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DAILY REPORTS and Documents | L.A iPNB meeting page
Programming policy proposal
March 8 - 10, 2002

From: Renteria22@aol.com


(The following analysis is the official position of the South Central Coalition of Los Angeles.)

Even a cursory knowledge of Pacifica's history shows that the Mission has been interpreted differently in different political periods over the last 50 years.

There were dramatic differences in the way the Mission was handled during the early Cold War McCarthy era witch hunts, in the 60's, with the Civil Rights movement, Viet Nam, the national liberation struggles and the Black Power movements, in the 70's with the second wave of feminism and the birth of the Gay and Lesbian rights movement, in the 80's with the imminent possibility of nuclear war between the US and USSR, and certainly in the 90's, when the Mission was rewritten and abandoned.

The Mission has always been interpreted in the context of the forces that shaped the world and in the context of the struggle against oppression in each period.

We are in a new period that calls for a new vision of the Mission's application, and that vision needs to be guided by our understanding of the global situation we face, just as it has always been in Pacifica's various programming incarnations.

What defines the era we are entering? What broad outlines can we look to to define the 'epoch', so to speak, in the ways that previous decades have been engaged?

There are three deeply interconnected characteristics that tell us where we're at, and that can give us a sense of how the Mission should be interpreted in terms of a vision for programming and programming policies at this juncture. These defining characteristics are:

1. The process of globalization and its international financial and cultural impact on the Third World and in the bastions of international capital.

2. Domestically, the most dramatic and revealing social trends have to do with resurgent racism and sexism. The mass incarceration of people of color, the doubling of the prison population in the last decade, the gutting of affirmative action, the English Only and anti- immigrant movements, rampant police brutality, the three strikes law in California, the death penalty, the anti-feminist backlash as embodied in the Beauty Myth and the new sado-masochism, the evaporation of jobs, the growing polarization of wealth - all are of a piece, and all related to globalization and the new American Global supremacy, culturally, politically, militarily and economically..

3. The "War on Terrorism" and the "War on Drugs" synthesize in a very concrete way elements of both the processes of globalization (including the new US global hegemony) and resurgent racism - and throw into the mix the broad outlines of an ever intensifying and rapidly escalating national security state.

The War on Terrorism (sic) overlaps dramatically with resurgent racism, concentrates US global power and hegemony, and serves as an ideological linchpin for an emergent police state.

The War on Drugs (sic) overlaps directly with the war on terrorism. Groups around the globe that oppose US hegemony are labeled as terroristic and drug runners. The War on Drugs also concentrates resurgent racism. Within the borders of the US, the War On Drugs and laws like the three strikes laws are carried out as a war on African Americans and Latinos, and as a pretext for our mass incarceration in a global economy in which we have become expendable.

Globalization, resurgent racism ( and sexism) and the wars on "terrorism" and "drugs" set the terms of the political framework that permeates every aspect of social life today.

In that case, Pacifica's Mission should be interpreted, in terms of programming policy, in the following ways:

1. Public affairs programming and news should consistently address the issues pertaining to globalization and expose the imperial designs behind it, while cultural and musical programming should have as an underlying premise the goal of creating a global, mutlicultural sensibility - the cultures of the world should be represented by those who are part of them. (That's how we can fullfill the Mission through cultural programming without dictating that only "political music" as some have suggested.)

2. The communities most under attack internally in the US should have broad representation, primary representation, in the programming schedule of each station. The issues that pertain to these communities - mass incarceration, rape, police brutality, etc, should be central in the programming of all news and public affairs programs. There can be no cross cultural understanding, as the Mission calls for, if these voices are underrepresented at any level in Pacifica.

3. Pacifica should take upon itself the task of exposing and opposing the wars on 'terrorism' and 'drugs', the national security state, and the military moves and racist scapegoating and demonization of other countries that accompany all this. That's what it means in today's context to oppose war and understand the causes of war.

Only when a cultural, moral and political framework has been laid out for a programming vision, can Pacifica even dream of using metrics or any other system to track the fullfillment of the Mission.

Determining the philosophical, cultural and political basis of our interpretation of the Mission also serves us as a guidepost for how to rewrite the by laws and for how and why to structure elections for Station Governing Boards in certain ways.

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