Why I am a Covert Broadcaster

Guerrilla Micro-Radio Broadcasters take back 104.1 FM

Since that injunction against Free Radio Berkeley came down (see article this page), it has become necessary for microbroadcasters everywhere to move operations into the hills once again. Microbroadcasting advocates, now more than ever, are needed to stand up and put their personal freedom on the line for the sake of the larger freedoms and goals of the society – liberating the public airwaves. The FCC gleefully began shutting down micropower stations all across the country, completing the corporate stranglehold, and it is up to us, free speech advocates, to tear it down once and for all.

It is no time to sit around and pretend that you are not participating in the corporate controlled media domain by boycotting television and reading books, whining about Disney this and Westinghouse that. Now is the time to put your ass behind your convictions, and stand up and take back the airwaves. We no longer have the safety of the U.S. v. Dunifer case pending in the courts, when microradio was in a legal gray area and micropowerbroadcasters could just point to the Dunifer case as protection; that has been ruled on. Now we must engage in civil disobedience, fully exposed to arrest, jail time, and any number of humiliating and horrible experiences, so that others in our society may be free. By taking the airwaves, the FCC has taken our voice. We must take it back.

Covert broadcasting is a small art form that, when accomplished, is better than warm milk for one s pride, confidence, and spirit of radicalism. What I, Miss Hearst-Landers, have been doing is climbing the side of a mountain and broadcasting off the top of it to the community below. It doesn t take much for electronic civil disobedience. The equipment, of course: transmitter, antenna, filter, mixer, tape player, microphone, car battery, a panoply of wires and cords, and a few friends. We hike up a mountain, slipping on tree leaves, pausing under the weight of that damned 60-pound car battery. The evening sun is always in the perfect position to blind us on our way up. The surrounding forest is still, the buzzing of insects constant. Sweat dripping, we pant and gasp our way up this hill, curses to the FCC on our lips with every step. When we reach the top, we go through a trail filled with poison oak and ivy.

When we finally do start broadcasting, it is truly a feeling – rather like excitement mixed with fear, queasiness, and pride. There are good tactical reasons for choosing a mountain – the fact that your signal will blanket much of your chosen area with only a little power, and also the fact that a bust is improbable. I could throw the FCC official farther than he would walk from his Suburban, and the terrain is not especially adapted for vehicles.

If you do decide to jump in head first, remember the risks but be proud of your decision. I was scared at first (and still am), asking myself what was I doing and why the hell for? I came to this answer: I am grateful for the risks my forefathers and foremothers have taken in the years before me that have ensured me my freedoms (Upton Sinclair, the Wobblies, Mother Jones, Tom Mooney, Emma Goldman). It is only right for me to do the same thing for future generations. I couldn’t live with myself if I did anything less.

Critical Resistance

Critical Resistance
Beyond the Prison industrial Complex
University of California, Berkeley
September 25 -27, 1998

Almost two million people are currently locked up in US prisons and jails, the majority of whom are peopleof color. Since 1980 the population of prisoners has tripled and it is expected to double again by 2005. Between 1990 and 1995, 213 new federal and state prison facilities were constructed, representing a 41 percent increase in prison capacity. The growing reliance on imprisonment as a solution to systemic social problems, combined with mounting corporate interests in an expanding punishment industry, has led to the emergence of a late-twentieth century prison industrial complex.

Critical Resistance is a massive effort to rebuild and strengthen our movements for social justice, and to launch an organized campaign to challenge the prison industrial complex both in the US and abroad. It will emphasize productive exchanges between artists, activists, former prisoners, advocates, academics, attorneys, youth, prisoners families, and policy makers. Critical resistance aims to raise awareness and stimulate meaningful action against the expansion of the US prison system. In addition to developing practical strategies and sparking revitalized activism around prisons and prisoners rights, Critical Resistance seeks to make connections between the wide array of issues currently being addressed by various individuals and organizations in order to build a movement that addresses the economic and political ramifications of the current prison crisis.

Registration is free to those attending as individuals. Donations are encouraged. For those with access to funding from universities and other major institutions $75 registration is requested.

Critical Resistance PO Box 339
Berkeley, CA 94701
ph: 510-643-2094
fax: 510-845-8816
email: critresist@aol.com