ATC editor neutral in corporate take-over of Pacifica

Mark Lause lause at
Fri Jun 8 10:30:44 MDT 2001

The relationship of Marxism to bourgeois "social science" as an objective causal
determinant of our realities still stands.  It is easy to delude see "class
differences" behind every disagreement.  The 1971 FAPO/POT in the SWP was often
charged (sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly) with adhering to this kind of
sociological determinism.

But that's what it is, a kind of sociological determinism.


Louis Proyect wrote:

> 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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