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KPFA Elections: The Real Issues

by Brian Edwards-Tiekert (via list)
In lieu of any substantive discussion of how KPFA can better fulfill its mission, they engage in name-calling (repeatedly referring to myself and their opponents as “the dismantlers"), launch petty attacks on the character of KPFA staff and boardmembers (“They only want your money, not your thoughts and input on how to improve the station”), and propose a paranoid conspiracy theory that puts me at the center of a plot to destroy KPFA’s elected board.
Carol Spooner’s Oct. 30 commentary in the Berkeley Daily Planet states that the “People’s Radio” candidate statements in the KPFA election “. . . are not attacks on anyone’s character. They are factual assertions and strong arguments concerning the positions and actions of other candidates. . .”

Perhaps Spooner should re-read the statements in question. In lieu of any substantive discussion of how KPFA can better fulfill its mission, they engage in name-calling (repeatedly referring to myself and their opponents as “the dismantlers"), launch petty attacks on the character of KPFA staff and boardmembers (“They only want your money, not your thoughts and input on how to improve the station”), and propose a paranoid conspiracy theory that puts me at the center of a plot to destroy KPFA’s elected board. (This last, Spooner writes, “should be of concern to the voters.”)

To be clear: In 2005, when I thought KPFA’s board was charting a course that jeopardized the future of the station, I wrote an email to a group of people who care about KPFA that suggested topics we might discuss at a meeting—a meeting that, in fact, never happened. One of those topics was “recalling LSB members / dismantling the LSB”—asking KPFA’s members, via recall petition, to clean house on KPFA’s board. (I had just read a paper on nonprofit governance entitled “Boards Behaving Badly"—which suggested the only remedy for some boards made dysfunctional through infighting was "dismantling” them by stripping them down to the legal minimum number of members, then building them back up with fresh faces).

I did not pursue that idea—instead, I’ve worked diligently as the KPFA Board’s elected Treasurer to build unity on the station’s budget (approved unanimously this year) and press for financial accountability from the Pacifica National Office. That has not, however, prevented some members of KPFA’s Board from alleging every action I, and anyone copied on that email, have taken since then has been part of an elaborate plot to destroy democracy at KPFA (how they consider a recall vote anti-democratic is still beyond me).

The treatment of that email, which was dug out of the trash at KPFA, published on the internet, and has been used as election propaganda for two years running, demonstrates a central problem in KPFA’s internal politics: the tactic of demonizing one’s opponents based on their alleged motives rather than debating their positions based on their merits. There is simply no room for dialogue, compromise, and consensus-building when one party holds that the other’s positions are part of a secret conspiracy.

What troubles me about Carol Spooner’s commentary is that the slates she endorses include some of those principally responsible for the KPFA Board’s culture of attack.

Richard Phelps, running on the “People’s Radio” slate, has left me voicemail comparing KPFA’s staff to Nazis, flipped me off during a committee meeting (and then, when confronted, told me I deserved it), and dogged me with abusive and sometimes profanity-laced phone calls at my home and workplace.

Joe Wanzala, running on the “independent” slate, has widely circulated an email insinuating that Larry Bensky is a CIA asset, published another statement calling former KPFA manager Nicole Sawaya “an integral, albeit passive, part of the long-term effort to subvert Pacifica” and, during the last KPFA board election, ghost-wrote and distributed an endorsement email that purported to be from Dennis Bernstein—which Bernstein promptly and vociferously denied. Beyond their conduct, members of those two slates have openly taken positions that would destroy KPFA as we know it: attacking KPFA’s award-winning news department; proposing to eviscerate KPFA’s music offerings; advocating for drastic cuts to KPFA’s staffing; attacking the very notion of professionalism while promoting a fringe political agenda sure to marginalize our radio station—“People’s Radio” candidate Bob English has publicly defended Pacifica station WBAI for selling copies of a conspiracy theory documentary directed by holocaust denier Eric Hufschmid.

KPFA needs to do better. That’s why I’m endorsing the “Concerned Listeners” slate, a group of candidates who represent the diversity of experience that one hopes for in an organization like KPFA—combined with a commitment to bring civility to KPFA’s fractious board. They are people who will roll up their sleeves and work to improve KPFA—rather than sniping from the sidelines. The candidates are Sherry Gendelman, Warren Mar, Susan McDonough, John Van Eyck, Diane Enriquez, Antonio Medrano, Matthew Hallinan, and Paul Robins. You can read more about them, and their other endorsers, at If you’re a KPFA member, remember to get your ballot in by Nov. 15.

Brian Edwards-Tiekert is a staff representative on KPFA’s Local Station Board.

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Comments (Hide Comments)
by Aaron Aarons
Edwards-Tiekert first attacks his opponents for taking seriously his own words in an email he wrote. Then he says, "Joe Wanzala ... has widely circulated an email insinuating that Larry Bensky is a CIA asset..." without either quoting this email or linking to it! I searched the web for anything containing "Joe Wanzala", "Larry Bensky" and "CIA" and, though I found a few pages, the only one that connected the three terms was Edwards-Tiekert's above-reproduced item!

Although it's not relevant to Joe Wanzala, I did find an interesting piece that talks about Bensky, The Paris Review, and the CIA:

West-Bloc Dissident Book & KPFA's Hidden History
by bob feldman
Monday Jun 27th, 2005 9:31 PM

While I don't know that I know Bob Feldman, I do know William Blum, whose book is the subject of the review, I've read his book, and I have a lot more trust and confidence in Blum than in Bensky!
by Aaron Aarons
Edwards-Tiekert first attacks his opponents for taking seriously his own words in an email he wrote. Then he says, "Joe Wanzala ... has widely circulated an email insinuating that Larry Bensky is a CIA asset..." without either quoting this email or linking to it! I searched the web for anything containing "Joe Wanzala", "Larry Bensky" and "CIA" and, though I found a few pages, the only one that connected the three terms was Edwards-Tiekert's above-reproduced item!

Although it's not relevant to Joe Wanzala, I did find an interesting piece that talks about Bensky, The Paris Review, and the CIA:

West-Bloc Dissident Book & KPFA's Hidden History
by bob feldman
Monday Jun 27th, 2005 9:31 PM

While I don't know that I know Bob Feldman (or don't know that I know him), I do know William Blum, whose book is the subject of the review, I've read the book, and I have a lot more trust and confidence in Blum than in Bensky!
by Aaron Aarons
The part of Bob Feldman's review that speculates on the relationship between The Paris Review (where Bensky worked) and the CIA is NOT based on what William Blum wrote, but on other sources. What Blum wrote about Bensky is damning enough -- or would be if Bensky had any reputation to defend among the anti-imperialist left -- but doesn't materially tie Bensky to the CIA. However, has Bensky ever either defended or apologized for his review of Blum's book?
by Daniel
Brian E-T writes in the above: "One of those topics was “recalling LSB members / dismantling the LSB”—asking KPFA’s members, via recall petition, to clean house on KPFA’s board. (I had just read a paper on nonprofit governance entitled “Boards Behaving Badly"—which suggested the only remedy for some boards made dysfunctional through infighting was "dismantling” them by stripping them down to the legal minimum number of members, then building them back up with fresh faces)."

So you didn't intend to "dismantle" the board permanently, you just wanted to take it apart and put back together in a way that suited your purposes?
Here is the controversial Brian Edward-Tiekert e-mail that has been discussed here often. I have replaced each person's e-mail address with the position they now hold at the station so you can see the reach of this group's control at KPFA. Contrary to their disclaimers that this e-mail means nothing, their practice at Local Station Board meetings has been similar to their printed word. For example: at the last LSB meeting Bonnie Simmons, CL elected Chair, allowed Brian E-T to speak 8 out of 10 times in response to listeners questions despite many others having their hands up asking to be recognized. This is Concerned Listener democracy in action. If you haven't been to a meeting, like most of the new CL recruits have acknowledged, don't buy their disclaimers until you see for yourself. Brian wrote this thinking only his secret group would see it. This is the most candor ever from Brian Edwards-Tiekert on governance at KPFA.

Here is the controversial Brian Edward-Tiekert e-mail. I have replaced each person's e-mail address with the position they now hold at the station so you can see the reach of this group's control at KPFA and some history about them some of them to help you see how they implement their anti-democratic practices. To put this in a medical context, Brian's e-mail is diagnostic, like an X-Ray or MRI, and their practice on the LSB and at the station equals their clinical symptoms which both support a diagnosis of anti-democratic patronage and cronyism disease.

THE CURE: Vote in a Local Station Board that will practice transparency, democratic process and accountability. Peoplesradio 1-7 and others that are NOT CL.
From:"Brian Edwards-Tiekert" (Staff LSB, LSB Treasurer, this candid e-mail tells you all you need to know about Brian's intentions for KPFA governance)

To:"Lemlem Tekle" (Interim General Manager, former Development Director when this was written, a management position),

"Bonnie Simmons" (Staff LSB, CL elected LSB Chair, who basically follows Brian E-T's directions during the LSB meetings),

Lisa Rothman (No longer with the station, former Staff LSB and Executive Producer of the Morning Show, One of the leaders in the fight against moving Democracy Now! to prime time, 7-8 a.m., she wanted to keep her show in prime time, it was only going to be moved up one hour. Lisa refused to recuse herself for the vote on the time change despite her direct conflict as Executive Producer of the Morning Show, another example of CL democracy and ethics in action.)

CC:"Sasha Lilley"(interim Program Director, given the position by secret group mate Lemlem Rijio, Sasha was the one who wrote up Miguel Molina for telling people to "Be there", referring to a peace march and she issued an edict telling staff that they can't encourage people to attend first amendment events like peace marches.

"Lemlem Tekle" (IGM), mawu_mama37(?),

"Amelia Gonzalez-Garcia"( Public Affairs/Arts Director, helped produce Candidate cart production for this election that just happened to have Sherry Gendelman first out of 21 candidates, what are the odds that this was random? 21-1, but there is no patronage and cronyism at KPFA, or is there? Think about the advantage of being first of 21 versus being buried at the end of the list, if you don't understand it goggle the "theory of primacy")

Rain Geesler"(Co-Director of Apprenticeship Program),

"Sherry Gendelman"( Listener LSB, in the same fashion that Joe Lieberman is a democrat, name only, former client of Dan Siegel and his close ally in Pacifica, she lobbied for Dan's paid jobs at KPFA and Pacifica and in a true quid pro quo fashion she praised his quid pro quo illegal and unprincipled attack on Peoplesradio)

"Gary Niederhoff" (Director of Subscriptions)

Subject:Re: budget

Date:Thu, 1 Sep 2005 20:58:28 -0700

I'm up for coffee Saturday—Lisa and I can still meet Tuesday afternoon. Also, we need a general strategy session. How about Tuesday night?

Issues include:

How should we be handling the expiration of the union contract—is a strike in order, or is it a really terrible idea? (notice Brian questions this)

What's the best way to deal with these layoffs?

Coming up with, and presenting, an alternative budget.

Getting the Roy issue to the national board.

Propping up staff morale. (Shows total disrespect for staff not in their group.)

Strategic retreat on the LSB—"how do we make our enemies own the problems that are to come?" Alternatively, should we be recalling LSB members/"dismantling the LSB?" ("" added.)

Dealing with the grievances underway.

Building community support—formation of a labor-community coalition. (This is the idea for the formation of CL, without giving the new recruits the true history, it has been the coming together of the labor bureaucrats and the KPFA "dismantlers", the joint purpose is to maintain the status quo for each group in power.)

Brian Edwards-Tiekert
Staff Representative, Local Station Board
1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Berkeley CA 94704

The e-mail above was found at the station in September 2005. It has been acknowledged as real by the author. I have contacted in person or by e-mail everyone but one on that strategy group to ask them if they were just recipients of an e-mail that discussed “dismantling the LSB” or were they active participants. None of them have denied active involvement.

This e-mail was sent shortly after the LSB voted down a motion to fire the GM for sexual harassment. It was voted down 15-5. Four of the five votes for it were in this e-mail group, Brian, Sherry Gendelman, Bonnie Simmons and Lisa Rothman. There was NO evidence of sexual harassment to support firing him after two separate investigations. Dan Siegel was hired to do one of the investigations, see if you can guess who promoted him for the job?

It was an attempt to fire an African-American GM who wouldn't toe their line. He had decided to make the Democracy Now! time change. This group and their allies had controlled the GM hire Committee that chose him to be GM. Their pushing for this unjust firing caused them to lose the majority on the LSB, thus their need for a "strategic retreat". This e-mail gives one a view of what these folks talk about when they think no one is listening, their true feelings! Sort of like a Pentagon Paper.

Brian Edwards-Tiekert was invited to a Peoplesradio Forum on October 22, 2005 to discuss this e-mail. He was allowed more than ample time to speak in defense of the e-mail. I was criticized for giving him too much time and I felt it was only fair to give him plenty of time. He did not say during that entire discussion that they didn't meet after that e-mail was sent. Brian apologized for calling us the enemy. He did not apologize for discussing "dismantling the LSB" or "how do we make our enemies own the problems that are to come?"

Peoplesradio has never/would never even entertain the idea of "dismantling the LSB" as a strategic retreat or for any purpose. We all fought to have a democratic listener representative governance. Check out Maria Gilardin's article "Why Did the Staff not Prevent the 10-Year Corporate Raid?" at to see the history of the entrenched staff's self-serving practice.

It should be noted that Brian qualified the suggestion of striking ( "is it really a terrible idea") and didn't question the idea "how do we make our enemies own the problems that are to come?"

The other thing to notice about their agenda is that it includes confidential union issues: strikes and grievances. The composition of the group includes Management (LemLem Rijio, then Development Director now IGM), paid staff-union members, unpaid staff and non-staff. In my years as a union member I never met with management or non-union members to decide if we should strike or how to deal with grievances. These are Bargaining Unit only discussions. So what kind of group is this that is running KPFA under the radar?

A group that wants the Program Council to be advisory only after years of democratic decision making, wants NO unpaid staff organization and wants to "dismantle the LSB" and "make our enemies own the problems that are to come?" A group that wants to eliminate all democratic centers of decision making at the station so the power will be all theirs! A group that has constantly fought against transparency and accountability.

Is this the kind of group you want running your Pacifica station? If not, then vote for and other candidates, but NOT Concerned Listener Candidates. We can and must practice, with KPFA governance, what we preach on the air for other governing bodies: Democratic process, transparency and accountability. All we need is your participation. Please vote. Thank you.

Richard Phelps, PeoplesRadio Candidate for Re-election to the LSB
The arrogance of Brian Edwards-Tiekert in promoting the reactionary Concerned Listeners slate after we all read his infamous Email in the voter handbook for the KPFA Local Station Board elections only exists because most KPFA subscribers did not vote in the last election. THERE IS NO OTHER PERSON TO TAKE CARE OF THINGS; YOU ARE IT.

We have heard the issues on the candidate forums, which can be heard again at:
Their answers to the questions in written format may be found at:

The candidate statements and the infamous Email are in your voter handbook.
Listener candidate statements are at:
and in particular:

In particular, please read and listen to the statements of Steve Zeltzer. He said it all eloquently and simply in form and content. Please also listen to and read the statements of Gerald Saunders who stressed the URGENCY of voting for the grassroots, workingclass candidates that are represented by Voice for Justice and People's Radio, more fully described below. THESE ARE FASCIST TIMES. It is POST-1933. We had our Reichstag Fire known as the 9/11 Inside Job, which the current management and its lickspittle CL refuses to address as such, which is why the reactionary Democrat Larry Bensky, supporter of the government's lies on the 9/11 Inside Job, supports CL. We know that from, among other places, the infamous yellow post card the subscribers received about the same time as we received our ballots, which lists Bensky as an endorser of CL. The money for this publicity stunt for our little LSB came from house parties to promote this lickspittle gang. All publicity for this election should be done on KPFA airwaves and the KPFA and Pacifica websites. There should be no private money involved in the LSB campaign aside from the websites of the various slates.

Further evidence of fascism are the secret and open prisons from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, all of which are torture hells, supported by the current attorney general, who was confirmed by 6 Democrats and 1 former Democrat, including California's Dianne Feinstein. It is this Democratic Party that is supporting the CL slate, while Voices for Justice and People's Radio are supported by Peace & Freedom and the Green Party, the only 2 peace parties on the California ballot.

The prison-concentration camp construction continues everywhere, with the California Legislature, Democrats and Republicans, just voting for a massive prison construction. Haliburton is busy building death camps. The workingclass communities are in a state of police terror and the workingclass schools not only fail to educate but are virtual prisons with police roaming the hallways, metal detectors at the entrances, cameras everywhere, and the military recruiting three times a week. The police in the workingclass schools and on the college campuses are routinely using tasers and pepper spray to terrorize the students. Both the Democrats and Republicans support all of this. THIS IS NOT EDUCATION; THIS IS FASCISM.

The obvious and basic issue that differentiates the lickspittles of management known as the Concerned Listeners from the other candidates is that most of the others support grassroots, workingclass organizing and decision-making with the workingclass communities speaking on the air for themselves as a means of expanding the listener and financial base. The current management and CL support top-down decision-making and the continuance of the stale old programs we have heard for 30 years. (This writer can remember 50 years of programming, including the changes made some 30 years ago, and is ready for new programs now.) For better or for worse, the old programs must be replaced by the voices of the workingclass communities if KPFA is to survive and grow and it is the listeners, not some executive director, who must decide on the programs. The Democracy Now program change so that it is heard at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. must be made as soon as possible, as has been voted for already, so as to increase political awareness and financial support.

PLEASE COMPLETE AND MAIL YOUR BALLOT TODAY. Mail is being picked up on Monday, November 12, especially in the commercial areas; it is just not being delivered until Tuesday, November 13. The deadline for RECEIPT of the ballot is November 15. If you fail to mail it this weekend, you will have to walk it to the station by or on Nov 15 at 1929 Martin Luther King, Berkeley.

Two excellent slates are:
1. Voices for Justice at
and their related, very informative website,

Their candidates are:
Steve Zeltzer
Carl Bryant
CC Campbell-Rock
Sureya Sayadi
Their program is at:
Their endorsers are at:
and are:
Cynthia McKinney, former Georgia congressperson
Dr. Ahimsa Sumchai, medical doctor and 2007 candidate for mayor of San Francisco
Cindy Sheehan, peace activist
Sandra Everette, CTA member and member of San Mateo Greens
Gregory Richardson, Video producer, CTC
Joan Mathis, Video producer, CTC
Jack Heyman, ILWU Local 10 executive board member
Idriss Stelley Foundation
Willie and Mary Ratcliff, publisher of San Francisco Bayview
Ralph Schoenman, producer of Taking Aim and author
Riva Enteen, past chair of KPFA Local Station Board

2. The People's Radio slate is the other good set of candidates, with their program, candidates and issues listed at:
Their candidates are at
and are:
Richard Phelps
David Heller
Attila Nagy
Bob English
Gerald Sanders
Mara Rivera
Stan Woods
Their endorsers are:
Dr. Peter Phillips – Project Censored director
Michael Parenti – Author & lecturer
William Mandel - 37 year KPFA foreign affairs commentator/talk show host, author
Peter Camejo – 3 time gubernatorial candidate & Green Party member
The Green Party of Alameda County endorses each of our candidates individually
The Peace & Freedom Party of Alameda County
The Peace & Freedom Party of San Francisco County
The Petaluma Progressives
The Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance
Richard Gage - AIA, Architect, Founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

Jack Heyman – ILWU Local 10 Executive Board member rank & file organizer
Jack Ford – Teamsters Local 921 SF Chronicle Truck Drivers former president
Liana Molina – Woodfin Hotels Boycott coordinator
Eva Royal - Cesar Chavez Holiday Committee Chair, former UFW Bay Area Regional Manager/organizer
Alan Benjamin - Delegate to the SF Labor Council for Office and Professional Employees International Union #3

LaVarn Williams – KPFA Local Station Board, Pacific National Board director & Treasurer
Bonnie Faulkner - Host of Guns & Butter, KPFA
Miguel "Gavilan" Molina - Host of Flashpoints, La Honda Bajita
Francisco Herrera – musician, KPFA Flashpoints contributor
David Janda - KBBF, member of Voces Cruzando Fronteras, photogapher
Ernest Rivera – SomArts Cultural Center board president
by google harder
Check out this email posting:

This paragraph, in particular--though it's not obvious from the quoting, this, unlike the rest of the email, is actually Joe Wanzala writing:

"Coincidentally, between 1964 and 1966, Bensky (a former Yale University
student newspaper editor during the McCarthy Era) apparently was employed as
the Paris editor of The Paris Review magazine. In an April 18, 2002 article

that was posted on the website, Richard Cummings made the
following interesting reference to an alleged historical link between the
Central Intelligence Agency and The Paris Review magazine that used to

employ the Pacifica national affairs correspondent who trashed Blum's book
on the CIA's hidden history:"

Wanzala's not quite accusing Bensky of being a CIA asset, or complicit in McCarthyism--but he's insinuating it, heavily, on the basis of a . . . bad book review.
by google harder
Check out this email posting:

This paragraph, in particular--though it's not obvious from the quoting, this, unlike the rest of the email, is actually Joe Wanzala writing:

"Coincidentally, between 1964 and 1966, Bensky (a former Yale University
student newspaper editor during the McCarthy Era) apparently was employed as
the Paris editor of The Paris Review magazine. In an April 18, 2002 article

that was posted on the website, Richard Cummings made the
following interesting reference to an alleged historical link between the
Central Intelligence Agency and The Paris Review magazine that used to

employ the Pacifica national affairs correspondent who trashed Blum's book
on the CIA's hidden history:"

Wanzala's not quite accusing Bensky of being a CIA asset, or complicit in McCarthyism--but he's insinuating it, heavily, on the basis of a . . . bad book review.
by Poor Brian
Brian E-T laments about how he is being unfairly pillored. Poor Brian, This is the same Brian who despite the fact that he is a staff representative on the KPFA LSB has actively supported the management`s effort to destroy the Unpaid Staff Organization. In fact Brian attended a meeting with mangement to discuss how to eliminate UPSO. At the KPFA LSB meeting where the issue of UPSO was debated and there was a vote for management to continue to recognize UPSO Brian presented a petition signed by supporters of management to back their derecognition. Brian who in his note talks about so called unity is a key player in destroying not only UPSO but also the Program Council and any vestige of democratic governance at KPFA and Pacifica. In fact his view is that basically KPFA should dump the other stations and let them deal with their own problems.So much for his unity.
by Truth Out
Here's Phelps and crew again with their useless drivel. That email was reportedly found in the trash and was not meant for public consumption. It was written as a statement of opinion obviously on what options are available for dealing with a hopelessly inept board. What kind of snoop and creep goes digging through recycling or trash bins looking for incriminating evidence about someone? The People's Radio creeps that's who. To me and any other thinking person the email is just that, an email, which provides no proof of anything. The fact that someone was rummaging through the trash bin says more about the rummager than it does about the emailer.

Numerous challenges have been issued to Phelps and company to provide any concrete proof to back their assertions on plans to deal with the board. They haven't been able to provide one shred that could be taken seriously.

Numerous challenges have also been issued to People's Radio to list a single accomplishment made by a member of that slate. They've been asked to name one fundraising event the've held, or even planned. They've been asked to name one new listener they've invited to listen to KPFA. They've been invited to list a single new subscriber they've enlisted. They've been asked to name one event where they tabled for the station and met listeners and talked up the station. THEY HAVE FAILED ALL THESE CHALLENGES MISERABLY. THEY CAN"T ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS CAUSE THEY HAVEN"T DONE ONE DAMN THING.

Instead of doing their board duties that snipe and attack and involve themselves with internal staff/management relations that are none of their concern. How the management and staff relate to one another is between those two parties and no one else. Hey PR how about raising one dime for the station? Think you can handle that? How about you stop wasting the station's time and resources?

In the most bizarrely stupid way they go on about CIA connections from decades ago and use outdated old hard left slogans like "Anti-Imperialist"(will the last Leninist please shut out the light before leaving?) The simple truth is, PR has nothing to offer, they bring absolutely nothing to the table in terms of fundraising, marketing or outreach skills. They don't even appear to have the most basic knowledge on how to run a successful lemonade stand, let alone a multi-million dollar radio network.

Really the problem isn't so much with the PR folks, frankly the poor things appear to be quite mad. The problem is with Pacifica and KPFA leadership for tolerating their lunacy and BS.

I showed you a legal brief I wrote for no charge, $5k worth of work to a paying client, that saved Pacifica a major law suit they would have lost on the issue of Director's Inspections and you laughed it off. Why I should show you, an anonymous attacker blowhard, anything is beyond me. I don't see you asking for anything from the Concerned Listeners, most of their candidates have never been to an LSB meeting or done anything at KPFA. I have been involved since 1974. I have done several programs over the years both public affairs and music. My family has donated thousands of dollars to KPFA over the years. I have written more motions to improve democratic governance than any current board member. I can't recall Sherry Gendelman writing even one. She often leaves the meetings early and slept during one. Below is a flyer that I wrote to hand out at a Michael Moore movie. I paid for it with my own money and recruited several others to do it with me. We recruited numerous people and turned on hundreds to KPFA. As it turns out Stan Woods and Gerald Sanders were two of those that helped leaflet. On the back was the KPFA Program Schedule. You show me where one Concerned Listener candidate has done anything like this? Otherwise go peddle your onesided BS somewhere else. If you are person enough to discuss this election with your real name and face in public for all to see I will tell you all I have done for KPFA and it will take hours. Do you have the time? Do you have the courage to come out from hiding? No! Because you are one of the "dismantlers" of their CL allies. Too afraid to show your face and be held accountable for your lies. You are a disgrace to Pacifica and its principles. What have you ever done for KPFA/Pacifica?



“Democracy Now! is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 140 stations in North America.Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on Pacifica, community, and National Public Radio stations, public access cable television stations, satellite television (on Free Speech TV, channel 9415 of the DISH Network), shortwave radio and the internet.” MICHAELMOORE.COM


FLASHPOINTS M-F 5-6 PM interviews and analysis

FREE SPEECH RADIO NEWS M-F 3-3:30 PM world and national news

GUNS & BUTTER WEDNESDAY 2-3 PM the economics of politics

AGAINST THE GRAIN M-W 12-1 PM interviews and analysis

COUNTER SPIN FRIDAY 3:30-4 PM analysis of the corporate media




APEX EXPRESS THURSDAY 7-8 PM Asian, Pacific Islands community

KPFA 94.1 FM

by crack watcher
I'm glad to see you are such a guardian of oversight and fiscal responsiblity, Richard.
I see you accuse Rosalinda Palicios of owing the Foundation some $72.

Please tell us if New College has repaid the cost of a studio paid for by KPFA under Roy Campanella, and if not, what efforts you have made to recoup that donations, who is benefiting from that studio, and how you voted to save Roy Campanella's job?


by [because]
The "last Leninist" is going nowhere because real lefties persist and are not scared away by stupid, juvenile tactics like red-baiting. Old lefties may change tactics, but they don't ever quite go away. Yes, indeed maddening, aren't we? But only if you can't stand things like open debate, freedom of conscience, and a democratic process in which all points of view are both expressed and heard. It's sadly true, America hasn't exactly prepared us for real democracy.... sigh... but not to digress.

Thanks, however, for making it clear which side you're on. As an utter neophyte to the issues, it might not have been clear to me that some in this argument want to... marginalize (if they can't quite purge) lefties from KPFA. However, your code words (like "run a lemonade stand") make very clear which side you're on, and daresay, it looks like the side of... the rule of money, let's call it.
by Truth Out
First the reason I'm not asking Concerned Listeners the questions I'm asking People's Radio is because PR is the group that put out that crappy campaign message. It contained nothing but personal attacks with no verification of any of the allegations contained within it.

Second, is that all you can come up with, some lousy leaflet at some event you obviously didn't sponsor. And I've got a sneaking suspicion that you've conveniently left out some pro-People's Radio propaganda and anti-staff attacks that were on the leaflet. Probably had something like, "if you like Democracy Now, support People's Radio who want to move its time slot." That's what I think about your leaflet, namely not much. If you paid for it, I'm positive it had a People's Radio angle to it.

Seriously, board work is tough business and hard work. It takes planning and creativity and a committment to the organization and it's staff. All you people do is snipe.

Your $5k worth of free legal work is bollocks. It was about your nosy desire to get into KPFA workers personnell records, which are none of your damn concern. It was self-serving claptrap, nothing more.

As for my identity, it will remain anonymous because you lot have demonstrated over and over again your smear tactics and dirty politics. I don't want to play that silly game with you. But I will call out your BS when I see it.

by crack watcher
Richard, Joe, Stan, et al....

WHERE is KPFA's money that was spent on a studio at New College that was promised to be repaid???

Who benefits? What truly "entrenched" staff is using that studio that isn't being repaid to KPFA?

Roy Campanella promised that the funds to build that studio would be repaid. Is that why you all voted to fire him in the end???

by Stan Woods
This person who calls him/her self '' Truth out '' is no only very dishonest but very ignorant . Terms like '' Anti-Imperialism ' are out dated ? Really ? There are US Troops in over 130 countries . According to the New York Times in many Third World countries the US Embassy is the largest structure in the country . The US lnvaded and occupies Iraq and Afghanistan . It may attack Iran .All of this isn't imperialism ? The only difference between the US version and the classic European model is that France and the UK were a bit more honest . They usually called the countries they controlled ''colonies '' or '' overseas departments ''The Us prefers to maintain a illusion of independence for it's neo colonial subject govts.
Most KPFA listeners know this .But not this character.
by Old Lib
"Anti-imperialism" is outdated.

"Anti-Neocon" is more appropriate, since imperialists don't want the state of constant war that the Neo-Cons want.

Attacking station staff and management does nothing to further the efforts to remove either.

And that is why Peoples Radio does not need to be returned to control of KPFA.
by [Clear.]
If you don't want the "little people" all up in your station, then imperialize it.

Not yourself, of course-- you have more important things to which to attend, like your investment portfolios.

Simply patronize the station, and be done with it. You fund it, you control it-- right, Old Lib?

Isn't that how God intended the world to work?
by Truth Out
First of all the poster (because) is obviously mental. Anyone who equates the left with Leninism is delusional at best. Seems this person hasn't been awake for the past 20 years. Leftists, I would hope, would find gulags and police states and repression and murder of dissidents completely at odds with their world view. Obviously people like "because" think totalitarianism is the way to go. Kind of sad that.

If this person is a People's Radio supporter than they should be all someone needs to know about that slate. They want dictatorial control over the station so they can program their totalitarian rubbish and drive away every last remaining KPFA listener.

by Well, "truth" certainly does "out."
Americans are especially well placed to accuse others of "gulags" etc. at this particular moment in history, eh?

And isn't it funny how Americans always get blamed for what the Soviet state did, but never for all the dirty, secret warfare against it by the American. British, and French states, etc. etc. Or what about all the Americans jailed for their views (or lynched for their race), or deported to the arms of waiting death squads and torture regimes propped up by US military might-- all justified by a generations-long "war on communism," eh, buddy? No, much easier just to spew reactionary talking points against anyone with politics to the left of one's own. Good going, Joe McTruthout! Truth does, indeed, out.

For the record, I just read posts at this site sometimes, because my politics are pretty far to the left, and so I get a good leftie take on local goings-on, sometimes, here. I don't listen to KPFA, nor do I vote in its elections. I merely commented at some pronounced, reactionary rhetoric in some of these threads, from you, Sen. McTruthout, and you have replied by gushing more and more of it in response. I dont really need to call you out-- anyone with the eyes to, can see it for themselves-- right down to your tired, cold-war rhetoric trying to blame local activists for Soviet sins.

In a quiet moment with yourself, Sen. McTruthout, you may want to ask yourself what has brought you to virtually screaming "Red!" at random strangers on local leftie Internet bulletin boards. Meanwhile, buh-bye.
by Truth Out
Oh please. Left schmeft. If you're trying to go back in time to the old Soviet days you're not on the left You're the Reactionary. Look up the word in the dictionary, it pretty much equates with wanting to go backward. Millions upon millions died in Soviet and Chinese and Cambodian etc, etc, etc, gulags and slave labor camps. Instead of admitting that was horrible and criminal and nothing to emulate, you immediately jump into the tired old warn out game of subject changing. You say, "hey don't look at the re-education camps and mass starvation and firing squads, focus on Western crimes. If those bad old Americans and British and whoever hadn't been so mean, the communists wouldn't have had to kill all those millions. That is the most deeply immoral stance one could ever take.

If your beloved Soviets had won the cold war, what then. What would become of people who questioned, who stood up and demanded accountability? Answer, the gulag and the firing squad. That may be your vision for a bold new world mate, but it isn't mine or anyone I'd consider sane's position.

The simple fact is you are allowed to have your viscous totalitarian beliefs here and no one's going to drag you out in the middle of the night. Does the West have a sketchy past? Sure. Are there still injustices we need to fight? Sure. But, at least here you can fight them and the secret police will not disappear you. And before you even go there, I know about rendition flights and all that, and it's terrible, but in your beloved Police State, you and I wouldn't be allowed to openly criticize the practice. The media couldn't report on it. Hell there's even a damn Hollywood movie about the issue out now. Try any of that in the old Soviet Union, or today's China or Cuba. I DARE YOU! You are a moral fruit fly and no longer worth any more of my time.

by to out.
Look, I've never been to Russia, let alone the USSR, and I really can't speak to what did or didn't happen there.

I am an American, and I can tell you, America is built on genocide (of the Natives) and slavery (of Africans). So-- would you care to ask some Native Americans if people get "disappeared" here for "dissenting" from the dominant paradigm? Or, shall we ask some African Americans how "totalitarian" the American system is capable of being? How about any of the millions locked away in overcrowded prisons for a nickle bag of crack, fighting forest fires for 12 cents an hour, from which they can pay for their medical care? (but not vote.) What do you think any of those folks would say, whatever color skin they come wrapped in?

Ohhh.... but that's different than your attempt to hang the crimes, real or perceived, of the Stalin-era USSR around the necks of American activists in 2007. Well, okay, hot-shot defender of the American way, how the hell did Stalin get to power in the USSR? Ahh, right, permanent war economy, inflicted by..... great liberal Democrats like Woodrow Wilson, right? Doing your cause proud, are we? Tell ya what, go have another look at "Birth of a Nation" (print version: "The Clansman"), and get back to us with what you think Wilson might have had to say about.... slavery and genocide. [Or save yourself an eyeful of horror, and cut to the chase... here: ]

Historically, the USSR was pushed into political paranoia via a permanent state of war imposed upon it... to say nothing of poor, bleeding China. As for Cambodia, deeper digging will show you American collusion in the Khmer "Rouge," daresay-- if only through the massive destabilization of the region, in a nasty little war, right next door-- thanks, Great Liberal Savior, L. B. Johnson!

Personally, I'll take any American "red" over blathering apologists for such longstanding crimes against humanity as the American empire truly represents, any day.

Maybe I need to start voting in KPFA elections, if you're the difference it makes...
by Truth Out
Again with the subject changing. Your heads so far up your backside it's ridiculous. "Crimes real or perceived", are you kidding me? The Russians admitted the crimes themselves back in the 50s. Also, Soviet era records have been open for nearly two decades and they are still coming across mass graves from the Soviet era to this day all across Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

If it wasn't so ridiculous, I'd almost believe that you were arguing that the crimes of communism were the West's fault because they drove them to it through their opposition to the Communists. So a person can go out on a crime spree and rape and murder to their hearts content, then tell the jury I did it because I felt threatened by whomever so that's why I did it. You'd get laughed out of the courtroom. Look, idiot, it was the communist authorities in those countries that picked up guns and pointed them at people who questioned their authority and shot them and sent them to death camps where they died in the millions. Don't forget the mass starvations and forced relocations of millions of non-ethnic Russians. You can try and dress that turd up all you want, but the bottom line is it was a criminal, murderous system from the very start and came thankfully to an end giving millions of people at least a shot at freedom.

And no I'm not arguing that the US, or any other democracy is perfect, or doesn't have shameful things in its past. But that isn't the point of this conversation, you keep trying to change the subject to make that the point, but that isn't it. I'm asking you, do you excuse the crimes of the communists? Simple and direct. Yes or no, minus all the extra crap about them being driven to it cause they were so scared of the West. All I want is an admission from you that Communism was an utter human catastrophe. We already know what you think about Western democracy and we're all very impressed with your faux radical rhetoric. But the question is, can you have the moral fortitude to admit the crimes of your totalitarian heroes without trying to blame some kind of Western conspiracy to make them look bad?

For all the crimes and mistakes committed in Western countries in the past, things got better without taking your rotten totalitarian route. A lot of things still need doing, but the only positive way change has come about is through long hard steady work for changes and reforms. Every place some monster on horseback promised people an instant formula for a glorious new world, it has turned out to be a catastrophe. From Napolean, to Mussolini and Hitler, to Lenin, Stalin and Mao. All their promises ended in horror.

Here's my challenge to you again. Go to China or Cuba or North Korea or some other place you long for us to be like and stand in the public square and denounce the crimes of the leaders of those countries. Be sure to wave a big anti-government banner, kind of like the ones we're allowed to wave in the public square here. See how long it takes before you're arrested, probably beaten, then thrown out of the country. If you were a citizen of those places you'd disappear. But that's beside the point. See how it goes. I'll bet after a little while in their dungeons you won't be so quick to excuse them because the poor things felt so threatened by the West.

People's Radio, kind of sounds like "People's Republic" doesn't it?

by waitaminute.
I thought you said I was, quote: longer worth any more of my time.


But then, I guess we shouldn't expect the truth, exactly, from a ranting, raving anticommunist, right out of 1953 or so.

Some extra froth with that, Sen. McTruthout?
by Truth Out
Oh yeah, that's it I'm Joe McCarthy. Real Original. Someone challenges a person's totalitarian belief system and that person is Joe McCarthy. Is that the best you can come up with? McCarthy wasn't discredited because he was anti-communist, most thinking people were. He was discredited because he made accusations without proof and lied and spread rumors. Some pro-People's Radio person openly defended the killing of millions of people by communist regimes. I think that's repugnant, so I guess that makes me Joe McCarthy. Puh-Leeaase!
by [7:5 to be precise]

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Unquote. King James Bible, to be exact. Or, choose your version...

by Red and Proud
There is no lower form of life on this earth than a despicable red-baiter like Truth Out. When a person has absolutely no facts or reasons to base his arguments on, he resorts to the time honored tactic of folks like Hitler, Mussolini, the neo-cons and other fascists - red baiting. The collapse of the Soviet Union is the worst catastrophe of the last 100 years. In the ruins of the Soviet Union has emerged a new, aggressive form of capitalism that threatens the very existence of our planet. The U.S. and global corporate empire will destroy all vestiges of democracy on the earth unless we militantly oppose it. Truth Out is an apologist for empire, a sick, brain-washed neo-McCarthyite.
by Truth Out
"Red baiting", I love it. When defenders of communist tyranny are called on their horrid beliefs they can always pull out the old "red baiting" canard.

The collapse of the Soviet Union was one of the most hope giving events of the last 100 years. Ask about 400 million citizens of Eastern Europe and the former SU if they'd like to go back to the "good ole days".

Those folks, who actually had to endure that crap, have chosen which side of history they want to be on. You, from the protection and freedom of the West, can go on defending the murder of millions if you want because YOU HAVE THAT RIGHT HERE THEY DIDN'T.

So the Soviet Union didn't have disastrous environmental policies huh? Remember Chernobyl? How about the horribly polluted Black Sea? Maybe you've heard of the environmental disaster that is large parts of Central Asia? No? How about you look into it.

Of course there are environmental problems in the West and all kinds of other issues. But, the fact is, and even you can't deny this, we have the freedom to raise these issues and not end up in prison, or the gulag, or have the offices of our organizations raided by the secret police without even a thought of due process. In your "workers paradises" there were no such opportunities.

So lament away the fall of your beloved dreamland. Go ahead and continue to spit on the graves of the millions of its victims, exercise your free speech right to be morally repugnant, because it is your right to do so.
by That's a lot of living people.
We could ask the Native Americans if they'd go back to the way things were before America showed up and conquered them..... if America hadn't killed most of them, and horribly oppressed the few that remain.

As for pollution... "Truth Out" speak with forked tongue. The freedom to speak out against it? We could ask Karen Silkwood about that.... if she were still with us.

Or Judi Bari.

You've heard of them, right, Sen. McTruthout? No? Why don't you go look into that.
by Truth Out
You simply can't resist changing the subject. Unlike you I have the moral conviction to say what happened to Indians and other oppressed groups throughout the Western world was horrible and also realize that bolshevism and all it's offshoots were an absolute horror. You're so thoroughly lacking a moral compass that you're response to everything is "no don't look at the crimes of the communists, look over there at what the West is doing." That's the equivalent of a murderer on trial saying don't pay any attention to my crime, because some other guy committed a crime yesterday. It is the moral calculus of a semi-retarded 3rd grader. You still haven't admitted any crimes in those countries without trying to point the finger at the West for forcing them to committ mass murder by being so mean to those poor little tyrants. I'm beginning to think your playing some kind of game. No one can possibly be that completely morally degenerate.

Sure I've heard of Karen Silkwood. So have millions of people. That's the point. Newspapers reported on her case and a movie was made about her. That's because there's a measure of freedom here that never existed in your precious communist wastelands. Nobody's heard of any of the Silkwoods in the communist world. Why? Because they ended up anonymous victims in the gulag, or at the bottom of a mass grave. Thanks for that example, you've just made my point for me.

by [for each other.]
Okay, great. Now, show me a government that doesn't commit these kinds of crimes against people. You might argue, that's what government exists to do-- selected violence against a few, for the sake of the greater good.

But somehow this is a uniquely Soviet sin?

Okay, well then... show me the piles of corpses and the mass graves (since you're so fond of Hitlerizing the USSR), from the revolution that brought down the USSR in 1989-1991. Oh.... they don't exist. Guess it wasn't such a vicious system after all. In fact, the US government probably killed more Vietnam War protesters, than the USSR killed people who brought it down.

That's not changing the subject, that is the subject. (Unless the subject is, "Are the commies still beating their wives?") You want to take this thing that happens everywhere, and pin it on the evil horrible commies, for your own personal partisan political agenda. That's red-baiting, and it makes you JUST LIKE Joe McCarthy. That is exactly the topic at hand.

But, but, but, I forsee you sputtering, "Hungary 1956!" Yeah, buddy, well, Central America, the Phillipines, Cuba... Palestine. Take a number, stand in line. "Afghanistan!" Yes, the evil, terrible, oppressive Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.... to liberate its people. Remember that, the "Soviet Vietnam?" Just like the USA is doing now! But back then, we had to stop the "evil empire"-- by building up the Taliban. How many people have the Taliban oppressed and killed and maimed with acid for not wearing burqas? All brought to you by the CIA of the US of A.

Maybe we should have just let the commies give those women kalashnikovs. Duh.
by [for McTruthout World!]
<embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed>

A real blast from the anticommie past! Can Red Dawn be far behind?
by ["Mom would be real proud"]
It is all about those vicious thugs from the Cuban army, chasin' our womenfolk, blowin' up our school buses...


Take that, commies! WOLVERINES!!!!!
by Matt
I don't like the '' Concerned Listeners '' nor their sponsors the Wellstone Democractic Club and KPFA mgmt.
But i don't think this ' Truth Out '' guy has anything to do with them . His views are simply too distant from those of the ex-Communist party Hallinans or ex Maoists like Warren Mar.
i suspect that '' Truth Out '' is one of several right wing trolls pretending to me a supporter of the Concerned Listeners and KPFA so he can waste our time and energy 'debating '' his ' Red Menace '' views .
Let's slam the door on these guys . Respond to real (however mistaken ) KPFA ers . Not trolls like these guys .
by Truth Out
So let me see if I can wrap my mind around what appears to be mind blowing arrogance. I'm against totalitarianism both so-called Red or communist and Brownshirt, aka fascist, so that makes me right wing? What planet are you living on where the absence of freedom means the left?

So I guess George Orwell was a right winger huh? He took a fascist bullet in the neck during the Spanish Civil War, but still spoke out vigorously against communist tyranny as well. He spent most of his professional life writing for socialist publications. That's called independent thought. Some of you claiming to be on the left might want to investigate that. It doesn't mean following some ideology uncritically, like a member of a cult. It means thinking for yourself and opposing tyranny in all its various forms. And it certainly doesn't mean apologizing for mass murder.

by Is Full Of It.
"Orwell's reputation as a hero of the British left took a knock 10 years ago when it was revealed that in 1948 he had supplied a list of 86 "Stalinist fellow travellers" to a Foreign Office anti-communist propaganda unit."

Here's a source on a recent public display of that list:,6903,1071269,00.html

That's called proof.
by Yet Again, Sen. McTruthout is full of it!
Which definition shall we choose, for McTruthout's imprecise terminology? So much to choose from:

Main Entry: apol·o·gy Listen to the pronunciation of apology
Pronunciation: \ə-ˈpä-lə-jē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural apol·o·gies
Etymology: Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French apologie, from Late Latin apologia, from Greek, from apo- + logos speech — more at legend
Date: 1533
1 a: a formal justification : defense b: excuse 2a2: an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret <a public apology>3: a poor substitute : makeshift


Let's pick the primary definition. The "mass murder" to which the would-be, junior prosecutor refers, is really a still only partially-known history of the Soviet Union's ultimately successful preparations to repel a German invasion in the early 1940s. See, there once was a man named Hitler, with big plans and even bigger ideas. For a very long time-- years and years-- it was not in Uncle Sam's interests to stop this Hitler man and his buddies, even when Sam knew Hitler was gassing Jews and burning them in ovens (hey, that hurts!), because Mr. Hitler was an anticommunist, and so was Uncle Sam.

In fact, Uncle Sam called Americans who tried to stop Hitler and his buddies years before the worst of it, "premature antifascists," and jailed them and did other very mean things to them. Also, tragically, those early efforts failed to stop the horrors of fascism, and only the extremely rapid industrialization of the USSR, and the deaths of 20 million Soviet heros and heroines who willingly fought and died to defeat fascism, saved the world from Mr. Hitler. No, Virginia, it was not Private Ryan on Omaha Beach in Normandy. You can thank those 20 million COMMUNISTS for not having to speak German today in the US of A.

Some people in the USSR, for whatever reasons, wanted to interfere with, or even to stop these very important preparations to defeat Nazi Germany with little or no outside help. As an American politician once famously put it, mistakes were surely made in stopping such interference. However, there is also what is sometimes called a "historical context" in which events happen-- but moralizing, anticommunist polemicists frequently like to ignore things like that-- especially when they have things to hide, like their ongoing role in the whole and continuing truth of the matter, largely because they are on the wrong side of matters, and want you to be, too. Don't fall for it!

In general, people who like to recharacterize these Soviet efforts as "mass murder," want to distract you from their complicity in the crimes of Mr. Hitler and many, many people like him that they've supported over the years, right down to today. They want you to stop thinking about the full story, and asking more questions, which will turn up further facts, which almost always hurts their cause-- which is after all to pull the wool over your eyes!

Your best defense is to think about things, and talk about them, always seeking to know more.
by Truth Out
So let me get this straight. The show trials of the 1930s and the murder and disappearance of not just dissidents, but practically anyone associated with them, was just preparation for the coming war against Hitler? That's nonsense, pulled completely out of this poster's backside. Trying to say the jury's still out on Stalin's crimes wreaks of the same moral stink as the bile put forth by Holocaust deniers, who try and pour doubt on mountains of evidence to suit their sick political leanings.

I suppose the Hitler-Stalin pact, in which Poland was carved up and millions died as a result, was just part of the "preparation" as well? Simple fact is the similarities between fascism and communism are much more pronounced than their differences. The forced farm collectivization, which starved millions to death was also part of the "prepartion" I suppose. Both Fascism and Communism are fanatical systems based on absolute rule by the leadership of a single party or ideology. Want proof? Why after WWII did hundreds of thousands of returning Soviet POWs who'd fought for their country end up coming under suspicion by the paranoid Stalin and end up being sent to slave labor camps, where most died? These crimes are common knowledge and are readily available in great works like the Gulag Archipelago and many others. These are also referenced in thousands of pages of open Soviet archives. Some of Robert Conquest's recent work is also an excellent source

As for Orwell's committment to fighting fascism, the proof is in the pudding. He went to Spain and risked his life and was nearly killed to fight for democracy there. He also ended up having to fight communists, who were attempting to take over the Republican side in Spain by force and barely escaped with his life. If he had no patience for communists who could blame him. They are cut from the same totalitarian cloth as the fascists, as much as communists try and deny it, they and fascists are more alike than different.

by Aaron Aarons

Orwell didn't, if we are to believe what he wrote in Homage to Catalonia, go to Spain to fight for democracy. He went to fight for socialism and workers' revolution! The Stalinists did take over the Republican side -- as the vanguard of bourgeois reaction against the workers' revolution inside the Republican zone! They used force and violence not for communism, but against it. They were hoping for a deal with the Western imperialist powers -- mainly Britain and France -- against Hitler and Mussolini, and weren't going to let the Spanish working class and peasantry upset the apple cart.

It was the failure to obtain such a deal, and the Chamberlain-Hitler Pact (a.k.a. Munich Agreement) that gave Hitler Csechoslovakia, that probably led Stalin to opt for the Molotov-Ribentropp Pact to divide Poland.

by Truth Out
Orwell, like thousands of other foreign volunteers, went to Spain to fight for the democratically elected Spanish Republic against a fascist military coup. As is chronicled in Homage to Catalonia, Orwell did come to admire some of the organizational structures in the Anarcho-Syndacalist units in and around Barcelona. But his primary reason for going was to fight for a democratically elected government.

The communists who tried to crush what Orwell wrote about were fighting for communism. Most of those units, as described in Antony Beevor's great history of the Spanish Civil War, were being run by Soviet military officers and advisors. They wanted brutal communist type control over the Republic. These attempts at distinction between "real communism" versus Stalin's distortions of the original Bolshevik vision are nothing more than figments of people's imaginations. Stalin was the logical outcome of Bolshevik theory, which was based on rule by a single party with no opposition allowed.

Also, there's a crucial difference between Chamberlain's shameful appeasement of Hitler and Stalin's direct agreement with the Nazis to carve up Poland. Unlike Stalin in Poland, Chamberlain didn't make an agreement with the Nazis to send in British forces to parts of Czechoslovakia to occupy part of the country and brutally put down all opposition. Both the Soviets and the Nazis were only interested in territorial expansion. Chamberlain was trying, (wrongly and naively history shows), to avoid an extremely unpopular war. Not being a dictator and head of a democratic government, he was taking public opinion into account. When the Nazis went into Poland, Britain had a different leader and public opinion went strongly in favor of fighting Nazi aggression.
by Aaron Aarons
Just start reading Homage to Catalonia:
to see what Orwell's attitude was when he went to Spain. He certainly doesn't have the stench of a bourgeois "democrat" in this work!

If the "communists" who jailed Orwell "were fighting for communism", they had a very strange way of showing it, since their main activity was taking collectivized land and businesses from the workers and peasants and giving it to the former "owners"! For this reason, the Spanish "Communist" Party grew from practically nothing in July of 1936 into a large party consisting mostly of petty-bourgeois who were frightened of, and often materially harmed by, the social revolution that was happening at the time.

The best book in English on the Spanish Revolution may well be the one with that title by Burnett Bolloten (ISBN: Hardcover 0807812978, Paperback 0807840777).
by Truth Out
"Bourgeois Democrat"? Do people still used this outdated Marxist rhetoric? Look, Orwell was a committed socialist, but first and foremost he was an anti-totalitarian. Animal Farm and 1984 were attacks on Soviet society and totalitarianism in general. In Homage to Catalonia, Orwell talks about why he went to fight in Spain; he wanted to defend a democratically elected government from a fascist takeover. Like a good journalist, he chronicled the events around him, which included a communist attack on anarcho-syndicalist units in Catalonia. He describes, a little too romantically I believe, some of the organizational structures behind anarchist lines. But nowhere does the book sink into propaganda, or revolutionary rhetoric. That's why the book is a classic and doesn't seem dated, because he doesn't resort to lazy sloganeering. He does good journalism. The preservation of the democratically elected Republic was always what it was all about. The Republic had representatives from all the various parties and groups. The communists helped give the game away to the fascists through their need to control everything.
by Aaron Aarons
p>A "bourgeois democrat" is someone who supports capitalism, i.e., the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, but prefers that it take a democratic form. It's at least as precise a term as "fascist" or "communist", and certainly more precise than the unqualified term, "democrat"!*

Truth-Not writes, "The preservation of the democratically elected Republic was always what it was all about".It's significant and, as Orwell shows in the quotes below, quite understandable politically, that anti-Stalinist bourgeois democrats like Truth-Not push the same fundamental lie about the Spanish revolution that the Stalinists pushed then and tht their political heirs push now. I don't expect Truth-Not to understand it no matter how many times he reads it, but those who want to understand the truth that counters the bourgeois-Stalinist lie should read Chapter 5 of Homage to Catalonia, at Here's a few excerpts:

[...] the Spanish working class did not, as we might conceivably do in England, resist Franco in the name of 'democracy' and the status quo', their resistance was accompanied by--one might almost say it consisted of--a definite revolutionary outbreak. Land was seized by the peasants; many factories and most of the transport were seized by the trade unions; churches were wrecked and the priests driven out or killed.
[...] in the big towns of eastern Spain the Fascists were defeated by a huge effort, mainly of the working class, aided by some of the armed forces (Assault Guards, etc.) who had remained loyal. It was the kind of effort that could probably only be made by people who were fighting with a revolutionary intention--i.e. believed that they were fighting for something better than the status quo. In the various centres of revolt it is thought that three thousand people died in the streets in a single day. Men and women armed only with sticks of dynamite rushed across the open squares and stormed stone buildings held by trained soldiers with machine-guns. Machine-gun nests that the Fascists had placed at strategic spots were smashed by rushing taxis at them at sixty miles an hour. Even if one had heard nothing of the seizure of the land by the peasants, the setting up of local Soviets, etc., it would be hard to believe that the Anarchists and Socialists who were the backbone of the resistance were doing this kind of thing for the preservation of capitalist democracy, which especially in the Anarchist view was no more than a centralized swindling machine.

The thing that had happened in Spain was, in fact, not merely a civil war, but the beginning of a revolution. It is this fact that the anti-Fascist press outside Spain has made it its special business to obscure. The issue has been narrowed down to 'Fascism versus democracy' and the revolutionary aspect concealed as much as possible. In England, where the Press is more centralized and the public more easily deceived than elsewhere, only two versions of the Spanish war have had any publicity to speak of: the Right-wing version of Christian patriots versus Bolsheviks dripping with blood, and the Left-wing version of gentlemanly republicans quelling a military revolt. The central issue has been successfully covered up. [...] the main reason was this: that, except for the small revolutionary groups which exist in all countries, the whole world was determined, upon preventing revolution in Spain. In particular the Communist Party, with Soviet Russia behind it, had thrown its whole weight against the revolution. It was the Communist thesis that revolution at this stage would be fatal and that what was to be aimed at in Spain was not workers' control, but bourgeois democracy. It hardly needs pointing out why 'liberal' capitalist opinion took the same line. [...] since the revolution had got to be crushed, it greatly simplified things to pretend that no revolution had happened. [...] The situation produced was curious in the extreme. Outside Spain few people grasped that there was a revolution; inside Spain nobody doubted it. Even the P.S.U.C. newspapers. Communist-controlled and more or less committed to an anti-revolutionary policy, talked about 'our glorious revolution'. And meanwhile the Communist press in foreign countries was shouting that there was no sign of revolution anywhere; the seizure of factories, setting up of workers' committees, etc., had not happened--or, alternatively, had happened, but 'had no political significance'. According to the Daily Worker (6 August 1936) those who said that the Spanish people were fighting for social revolution, or for anything other than bourgeois democracy, were' downright lying scoundrels'. On the other hand, Juan Lopez, a member of the Valencia Government, declared in February 1937 that 'the Spanish people are shedding their blood, not for the democratic Republic and its paper Constitution, but for . . . a revolution'. So it would appear that the downright lying scoundrels included members of the Government for which we were bidden to fight.

One of the frustrating things about debating with congenital liars and idiots like Truth-Not is that he can, when his bullshit is totally exposed, just change his pseudonym and start over! But I have, at least, refreshed by own memory of some of these matters and perhaps stimulated some honest readers to think clearly and reject the lies.

* But the same term capitalized, i.e., "Democrat", refers precisely to a member or supporter of a particular capitalist gang that vies for the management of the United States' governmental structures on behalf of that country's actually ruling capitalists.

by Truth Out
It's funny when idiots like Aarons can't even remember what their arguments are about. Aarons obviously can't read. I already wrote a number of times that Orwell observed and seemingly admired the organizational structures that began to take hold in Republican controlled areas. Aaron's argument was that Orwell went to Spain to foment revolution. I've clearly said over and over that wasn't the case. He reported what he saw when he got there and even showed some admiration. That's a long long way from saying he went there to take part in some kind of social revolution. I've read Homage to Catalonia and numerous Orwell articles on the Spanish Civil War and nowhere did Orwell say anything of the sort.

Aarons is an idealogue and moron of the highest order because he obviously can't mentally digest what he reads.

Also, "Bourgeois Democracy" is a Marxist-Leninist slogan, which has long outlived it's usefulness, if it ever had any. Guys like Aarons only read dusty old Marxist tracts and have a narrow, limited intellectual range. They aren't able to see beyond their old tired rhetoric. You can see this evidenced by Aarons inability to understand simple concepts like democracy, without coating them with his straight jacketed party line Marxist beliefs.
by Aaron Aarons
Since I do use my name here, unlike the POS who calls himself Truth-Out, I will retract the assertion that Orwell went to Spain with the intention of fighting for socialism and workers' revolution. He couldn't have done so because, as he makes clear, he didn't realize until he got to Spain that such a struggle was going on!

It's clear, however, from what I quoted above and other parts of Homage to Catalonia, particularly Chapter 10 (see link below) that his sympathies -- and more than just sympathies -- were with those who were fighting -- or thought they were fighting -- for such a revolution, even if neither he nor they thought they could carry through such a revolution at that time.

In particular, when the police of Truth-Not's "democratically elected government" attacked the Barcelona Telephone Exchange to take it from the Anarchists and perhaps begin an all-out assault on the left, Orwell went to the headquarters of the (semi-Trotskyist) P.O.U.M., in whose militia he had been fighting at the front, to join them in resisting those police and their allies arms in hand!

Here's a nice quote from that Chapter 10: "I have no particular love for the idealized 'worker' as he appears in the bourgeois Communist's mind, but when I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask myself which side I am on." Clearly, at that time at least, Orwell was no bourgeois democrat.

But Orwell is hardly the major issue here. I'll leave it to the reader who comes across this page to compare my arguments about the issues with the empty name-calling of the anonymous creep who calls himself "Truth-Out".
by Truth Out
Who in fact started the name calling? The record will show it was Aarons. Orwell did in fact fight against the Communist crackdown in Catalonia, that's what I've been saying all along. My argument has been, and the evidence bears it out, that he went to Spain like the other foreign volunteers, to protect a democratically elected government from Franco's fascists. He was a socialist, but he was also a great journalist who reported the facts as he observed them regardless of his political ideology. That's called being a free thinking observer of events and not a rigid dogmatist.
by Dave Hart
I've served as the chair of a board of directors of a large, non-profit organization that has experienced its share of internal strife and I feel qualified to render an opinion on the current LSB election. The truth is, KPFA, like her sister stations and Pacifica Foundation is a corporate environment where the governance and management are responsible for using other people's money: voluntary contributions that can easily be withdrawn. It MUST be managed seriously and professionally.

There are two critical issues I gleaned from the discussions in print and on air: (1) Attempting to satisfy every social subgroup or sacrificing program production quality standards for the sake of 'access' seriously threatens to narrow the base of subscribers who pay the bills, and (2) the LSB needs to have a sophisticated and disciplined approach to governance and fiduciary responsibility.

In KPFA's case, these two issues will forever be a source of direct conflict. By definition, people who advocate for the powerless are on the outside of the political mainstream and have few if any alternative means of advocating on a mass scale. Not surprisingly, these are extremely committed individuals with a heart who in most cases have limited experience in a corporate environment. They are used to being on the outside and are fierce advocates and iconoclasts. God loves them. But there is also a place for those with skills and experience who place the needs of the broader organization above any subset of it in a crisis. Think trained nurse, plumber, ER doctor, classroom teacher, EMT, airline pilot or any other number of professionals. KPFA needs effective corporate management skills as well as progressive passion and commitment.

I see greater portions of one set of qualities in each of the major slates. The question for subscribers is, "Which slate is more likely to realize the goals of both slates?" That is really what we, the listeners and the public, desperately need from KPFA and its LSB.
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