Crisis strikes OWS: How can we do more to accommodate the drummers?

Via the Corner’s Charles Cooke by way of Ace, test your mental endurance with four and a half minutes of an OWS apparatchik droning his way through “negotiations” with the community board about the very important matter of drum circles. The vids that circulate on blogs of OWSers popping off about Zionist bankers or overthrowing the world’s rulers capture one side of the movement, but this clip is a big bay window onto the other side — the proto-bureaucracy that’s sprung up in the park, replete with dozens of “working groups,” that takes itself utterly seriously even when the subject is hippies needing something to chant to. Somehow, something as simple as that can’t be resolved simply; it requires a board meeting, extended “dialogue,” liaisons for each side, and on and on and on. It’s statism in its protozoan form, and it’s really (albeit dryly) funny. The guy in the clip is, to the community board, what a school’s student-body president is to the local superintendent, yet he sounds like he’s arguing before the Hague. I feel almost relieved watching it, just because it’s hard to believe a movement this lame could ever be truly threatening. If they ever did feel inclined to start smashing windows, they’d need to hold 800 “working group” meetings and consult with the board first before resolving to take action. And even then, this guy might take the floor and bore them all into walking away and forgetting about it.

And yet, the media couldn’t be any more excited than it is by the whole thing. Go figure.

Ed already linked New York magazine’s comedy gold about the Great Drumming Standoff this morning so I won’t quote it again (for what it’s worth, my favorite character is “Zonkers”), but here’s Gothamist picking up the story:

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.”

Alas, some occupiers are more equal than others. The good news is, one-percenter Russell Simmons eventually showed up and started handing out free money so presumably the drum corps will be well supplied again this weekend. Will Mike Bloomberg do anything about the noise? He hinted today that a crackdown is coming, but since the crackdown’s being couched in language like “We’ll eventually have to work something out here,” expect plenty more Hague-like opening statements at community board meetings to come.

Incidentally, and contrary to Time magazine’s claim that more than 50 percent of the public supports OWS, a new AP poll finds that just 37 percent back the movement. And of that number, only 22 percent are independents. Keep riding the tiger, Democrats. The … droning, long-winded tiger.

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