Class War And Property Developers Silences The Occupy New York Drummers
OVER to “OCCUPY NEW YORK”, where anarchy is being over run by class war:
All occupiers are equal — but some occupiers are more equal than others. In wind-whipped Zuccotti Park, new divisions and hierarchies are threatening to upend Occupy Wall Street and its leaderless collective. . . .
Facilitators spearheaded a General Assembly proposal to limit the drumming to two hours a day. “The drumming is a major issue which has the potential to get us kicked out,” said Lauren Digion, a leader on the sanitation working group.
But the drums were fun. They brought in publicity and money. Many non-facilitators were infuriated by the decision and claimed that it had been forced through the General Assembly.
“They’re imposing a structure on the natural flow of music,” said Seth Harper, an 18-year-old from Georgia. “The GA decided to do it … they suppressed people’s opinions. I wanted to do introduce a different proposal, but a big black organizer chick with an Afro said I couldn’t.”
To Shane Engelerdt, a 19-year-old from Jersey City and self-described former “head drummer,” this amounted to a Jacobinic betrayal. “They are becoming the government we’re trying to protest,” he said. “They didn’t even give the drummers a say … Drumming is the heartbeat of this movement. Look around: This is dead, you need a pulse to keep something alive.”
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.”
All belongings and money in the park are supposed to be held in common, but property rights reared their capitalistic head when facilitators went to clean up the park, which was looking more like a shantytown than usual after several days of wind and rain. The local community board was due to send in an inspector, so the facilitators and cleaners started moving tarps, bags, and personal belongings into a big pile in order to clean the park.
But some refused to budge. A bearded man began to gather up a tarp and an occupier emerged from beneath, screaming: “You’re going to break my fucking tent, get that shit off!” Near the front of the park, two men in hoodies staged a meta-sit-in, fearful that their belongings would be lost or appropriated.
Are people protesting because they just want more stuff?
Last night’s General Assembly meeting in Zuccotti Park was “one of most contentious ever,” in large part due to a heated debate over whether the drummers at Occupy Wall Street should be given $8,000 from the movement’s coffers to buy more drums and equipment. It seems some of the drums were stolen or vandalized, and the drummers asked the General Assembly to help them regroup. “We have worked for you! Appreciate us,” one drummer told the crowd, but the appeal was denied, and the Huff Post’s Craig Kanalley tweeted, “Drummer who didn’t get money from GA tonight now yelling, cursing at members of GA.” Meanwhile, another member of the drum corps was lashing out at the Community Board meeting.
“I am an occupier, I am a drummer, and, despite what they say, I am also a human being,” Ashley Love, a young member of the OWS People of Color Working Group, told the packed Community Board meeting last night. Mother Jones reports that Love was met with booing when she informed the locals, “It’s primarily a commercial area; not too many people live there. The majority of the drummers are people of color with low-income or no-income backgrounds, and Wall Street was built by slaves when they brought the Africans over here. The council people back then prohibited drumming because it was a way of protesting. It was a way of communication. And I just think you guys are scapegoating us.”
Image: Activist musician Pete Seeger, 92, marches with nearly a thousand demonstrators sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street protests for a brief acoustic concert in Columbus Circle, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011, in New York. The demonstrators marched down Broadway singing “This Little Light of Mine” and other folk and gospel songs while ad-libbing lines about corporate greed and social justice. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)