upedness they’re useless. Worthless. Worth only $ at the time of their final disposition – worthless.

    Far better for anyone or any group with something to say, something to perform, to simply turn to the other options available.

    Forgive the repetition, but WBAI/Pacifica have effectively been dead for a very long time.

    When they’re truly, literally gone it will be possible for those interested to consider the interesting history of their first few years, and simply note briefly en passant that they then drifted into the nothingness of a very, very long and very, very tedious death agony of interest or concern to no one save themselves.

    The positive ‘bottom line’ is that their loss in no way impairs the cultural conversations which are now possible.

    There’s a rich future out there, it just won’t find itself communicated via Pacifica.

    Not all fossils are interesting, let alone important.

    ~ ‘indigopirate’

  3. @Chris: Love the graphic, but who's the character there behind Summer? Doesn't look like one of our crew. Someone just asked me who made the graphic of the speakout in Berkeley, in which all of us are comically recognizable, and I referred him to your blog.

    On the morning Summer vacated in accordance with the court order, there was a surreal episode, after Margy Wilkinson and KPFA Treasurer Barbara Whipperman came in to meet with the PNO accounting and office management staff of five women minus one who was said to be already elsewhere looking for other work.. Wavering between rage and tears, the four women present all said they absolutely would not work with Raul Salvador, the CFO that Summer Reese fired after a workplace investigation. They all said he was incompetent and abusive, both in the extreme.. One told me privately that Salvador was "evil" and that "if they want to take the network down, he's their guy."

    Margy then said she wanted them to understand that she'd heard them and that Raul Salvador would not be allowed to come into the office till this had been "resolved," and that he would be allowed to communicate with them only by e-mail.

    HUH????????? How is this unwelcome returning CFO going to manage the finances of a 5 station radio network with multimillion dollar budgets by e-mail, without coming into the office? Even if that were anywhere within reason, how's he going to communicate by e-mail with a staff who had just told Margy they'd be willing to show her the abusive e-mail they'd included in their workplace complaints. Why was it of such penultimate importance to rehire a fired CFO who has been such a workplace disaster? Why was he rehired in such haste? And why is Margy Wilkinson refusing to release the workplace investigation to the PNB minority?

    There have been claims that special events revenue from the sale of tickets to KPFA events has not been accounted for. I don't know whether there's any veracity to those claims, but the rushed and inexplicable rehire of Raul Salvador, coupled with the entire national accounting staff's claim that KPFA's business manager refuses to cooperate with them, hardly suggests that all's well. It suggests that something's rotten in Berkeley and that Pacifica listeners deserve answers.

  4. Ann,

    your concern for the four women, is reminiscent of the Nazis concern for the welfare of the ethnic Germans in Poland, i.e. a pretext for the invasion, and your faction's invented concept of a "rogue majority" is something that would make Dr. Goebbels proud. Your faction's party discipline and behavior is very reminiscent of the Stalinists rigging the elections in the central Europe in the wake of the WW2.

    Let's talk about the fraudulent contract that Reese rewrote to make a claim to keep her job. And that background check that she is dodging like a silver bullet, what does she have to hide? Her work experience that she presented as her qualifications for the job - office manager at Gary Null and Associates and then a brief stint as a paralegal for a left wing lawyer, that's woefully incomplete. How did she support herself financially the rest of her life? And how do you account for the false dismissal of Tony Norman, which was thrown out by the court? Do you care to address these facts, or are you so radically progressive to the point of insanity, that you have no use for them? With regards to the four women, Margy is far too nice, if I was running things, I would litigate you people out of existence. This is a land of laws, and if you don't abide by them, the US Court system has a means of enforcing its court orders, and I would let it defend the Pacifica Board's majority against the aggression and schemes of the left wing lunatic fringe.

  5. As a life long Pacifica supporter--and former programmer, staffer and national board member---I am watching all of this in awe. What an extraordinary waste.

    1. It is that, indeed, and if Pacifica survives and maintains the present structure, it will continue to be a waste.

      Having known and been a part of Pacifica in its earlier years, I can say that my original awe has turned to utter disbelief. I saw it begin to sink, but could not imagine anything near the depth at which it now languishes.

  6. Chris, people on both sides of this fight are sinking to their lowest moral levels. It must be over something big, and we don't know exactly what it is. I have been told a lot of false flag information, and either there is a lot of confusion or everyone is being deceptive. There is a real conflict, though, since there are real demographic differences between the two factions. This would be a treasure trove for a sociologist or an anthropologist. Too bad the conflict at Pacifica doe snot get the academic attention it deserves.

    1. I totally agree, which is why I have on several occasions said that a book ought to be written. Not so much a history of the Pacifica Foundation—although that will unavoidable form the base line—but more a study of hypocritical human behavior: an anti-corporation's amazing corporate greed. Starting with Pacifica (an organization founded by pacifists) becoming anything but pacific, this could offer an intriguing look into the dark side of man's competitive nature. It should be written by someone with an untainted outside perspective.

  7. Commercialism and entrepreneurism are not restricted to capitalist societies. Neither was USSR free of capitalism or USA free of socialism. In some respects, US had more socialism in the 1970's than did the USSR at that time, and USSR was defined by some political prisoners in the late 50's and early 60's as "State Capitalism", with the labor camp inmates being the true proletariat. But this is just amusing anecdotes.

    What is not amusing is how similar some accepted and beloved institutions of the Soviet society were to their American counterparts. Whereas American history and social science was able to take a long and had look its own institutions and make sense of them, The Soviet history was hobbled by ideological bias of the left and its social science was practically non-existent, except as an expression of Marxist ideology, and for the classified research conducted under the auspices of the KGB taking opinion surveys among various sectors of the Soviet population. On top of that, the Soviet officials had faith in Soviet exceptionalism, which precluded any notions of parity with the West.

    None the less, Soviet political system was quite similar to the machine politics in the US, except that Russia never got anyone like Rutherford Hayes to get them a public sector that would be insulated from politics, something that devastated Russian society during purges and perestroika. Soviet film industry until the 1980's was run like the American studio system of the time, when its stars were paid employees, who did not have the Screen Actors Guild and did not make a lot of money at all, ands this similarity extended beyond the relative poverty of popular film actors. The last of the Stalin's purges, which took place after WW2, unknown to all, and still a mystery to the rest, occurred over economic development. The political leadership of the Leningrad proposed a free trade zone to revitalize the region devastated by war. Moscow's municipal leadership saw it as a threat to its own economic development, and Stalin came down on their side, since he had a tighter relationship with them, and order a purge which cost the lives of the half a dozen or so of Leningrad's leaders, who came up with that brilliant idea. The Soviet secret police leadership responsible, in turn became the first fodder in the final party purge, that took care of Stalin's hatchet men after he moved on, for fear that they may try to take over the country.

    What this has to do with the situation at Pacifica? Not much, except that corporate greed is a far more common motive that can be found very far away from capitalism and corporations; leftist politics are similar no matter where you are; that the hard left faction of the Pacifica affiliate with Summer Reese shares political DNA with Stalinists, and is totally alien to the nature and the spirit of the people who founded the BAI and Pacifica, and should be expelled from the foundation?

    Sounds a little far fetched? Consider that both, Lewis Hill and Louis Schweitzer were both children of wealth and intellectuals, on top of that, Louis Schweitzer was a self-made man, and the BAI was ***his*** station, that he ran as he saw fit. None of the people running BAI today are either trailblazers, politically or otherwise, OR self-made men. Instead, they are unsuccessful people, who need BAI to make a living. That in itself disqualifies them since their motives are utterly commercial. On the west coast, both Christine Blosdale and Summer Reese apparently tried working in the film industry in Hollywood, before moving on to Pacifica. These are the inheritors of the Pacifica founders' mantle - Hollywood rejects and people in need of jobs to support their middle class lifestyle?

    1. Pardon one correction, BB: Lou Schweitzer was not entirely a self-made man. His father, who immigrated from Russia in the 1920s acquired a paper mill in New Jersey and invented a method for making super thin paper. Louis and his brother incorporated the business (Peter J. Schweitzer, Inc.), expanded and eventually sold to Kimberly-Clarke (the Kleenex people), retaining some control. They were the world's largest manufacturer of cigarette and electronic paper.
      I consider myself very fortunate to have known Lou, which is all the more reason why I have such utter disrespect for the clods who killed WBAI.