All: apologies for the big cc: list, this has been a conversation happening a large number of OWS organizers, mediators, etc. for the past week+, but it hasn't been shared widely enough. It addresses concerns that are germaine to everyone involved in the occupation, and it has become an urgent matter, so it seems time that everyone is abreast of the latest.
I include in this thread all the working group contacts listed in a google doc of working group contacts. Unfortunately we do not have a working group coordination listserv, so a cc: list is the only way we have to reach everyone.
* * * * * * * *
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 12-2pm and 4-6pm, however that isn't what's happening.
Last night the drumming was near continuous until 10:30pm at night. Today it began again at 11am. The drummers are fighting amongst 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, 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 is a Community Board vote, which will be packed with media cameras and community members with real grievances. We have sadly demonstrated to them that we are unable to collectively 1) keep our space and surrounding areas clean and sanitary, 2) keep the park safe, 3) deal with internal conflict and enforce the Good Neighbor Policy that was passed by the General Assembly.
Whether or not you personally feel that the support of the community board and local residents and their reps is needed to maintain our occupation, many of us believe that maintaining Liberty Square (aka Zuccotti Park) as a flagship and nerve center for our movement right now is in fact critical to our efforts that are much bigger picture, longer term, more revolutionary than the internal conflicts that are consuming too much energy right now.
We need to take this seriously, and be clear that if we can't deal with conflict and self-organizing then we are facing eviction very soon (this week), and the allies that helped turn out mass numbers at the last one will not be around this time, nor will the press be supportive. Additionally, Bloomberg released a statement a few days ago that said that he / the City plans to crack down on any violations as of this week. Once we lose community and ally support at Tuesday's vote, the door is wide open for an eviction.
What to do? We need an all hands-on-deck clean-up and everyone sharing responsibility for the Good Neighbor Policy
, including enforcement of 12-2pm and 4-6pm drumming hours. (While recognizing that the community board has been firm that they can only support 2 hrs/day of drumming). We should also start serious conversations internally about what this movement might I look like without Zuccotti Park / Liberty Square. How can we set ourselves up for continued organizing and momentum without an active occupation? I don't write this to be dramatic, it's a serious question. If so much of our organizing time currently (for many of us, 20 hrs a day) is going to putting out fires and maintaining the space, what does it look like if we lose the space?
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Hearing this loud and clear. There is nothing else that we are / have been working on. Besides being an issue with the drummers themselves, it has blown up into an issue within the POC caucus and a particular disrupter/instigator who is single handedly doing a lot of damage.
At this point I am also putting time and energy into helping to set the movement up for what happens post-eviction. We need to be ready for that, how to de-locate and continue momentum and organizing.
On Sun, Oct 23, 2011 at 2:09 PM, Bill wrote:
Don't know how else to say this again. This will be the end of ows. If u r doing anything else but resolving this, you are making a fatal mistake.
I was there last night and was pretty upset myself. Ows leaders need to step up. We will help in whatever way U need. But we can no longer protect you guys politicAlly.
I suggest you get all key leaders together and warroom this todAy and everyday til resolved
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: (community board member ally)
October 23, 2011 12:40:57 PM EDT
Subject: Fw: Drumming, Urine,
See below. Full board vote is Tuesday.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
From: (community board chair)
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 2011 12:01:25 -0400 (EDT)
To: (list of community board members, NYC and NY state elected officials, and community org and labor leaders)
Subject: Re: Drumming, Urine,
Thanks for letting me know that the drumming agreement
(whether it is 2 or 4 hours per day) is NOT being upheld. Please continue
to let me know about the drumming hours until Tues, which is when CB #1 will
hold our monthly full board meeting and vote on the reso passed at last
If you and your neighbors have the time and would
care to come to the Tues meeting to speak in the Public session (3 min per
In the meantime CB 1 will continue to work with our elected
officials to make this situation better.
In a message dated 10/22/2011 10:34:08 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
Unfortunately, the drumming is hellish right
now, its just before 10PM and there must be 15 to 20 drummers out there
beating on the drums in a frenzy. However, they have stopped for the
last half hour. There doesn't seem to be any rules in the Park.
There is no drumming Good Neighbor Policy--their flyer no longer has anything
about drumming. I sent an email to their email address on their
Community Affairs flyer, which has not been answered, and I called the phone
number they have listed as a Community Affairs representative that is supposed
to be answered live 24/7--I left a message for a call back on the
To make matters worse, there is once again the
stench of urine on the Liberty Street side of Burger King. Even more
frightening was a flyer taped to the door of our building filled with rants
and ravings from some bizarre anti-OWS individual.
Something changed in the last few days, perhaps its the weekend
I don't know, but the feeling I get in the park is something akin to
Apocalypse Now, with some very strange people, and a rather ominous
feeling. I'm very uncomfortable in and around the park--its a
bizarre spectacle, and what kind of world do we live in where you walk out of
your door overpowered by the stench of urine.
thank you for being on the frontlines here and working so hard to make our
neighborhood livable after its been under siege for so long, but now we have
some new strange, living organism within our midsts.
I think the
NYPD representatives, state and city officials, in particular the Mayor's
office, on this email need to hear that as a downtown resident of New
York, I am getting frightened by what I am seeing, and a neighborhood for
which millions of dollars is being spent to be the jewel of the city is
getting urinated on. The stench of urine not less than 100-200
feet from where thousands of people lost their lives, its really a
disgrace. I don't know what we can do about this, if anything.
From: (community board chair)
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2011 12:01:03
Subject: Re: Drumming
To: (community board members)
Thanks so much for the update. If you're home during
the day would you let me know when the drumming stops and starts
again, we need to track for a few days before we see what our next step should
I'm hoping, as are all of us, that the PA
construction noise at least is limited to times when we are not trying to
sleep. The 2 AM stop time is totally unreasonable !!!!!
We'll all continue to work on the quality of life
issues making living here "a little slice of hell".
Have a good weekend, Pat
In a message dated 10/22/2011 11:37:27 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
Hi Pat, per your request to notify you when the drumming
begins. Its Saturday, October 22, at 11:30AM and the drumming has
begun. I spoke with State Senator Daniel Squadron last night who told
me he is working hard on this issue, and I'm sure he's not the only
one, so let's hope he, others in government, and CB1 has some
success. Also, the hammering at the 130 Liberty St site is also going
on, so we have a real symphony. I understand you're working
with the PA to at least stop the late night pounding--that would also
be a great accomplishment. Thanks!
Not An Alternative