From Alex Steinberg, Chair Of The Pacifica National Board
This is the second attempt forcing PACIFICA to hold yet another referendum that will cost us 150K – in less than 6 months.
It is being sponsored mostly by the same cast of characters who sponsored the last referendum. That one was defeated by a 2-1 margin.
Although some of the details are different this bylaws proposal is another assault on democratic governance like the last one.
It would centralize Pacifica governance structure and remove any oversight functions from Local Station Boards.
It would introduce a winner takes all voting method thus leaving no room for minority voices as our current proportional representation system does.
Representatives from each of the stations on the Pacifica National Board would be a minority (5 out of 15) on the Board.
It favors paid staff over unpaid staff while simultaneously reducing the percentage of overall staff representation on the PNB.
It reduces the percentage of affiliate representation on the on the PNB.
The 4 Officers who will be on the PNB will be voted on separately in a Pacifica wide election. They will represent whatever faction has the ability to get out the most votes in a winner take all election. There is no room for minority representation, even if the minority gets 49% of the vote. It’s the same story for representatives in the station Director elections, staff representatives elections, etc.
The 3 At large Directors will be selected by the Board itself, thus guaranteeing whatever faction gets a majority on the Board a practically unassailable super majority.
In sum these amendments are proposing a return to a centralized, self selecting Board structure with no room for local oversight by the listener or staff of the stations and no room for any minority representation. It’s exactly what the March bylaws referendum attempted to do and it’s another attempt to return to the anti-democratic structure PACIFICA used to have before 2002.
Finally, the rationale for why these bylaws amendments are needed are based on the same lies that were behind the last one- namely that PACIFICA faces an existential crisis and that the PNB and LSB’s are “dysfunctional” and incapable of dealing with this crisis and that unless the amendments are adopted immediately the sky will fall in.
It’s the same attempt to panic members into choosing an authoritarian solution that Naomi Klein talks about in her book The Shock Doctrine. While it is true that PACIFICA faces a serious financial crisis, it is false to say that the PNB is “dysfunctional”
There is also no basis at all for believing that the hand-picked transitional Board the new bylaws want to put in place would be any better at dealing with the financial crisis than the current PNB. On the contrary given their track record of supporting the shut down of WBAI, of supporting bankruptcy as a “solution” to Pacifica’s problems, there is plenty of evidence that the Transitional Board lacks the competence or wisdom to solve Pacifica’s problems.
The idea that Pacifica’s problems can be solved by getting rid of our democratic governance system is just a case of magical thinking.
Alex Steinberg, Chair Of The Pacifica National Board