Staff Candidate Statement

Vajra Kilgour (co-producer, Community Bulletin Board, substitute host for Housing Notebook, vice chair,
Metropolitan Council on Housing; member, New York Zapatistas)

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VAJRA KILGOUR


nuralanwar@yahoo.com, (212) 591-2111

Remember the fight to reclaim Pacifica a few short years ago (as if you could forget it)? Throughout that struggle, I fought hard to win our station back from the corporate hijackers who would have destroyed it. I predicted then that there would be more struggles to come; now that we're in the midst of bitter conflict with (and within) the Local Station Board, I feel fully prepared to work with my fellow [Slate A] members and other allies to help bring the station into a state of health and strength.

As a tenant organizer, I helped fight off an "empty-out" in my building and learned how to deal with adversaries who won't negotiate in good faith. As a member of the Newspaper Guild team that negotiated increasingly generous contracts at Newsweek in the 1970s, I have plenty of experience in arriving at mutually agreeable settlements with people who will negotiate in good faith.

I've been a board member of the Metropolitan Council on Housing since 1998 (elected vice chair last year). The experience of sitting on a fully functional board gives me a fine ideal to aim for, and has imbued me with a lively sense of responsibility regarding fundraising duties of board members. Quite unlike the current LSB majority, I have no interest in micro- or any other form of management of the station, except insofar as the board can help make staff members' lives easier.

I both studied and taught organizing (including fund-raising and conflict resolution) at the Neighborhood Leadership Institute. I've learned through organizing that the person who asks the most difficult questions is often the most valuable person in the room. I've been a volunteer on the locked psychiatric ward at St. Luke's, where I learned a thing or two about the dynamics of difficult behavior. I've also spent many years studying healing, including non-invasive, non-confrontational ways of healing conflicts among various groups of people.

Mexico's Zapatistas provide a model for the creation of radical grassroots democracy. More than one current LSB listener member has claimed that WBAI is now "listener-run," and more than one staff member abstained from voting against allowing a budget with draconian cuts onto the table when only one "no" vote from any of them would have kept it off. This seems to me to run entirely counter to what the Zapatistas call "leading by obeying," in which the leadership serves the people instead of ordering them around - and which is what I hope to start bringing into being at WBAI.

I am running with [Slate A] because it is the only slate that seems to have a firm grasp of what's at stake at WBAI and Pacifica, together with a strong commitment to behaving with integrity, and to treating both staff and listeners with compassion and respect. We deserve a board that will really serve all staff, listeners, and the mission - and I'm ready to do my part to help create it.

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Contact: nuralanwar@yahoo.com, (212) 591-2111