ATC editor neutral in corporate take-over of Pacifica

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Jun 8 06:56:46 MDT 2001

Dear Louis Proyect,

I stand in complete solidarity with Marc Cooper's words to you. We have
worked closely together for the last twenty two years and I can tell you he
is an impeccable leftist of principle, and moreover neither he nor I would
ever stoop to attack the way you frequently do. I'm used to the 'full-time
academic individualist' charge -- it is a variant of 'petit bourgeois
intellectual'. I heard it from critics when I was in the FI -- because I
disagreed with the 'general line.' In this case I am attacked as (shock!) a
dreaded member of an alien class because I differ with your perception of
the nature of the struggle at Pacifica.

>>RESPONSE: Actually, the differences over Pacifica are closely related to
other differences I have with your magazine Against the Current that
appears to have no accountability to the ranks of Solidarity. No wonder you
are comfortable in a bloc with the gang running the Pacifica board.
Accountability is not a word in their vocabulary either. In the most recent
issue of ATC, there is an attack on the FARC that is filled with the kind
of civil society hogwash you'd find in the Nation Magazine. Bad enough as
that is, the author Joanne Rappaport accuses the FARC of murdering Indians
in the Buenos Aires region of Cauca. When I asked her for corroborating
documentation so that my correspondent in Bogota could check up, she was
forced to admit that incident occurred over 20 years ago and she knew
nothing about it except that it happened. With the USA poised on the brink
of the most massive intervention since the Vietnam war, is this responsible
radical reporting? Your magazine has also had not a single word analyzing
the integration of Yugoslavia into the imperialist camp, nor a single word
about the pogroms directed against Serbs and Roma in Yugoslavia. When the
Pacifica board stated that it was unhappy with the kind of reportage on
Yugoslavia at WBAI, I imagine that you were sympathetic to their complaint.<<

You make no attempt to talk to those who actually work in Pacifica, but
instead align yourself with disgruntled former programmers and those who
are maneuvered into believing that Pacifica has joined corporate America,
and indeed the mainstream of the Democratic Party. Just in case you
misunderstand me, you should know that I find the National Board's tactics
abhorrent and inept, and I have engaged in battles against the structure of
Pacifica since the early 80s. I stand with Marc again in believing that
people tune into the radio to listen to the programming, and not to hear
about the internal politics of the foundation.

>>RESPONSE: The only effective measure that these hijackers understand is
an aroused mass movement. When you talk about "former programmers and those
who are maneuvered into believing that Pacifica has jointed corporate
America," you appear to be dismissing a movement that was responsible for
the largest demonstration in Berkeley since the Vietnam war. It is you who
should be dismissed, not our movement.<<

The kind of political work that I do on the air and in the classroom needs
no apology. And I daresay it reaches more people and has the potential
educative power that small left groups dream of. For that reason the left
has often made use of the influence and sympathy and found its voice on my
program. That adds up to twenty years of giving voice to the 'radical
movement to challenge corporate control of the communications and American
capitalism overall.' Reading your remarks makes my heart sore for the
pathetic poverty of the activity of this so-called left.

>>RESPONSE: There is no question that your program reaches lots of people.
It depresses me to think that a social democratic analysis that essentially
views the end of the Soviet Union as some kind of "revolution" will
continue to confuse the politically unsophisticated.<<

Divorced from any contact with real struggles, you -- and those who direct
the anti-Pacifica campaign -- occupy yourself with endless emails which
substitute for real political work, and these missives exhibit all the
characteristics we abhor and struggle against: authoritarianism,
narrow-mindedness, intolerance. Many people who sign the petitions do so
because they see the names of others, but live nowhere near a Pacifica
outlet and have no real knowledge of what is going on. What is so sad is
that you prefer to insult and you base your remarks on inaccurate data.

>>RESPONSE: The entire radical movement is on your case. Your only allies
are the liberals at the Nation who rely on the handouts from trust fund
kids like Vander Heuvel. Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, the Black Radical
Congress, Haiti Progres in NYC, Major Owens, powerful trade unions in NYC
and countless others have condemned the Pacifica board. Meanwhile, the KPFK
clique only worries that if Juan Gonzalez is successful, you will lose your
power base. Good, you deserve to lose it since you have forgotten what it
means to be accountable. You are a self-appointed clique.<<

May I add that the atmosphere of intolerance that surrounds this discussion
is frightening when one considers this comes from people who are supposedly
engaged in a struggle for a non-alienating, non-exploitative society that
enhances human dignity and respects freedom of inquiry. Suzi Weissman

>>RESPONSE: Give me a god-damned break. The Pacifica board has gutted an FM
station that I have been listening to since 1961 and Marc Cooper asks me to
prove that there is a corporate agenda. There is a corporate agenda. It is
called the capitalist system and we are its enemy. Those who compromise
with the system are our enemies and deserve to be swept away.<<


Excerpted from the Marxist list of 16 May 2001: "While most of the LA
Pacifica producers below are ideologically connected to the Nation
Magazine, there is one signatory that is disappointing. Namely, Susan
Weissman who is an editor of "Against the Current," a self-described
Marxist publication. The letter evades the central question, which is the
mission of the board to destroy Pacifica.

The only explanation for this is in class terms. Like many of the editors
at "Against the Current," Weissman is a full-time academic who views her
post at Pacifica individualistically. It is her way to accumulate "cultural
capital" in the Bourdieu sense. While it is unpaid, the show allows her to
disseminate her own ideas about the collapse of the USSR and other
questions which she has been advancing in the pages of "Against the
Current." Hillel Ticktin is a frequent guest on the show. It is unfortunate
that Professor Weissman has lost the thread on this important matter.
Ultimately Pacifica is not about the right of individual producers to get a
hearing, it is about the right of the radical movement to challenge
corporate control of the communications and American capitalism overall."

Louis Proyect
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