STRATEGY DISCUSSION FROM RAFAEL RENTERIA
Former KPFT Houston Program/News Director
Dear Companeras y Companeros:
There are several simple and key questions that beg resolution
1. Granting the practical difficulties, is it in the overall interests of our movement to expand to a national scope our representation on the Steerin g Committee? Does it best serve us strategically, tactically, and morally to do so? Is it essential from a political standpoint that we up the stakes for Pacifica in this way, making it clear to all that this is not a parochial movement but a national movement of opposition to the status quo at Pacifica and for it's democratization?
2. Is it incumbent on the Steering Committee to be predictable to and accountable to the vast array of our movement's supporters? Is it incumbent on the Committee to define, in no uncertain terms, its agenda? Is it likely to erode the basis of trust in our movement and demoralize and divide us if this does not occur? Will it create unnecccesary distrust for the Committee itself if this does not occur? Given the history of very near misses during several of the twists and turns of the struggle in the last few months, including efforts by some parties to cut a seperate deal with Pacifica, is it needful to be as above board and open as humanly possible in order to strengthen the democratic tendencies in our movement and increase its level of cohesion?
3. Is it the wisest course to enter negotiations now given the following factors?
3A. Given that Pacifica itself now admits ( in the NY Times) that they have been losing the public relations battle very badly.
3B. Given that to negotiate or mediate implies that Pacifica is a legitimate body when:
3B1. The lawsuit is predicated on the assumption that Pacifica is illegaly constituted and morally and politically illegitimate and given that
3B2. The FAIR call for resignations of the Board and the deep resonance that has struck among the membership of our movements demarks a whole new stage and level of the struggle- one that can put Pacifica finally and fully on the defensive.
4. Are we, as I believe, natural allies in a common cause, each with a clear and urgent understanding based in what has occured at each of the 5 Pacifica stations, each with an essential contribution, each belonging in our rightful place in the struggle? Is it the case that we will only be able to win if we have the whole picture and are able to consciously act with a full understanding of what is needed - a larger picture we can only generate from the sum of the pictures at each Pacifica station? Don't we need to unite at the highest and broadest possible level?
My own answer to this last point is this : What we need most urgently is to unite at a national level in order to present the kind of united front we will need if we are to defeat what are sure to be some very intense and sophisticated attacks from Pacifica's new PR firm.
I think we must also realize that listener interests are distinctly different from staff interests, that listener intersets deserve a larger voice, and that nationalizing the committeee can only strengthen and further democratize our movement overall.
The new stage of the struggle we have reached demands a qualitativly higher and more coordinated ability to act and to respond. The possibilities of more widespread on air actions, the rumors of possible walkouts at Pacifica National News and Democracy Now, the clear rumblings at WBAI, the protests there and at KPFT, and the upcoming teach-in in LA - all this and more points to the need to be ahead of the curve of events in terms of our organizational capacity and level of representation and does so with a clear and unmistakable urgency.
The situation we're in holds a lot of promise for victory, but it is delicate at best and very explosive contradictions lie just beneath the surface. We have to deal with them decisively and without fear or hesitation. Today is the day. If we don't make a leap now events may well outstrip our capacity to handle them. So much of our lives and hearts, such huge stakes for the future, are on the line. Much is required of us.
Amor y Lucha,
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