Los Angeles: Group challenging KPFK ‘racist purge, gag rule’ demands voice for voiceless

Deborah Dupre'
September 16, 2009

Addressing KPFK community radio station alleged institutional racism, Saturday night the Ad Hoc Committee for KPFK Community Radio gathered over 100 supporters in Los Angeles to learn and plan to transform the station to its original democratic purpose, giving voice to the voiceless.

Civil Liberty defines the term 'institutional racism' as “societal patterns that have the net effect of imposing oppressive or otherwise negative conditions against identifiable groups on the basis of race or ethnicity.”

Leslie Radford, Dedon Kamathi and Michael Novick were among noted Los Angeles human rights advocates who coordinated the gathering that some in attendance characterised as historic. The electrifying speaker, Tim Wise plus noted humanitarians Jerry Quigley and Don DeBar flew from NY to attend.

Take Back KPFK led the program’s first session, dedicating it to its endorsed candidates for the upcoming station board election. Dedon Kamathi topped the list.

KPFK Board reportedly eliminated persons of color candidates, upon claim of insufficient nominating signatures. Kamathi reported having twenty nomination votes. The board requires ten.

Kamathi is a former member of SDS and the Black Panthers, two Cointelpro target groups, according to the Church committee counterintelligence investigation congressional records.

The endorsed candidates’ two-minute speech platforms centered on returning the station to local democratisation through practises such as: local programming and self-determination; stronger youth participation; real fiscal accountability, including accountability from management to listeners; live on-the-street broadcasting; and focus on the increasing criminalization of communities of color in Los Angeles.*

“Tim Wise of Los Angeles,” Mike Novak spoke about the “revolutionary struggle against the empire,” reminding that Cointelpro targeted minorities and anti-white imperialists. Novak likened the empire’s neutralization of minorities to a “vampire with bulimia.”

Jerry Quigley, former employee of Pacifica, presented his experiences as a targeted individual of workplace bullying - or mobbing, a crime in some countries. Quigley won some of the highest KPFK ratings, yet was dismissed from the job, he said, due to a one time “clean air policy violation” while another – white - broadcaster repeatedly violated, and continues to violate, this policy with immunity.

Bernard White, the recently banned and fired program director of Pacifica’s New York station WBAI, highlighted a claim by station board member Steve Brown that Boulder, Colorado-based radio station KGNU enjoyed an advantage over WBAI in terms of fund-raising based on KGNU not having to manage the “distraction” of racial diversity.

A person of color in position of human resources director dismissed White from his position, later admitting that he was just following orders from Pacifica’s new management.

Keynote speaker, Tim Wise gave a presentation entitled, Progressive Left Media and Institutional Racism II. Aside from exposing trends of progressive media exhibiting racist decision making, he addressed racism as a national issue needing attention.

Wise encouraged peace and environmental movement members to stop blaming oil as sole cause of the wars. The nation needs to acknowledge the underlying cause for war: a white privilege racist mentality that justifies stealing from other countries populated by people of color, and using mainly Americans of color to sacrifice their lives for the immorality, asserted Wise.

Leslie Radford listed documented racist code words, heavy-handed bullying incidents, and racist dual standards employed by KPFK since the 1970’s with immunity. Radford highlighted that today’s racist code words are that more whites are needed on the board “because the station needs more money.”

Event attendees voiced agreement with Mark Karlin’s Buzzflash editorial today in that, “Appeasement will not work with the corporatists and their racist pawns.”

“The Civil Rights Movement succeeded in becoming Civil Rights Laws because blacks and whites of good will and dreamers of equality put themselves physically on the line to move the nation into action. It wasn't a victory of Democrats… or Republicans... It was a victory of mass mobilization, protest and outrage,” states Karlin

Likewise, the Ad Hoc KPFK group calls on black and whites of good will to stand with them in defending rights and community radio station values and principles.

According to the world's largest resource to end bullying, Bully Online: Racism is a form of bullying; no bully stops on his or her own; all bullies depend on people doing nothing to stop them; and to do nothing is to support the bully.


Leave a Reply