Tag Archives: Peter Bratsis

Occupy’s challenge: Reinventing democracy (Salon)

Behind the scenes with rogue drummers, homeless, liberals and the black bloc as OWS grapples with self-government

Occupy Wall Street protesters demonstrate on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 17. (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

The panicked emails and texts sounded like a prank worthy of the Yes Men. Occupy Wall Street — which like some comic book character only grew stronger after each attack by nefarious forces, whether pepper spray, mass arrests or New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s threat to close the park for cleaning – had finally been brought to its knees.

What was about to kill the most successful American activist movement in decades? The drum circle.

Drummers possessed with a Dionysian fervor were demanding that they be allowed to pound their bongos and congas late into the night because they were the “heartbeat of this movement.” In response, a letter circulated with the dramatic warning that “OWS is over after Tuesday.” With equal doses of Middle East diplomacy and Burning Man theatrics, the writer explained that weeks of negotiations between a drummers’ working group called Pulse, the OWS General Assembly and the local community board had collapsed.

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