This is a letter I sent to the CUTV news department after I resigned from my post of News Coordinator on November 6, 2012. Hopefully it will shed a bit more light on the ongoing conflict.
Dear members of the news department,
It is with great sadness that I am writing to inform you that I am resigning as news director at CUTV, effective as of today. First and formost, I just want to say how much of an honour and pleasure it was to work with some of you and to get to know you over the last few months. You are all truly inspiring, and I feel like I learned a great deal from you all.
As is becoming evident to many of you, CUTV has been wrapped up in a difficult work conflict over the last few weeks. This conflict has led to the resignations of quite a few staff at the organization, including Laura (the station manager), Pascha (our book-keeper), Keetha (our fundraising coordinator), and now myself. We have a new transitional board of directors until we can have a proper Annual General Meeting (AGM).
I don't feel that it is necessary to get into the specifics of the conflict here, or to lay blame, because ultimately it is not about individuals, but about how our organization is structured and functions on a day to day basis. You are all extremely intelligent people - journalists, no less! - so I would encourage you to talk to other people about the changes that have been happening at the station. Talk to different people with different perspectives, and I'm sure you will all be able to draw your own conclusions.
One thing is painfully obvious, and many of you have expressed this to me in many ways - we need a more transparent, open, and democratic CUTV, where members are involved and consulted at every level of the decision-making. Clearly, this cannot happen overnight, but it can and must happen. In membership-based organizations, the members are the highest authority. The staff work for you, and never the other way around. That should never be forgotten. You deserve democracy, accountability and transparency - these words used to be the motto of CUTV, and we have to always hold ourselves to these standards.
Much of the tension at CUTV was based around the management structure of the station, and it became clear to many of the staff that a collective management structure will be necessary for the station's long-term viability. A collective management structure would include committees that oversee the day-to-day operations of the station where everyone has an equal say, and importantly these committees would also include station members for more democratic oversight. The membership of the station should have the final say over the general vision and direction, major expenses and budget, and management structure.
Whenever the AGM happens at CUTV (hopefully it will be in January), it is crucial that anyone concerned about the station attend, and I really hope that some of you run for spots on the Board of Directors. The Board will the highest authority at the station, and I really hope that the people who get elected to the board are committed to values of social justice, feminism, solidarity, and egalitarian organization. I know some of you would be great as directors on the board.
Lastly, I really hope that the current conflict doesn't discourage you, because people are working to change things for the better. I hope that you continue to volunteer at CUTV, to continue producing amazing, grassroots, radical news, and I hope that you can make this organization flourish.
If any of you want to stay in touch with me, or if you want to share ideas about how to tangibly build in a more democratic structure at CUTV, and what that would look like, my personal email is aaronlakoff (at) gmail.com. I certainly hope that I can keep collaborating with some of you on media activist projects!
Thanks everyone, it's been a slice.
Love and solidarity,