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
OCT 24, 2011 – Sean Lennon, along with Gasland director Josh Fox, sang "Material Girl" in Zuccotti Park in a show of solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protesters and movement, and they also spoke out against "fracking" which has severely impacted New York.
To view the video please click on icon or this link:
OCT 22, 2011 – Rapper Immortal Technique spoke his mind in a WeAreChange video hitting on politics, war, immigration, race and more from Occupy Wall Street. He said, "This is one of the best expressions of democracy that people have seen in America for the past few decades. Unlike the Tea Party, this is organic; it's not corporate-funded, it's not funded by the Koch brothers. This isn't a re-election campaign for Obama. We're willing to put his second term on the altar of democracy and sacrifice it if we need to." He said everyone should do that to send a message that the movement demands real change, not superficial. Check out the interview below.
Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Tao Rodriguez Seeger, Join Occupy Wall Street Movement – March to Columbus Circle
OCT 22, 2011 – Pete Seeger, along with grandson and musician Tao Rodriguez Seeger, 60s activist musician Arlo Guthrie, composer David Amram, and bluesman Guy Davis joined a crowd of a thousand or so Occupy Wall Street protesters in a march from Symphony Space to Columbus Circle. They sang protest and activist songs as they marched, and then they all sang "We Shall Overcome" at Columbus Circle. Watch the footage below.
OCT 21, 2011 – Musicians at Occupy Boston have helped spark discussion at Dewey Square in downtown Boston it says an article by TheCrimson.com, and requests for bands to perform on the stage have swamped the organizers. In the article media representative Philip J. Anderson says, “[Music] boosts morale and builds community, especially on rainy days. Music is just one of those things that can galvanize movements—especially with songs that everyone knows and can connect with.”
Organizer Kelley P. said, “[Performers] are fighting for the same causes and the same rights that we are. It’s not as easy for a band to get nationally signed to a worldwide record deal anymore. The music industry has changed so dramatically and a lot of these artists struggle with their art and their music. They write songs about situations like these and they’re there [at Occupy Boston] because they are part of the 99 percent.”
Read the rest of TheCrimson article here.
Denver Hip-hop artist Sole – Phot credit: HeyReverb.com
OCT 21, 2011 – Local musicians from the Denver area will join Occupy Denver this weekend, from hip-hop artist Sole to the Flobots. HeyReverb has a great article about it, and in it Bobby Rogers, aka King F.O.E. of BLKHRTS says, “Just seeing how dedicated and passionate people is awesome. People believe in the cause enough to sleep outside and risk getting arrested every single night. They’re doing that for us, so this is just a way for us to give back and have a good time. ”
Flobots – Photo credit: Thuja Soul Wiki
In the article Sole spoke about the whole Occupy movement, “When history is happening, it’s a tsunami — you can’t predict it. There’s no telling where we’re going to be in a month. One thing that’s clear, though, is that the lost generation are finally finding their voices. I never thought this would happen, and it’s incredibly inspiring. ”
Read the HeyReverb article here.
OCT 20, 2011 – The rap duo group Rebel Diaz, comprised of RodStarz and G1, seek to bring Hip Hop into the liberal world of Occupy Wall Street. In a recent Wash Po article, RodStarz said, “We wanted to bring hip-hop to the white liberal table,” RodStarz says. “For the first time in a long time, large numbers of young white kids are no longer benefiting from the privileges of capitalism. Maybe they’re feeling what immigrants and poor communities have been feeling for years.”
They have launched the #occupytheairwaves campaign and made available for download 2 new songs, "Troy Davis Lives Forever" and "We the 99%" on their website here. Below is the duo performing live down on Occupy Wall Street on Democracy Now.
OCT 20, 2011 – Local DC area activist musicians Pat Humphries and Sandy O, known as Emma's Revolution, recently wrote a song in support of Occupy Wall Street and the other movements that have sprung up in thousands of cities across America. The song is called "Occupy the USA", and you can check out the song in a video below, performing at a anti-Tar Sands rally in Washington DC on October 7, 2011.