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Pacifica Forum addresses MLK lecture, promises another

On Friday, the Pacifica Forum met to continue it’s discussion, “Pacifica Forum: Attacks on and in.” The meeting addressed media coverage of the forum, as well its recent controversial lecture on Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, the forum never got around to answering my question as to why it had allowed itself to be overrun by complete assholes, but there was plenty of other fodder for discussion.

After an introduction by PF founder Orval Etter, Michael Williams, a member of the Community Alliance of Lane County’s Anti-Hate Task Force, addressed the forum with the following written statement:

One reason for the persistent criticism of the Pacifica Forum is that the forum has provided an approving and affirming environment for the expression of bigotry and hatred aimed first at Jews and now at African-Americans.


These diseased expressions of bigotry and hatred find a safe harbor in Pacifica Forum. Instead of correction and healing, this sickness is given encouragement and support; hatred is legitimized. This is what the community sees when it looks this way, this is what journalists hear when they accept the invitation to come and listen. This is why Pacifica Forum has developed such an unsavory reputation.

I invite you to consider whether racism and anti-Semitism are qualities you want to encourage, are attributes you want associated with your forum and your name. Because this is not the doing of a plotting media – you are doing this to yourselves by your silence, by your approval, by your applause.

Members objected to William’s statement on the grounds that the forum does not endorse any of its speakers nor are they representative of the group as a whole. Several also claimed that Williams’ portrayal of “approval” and “applause” by the group was inaccurate. Etter took a moment to clarify the forum’s organization:

“The forum, being structured as anarchistically as it is, does not endorse what anybody in the forum says,” said Etter. “We do not have a structure that enables the forum to endorse what some particular person says. Now, this may be a hard concept to understand, but it is one of the fundamental aspects of the forum. ”

This is a valid argument, and it’s true that some members of the forum do criticize the kooky speakers. However, one could also argue that the forum endorses such speakers by giving them a platform in the first place. This was the crux of the criticism against Columbia University bringing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak. Also, it appears some PF members only disagree with each other on semantics; for example, one member, in an attempt to portray the ideological diversity of the group, said she did not approve of PF regular Valdas Anelauskas’ recent letter to the Daily Emerald, suggesting it would have been better if he had used the phrase “organized Jewry” instead of “Jews.” (I agree, of course, but only on the grounds that “organized Jewry” has that great, 19th century, anti-Semitic pizazz).

Jimmy Marr was then given time to discuss his Martin Luther King lecture. It turns out that the speech was actually researched and written by Anelauskas. Marr said Anelauskas asked him to read it because Anelauskas is not a native English speaker. (All the awful things you need to know about Anelauskas are conveniently written by him on his two, retro-90’s websites. Also, he’s buddy-buddy with Ward Churchill, according to an abhorrent opinion piece published in the Eugene Weekly).

Marr explained that he had to heavily edit the speech for time constraints, including much of the supposed supporting evidence. He went on to discuss what he said was the most interesting facet of the MLK speech – the bankrolling of the civil rights movement by the KGB:

What I really find interesting is the underlying assumption that must be there in the KGB. They obviously think that diversity in the racial constitution of this country weakens the social fabric and will eventually make this country more vulnerable. That’s amazing! I mean, I don’t really like the KGB or anything I know about them, but I don’t really think they’re that stupid. It’s a very contradictory idea to the way we think in America; we think that diversity is our strength. I’m willing to listen to those arguments, but I’m also fascinated to become aware that some other groups of people who seem to be intelligent are willing to use their financial resources to create diversity in a country specifically with the purpose of weakening it.

I want to know what that line of reasoning is, and I want to think about those things. I don’t want to be called a bigot for doing it. I don’t really care, but I don’t think that I’m a bigot. I want to know: Are we easier to rule if we are divided racially against ourselves? Why has organized Jewry spent so much time and money altering the genetic composition of the demography of the United States of America?

Marr later went on to wonder if it was just “organized Jewry” pushing for diversity or if it was “this New World Order.” He pondered aloud why “they” were so interested in creating a “mongrelized nation of interchangeable parts.”

“Are we being turned into a nation of zombies that are going to be exploited by strong, centralized, even world-wide government?” Marr asked.

My inner-monologue kept shouting “Drink!” at me during this entire speech. Marr also said, in what may be the understatement of the year, “I do sometimes say things that are inflammatory.”

At the end of the meeting, Etter announced that the Pacifica Forum would hold another discussion about Martin Luther King, Jr. on or around the anniversary of his assassination. He said he could not accept the “glib accusation that there was nothing good in him” and demanded that future forum material, specifically dealing with MLK, be better documented and sourced.

“Consider that Martin Luther King can not only be assassinated by a high-power rifle but also by careless thought,” Etter said.

  1. dc says:

    huh. snipped this somehow/ this is what I started the post with.

    I tried to say that you have perpetuated the smears/ distortions, by accepting/posting MW’s “stove-piped” (aka injected, or ‘force’-fed) sphew.

    Also, CJ, I do not believe it appears you are “echo-ing” his rant, I used “echo-ed” which was to point out, that by reproducing his propaganda, you are actively “ECHO-CHAMBER-ING”… Sorry for the confusion/shorthand.

  2. dc says:

    >>I don

  3. CJ Ciaramella says:

    Sorry I didn’t return your call DC. It’s been a little busy with finals week and all.

    And yes, I realize I never formally posed that question to the group, and, frankly, didn’t intend to. But the Eugene Weekly kind of took it and ran with it, and I was led to believe by several emails that it would be discussed at some point in the forum.

    Also, I don’t think I was echoing William’s “stove pipe progaganda.” I simply quoted his letter; we do that sometimes in journalism. It doesn’t mean we’re endorsing anything (an argument you should be familiar with). And for the record, I also covered Etter’s and the group’s response to the letter.

    I thought I gave you guys a pretty fair shake of the stick, at least compared to what’s usually written in the media about the forum. I don’t see how quoting people in a public forum constitutes an attack or a smear campaign. My portrayal of the meeting was nothing but accurate and factual.

    Of course, some of my thoughts about what goes on in the forum are indeed biased, but this a blog; I am allowed to express opinion.

    P.S. Kooky speakers: Mark Weber, Valdas Anelauskas, Jimmy Marr.

  4. dc says:

    Hey All ~
    Q. (sort of) “Unfortunately, the forum never got around to answering my question as to why it had allowed itself to be overrun by complete assholes, but there was plenty of other fodder for discussion.”

    A. Uh, cuz you never asked it of us.

    Also, posting the Hate-Force’s top slander-meister’s LETTER here, was not the wisest thing you’ve ever done. If you’d attended the previous week, you’d know he offered it as his ‘opinion’ to the PF attendees/ claimed he’d printed it for the group, only. There is much in his rant to rebut, won’t waste my time. You were at the MLK Forum, did YOU hear any “hatred aimed at African-Americans” ? This is simply more of his sensationalist crap.
    He needs you guys to start ballyhooin’ for him…

    You’ve now echoed his (stove-piped) propaganda, was that your intention?

    CJ, you’ve been to what, 3 maybe 4 forums now? We meet weekly (approx. 50 x a year). I suggest you try attending with a mite less bias, if you come again. Please.

    Prof. Pope, I don’t believe you’ve attended a single Pacifica Forum ~ on what do you base your comment? Are you relying on real research, or Sear’s research? Have you, too, fallen victim to the AHTF’s scare (and rally) campaign? Is one rambling email, from a PF newcomer, basis enough to label (libel) us in this way? [And where EXACTLY, do you find “good work” in this blog post?]

    In my EXPERIENCE at PF, the group tries in earnest, to discuss some of the toughest topics of our time. The atmosphere of attack has become near endemic/comical, and it has not been hard to see evidence of orchestration.

    Unfortunately for those who accept and carry the torch of the smear-Pacifica campaign, those before them, were very sloppy. and very documented.

    (Hey Teddy, say hi to your mom and dad for me. I remember the day you guys moved here!)

    PSes “kooky speakers” ? Reference, please, C.J. Think.

    Jobetta: Was that the student commentary that blasted Matt Chandler’s ( first hand experiences in Hebron? denied there are Israeli-only roads/ checkpoints? Would you consider linking your article/ I can’t remember any of us speaking in unison ..(“they said his …”)

    good luck/ best all~ still OK to return my phone call, CJ.

  5. Daniel Pope says:

    I can’t remember agreeing with anything previously in the Commentator, but I have to applaud CJ Ciaramella for his coverage and commentary on the sick stuff that’s going on at the Pacifica Forum. Good work!

  6. Drew2 says:

    So really this is just the Eugene chapter of Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists?

  7. Whitney says:

    I especially liked the comparison between Hitler and MLK Jr.

  8. Ossie says:

    CJ, you need a new hobby.

  9. Sakaki says:

    He’s got the hang of it! Excellent!

  10. Olly says:

    Etter: “Consider that Martin Luther King can not only be assassinated by a high-power rifle but also by careless thought.”

    On balance, though, one has to concede that the rifle did the bulk of the damage.

  11. Jobetta says:

    In 2006, one of my first assignments at the Emerald was to cover a PF meeting. They met to discuss a guest commentary that a University of Oregon student had written accusing them of anti-antisemitism. Among other things, they said his commentary was too well-written and too well-reasoned to have been written by a college student. The other topics of discussion were not relevant to the story, but would have been similar to what other journalists have reported about the PF. I am 100 percent sure that if media reports of the PF give a specific impression, it’s because of what the members say and the way those comments are received. I would think that if the members believe they’re being unfairly represented they would take a serious look at how they things they say affect people’s impressions of them.

  12. CJ Ciaramella says:

    You know, I probably could have swung that back when P.J.P. II was holding office. He would canonize any masochist with a good case of Catholic guilt.

  13. Niedermeyer says:

    Some church somewhere had better canonize CJ for his long hours of suffering through this shit… although in fairness this sounds a little more entertaining than the ASUO.

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