There are no breaking news at the moment

“The NGO-ization of politics threatens to turn resistance into a well-mannered, reasonable, salaried, 9-to-5 job. With a few perks thrown in.” — Arundhati Roy

What Arundhati Roy says about NGOs worldwide applies to community-centered radio stations throughout the U.S. In short, those “alternative” media outlets diffuse dissent, calm citizens into accepting a “fighting the good fight” in a form that’s not threatening to the powers that be. Politically correct protest with words words words and meetings meetings meetings and greetings greetings greetings at regular intervals at community-sponsored events represents the kind of civic engagement which the elites love to hear about… and even support.

I’m preparing to rendezvous soon with influential decision-makers at a community-centered radio station in Northern California, and I’m hoping to be able to convince them that although their present socially-conscious work should be applauded and is deserving of financial support, they have an obligation to bust out of the compromised and self-imposed tempered operational template they’ve embraced. The radio people across the country need to make waves. At present they are merely paddling around a lackluster lake with ducks all in a row on waters… without a ripple being made.

I’m going to volunteer my services initially to stir things up. For as long as it takes to undermine the sleepwalking and the silent drifting that causes no rift in the momentum of those in charge. Charge up the collective batteries to electrify community consciousness, and motivate one and all to move in solidarity following a fresh paradigm.

The station could be a model for its counterparts across the entire country, and send positive ripples nationwide, worldwide. Why can’t an alternative radio station be about much more than making polite “alternative” use of the airwaves. Why not blend the dissemination of information with a loving outreach that’s meaningful to the most marginalized elements of a given community? Making sure that decent education, food, shelter and medical attention are provided in the process of addressing the dynamics of distant current events. Dealing with the abstract immediate mundane concerns simultaneously. Taking risks. Acknowledging that something will have to be paid to be authentically engaged, and accepting that role, but being intrepid interacting with the community.

For, as Arundhati Roy says,

“Real resistance has consequences.”

At California State University in Fullerton there’s a wonderful, well-meaning program which is running on a million dollar budget. They’re doing a decent job providing education and more for many former foster children and others. The thing is, higher education today is mainly preparing students to acclimate respecting society… a society which is getting more and more sick by the day. What I fancy can be done with those seeking educational and other support in my new adopted community, among other things (listed above), is to provide the equivalent of a high school and/or college education for many on a zero budget. Providing everything from free ESL classes to a score of Liberal Arts and other courses of study gratis… courtesy of the kindness of community volunteers. The station could encourage the local growing of organic produce… and so on and so on.

The thing is, if one is to really get down with others with bringing down the powers that be, they will soon see that a price must be paid. I consider this article a personal first installment on that count, as I imagine that someone from the local Chamber of Commerce might take it into their head to take me down for frowning on the status quo. What they probably won’t know is that the “radical” approach I’m advocating stands to benefit their business in the long run. But that won’t be talked about, let alone seriously be considered, by folks who are on a business-as-usual treadmill. No time to think about anything new… and they’ll only be for a radio station that’s designed to do what it’s supposed to do. [Pause.] Nothing new.

I’m going to be humbly and respectfully requesting that members of that community station not just do something fresh, but go down an unprecedented road, a new path with dangers and demands that lemmings never have to consider. With dragons all along an unpaved stretch… midst a wretched width of worry.

But, again, as Arundhati has said virtually forever…

“Real resistance has consequences.”

Valleia Ruselli is a member of the Oxman Collective. She can be reached at aptosnews@gmail.com.

Comments are closed.