Tonight's meeting of the full Community Board 1 will test the evolving compromise between neighborhood representatives and the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Pulse, the group of drummer-protesters who have organized to assert their rights, agreed to limit their drumming to four hours a day during last night's General Assembly meeting. For a leaderless, nebulous movement, finite agreements are an important step. But CB 1's Quality of Life and Financial District committees didn't approve of four hours of drumming last week, they agreed on two.
While the issues of public defecation and police barricades creeped into the discussion, the CB 1 meeting was dominated by a search for compromise on drumming at Occupy Wall Street. Most everyone agreed that it should be limited to 2 hours a day, preferably from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. during rush hour. These were the terms agreed to by the committees and de facto OWS spokesman Han Shan. Yet the loud outbursts during the meeting by one woman were a portent: some drummers wouldn't be reasoned with.
This protester, who identifies herself as Ashley Love, shouted "four hours!" several times while CB 1 members were speaking, to the anger and frustration of her peers sitting around her. One tugged on her sleeve, pleading her to stop before creating another impasse.
A "respected activist" who refused to be named described her to n+1 thusly:
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, and 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.
Our reporter approached the drummers this afternoon around 1 p.m., and they were playing with gusto. "You can't keep this fire I've got in me quiet," said one drummer who declined to be named but noted that he was not with Pulse. "Throw me behind bars, I'll make noise on those too."
We'll be there to see if Love, (who some OWS protesters believe is a media saboteur) interrupts the full board meeting again, and whether or not CB 1 will approve of drumming between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. If enough residents turn out to complain, the board's trust in the demonstrators to police themselves and keep their word may be broken beyond repair.
Additional reporting by James Thilman