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December 23, 2007

Another Attempted Coup Is Underway at WBAI
ACE/"INDEPENDENTS" Out To Disenfranchise Voters

The election for the WBAI/Pacifica Local Station Board (LSB) has ground to a halt. After they were exposed for election violations, the "ACE" faction got a court order to SEAL THE BALLOT BOX. ACE, formerly known as "List-Prog," is led by multimillionaire board member Steve Brown, responsible for a years-long racist smear campaign to take down Program Director Bernard White. Pacifica says the voting should be continued due to delays in mailing original and replacement ballots. The WBAI Justice & Unity Campaign, a slate of anti-racist activist candidates, agrees: ALL members should have a right to vote! The next court date is set for Thursday, January 24, 2008.

WHAT'S THE REAL STORY BEHIND THE COURT CASE?

o The ACE faction has put forth motions to abolish the positions of Program Director (PD) and General Manager (GM) for six months. Their goals: to get rid of PD Bernard White, who has strong ties to the progressive African-American community, and to prevent any chance of a progressive GM from being hired. They want the station to be run by a group of staff people who are politically aligned with ACE - OR for WBAI TO BE TAKEN OVER BY AN OUTSIDE AGENCY! Only two things stand in their way: 1. YOU, the vigilant listeners who saved WBAI from the last "Xmas Coup," and 2. Justice & Unity, which currently holds the majority on the board.

THEY WILL DO ANYTHING TO SEIZE CONTROL OF THE BOARD AND WBAI:

o LIE about Justice & Unity: ACE was found GUILTY by the Pacifica National Elections Supervisor of lying about the Democracy Now! show. Knowing full well that J&U members on the National Board had voted in September to extend DN's contract for 5 years, ACE LIED and said we might want Amy Goodman off the air!

o LIE about WBAI Staff: Steve Brown sent out email blasts accusing Bernard White of intercepting listener donations and ripping up checks from people who support ACE - over a thousand checks! ACE claims WBAI staff tampered with zip codes so ACE supporters would not get ballots. RIDICULOUS! Donors are not labeled by assumed political affiliations and many J&U supporters, even a J&U candidate, did not get ballots either!

o STRIP listener/members of the right to vote: The Pacifica bylaws call for ballots to be sent out October 15 and returned by November 15. But ballots were sent out 8 days late, so the National Election Supervisor extended the deadline to November 23. ACE said NO! They asked the judge to exclude voters who heard about the extension and whose ballots were received after November 16. ACE only wants to accept ballots from voters who knew they had to request a replacement ballot by November 15. THE REAL REASON FOR THIS DEMAND? These voters might have HEARD on-air announcements about ACE's campaign violations!

o EXCLUDE POOR PEOPLE FROM VOTING: The Pacifica bylaws allow people who cannot afford the $25 donation or whose personal situation does not allow them to donate 3 hours to become members of WBAI by receiving a Waiver. In an unbelievably classist and elitist move, the ACE faction plaintiffs are asking the judge to disqualify the ballots of virtually everyone who was granted a hardship waiver! ACE suggests that many applicants lied, that they have no real hardship and no genuine interest in the station. JUSTICE & UNITY SAYS NO WAY!

o UNSEAT BOARD MEMBERS WHILE THEY DELAY THE ELECTIONS: The Pacifica bylaws call for the current board of 24 to remain in place until newly elected members are seated. ACE wants the judge to remove 12 members whose terms were due to expire upon the election of new Board members. The bylaws call for the new Board members to be seated in December, but that cannot happen at WBAI because ACE caused the elections to be put on hold. Now they are calling for the judge to remove the current Board members before the newly elected ones are seated, WHY? It's simple. It's the only way ACE endorsees and allies can gain a majority! This is unprecedented and utterly undemocratic.

o ILLEGALLY HARVEST NAMES AND ADDRESSES. Pacifica guards the identity of its members. No one is allowed access to the member lists. No one is allowed to SOLICIT members commercially. The National Election Supervisor found ACE GUILTY of improperly using the station's name and logo to solicit WBAI members with a cheap flashlight offer. This was a ploy to get names and addresses of unsuspecting people. Now, in a move reminiscent of COINTELPRO, the ACE faction plaintiffs want the judge to get the names and addresses of ALL WBAI members for ACE candidate and plaintiff Jamie Ross. Justice & Unity says members' information should NOT be released to anyone under any circumstances!

WHY DO WE SAY THIS IS A RACIST ATTACK ON PEOPLE OF COLOR MEDIA?

WBAI/Pacifica is the most important media outlet for progressive people of color and Indigenous peoples and other oppressed communities. Frankly, some white "progressives" are not happy when independent-minded progressive people of color are in control. With the help of a few people of color who have no base in the community and who basically serve as window dressing, they will STOP AT NOTHING to TAKE OVER WBAI and run the show. Literally.

o ACE, led by Steve Brown, has publicly engaged in a continuous racist and demoralizing stream of invective and unsubstantiated charges against Bernard White. Brown has publicly called for Bernard to be beaten with a baseball bat, embellished imagery of Bernard being set on fire, and circulated descriptions of Bernard as frothing at the mouth, as well as a description of engineer Errol Maitland (also of African heritage) as "aping" violent behavior Brown falsely claimed Bernard was engaging in.

o The same people in ACE fought AGAINST including Affirmative Action in Pacifica's bylaws (and won!)

o ACE continues to engage in the age-old white supremacist practice of demonizing people of color, i.e., Justice & Unity, which is primarily composed of such people, by promoting the most racist stereotypes in order to oust progressive people of color from WBAI and the Pacifica network.

ACE/THE "INDEPENDENTS" WANT YOU TO THINK WBAI IS COLLAPSING

o ACE claims WBAI is facing financial hardships due to bad programming, but fails to mention that industry reports last year projected a $30 - $60 million drop in public radio revenue around the country.

o ACE often speaks of WBAI's debt to the national office, but never tells you that the heart of WBAI's financial woes is that it has exorbitant expenses: WBAI pays over $756,000 a year in fixed operating costs (studio and transmitter rent and utilities), which are expected to escalate. The Pacifica station with the next highest operating cost pays less than $150,000 annually.

o When the ACE faction says that membership is down at WBAI, they are completely uncaring and insensitive to the fact that people are facing extreme financial hardships, especially in New York City. But what they don't tell you is that requests for WBAI archived shows (via MP3 downloads and RSS feeds) are averaging a HALF MILLION per month (and unique hits are up by 50 percent!). Also, these requests are coming from all over the world.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO STOP THE COUP AND THIS RACIST TAKEOVER?

1) E-mail the Pacifica National Election Supervisor, Casey Peters, and demand that the elections be extended and that people who received waivers should not be disqualified. E-mail him at: pacifica@mail2casey.com

2) In the spirit of Kujichagulia, self-determination, come to the Local Station Board meeting on Thursday, December 27 at 7 PM, and show your support for Justice & Unity. Let this racist and unscrupulous opposition know that you will not be deterred! The location is at Union 1199, 310 W. 43rd St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves. Trains: A, C, E to 2nd Street/Port Authority; 2, 3 to 42nd Street/Times Square and walk one block west to 8th Avenue. Location is wheelchair-accessible. Public participation is welcome.

3) Come to the next scheduled hearing at Manhattan Supreme Court on January 24, 2008 (time TBA).

4) DON'T LET THEM DRIVE YOU AWAY FROM THE STATION. If you're not already a member, become one! And encourage other strong-minded people to listen and become members as well.

Visit www.justiceunity.org or call (212) 591-2111. Join our low-traffic email list to stay in touch.

SUPPORT JUSTICE & UNITY

We are ENDORSED by AMIRI and AMINA BARAKA, MICHAEL TARIF and EVELYN WARREN, MANNING MARABLE, LEITH MULLINGS, TIM WISE, LARRY HAMM, FRED HO, and MANY GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS including CEMOTAP, the Free Mumia Coalition, the December 12th Movement, and ProLibertad. SEE http://www.justiceunity.org/endorsers2007.html for a complete list!

(Note: If you still have your ballot, hold onto it until further notice.)