Today, OWS protestors once again narrowly escaped eviction from Liberty square, a move threatened by a local community board in response to the movement’s apparent inability to regulate its drummers (who, according to the OWS website, “feel that they are bringing rhythm to the revolution and have a voice that must be heard”). N+1 published a hilarious OWS memo reporting internal disputes on the matter, leaked to them by an involved activist (who contributed the gloomy heading “OWS is over after Tuesday”). Not parody:
Friends, mediation with the drummers has been called off. It has gone on for more than 2 weeks and it has reached a dead end. The drummers formed a working group called Pulse and agreed to 2 hrs/day at times during the mediation, and more recently that changed to 4 hrs/day. It’s my feeling that we may have a fighting chance with the community board if we could indeed limit drumming and loud instrumentation to 12-2 PM and 4-6 PM, however that isn’t what’s happening.
Last night the drumming was near continuous until 10:30 PM at night. Today it began again at 11 AM. The drummers are fighting among themselves, there is no cohesive group. There is one assemblage called Pulse that organized most of the drummers into a group and went to GA for formal recognition and with a proposal.
Unfortunately there is one individual who is NOT a drummer but who claims to speak for the drummers who has been a deeply disruptive force, attacking the drumming rep during the GA and derailing his proposal, and disrupting the community board meeting, as well as the OWS community relations meeting. She has also created strife and divisions within the POC caucus, calling many members who are not ‘on her side’ “Uncle Tom”, “the 1%”, “Barbie” “not Palestinian enough” “Wall Street politicians” “not black enough” “sell-outs”, etc. People have been documenting her disruptions, and her campaign of misinformation, and instigations. She also has a documented history online of defamatory, divisive and disruptive behavior within the LGBT (esp. transgender) communities. Her disruptions have made it hard to have constructive conversations and productive resolutions to conflicts in a variety of forums in the past several days.
At this point we have lost the support of allies in the Community Board and the state senator and city electeds who have been fighting the city to stave off our eviction, get us toilets, etc. On Tuesday there is a Community Board vote, which will be packed with media cameras and community members with real grievances.
The memo further suggested a method of restricting the drummers:
We’re in serious need of bodies here. The drumming will happen daily from 12-2 and 4-6pm, that’s OK. But that means that we need folks in these shifts: 2-4 PM: people here to make sure drumming doesn’t start. 5:45–8 PM: ppl here to make sure drumming stops at 6 PM sharp and doesn’t start again. 8–10 PM: ppl here to make sure drumming doesn’t start.
This is an all-call. Really really need help, tonight. There are some fabulous drummers here who have been in mediation with OWS and the community board for weeks. There are a small handful of drummers who have been violent, agro, and committed to playing as loud as they can, for as long as they can (until 11 PM this weekend).
The crisis was averted last minute when the newly-formed OWS drummer’s union, Pulse, agreed to limit their self-expression to certain hours. N+1: “The proposal was approved by consensus by the General Assembly, with applause and rejoicing on all sides. One of our observers said there hadn’t been such happiness and relief since the victory over eviction.” And that was only a week ago!