Monday, January 30, 2017

JUC clings to wrecking ball...

Last Saturday, WBAI's JUC faction held an open meeting in a 122nd Street church basement. The turnout was meager, but the handful of members apparently remain eager. Apparently, lies and self-delusion have not a more fertile ground.

Curiosity compelled Marilyn Vogt-Downey to pop in and see what the Justice and Unity Campaign is up to and we have her to thank for the following account, a letter to Larry Romsted that was posted elsewhere:

From: Marilyn Vogt-Downey <>
To: "Romsted, Laurence" <
Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2017 4:56 PM
Subject: Re: Absolutely extraordinary PNB meeting 1/26/17

Report from a JUC Meeting in NYC on Sat., Jan. 28:

‘Bob Lederer Advocates a WBAI LMA with a local cable TV station, 
Cerene Roberts Lies her Head Off about the PNB Meeting and Everything Else, and 
Marilyn Drops the Ball’  
by Marilyn

I attended a public meeting of the JUC Saturday afternoon 1/28 in Manhattan because I wanted to find out what JUC says, how many people would attend, and what kind of a crowd they draw. It was held in a church basement on 122nd street. There was no title as such for the meeting. It was billed to be about --

“Fake news, false accusations, a flimflam artist in the White House with racial and religious hatred, homophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny unleashed …. how WBAI ensures its ability to survive and serve.” 

Arun Gupta, the founding editor of The Indypendent Magazine was the featured speaker but the internet announcement promised JUC LSB and PNB members would speak as well.

There were at most 14 people present: the 4 at the podium--Arun Gupta, Vajra Kilgour, Bob Lederer, and Cerene Roberts--plus one man videotaping, three JUC members I know (John Riley, William Heergarden, and Sharonne Salaam), 3 women and 3 men who seemed to not be JUC members and me. (I think one of the men was there because he worked at the church.)

Arun had gone to Indiana to interview the Carrier workers who featured so prominently in Trump’s campaign. Arun provided a deeper look into the thinking of these workers, the fate of their unions, and the need for “leftists” to “get out of their comfort zone” and talk with workers. 

Arun also outlined a series of technological innovations WBAI could adopt to expand our audience significantly that only required some new equipment and learning how to use it. 

Arun left after he spoke.

Then we got to hear the JUC speakers. {Vajra was chairing} Bob Lederer--no longer a member of the WBAI LSB--gave the gloomy and hopeless view of WBAI’s situation that I had heard from him before. Then he described some of the vulture schemes that are percolating in the Pacifica network--which he said he opposes. However, he wasted little time getting to the point of his remarks, that is, promoting his own vulture scheme: the urgency for WBAI to engage in an LMA with Manhattan Neighborhood Network. (This is the first time that I had heard him directly advocate for this deal.) He gave his rosy and false view of what an LMA would mean, covering up the fact that it would 1) eliminate none of our debt, 2) make it impossible to raise funds to pay the debt, 3) cause us to lose our audience and our identity, 3) mean the end to the station. I spoke against an LMA and enumerated his omissions during the discussion time after he spoke. (Although an LMA is deadly for WBAI, I understand that it will work well for both him and John Riley, for whom this deal would open new career windows.)

Then came Cerene.  If Lederer was sickening, Cerene’s presentation was vile.

Cerene started by pointing out that all five stations are in financial trouble, not only WBAI. However, she did that only so that she could blame Indy Caucus for the problems--bashing Indy Caucus, in fact, seemed to have been the only point of her presentation. It consisted of a series of lies aimed at nothing but fomenting hatred toward Indy Caucus, blaming Indy for all WBAI’s problems, and even for the fact that the audits have not been done!!!! She went through a litany of false “evidence” to allegedly "prove" that Indy is motivated by racism and white supremacy. The worst part was her outlandish, fantastical, and false description of the 1/26 PNB meeting: She claimed that it was Indy--not JUC’s Adriana Casenave--that had disrupted that meeting and that Indy had done this solely to keep the two new affiliate directors from being seated because they are Black!  Because of Indy’s factionalism, she concluded sanctimoniously, “the meeting lasted three hours and absolutely nothing was accomplished!” 

As she continued to unfold this phenomenal pack of lies, I began to positively shake with anger and disbelief and, unfortunately, became unable to stop myself, and pulled “a Campisi” (no offense intended, Bill), that is: I shouted out “That’s not true! That’s not what happened! You are lying!!” This was the wrong thing to do, of course, because this gave her the opportunity to say calmly: “See! That’s the kind of thing Indy does that we have to put up with!!” I had walked right into a trap. 

Her report was a prime example of “alternate facts” and “fake news” that the forum was allegedly meant to expose.  (As I tried to calm down, she shut me up by quickly holding up her cell phone, implicitly threatening to change the subject by telling the audience that during that 1/26 PNB “meeting,”--after she hypocritically bemoaned the fact that nothing had been achieved in 3 hours and that the meeting had to end at midnight--I had sent her a message calling her “a duplicitous piece of shit.” Her gesture meant that she was ready to bring this up if I continued exposing her lies, something that could have only confused the situation in her favor.

Heerwagen applauded Cerene’s report, but most people in the tiny audience had no clue as to what was going on. 

Cerene’s behavior can only be the work of someone who is out to destroy WBAI. Moreover, neither she NOR Lederer offered ANY way to save WBAI except an LMA. I had ask Lederer to explain how much money JUC had raised for BAI and what kind of activities they had engaged in to raise funds. He could cite nothing specific because they have done nothing. 

What I learned from the evening is that 1) the JUC leadership--Roberts, Lederer, and Heerwagen-is a dishonest, conniving bunch, motivated by--at best--mercenary aims. Heerwagen has claimed he is against an LMA, but did not speak up against it last night.

The good news is that they were able to get only a tiny audience. I had feared that they would fill an auditorium, but they did not even fill that small church basement meeting room.

However, the video of it may end up on their website some day.

1 comment:

  1. Utrice Leid fired Cerene a long time ago - that is all you need to know about Cerene - she is an evil woman!