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DAILY REPORTS and Documents | iPNB Berkeley meeting info
Pacifica Matters statement to iPNB

Presented at the iPNB meeting in Berkeley June 21 - 23, 2002

There are many people who believe we need a radical transformative democracy at Pacifica which allows for the voice of the voiceless to be heard. There is a burden on us to fight for democratic control of our institutions and workplaces. It is our opinion that we must use the signal to build a vibrant participatory democracy at Pacifica. We have five radio stations at our disposal to do this. How many have been murdered by repressive governments for this tool?

This particular period in Pacifica's history is unique. We have just emerged from an upheaval that has ostensibly reasserted the primacy of the Pacifica mission. The California State Supreme Court has mandated a timeline with deadlines. This moment is the result of a churning that has made elastic the power relations within Pacifica. The longer we wait the greater the consolidation of power, the greater the ossification of the system. This ossification will inevitably result in the system rejecting community initiatives that by definition threaten entrenched interests. Therefore we must use the most powerful tool we possess, the microphones, for the re-formation of Pacifica while the opening provided by the current circumstance exists. The constellation of forces at Pacifica are aligned in an absolutely rare way. The network must refuse the enclosure of the commons. It must not squander its mandate to reclaim the airwaves as a public trust.

Radio results from a desire to extend the throw of the human voice. We can use the technology to promote a dialog on social interactions. One form this takes at Pacifica is the initial and ongoing democratization of the network. Through this investigation, we'll explore the essential relationships in theory and practice that Pacifica purports to uphold.

The signal must be made available in a stable and systematic way to do the wakeful social dreamwork of self-governance. The power of radical democracy can only be developed through the deep dialogue of those affected by oppression. This must entail a profound inquiry into the relationship of oppression and empowerment and a recognition that self-governance is the cauldron in which to seek resolution. It is the stumbling to make a language to name this process that we need to protect, nurture, and broadcast, in the agricultural sense. The use of the signal will metabolize demand for radical democracy far beyond Pacifica, as the sound from the discussions deposits meaning in unpredictable places. The project has the potential to reduce our level of alienation. In a sense the listener will become producer and the producer will become listener. The producers will facilitate the process by making their skill and creativity available to support the work. The listeners will bring their expectation and desire.

Unless the process of Pacifica's re-creation is opened out to the air it is by default bound to an elite group of insiders who have the means to use the internet and travel to these meetings. People become involved by developing power. Access to the transmitters is power. The question to ask is, whose network?

Pacifica has the obligation to all of those who have struggled and continue to struggle for social justice to use our privilege, creativity and the means of communication to build a living model that embodies our ideals. We also are in a position to actually succeed. It is this possibility that animates this petition.

Given the urgency to achieve this, and the severe consequences of a mediocre outcome, we therefore demand that the national board, the executive director, the general managers and the program directors immediately mandate a minimum of 8% of the network's airtime (13.5 hrs) for the process of self-governance, 3% devoted to a weekly national simulcast, and the balance for local programming, and that this airtime be driven from the bottom up: by anti-racist working groups, bylaws subcommittees, listener groups, and elections committees. The community must strive to make this programming as unmediated as possible. By embedding this project in Pacifica's airwaves we will help nucleate communities of joyful resistance, to maintain and protect the network, especially in this threatening political climate.

If I may, I speak for the dozens of people who have contributed thousands of hours to realize this project-in the form of ideas, discussions, telephone calls, emails, papers, website design, weekly announcements, audio archives, program production, technical engineering of webcasts and broadcasts, and imagining. The project so far is the result of many people feeling they can author it. This sense of authorship is essential to the life of the project. This project is the project of all of us.

Pacifica Matters
Andrea Cammarata 212.864.8054
Robert Dickey 917.929.6057
Andrea Fishman 212.982.8883

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