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Where are SaveKPFA's grassroots supporters now?
SaveKPFA is the faction which is attempting to fire Summer Reese (the Executive Director of the Pacifica Radio Network) and force her and her supporters out of the Pacifica National Office. The occupation, which is organized by United for Community Radio (UCR), began last month, on March 17th. SaveKPFA has made several attempts to physically push and shove their way into the building, but thus far has not been able to mobilize more than a handful of their followers to join them in their efforts. SaveKPFA's rank and file members don't show up at other events either, such as board meetings. This leads to the intriguing question: Where are SaveKPFA's activists? Their grassroots supporters?
WHERE ARE SAVEKPFA'S GRASSROOTS SUPPORTERS?
by Daniel Borgström
This month SaveKPFA sent out a call to their supporters to attend the Local Station Board (LSB) meeting of Saturday, April 12th. And, from an article afterwards appearing on their website, one might get the impression that an impressive number of SaveKPFA supporters attended that day.
The two relevant paragraphs of that SaveKPFA article are below. Note that they are suggesting that people listen to an audio of that LSB, presumably feeling safe in knowing that few would care to endure a 5-hour audio. Anyway, here's from their article:
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KPFA's Local Station Board demands fired executive leave office
A motion demanding that the former interim executive Summer Reese, who is sleeping at Pacifica's National Office, "leave peacefully," passed the KPFA Local Station Board (LSB) overwhelmingly by a vote of 10-5 on April 12.
Board members were responding to the flood of emails and comments about the situation, including an open letter signed by over 700 listeners and staff. | LISTEN to the LSB meeting: part a, part b, part c
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Well, I attended that LSB on April 12th, arriving at 11:30 a.m., in time for Public Comments. There were 10 speakers:
Max Blanchet, Dennis Bernstein, Daniel Borgström (me), Virginia Browning, Steve Gilmartin, Wanda Warkentin, Geneva Reese, Craig Williams, Aki Tanaka, Brian Geiser.
I don't know Craig Williams or where he stands; he spoke on a non-controversial topic. The other 9 were definitely NOT SaveKPFA people. Most were there to defend Summer Reese, the Executive Director of the Pacifica Radio network. None of the 10 speakers attacked Summer Reese or spoke in defense of SaveKPFA.
There were 16 people in the audience. I thought that 2 or 3 may possibly have been SaveKPFA supporters. However, others who were there said they saw nobody in the audience who looked like a SaveKPFA supporter. Anyway, it wasn't an impressive showing for SaveKPFA, considering that they'd asked their people to be there.
This leaves us to wonder how much active support SaveKPFA really has. My opinion is that if they had much, we'd be seeing it from time to time -- like, for example, on March 17th when we began our occupation of the Pacifica HQ, and Margy Wilkinson showed up with about 5 or 6 of her people and tried to push her way into the building. We were certain that within an hour she'd have 20 people there to back her up. But that didn't happen. Margy never had more than 5 or 6 all day long. But we did very soon have 20 of our people there that morning, putting their bodies on the line. In the course of the day we had had something like 40 people coming and going, not all at the same time. Now, over a month into the occupation, we're still holding the HQ, taking turns having people there 24/7. That's something we couldn't do without active, on-the-ground support.
Back to the LSB of April 12th. Our people on the board, representing United for Community Radio (UCR), raised questions during the treasurer's and the PNB reports. http://unitedforcommunityradio.org
"Why hasn't KPFA closed its books for 14 months?" Andrea Prichett asked. "I'm asking a question. Why is it so difficult?"
Our board members also wanted to hear the as yet unexplained reason for attempting to fire Summer Reese, the Executive Director. The three SaveKPFA PNB members sat in silence. Finally Margy said she couldn't speak because it's a personnel issue and confidential, and because they're being sued and their attorneys had told them not to speak.
The SaveKPFA majority of the LSB then went through the formality of passing a resolution demanding that Summer Reese abandon the Pacifica National Office. Interestingly, the resolution targets only Summer Reese, saying nothing of the several dozen people taking an active part in the occupation and of the hundreds of Pacifica listeners and staff across the network who have expressed shock and dismay at the actions of the rogue PNB majority. Nor does it make any mention of the Pacifica office staff who continue to carry on their duties under the direction of Summer Reese. The SaveKPFA resolution wants to make it all about Summer Reese; it's not.
Despite such a twisting of reality, the resolution was passed by the SaveKPFA majority, voting in lockstep as always. The scene resembled those of so many city councils these days, where a corrupt majority will pass a resolution and proclaim it to be the wishes of the people. SaveKPFA likewise felt a need to present this event in their article as though it were done in front of a cheering audience.
The LSB of Saturday, April 12th was one occasion when SaveKPFA supporters did a no-show. What about other times?
There was the Sunday, April 6th KPFA Town Hall organized by the KPFA CAB. I counted 64 people. I could identify only 4 or 5 from SaveKPFA, including Judith Scherr, Barbara Whipperman, Margy Wilkinson, Sharon Maldonado and a couple whose names I don't know. Actually they maintained a pretty low profile; Margy left early; Barbara Whipperman stayed the whole length, but didn't speak. I got the feeling that Margy & Co just didn't feel very comfortable. The atmosphere at that town hall was critical of SaveKPFA.
In court on April 9th, we had 20 or more supporters in the courtroom. Margy had her husband, her iED-in-waiting Bernard Duncan, and as far as I could tell, that was all.
So back to the intriguing question: Where are SaveKPFA's activists? Their grassroots supporters? SaveKPFA is well funded and well connected to the various bureaucracies of the establishment left. Their rank and file supporters, wherever they may be, are obviously not paying close attention, not looking to see for themselves what's going on at KPFA/Pacifica.
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