KPFA and the Vast Conspiracy

by Don Macleay. Originally published here.

KPFA and the vast conspiracy

It has been one of my firm beliefs that people accuse others of the crimes that they themselves are willing to commit. 

A prime example is the national Republican party’s complaints about voting rights. 

Republicans accuse the Democrats of wanting to create a permanent majority for themselves.  This coming from the folk who have voter suppression laws in a majority of states, most of which are so gerrymandered that the Republicans hold overwhelming majorities in their state and federal delegations despite only having a slim majority of the votes, if that. 

Yet Republicans accuse the Democrats of gaming the system.
They should, they have gaming the system on their minds. 

I have found it hard to focus on any one subject trying to describe the far-fetched arguments and proposals made by the local KPFA board majority.  So, for this bit of writing, let’s talk about conspiracy. 

At this last KPFA meeting we went through the looking glass to a world where being a local leader of the Green Party was equated to being an elected official. 

 My friend James McFadden sits on the KPFA station board.  He is also elected to the Alameda County Green Party Council.  Greens do this by county.  Democrats elect their delegates by Assembly District.  Who knows how, or if, Republicans, Peace and Freedom or Libertarians elect their internal leadership? When they do, the internal party election is usually tacked onto that party’s specific ballot at Primary time. 

[my friend Stan at Peace and Freedom assures me that they do hold democratic, internal elections]

KPFA has a very good rule that those on the payroll or who hold any leadership or elected position inside KPFA or Pacifica Radio cannot be an elected official or a candidate for elected office at the same time.  My own election to the KPFA board left me as the runner up.  One of the members of the station board ran for office in Richmond and I was asked to step up. 

Many of us in Oakland know of Cat Brooks.  She is on the air during the morning show on KPFA weekdays.  When she ran for Oakland Mayor, she suspended her employment at KPFA until the election was won by Libby Schaff. 

When I was on a nonprofit board, I voluntarily did not attend those board meetings when I ran for City Counsel and picked back up after that election was won by Dan Kalb.

This is all very normal. 

At the last station board meeting a member of the faction formally known as “Save KPFA” accused James McFadden of breaking this rule, demanding that he resign based on a highly contrived argument that conflates an internal Green Party election with being a government official. 

Then the accusations became bizarre.  It included the idea that the Greens have some kind of KPFA board candidate training program and together with the Worker’s World Party they (we) are plotting to take over the station and only promote radical programming because we want to wreck the station.

It sounded a lot like Republicans calling Joe Biden a “socialist”.

At that point, I had to say something about this vast-Green-conspiracy theory.  I pointed out that my recruitment to the KPFA board was because of my friend Tom Voorhees asking me to do it.  I have known Tom since we met in Nicaragua in the 1980’s and he helped us with our radios there. This is long before the US Green Party or Save KPFA even existed. 

And who the hell is the Worker’s World Party? 
If “Save KPFA” hates them, they must be doing something good.

And why does the faction formally known as “Save KPFA” have conspiracy on the brain?
Surprise! They have a very real conspiracy of their own they are working on.

It is a bylaws scam.  It is the second try at a bylaws scam. 

So, before I explain, hear this.


“Save KPFA” got some of their former opponents to join them and now call themselves something like United for Independent Radio. They now have a front group or sub group called New Day Pacifica.  That groups seems to have some serious cash for on-line promotion.  They have gotten enough signatures to put their bylaws change on the ballot.


This is the second time that a bylaws change is being attempted by the same faction.

The idea is simple.  Make sure that they, and only they, are in charge.  The bylaws change is to eliminate the Pacifica Nation Board that we now have, elected by all 5 station boards in the Pacifica Network.  Voting yes will appoint a 4-person junta to run things during the transition.  The local station boards will be stripped of all authority.  New elections under their new rules will take place sometime. 

So KPFA will become a province of Myanmar?

One of the people behind this new takeover attempt also explained why they have good reasons not to hold on-air debates about these bylaws for the listener members. Instead, we will hold obscure discussions out of the limelight and broadcast on-air announcements worthy of George Orwell. 

Your will find that statement on the front page of the website.

The New Day Pacifica slick email has a long list of notable endorsers.  (So do the opponents.) Where does the money come from for such a media campaign?  How did they get the membership list? Will equal time be given to the other views?  Can they send an email to that same list? 

“Save KPFA” sounds like the Republicans, and many Democrats, when they talk about how the sky will fall if they are not put in total charge.  They throw around language where they are the only competent ones, and everyone else involved in KPFA and Pacifica does not know what they are doing; thus, disaster is always just around the corner. 

The last time they tried a bylaws change it got overwhelmingly voted down.

And now the accusation out of their mouth is “conspiracy”.

I do not doubt their expertise on the subject.