This website is a project of the Pacifica COVID Taskforce, created by the democratically-elected National Board of the Pacifica Foundation, a unique media institution since its inception and to this day. Along with a YouTube channel, Pacifica Foundation TV, and audio broadcast and webstreaming capabilities of Pacifica’s 5 terrestrial radio stations, it is a platform for spreading the voices, concerns, actions, and solutions of working people around the country and the world, who are faced with the unprecedented global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences.
May Day, May first, is International Working Peoples’ Day, which, though it began in the US, with strikes for the 8-hour-day in the 1880s, is not an official holiday in the US as it is in most countries. Billions of people in over 100 countries celebrate this day — but this year those commemorations are generally not with massive public rallies, marches and displays of solidarity, but with movements and actions focused on a grassroots demand for healthcare, workplace safety, and relief from debt, rent and mortgages that cannot be paid. Here in the US, where May Day is only marked unofficially, there are actions, organizing and developments by working people facing intolerable threats from their employers and an inadequate response by the government. We will be reporting live and recorded from all those fronts of struggle, as well as from the ongoing movements for peace and justice that have always been a focus for Pacifica.
The Pacifica Foundation was born in the late 1940’s out of the (now nearly forgotten) pacifist movement during World War Two. Lewis Hill, a conscientious objector and Washington, D.C. newsman, was fired from his mainstream reporting job when he refused to misrepresent the facts.
He and a group of others, at the dawn of the Cold War, proposed the revolutionary concept of a listener-sponsored radio station, a new idea which had never been implemented. Many people doubted the viability of a broadcast model which didn’t rely on corporate or government funding. But the idea was compelling for Hill and others who agreed with him. Pacifica was born, and in 1949 KPFA went on the air from Berkeley, California as a radio station supported by voluntary subscriptions from listeners who could hear it for free. KPFA gave FM receivers away so that people could tune in.
KPFK, in Los Angeles, was the second of what would eventually become five Pacifica Stations to go on the air, in 1959. Eventually, WBAI in NY, WPFW in Washington DC and KPFT in Houston TX were added. Hundreds of local, college, community, and low-power FM stations across the US, in Puerto Rico and elsewhere are also affilated with the Pacifica radio network, and carry Pacifica radio programming as well as providing their own content to Pacifica and other affiliates. Pacifica was the launching pad for Democracy Now!, a daily news and public affairs broadcast heard and seen on hundreds of radio and public TV stations.
You can learn more about the Pacifica Foundation, its stations and affiliates, and its unique democratic governance structure, commitment to free speech, mission to explore the causes of conflict, and non-commercial, community focused broadcasting at www.pacifica.org