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News :: Civil & Human Rights

Picket To Keep KPFA From Firing Bill Mandel

Bill Mandel
had to face two U.S. Senate and one House of Representatives witch-hunt
committees (as shown in 'Good Night and Good Luck,'), Bill can compare
McCarthyism and the Patriot Act like very few people, as he can Iraq,
Vietnam, and Korea. His knowledge and experience, gained from struggle and
study, is a must for our free speech radio.

The KPFA Program Council will vote on canceling Bill's show at their meeting

1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley
to demand that KPFA keep Bill's voice and wisdom on the air.


The following people have signed the petition below.
Organizations listed are for identification only.

Please e-mail struggle-and-win (at)
to add your name to the petition.

See also the statement by Gerald Sanders and Bob Mandel that follows
the petition. See for more information.

Robert Allen (Black Studies Program, UC Berkeley)
Steve Bingham
Jeff Blankfort (Co-Founder, Take Back KPFA)
Alyse Ceirante
Jack Chernos
Soula Culver
Maxine Doogan (KPFA Labor Collective)
Bob English
Riva Enteen (former Chair, KPFA Local Station Board)
Ken A. Epstein
Peter Franck (former Pacifica President)
Maria Gilardin (Co-Founder, Take Back KPFA)
Aileen Clarke Hernandez (California Women's Agenda)
Linda Hewitt
Jack Heyman (ILWU, Local 10)
Emine Kunter
Pierre Laboissiere (Haiti Action Committee)
Jim Lafferty (Exec. Dir., LA National Lawyers Guild, & KPFK programmer)
Leon Lefson
Lew Levinson
Michael Lyon
Bob Mandel
Elizabeth (Betita) Martinez (Civil Rights Activist & Author)
Carlos Munoz, Jr. (Ethnic Studies Prof. Emeritus, UC Berkeley)
Jonathan Nack
Marc Norton
Kiilu Nyasha
Conrad Oho
Jean Pauline
Richard Phelps (Chair, KPFA Local Station Board)
Larry Pinkney (former Black Panther & political prisoner)
Lester Radke
Rajen Sahai
Gerald Sanders (former member, KPFA Local Station Board)
Renee Saucedo (former SF Supervisor candidate)
Vicki Sawicki
Sureya Sayadi
Tom Schreiner
Larry Shoup
Jeff Strahl
Jim Syfers
Joyce Umamoto
James E. Vann (Civil Rights Activist)
Laura X
Steven Argue (Liberation News)
Steve Zeltzer (KPFA Labor Collective)
Ami Beth Zins

The return of Bill Mandel to KPFA in June after a ten year banishment for
violating the infamous gag rule, has brought back his careful cutting-edge
analysis and insight, which lies at the heart of KPFA's mission.

Bill's guests have included Larry Pinkney, a former Black Panther political
prisoner; Shailja Patel, an African-Asian slam poet; a Chilean victim witness
to Pinochet's coup against Salvador Allende; and Pat Fahey, a
teacher-astronaut, talking about the politics of space. His shows have also
included insightful answers to listener call-ins such as an analysis of
hopeful developments to avoid nuclear war, and Bill's current views on
socialism -- all valuable commentary unavailable on other KPFA programs.

Bill has also provided unique insight about the relationship of the Patriot
Act to the Cold War-era McCarran Act, rooted in his own experiences as a
hostile witness before Sen. Joe McCarthy and HUAC. Bill informs us that in
many ways the Patriot Act has merely plugged the holes in the McCarran Act.
If the Patriot Act had been law when Bill testified before McCarthy in 1953,
or in 1960 before HUAC in San Francisco, he could have been jailed for his
testimony, as would anyone who even informed others that he was in jail.

One of Bill's shows was an in-depth history of FEMA, one of the most powerful
and secretive agencies in the country. FEMA can suspend laws, relocate people
at will, and has a secret budget of billions of dollars, most of which is
spent to maintain underground facilities for US officials at the highest
levels of government.

Bill's courage and knowledge of history as well as current events should be a
shining example for political activists today.

We understand that the Program Council is considering canceling Bill's show,
which is only on the air twice a month, 30 minutes a show. This would be a
travesty for the KPFA community, and for the community at large.

We call upon KPFA management to keep Bill Mandel on the air. The Bay Area, as
well as KPFA, needs Bill's show to be expanded, not abandoned.


(The following statement was written by Gerald Sanders and Bob Mandel.)

After 10 years of banishment, Bill returned to the airwaves in June, with
only 60 minutes a month, and the Program Council might vote to take it away.
We say NO WAY!

Bill Mandel is a rare person. Due to his life experience he has proven
capable of explaining current events within an historical context. Because he
had to face two U.S. Senate and one House of Representatives witch-hunt
committees (as shown in 'Good Night and Good Luck,'), Bill can compare
McCarthyism and the Patriot Act like very few people, as he can Iraq,
Vietnam, and Korea. His knowledge and experience, gained from struggle and
study, is a must for our free speech radio.

In the 1970s, people of color demanded a Third World Department at KPFA.
White staff agreed, but stalled on finding the time. Bill broke the deadlock
by offering to give up his prime-time spot and moved that Third World be
given that time every weekday evening. It was adopted. Blacks and Latinos and
Asians and American Indians now knew that they could hear voices of their
own, and rapidly used this to promote affirmative action in society as a

Today, Bill is a member of an underrepresented minority on KPFA's airwaves:
seniors. With tens of millions of people over 70 in our rapidly aging
population, Bill is one of only two broadcasters in that age group. And this
is at a time when Social Security is under attack by the government; when
retired workers are finding their pensions dissolved overnight; and when the
skyrocketing cost of medicine forces people to choose between food and
medication, causing needless pain and death among countless of our parents
and grandparents.

Bill's understanding that both major parties are responsible for the lack of
universal health care in this country and that both put imperial empire and
the war in Iraq above education and other necessary social services is
grounded in decades of struggle going back to the l930s. This understanding
led him to vote Green in 2004, refusing to be swept up in the pro-war Kerry
campaign. And his experiences fighting McCarthyism and HUAC allowed him to
caution many in the left not to mistake the Republican regime for fascism and
to note that Kerry struck opposition to the Patriot Act from the Democratic
national platform. Despite the massive rightward and racist pressures in this
country post Sept. 11, Bill's consistent defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal led to a
personal letter of
acknowledgment from Pam Africa.

Bill's voice and experience have much to teach us in the struggles ahead.
Those who mistakenly want him replaced by younger people of whatever color
disregard the old adage that "those who don't learn from history are doomed
to repeat it." Too much is at stake both for the American people and the
people of the world to discard the accumulated knowledge that Bill Mandel
still so tellingly conveys.

Please join us in our show of support for his continued participation at KPFA.

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