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Is this how it is in WBAI land?

From: Stephen M Brown
Date: Mon Apr 7, 2003 1:32 am
Subject: MAY I BUTT IN? ... Re: FAULT NOT IN THE UNITY CAUCUS, BUT IN OURSELVES ... Re: [NewPacifica] Re: Now they're discussing Staff representation

Ray --

If I may butt in on this private argument -- why argue about what the iPNB did or didn't actually say? That isn't really (if I may be presumptuous) what Heidi and many others are upset about.

The real issue is unfairness.

The simple fact is that you, Ray, and the New York LAB, in clear and flagrant disregard of the spirit of the iPNB resolution (not to mention the spirit of the entire bylaws process), deliberately and prejudicially chose representatives for the Wbai Diversity Committee who do NOT represent the Wbai constituency.

They represent only you -- and the self-righteous "Politburo-in-waiting" called the Unity Caucus.

Isn't it disingenuous to pretend that what we are questioning you about here is whether the Diversity representatives -- hand-picked by you and the LAB -- are "qualified"?

Of course (!) Mimi Rosenberg is eminently qualified to serve on the committee. Her law degree, coupled with her long history in fighting for the rights of the oppressed, make her an excellent choice. And Sheila Hamanaka's role as a listener-activist, who has been seriously involved in all phases of the bylaws process, makes her, too, an excellent choice as a representative. Whereas, using the same criteria, it is clear that Miguel Maldonado, due to personal constraints on his time, has not been as active as Mimi or Sheila, and therefore would not, perhaps, be such an excellent choice.

But that is NOT why the LAB picked Mimi and Sheila.

Mimi and Sheila were picked -- not for their qualifications -- but because they follow (or formulate) the Unity Caucus line. And the LAB, as the New York area well knows (and as all of Pacifica knows after having observed the last six national board meetings), is no more than a creature of the Unity Caucus.

Am I suggesting, then, that you and the LAB should have selected "unqualified" Diversity representatives?

Yeah, right. As if there were not enough non-UC members with the qualifications to be Diversity representatives!

What I am suggesting, is that we expected you to impose balance in the interest of fairness.

Wasn't this your duty? Even if it meant you had to put aside your personal political preferences? Even if it meant you had to wield your considerable statutory power, as "owner-in-trust" of the foundation, on behalf of ALL of its listeners, not just some of them?

Didn't Leslie Cagan do precisely this, when she required (actually commanded) that the Wbai GM Search Committee, which recently brought about the selection of Don Rojas as General Manager, include representatives not just from a single faction -- or even "her" faction -- but from as many groups, factions and interests among the station, the LAB, and the listeners as humanly possible?

I -- we -- expected no less from you, Ray, as ex officio "Honorable Referee" of your area. But you let your constituents down. And I feel you let yourself down, too. I know that you believe, sincerely, in the methods and goals of the Unity Caucus. And that you will do (and have done) all you can to support them. That is your right.

However, it was not your right (although, sadly, it was within your power) to honor your marching orders as a partisan apparatchik of the Unity Caucus over your duty to provide the Pacifica community with fair and just governance.

Is your behavior, to favor your own personal politics over your duty to govern Pacifica fairly and justly, different in any meaningful way (except, perhaps, in the magnitude of results) from the behavior of the five U.S. Supreme Court justices who, by selecting George Bush as president, favored their own personal politics over their duty to provide the American people with fair and just legal decisions?

I was not surprised that the LAB behaved badly in this matter. It has always been as full of arrogance as it is bereft of brainpower. So to me, their action did not represent a "fall" -- just business as usual. But I was surprised at your behavior, Ray, because I know that you know better -- and have done better most of the time. Therefore your actions do, I believe, represent a fall (though I hope my saying so won't interfere with our next beer).

As a result, the bylaws process is once more in danger of being hijacked and held hostage by the Unity Caucus -- a tiny, unrepresentative group of New York power-seekers, which not only wheels and deals in almost joyous indifference to the wishes of all the other LABs, but whose proposals have been repudiated, and whose behavior has been reprimanded, by the very New York constituency it purports to represent.

Is this what you mean by democracy? Say it ain't so, Ray.

Stephen M. Brown sbrown13@n...

----- Original Message ----- From: Raylaforest To: Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2003 5:44 PM Subject: Re: FAULT NOT IN THE UNITY CAUCUS, BUT IN OURSELVES ... Re: [NewPacifica] Re: Now they're discussing Staff representation
> Heidi,
> I will try to answer some of the points you have raised in your post.
> Let me begin by correcting your assertion that "from the beginning Miguel
> Maldonado was not only marginalized by the UC faction until the last
> call...". Actually, FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, I asked Bryan Gibbons (of the
> national office) who was arranging the teleconferences for us, to include
> ALL the presumed participants. For NY, that meant Miguel, Mimi, Sheila and
> I. For DC, that meant A. Byrd, Sam Husseini, Fahima Seck and Marion Barry.
> For KPFA, Pete Bramson, Susan DaSilva, Joy Moore and Willie Ratcliff. At
> the beginning of the first call, Miguel told me that I had to choose between
> Sheila and him, and hang up
> I categorically disagree that the iPNB mandate had been to necessarily seat
> LAB chairs. It is my firm position (and that of many iPNB members) that the
> final agreement was to allow the LABs to choose *any 2 individuals* to
> represent their listening areas. I believe that anyone listening to the
> recordings of the iPNB proceedings would come to the same conclusion.
> After listening to these recordings, the WBAI LAB decided to select Mimi
> Rosenberg (as a LAB member and someone with substantial legal knowledge and
> experience) and Sheila Hamanaka, a very active community listener. Unlike
> Miguel who had been extremely busy with his work and participated in *almost
> none* of the discussions on bylaws (and particularly on diversity issues),
> they had been intimately involved in all the facets of debates and
> organizing around bylaws and diversity.
> You write "As you WELL KNOW, the iPNB specifically stated that the diversity
> committee would be comprised of *LAB chair(s)* (my emphasis) from signal
> area", but I want to point out to you that WPFW allowed A. Byrd to
> represent the community and Sam Husseini (the LAB chair) DID NOT
> participate. In KPFA, Susan DaSilva joined us, NOT as LAB chair, but as a
> substitute for Carole Spooner. The point being that we showed tremendous
> flexibility.
> FYI, both Carol Spooner and I called for Leslie Cagan to arrange for a
> teleconference for the iPNB to settle the issue. Leslie was involved 24/7
> with anti-war organizing and either did not see or chose to ignore the
> requests (until the iPNB made a decision I chose (as committee chair) to
> continue allowing all parties to participate. After a while a new modus
> vivendi developed (as exemplified by posts from both Carol and Leslie), that
> in the present hellish situation created by the ongoing war and its
> tremendous impact on our already scarce time recourses, and since the Bylaws
> Diversity Language Committee seemed to be functioning as constituted, to let
> sleeping dogs lay, so to speak. And we moved on.
> Finally, I absolutely reject the notion of "a ...(2 1/2 year) history of
> 'militant' resistance against democratization in New York. Most of the
> members of the Unity Caucus are the individuals who have been leading the
> various struggles to empower our communities (in issues like housing, labor,
> police brutality, immigration, LGBT rights, education, health care... I
> could go on) through truly democratic structures and dynamics.
> /Ray
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Heidi Chesney"
> To:
> Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2003 11:39 AM
> [NewPacifica] Re: Now they're discussing Staff representation
> > Ray,
> >
> > To this observer it was clear from the beginning Miguel Maldanado was not
> only marginalized by the UC faction until the last call, he was not allowed
> to participate as the WBAI LAB chair representative that the iPNB called for
> in the first place.
> >
> > As you WELL KNOW, the iPNB specifically stated that the diversity
> committee would be comprised of LAB chair from each signal area - and 2
> volunteers representing a CROSS spectrum of view point.
> >
> > That did not happen with NY. Underepresentation also seemed to be the case
> with WPFW -
> >
> > The committee should have always had Miguel as chair rep present- and
> either Mimi or Sheila (NOT BOTH) and perhaps Andy Norris or Paul Surrovell
> or someone else not in UC camp, for balance of "spectrum of views".
> >
> > Instead - NY faction was comprised the UC (which you are also a
> representative of), with the exception of Miguel's very limited and
> marginalized participation.
> >
> > Speaking as one listener/observer - The UC faction was allowed undue
> influence in domination and control of every single conference with the use
> of every tactic under the sun, most often in circular arguments with little
> concern in reaching reasonable but principled compromise.
> >
> > This is in part of how I come to this conclusion.. but it also comes with
> a very long -( 2 1/2 year) history of 'militant' resistance against
> democratization in New York. The argument is circular - always comparing US
> style of democracy and elections to this effort when is NOT the model we are
> seeking to implement.
> >
> > Far from it - Proportional Representation is REVOLUTIONARY and RADICAL -
> but it does mean actual demonstration of community support. and that notion
> threatens those who have enjoyed being at the table of local control (such
> as Mimi et al) and have no intention of leaving that up to the community.
> >
> > UC has been kicking and screaming all the way - and frankly Ray it's
> really gotten old. If you want to continue to ally yourself with that camp,
> then you are also a party to it.
> >
> >
> > ~Heidi
> >
> >
> > From: Raylaforest
> > To: NewPacifica@yahoogroups.com
> > Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2003 4:05 AM
> [NewPacifica] Re: Now they're discussing Staff representation
> >
> >
> > Heidi,
> >
> > UC machinations? ... I find both the tone and content of your post,
> rather
> > surprising.
> >
> > Can you please explain how, you believe, the iPNB "allowed the UC to
> have
> > dominating control of the diversity committee?
> >
> > (By the way, only 3 of the NY representatives (Sheila, Mimi and I) could
> be
> > thought of as members/sympathizers of the UC, a rather small presence in
> a
> > 15-member committee, and I feel comfortable with my role as chair, in
> > allowing each and every member of the committee to fully express their
> > opinions- albeit, at times, chaotically).
> >
> > /Ray
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Heidi Chesney"
> > To:
> > Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2003 11:34 AM
> > [NewPacifica] Re: Now they're discussing Staff representation
> >
> >
> > > what you suggest Steve, is that Pacifica listeners must also
> "organize" in
> > opposition to the UC machinations. That isn't possible - since most
> > listeners are not involved in Pacifica's governance concerns. We would
> have
> > to start from scratch again ... something like a real - democratically
> > organized Pacifica Listeners organization (minus self appointed
> autocratic
> > dictators) and even then, it would be hard to involve most listeners.
> > Especially in this time of War, listeners who were not already occupied
> with
> > personal concerns would most certainly be deeply involved in the anti
> war
> > movement.
> > >
> > > Of course your suggestion that the iPNB should have not have allowed
> the
> > UC to be have dominating control of the diversity committee - that in
> itself
> > is in violation of what the iPNB mandated in Los Angeles.
> > >
> > > ~Heidi
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: Stephen M Brown
> > > To: NewPacifica@yahoogroups.com
> > > Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2003 11:33 PM
> > [NewPacifica] Re: Now they're discussing Staff representation
> > >
> > >
> > > Stop grumbling about the Unity Caucus. They are doing what they are
> > supposed
> > > to be doing -- pushing their own agenda, same as every other group.
> > >
> > > As opposed as I am to the Unity Caucus' attempt to get what it
> wants,
> > > regardless of what everyone else in Pacifica wants, it should not be
> the
> > > target of our resentment or animosity -- only perhaps our
> frustration.
> > >
> > > The fact is that the Unity Caucus includes some of the smartest
> people
> > (and
> > > some of the dumbest, for sure) in Pacifica. They have out-worked,

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