Sadly, there’s an issue that is tearing Occupy Wall Street asunder and may end its presence in Zuccotti Park tomorrow, and it’s this:
Drums. According to a feverish call for help that went out today at N+1mag.com, rogue drummers are causing trouble at OWS:
A trusted friend and respected activist sent the following notes, explaining that the Occupy movement may be about to lose Zuccotti Park and that a much larger presence is needed starting tonight.
OWS is over after Tuesday:
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.
The drummers who are on site today are the drummers who have self-organized into an OWS working group they’re calling Pulse. They have been involved in mediation. They are not willing to limit drumming to 2 hours, but they are willing to do 12–2 PM and 4–6 PM daily. It is our hope that that will count for something with the community board.
In the meantime, there are other drummers who refuse to acknowledge OWS or the GA as a body they are interested in, and these drummers show up on site when they fell like it and drum when they feel like it. Over the weekend, it was for 10 or 11 hours straight, until late night.
My only comment is that this will be the first post I’ve done about OWS that also gets filed in the “brain damage” category. I hope there are no more.
UPDATE: Aha. Turns out the root of the problem isn’t brain damage at all, but as usual, Evil Capitalism:
The drummers claim that the finance working group even levied a percussion tax of sorts, taking up to half of the $150-300 a day that the drum circle was receiving in tips. “Now they have over $500,000 from all sorts of places,” said Engelerdt. “We’re like, what’s going on here? They’re like the banks we’re protesting.”
Protesting the avarice that blew up the economy is an idea I can get behind, especially if the middle class, who’s been getting hammered worse than anyone the last few years, sees fit to get involved. As ambivalent as I’ve felt about the protests in Canada, I’ve always felt that south of the border they had a truly legitimate beef, and their protest movement was a good idea. But if anything can make a good idea crash and burn, it’s petty bullshit like this.