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Saving Pacifica

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Drew’s editorial from the last issue lately, and the more I think about it, the more I think the premise of his argument is a viable, actionable plan. If you haven’t read it, the argument revolves around a plan that would involve students–including those protesting the Pacifica Forum–into the actual Forum as debaters.

The Pacifica Forum was started in 1994 as a way to debate two sides (or three) of an issue. As the years have gone on, speakers at the Pacifica Forum have started to push the envelope of topics discussed. Here, we should make an important distinction: The Pacifica Forum has no members per se, but an open call for its organizers. Indeed, the premise of a Forum is just that–an open discussion or debate. Instead, its protesters have been acting as if the Pacifica Forum is one, solid group with a single mindset.

Contrary to what many may think, the Pacifica Forum is not all Nazis. Instead, the organizers of the Forum have invited Nazis and debated back and forth with them about certain topics–the swastika, the Sieg Heil etc. The problem lately, however, is that the two sides of the debate haven’t been far apart enough in their arguments. Instead of a debater that is far to one side and another that is far to the other, the debaters at the Pacifica Forum have been far to one side with the other somewhere in the middle.

This is where our beloved protesters come in. Although protests were initially meant to be “silent” they have strayed far and away from that premise. Effectively, the anti-Pacifica people want their voices heard. What Drew proposed–and what I think is an exceedingly good idea–is that those protesters join the debate on the other side of the table, as speakers. Instead of holding signs and shouting, or waiting for your turn to speak at the microphone, why not sit on the other end of the table as a third party, a third side to the debate about Nazism or what have you?

I find it harder and harder to find any support within myself for the anti-Pacifica protesters. The Forum itself is not perpetuating Nazism–idiots like Jimmy Marr and Anelauskas are. Why not stand up, take charge, and take back the Forum for yourselves?

Amidst this conflict, somebody told me, “The proper reaction to bad speech is not less speech. The proper reaction is more speech.”

If only this campus could grasp that concept.

  1. RB says:

    SAVING PACIFICA is saving an individual’s right.

    To stand up and speak out, like a free man or woman, through his or her own academic research, perspectives, tradition and culture.

    How more American can you get?

  2. Kenny Ocker says:

    Dane, you really have a point here. I agree with your notion.

    In the end, it’s the people that promote the hatred, not the group. Instead of bitching, just balance out the debate.

  3. Suzie says:


    ‘You Oughta Know’ what you are saying is ridiculous. ‘All I really want’ is for you and all your closed minded friends to take a ‘Jagged Little Pill’

  4. Grace Pettygrove says:


    Quoting Alanis Morissette is a notoriously bad way to explain the concept of irony, if it needed explaining. In any case, ironic free speech is protected under the first amendment.

  5. dc says:


    Why is it that you hold my posts “in moderation” for so long?

    Do you do this for the other commentors, or just me?

  6. Java says:

    “Saving Pacifica” matches my understanding of what Pacifica Forum is really all about. One thing, however, seems to need clarification. Those in attendance already comprise the second, third or whatever “side” to a Forum speaker’s presentation. That’s why they have a Q & A.

    When many are in attendance, taking one’s turn “at the microphone” represents an orderly process. A Q & A is not a time for soapbox oration. Nor is it forum procedure to park oneself at the presenters table if one is not the scheduled speaker.

  7. Dan Levitan says:

    Well, I was originally going to state that the protesters are becoming the same type of people that they are protesting, but that would have taken a lot more energy and would have forced me to end up stepping into a steaming pile of Godwin’s Law.

    So, I merely stated that the protesters of the Pacifica Forum deserve to be belittled because they are using neither logic nor rationality.

  8. Evan P. Thomas says:

    Though I agree with you ideologically Dan, Antovich…

    You’re going to be hard pressed to convince any rational thinker in this country that they “deserve to be belittled.” That doesn’t help your assertions, and it certainly plays even more into the tune “Ironic.”

    Assert with forceful intellect, like all thoughtful minds in this country, not with childish intolerance.

  9. dc says:

    We have never “debated Nazi ideas”. One PF participant went down to an NSM rally on Illegal Immigration in 09 and then took the floor to report on it. ONCE. Yep it was colorful and yep his 3 seig heil salutes were seen as objectionable, but to knee jerk and equate it with some kind of “Nazi” invasion is pretty far fetched, and it absolutely misses the thesis of Jimmy Marr’s presentation, which is actually worth watching, on DVD [$10 US].

    The HateForce had been unfairly calling us “Nazi” and “White Supremacists”, since mid 2006– BECAUSE IT WORKS if you mean to marginalize and ostracize someone, NOT BECAUSE THERE WAS ANY TRUTH TO IT.

    Their “basis” was the fact that in 2006, Valdas had dedicated ONE of his lectures on “Zionism in Russia” to a man named Germar Rudolf, a scholar who’d just been imprisoned for his politically incorrect views.

    That ONE sentence of tribute/dedication, plus an EMAIL that Valdas sent to Michael Williams (where he describes himself as a white “separatist”,) was literally pounced on by the (then) all jewish crew that had already set into motion, their plan to wipe Orval’s political discussion group off the map–

    [because it’s “Anti-Semitic” to discuss Palestine/Israel without a proIsrael bias, and it is ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN to depict jewish people as the oppressors–EVER–but especially not during the Bolshevik Revolution / pre-WWII! Which is what Valdas was able to do, in his impeccably researched lecture series.

    Anyway Williams pumped the email to the Register Guard, somebody somewhere pushed the phone bank/letter-writing- campaign button and POOF! We were portrayed as a nest of disgusting filth, which would then be ‘attested to’, over and over, by folks who’d not EVER attended a single Forum.
    Not a whole lot of “fun”.

    And it didn’t matter that we’d never had a presentation on Valdas’ personal views. We’d been targeted for extinction (+). And the pejoratives and swarming did not stop.

    What would you have done?

    Core Forum members lived through the road shows, the seemingly endless stream of dramatizations and yammer about how “there WILL be another holocaust” [City Club, Wesley Center, JCRC, radio shows], the REFUSAL to dialogue with us.

    We witnessed the outrageous propaganda push, the distortions and LIES, and noted the (ad nausem) claim that the ‘Anti’-Hate Task Force would be fighting Pacifica Forum’s “Hate Speech”(?) with “more speech”.

    So we took their lead. And about 13 MONTHS later, we invited Mark Weber to speak on the Israel Lobby. He did a good job.

    One of our regular Jewish attendees even took a whole room full of people to task a few days later at the ‘UO’s’ “HOLOCAUST DENIAL SYMPOSIUM”: “UNLIKE MOST of you in this room, I WAS THERE and Weber gave an EXCELLENT presentation on the Mearsheimer Walt book”.. HE NEVER EVEN TALKED ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST. This, after the presenters who’d never attended a SINGLE PF/ one after another defiled our group: “I just feel soooo dirty, when I even think of the Pacifica Forum”..

    NEARLY ANOTHER YEAR LATER, (remember we meet WEEKLY) we hosted David Irving, who sort of fell into PF’s lap and who had undergone experiences which some of us were sympathetic with. He too gave a good presentation.

    Now HIS– this ONE PRESENTATION, is the ONLY time we could viably be said to have gotten anywhere NEAR close to discussing “Nazi Germany” or the “jewish Holocaust”.

    Of course, the lemmings and bootlickers fell nicely in line, while we took notes, names, even rated some of their media performances.


    This is still America, we are pacifistic, and we need new blood.

    Orval and all would graciously welcome students as speakers. Our only current criteria is that your topic be well sourced and that you leave a half hour or so for Q&A/discussion.

    My personal opinion, in retrospect is that our standing up to the supremacist power play was the only viable course of action.

    Backing down, giving in, to the intention of supremacy, no matter WHO is recruited to help in their “Anti-Semite” /witch hunt would have been worse– near-equivalent to checking into a modern day Gulag system.

    The Forum will stand strong.

  10. Antovich says:

    @ Grace:

    The protesters should be belittled. Why would anyone side with “protest is a form of speech” when that very protest is trying to shut down speech? Wait a sec, a song is coming to mind. Grace, it’s a great song. A hit!…

    It’s like rain on your wedding day
    It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
    It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
    Who would’ve thought…it figures

  11. Dan Levitan says:

    They deserve to be belittled, Grace. They’re a bunch of hapless idiots trying to do the “Safety Dance” while putting their collective foots up the PF’s collective tuckus.

  12. Grace Pettygrove says:

    Protest is a form of speech. How much more speech could you ask for?
    Dane, I have heard many of the protestors make the point that you have stated above, but I get the impression that people don’t want to stand on the same platform as Jimmy Marr when they have their own forums and outlets for free speech. I think you have presented some reasonable arguments (I really respect Drew’s editorial as well), but the protestors might be more willing to listen if you didn’t find ways to belittle them in every blog post.

  13. Barry Sommer says:

    As has been pointed out many, many times to the protesters: you are welcome and encouraged to participate in the discussion, or even better be a presenter and state your views. There has never been any kind of censorship at PF yet those who complain the loudest are the ones most likely to not take the podium, as it were. Please students, treat it as YOUR forum, a place where anybody can bring any idea to the table and talk about it openly and passionately.

    Or are you afraid/incapable of making rational, informed decisions and then sticking by them within an open debate forum?

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