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Drummers at Zuccotti Park Create Test For GAs and Non-Centralized Leadership Facing the Occupy Community
OCT 27, 2011 - Drummers have played a big role in marches and rallies for years, and have been an integral part of the Occupy movement in Zuccotti Park but have unfortunately recently been the center of a "controversy" of some kind and pose an early test of the "GAs" or general assemblies that have no central leadership where every person is respected and heard when meeting to make decisions and resolve issues and disputes. In a way it is like watching a new form of democracy emerge and evolve.
It all started when residents living near Zuccotti Park held community board meetings and asked the activists to curtail the drumming. The activists held GAs, and after deliberation it was agreed to limit the drumming for 2 hours during afternoon hours. Later however drummers said they felt slighted and not heard fairly, another GA was held and it was increased from 2 hours to 4. Some drummers have even "broke off" in a way from the main group and have stated they have no intention to limit their drumming, which they feel is their free speech. One activist drummer Elijah Moses told the Wall Street Journal, “We do respect the fact that you live here, but at the same time we are still activists. I’m not here to cater and negotiate, I’m not here to play tit-for-tat,” he said forcefully, fiddling with his drumsticks in one hand. “What I am here for is to make change.”
Many people who come to Zuccotti Park love the drums and dance to them, but some who come to the park complain that it prevents and drowns out soft poetry reading, acoustic guitar playing and other softer expressions of art and activism. They have stated that the drummers are virtually impossible to talk to, because they are pounding constantly and unresponsive to people trying to approach them and talk to them. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few weeks. JTMP will keep you posted on this. Here is a video on the issue:
OCT 26, 2011 - Drumming was there at the inception of Occupy Wall Street, and has played a major role in the movement providing energy and passion. No doubt they will continue to play a big role in the Occupy movement, but currently they are in a struggle to find a way to secure their drumming rights at Zuccotti Park. Recently, the residents living near the park held community board meetings, and then asked Occupy activists to please curtail the drumming noise. The Occupy community was happy to oblige, and many GAs were held about the issue, and at one GA it was decided to restrict drumming to 2 hours per day during daylight hours.
However some drummers who have formed a group called "Pulse" felt they were being under-represented and have lobbied to make it 4 hours per day. The fragile compromise faces a tough test tonight at another community board meeting, where there might be more disruptions over the volatile issue. Mostly though they are currently at work talking things out and solving the problem, and at an Occupy website it says:
"In the spirit of consensus and community, mediation is still in process. The working group Pulse has been formed by the drummers and is working to bring forward proposals to the General Assembly of Liberty Square. This issue has been talked about in the park, at the General Assembly, on forums, and emails for weeks. This is an example of how we as a community share space and how we mobilize together to build consensus between all members of a conversation. Drumming has a loud voice in Liberty Square. Pulse is an important piece of our movement - they are integral to marches, morale, and the general mood of energy we have created. But many within Liberty Square feel as though their voice is being drowned out by the drumming, that it has become difficult to have the conversations that they think are important. We have created a small, vibrant and diverse community within the Square - it is natural that some issues would and will arise, but we hope to work together and continue to effect positive change in this place and in this world."
Read more here at OccupyWallST.org
Photo credit: Andrew Burton AP
OCT 21, 2011 - Drums, guitars, and even singing have been a major part of the Occupy Wall Street movement in Zuccotti Park, but local residents are upset about the noise and held local hearings on the issue. They have asked the protesters to limit the drumming to 2 hours during midday, and one protester said the request was reasonable and they would respect their wishes. Click Read More to watch a news clip from PIX11.com.