Subject: [GlobalRevolutionMedia] Re: (OWS is over after Tuesday) Fwd: Drumming, Urine,
From: beka economopoulos
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 2011 19:20:55 -0400
To: Justin Wedes
CC: Nelini Stamp <>, Michael Oman-Reagan <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, Lopi <>, "" <>, "" <>, Antonio Serna <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, Kira Annika <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, to Max Berger <>, "cc \"J. M. Smucker\"" <>, daniel mcnair scott <>, Amin Husain <>, Michael Premo <>, "" <>, "" <>, Brooke Lehman <>, "" <>

You are right Justin, I will temper the "fear-mongering" tone and present only the facts as I understand them.  This isn't a brief email, but I want to download the info that I'm aware of, and invite any clarifications.  It is my hope that we might share the background context, and together resolve that this issue be addressed in a respectful and loving but timely way. 

Behind the previous eviction attempt (for context): a week ago there was a real eviction threat. It took some time for that reality to sink in, at the morning working group check-in and even at the emergency 2pm meeting Thursday before last there were many WG reps who thought this was an honest cleaning and maybe we should let the city's sanitation crew in.  There were others of us that read the cleaning announcement as an eviction notice, and once Police Chief Ray Kelly announced that post-cleaning Brookfield park rules, including no lying down, no sleeping bags, clear paths and open space for general public, no personal gear, etc, that fact became clear.  

What most people do not know is the degree to which the local Community Board, Labor, community organizations, and elected officials played a role in helping to prevent our eviction.  With little notice, they waged a massive 8 hr pressure campaign through the night that resulted in tens of thousands of phone calls to 311, letters and personal phone calls to Bloomberg from city council people, state senators, and even nat'l representatives, outreach to local community organizations, and even coordinated demos at Brookfield offices in other cities in the US, in Canada, and in Australia that evening.  

Yes, our morning turn-out helped (and labor and allies who emailed their lists and actually phone banked thousands of New York members the night before encouraging them to turn out at 6am helped with turnout.)  So did the staged clean-up Thursday afternoon that we organized and invited the media to photograph/film.  But Brookfield and Bloomberg drafted their statement calling off the cleaning well before we had bodies on the ground, and they released it at 6:15 a.m. Friday.  

So whether or not we care about a community board resolution, we shouldn't underestimate the role that popular support has played in forcing Bloomberg into a corner.  New Yorkers and the 99% around the country (and world) have been on our side.  

* Eroding popular support (locally): while our movement is strong, and it remains so nationally and internationally, our occupation is local, and local support has been eroding this past week. This is evidenced by terrible press and op-eds (the PR team has been doing media monitoring), as well as direct communication from allies and electeds that they cannot defend the occupation or turn-out members in solidarity if we lose the support of the local community board. 

Issues that are coming out in the media and in community board meeting grievances: urination around the park, in allies and on people's doorsteps; defecation by residential entrances; allegations of sexual misconduct/assault; drugs and drinking on-ste; and as we're all aware of: persistant noise complaints. 

I don't know what is or isn't true, I am only stating what the media is printing for context on what New Yorkers are hearing about our occupation.  

The community board committee meeting last week was impressive: even while local residents aired grievances, they nearly unanimously stated their support for our cause, their gratitude to this movement, and their recognition that what is a nuisance to them is also a significant moment in history.  Their committee passed a resolution recognizing and applauding our rights to protest and peaceably assemble. In this resolution they also called on OWS to limit drumming hours, enforce prior agreements with the board, and work with local businesses, and they called on the City to arrange for toilets, and get barricades in the area removed.

Unfortunately of all the above issues, the local community has identified the drumming as the main issue that is driving them nuts.  They have been very clear that they will rescind support and call all the media calling for our eviction if we don't find some happy resolution that balances the drummer's rights to assemble and their concerns about noise and quality of life.  

The OWS Community Relations Group has been working daily (/almost every day?) with the OWS Mediation Team and the drummers to find a solution that honors and respects the role that the drummers play in this movement, as well as the neighbors who have shown us support but also pleaded for OWS to likewise respect their rights.  

From the mediation team:

The drummers are very proud of the contribution that they are making to the movement. I heard that they care a lot about this movement. They want it to work. The way they want to contribute is by expressing lots of the frustration that probably many of us share. Their language, one of their languages, are drums. Also, they want to attract many people who are gathering in the spirit of music, celebration and expression. I think we should thank them for that. Speaking as mediation, I think it’s very important that we listen to the good intentions and the needs that we all share and acknowledge and acknowledge them and in a second step think how we can meet everybody’s needs.

Resident Pat Moore, Community Board Chair, an African American woman who identifies as a drummer herself:

I live down the street. I’ve lived there for 34 years. I support your movement and so do most of my neighbors. But, I beg of you. This is a residential neighborhood of working class people, the people you support. The drumming is driving us crazy. I beg you to give us some relief. I know this drumming is a symbol of the movement. I’m just asking you to limit it to the hours you’ve agreed upon in the “Good Neighbor” policy.

Given the above, many people have been consumed for more than a week, day and night, with trying to balance everyone's rights, needs and desires and come up with amicable and creative solutions.  One of those solutions includes supporting the drummers with new equipment that can make them a mobile drumming corps, so that they can drum on-site and also spread the beat and the pulse of the movement to other areas in the city.  This proposal was brought to the General Assembly by Pulse, the drummer's working group, but the drummer who presented it (who had been in days of mediation) was accused of taking bribes and being an "uncle tom" in front of the whole GA by an individual who has repeatedly called people names and lobbed personal attacks in various meetings.  The GA dissolved and the proposal didn't move forward.

* No resolution currently / current context: since then there have been a couple more mediation attempts, including one very large one yesterday.  The drummers involved in the mediation effort advanced a proposal to drum from 12-2pm and 4-6pm, a proposal that they had agreed to even 3 weeks ago.     

But yesterday drumming went on for hours, with no defined time slots, and it lasted as late as 10:30pm.

Today an email thread was sent around that included messages from area residents, the community board chair, and allies who have been working to rally support for OWS among elected officials, community orgs, and Labor.  I included that thread in my first email.  They are preparing to rescind their support and vote down the CB resolution this Tuesday.  

That may sound like big whoop, who cares, but what that means in practice is that the media in the room report that the community is in favor of our eviction, the electeds will then be as well, and allies with relationships with all the above will have trouble waging an eviction-defense campaign as they did last time.  And the community has been clear that they will pick up the phone and call all the press, calling for our eviction.  This erosion of support could well give Bloomberg the cover he needs to make good on the statement his office released few days ago that the City plans to crack down on OWS and purported violations.  

So does this mean after Tuesday's board vote we are getting evicted?  I don't know, perhaps that is hyperbole.  I only present the above so that we are on the same page and we recognize the fact of the erosion of public support.

* What now?  We must prioritize this as a shared movement responsibility to collectively determine hold we respond to issues of exclusion and oppression while being good neighbors and including area residents and others we claim to support /speak for (the 99%) .  

If it weren't this issue it would be something else sometime soon.  It's a test to our movement to determine how we can rise to the challenge of balancing conflicting needs and opinions. 

To date it has seemed that only Mediation and Community Relations and the drummers have been prioritizing these immediate concerns.  

But it is up to all of us to work this out.  This is a movement at the forefront of something big, and we have a responsibility to deal with this in such a way that we can continue to put the focus on the crimes of Wall Street and the income inequality, the unemployment, and the oppression of people at the front lines of the economic crisis, which continues to worsen in this country.


On Sun, Oct 23, 2011 at 5:30 PM, Justin Wedes <> wrote:

I am not against being responsive to neighbors.

And I'm certainly against violating process.

But, friends, PLEASE do not fear-monger and make announcements about imminent eviction when they are not backed up in fact.

Those of us here since Day 1 have faced plenty of rumors about imminent evictions, and have weathered each one just fine without inventing new internal crises. 



On Oct 23, 2011, at 5:23 PM, Nelini Stamp wrote:

The point is the eviction will happen this week if we do not contain drumming. 
They have violated process and the community we have . This is also about our own community they played til 11 last night again violating GA decision. We need to take things like this seriously if this is an all inclusive movement then we need to keep to that and be able to be considerate to all people. 

Sent from my Windows Phone

From: Michael Oman-Reagan
Sent: Sunday, October 23, 2011 4:49 PM
To: beka economopoulos
Cc:; Lopi;; Antonio Serna; wintersiroco@gmail.comaiprojectx@gmail.comllw282@nyu.edugraygardens11@gmail.commodsticks@yahoo.comjulienrharrison@gmail.comdilingual@gmail.comted@transcoms.combenreynoso@gmail.commax.hodes@gmail.comcoldmtn@gmail.comeranvega@hotmail.comdrdobbs1@gmail.comdanzetah@gmail.comoccupythehood@gmail.comgossridah@aol.comprince.darnell@gmail.comsam2454@gmail.comtashyla@yahoo.deecolake@gmail.comnvcsuzanne@gmail.comjwedes@gmail.comted@tedschulman.comnaomiless@gmail.comaccountability@nycga.nethmmpoeddp@gmail.comcarne@carneross.comarts_culture@nycga.netcomradesbooking@gmail.comcoachingvisionaries@gmail.comcomfort@nycga.netcomfort.occupyws@gmail.comcommunity_relations@nycga.netdirect_action@nycga.netowsdawg@gmail.comows.efficiency@gmail.comeducation_empowerment@nycga.netempowermentandeducation@gmail.comowseswg@gmail.comfacilitation@nycga.netmappchris@yahoo.comjason.ahmadi@gmail.comeric@bfd.comdesign@nycga.netowshealthcare@gmail.cominfo@nycga.netinternet@nycga.ccJDiSalvo@nyc.rr.comroarschach@riseup.netoccupywallstlibe; Kira Annika;; to Max Berger; cc "J. M. Smucker"; daniel mcnair scott; Nelini Stamp; Amin Husain; Michael Premo;; Brooke Lehman;
Subject: Re: (OWS is over after Tuesday) Fwd: Drumming, Urine,

Maybe it's unintentional, but this reads like fear-mongering and scapegoating to me. I only see the occupation becoming stronger and having more local and global support. There have always been very vocal local residents who have complained from day one about the occupation - as we all know, often emailing this same list. However, there's an important thing here to be teased out of the drumming question.

The core of this problem, in my view, is that anyone decided to present themselves as 'leaders' of ows or even responded to the call to speak with 'leaders' to begin with - that set up an expectation that those people would have power to control the behavior and actions and decisions of the other occupiers, which they don't, they haven't and they are not likely ever to have. As a result, the local residents are disappointed that they're requests to the 'leaders' haven't resulted in change.

Even if the spokes-council goes forward, a smaller group of people with more concentrated decision-making power won't have any authority to control the behavior of others. Rather than structural authority, a governing body needs moral authority. And when proposals to the GA are repeatedly blocked and forced to amend by people who don't even understand the proposals at hand or the processes that gave rise to the proposals, and a general sense of mistrust pervades the decision-making process, moral authority doesn't appear to be in the hands of anyone, not even those who step up to facilitate.

So - How exactly do you propose anyone engage in "enforcement of 12-2pm and 4-6pm drumming hours"? There is no mechanism for that. And if 10 drummers or 300 drummers come to the park and drum, the occupation has no ground to stand on to ask them to stop - the occupation itself is a complete rejection of that kind of authority. If the drumming is occurring, and the body of occupiers have not been able to pressure or shame or convince the drummers to stop - perhaps that is the occupation speaking - perhaps the voice of the occupation is saying let it go on.  Otherwise, wouldn't they be driven out of the park simply by the social pressures that have acted on other agents that are driven from the park?

I personally find the drumming as annoying as the residents do - we can't hear the GA, we can't hear during our working group meetings. But I also respect what it is, it's older than government, it's older than language - it's one of the most human activities on earth. And so if that ancient human activity is considered so horrifying that it results in evicting us from the park, and if we're getting this worked up about it that it's splitting us apart, maybe we should get over it, give up and start drumming ourselves, non-stop until we drive ourselves and everyone else in the neighborhood to remember that basic humanity that we have lost - a loss that has produced Wall Street and this situation of inequity, war and suffering to begin with.

It reminds of the Krishnamurti quote: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”


On Sun, Oct 23, 2011 at 4:11 PM, beka economopoulos <> wrote:
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)
Date: October 23, 2011 12:40:57 PM EDT
 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,

Hi Steven,
   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 Thurs. meeting.
    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 person) - 
  In the meantime CB 1 will continue to work with our elected officials to make this situation better.
   Regards, Pat
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 voice mail.
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.
Pat, again, 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 -0400
Subject: Re: Drumming
To: (community board members)

Hi Steven,
   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 be.
    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!




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