In Oakland, there are problems with violence and sexual harassment and organizers have resorted to vigilantism. As Verum Serum reports, it has all come to remind some of the local authorities of a book they read in high school.
One officer compared the scene to â€œLord of the Flies.â€ His supervisor was even more insightful:
One Oakland police supervisor said that the participants first appeared to him as â€œfreethinking activistsâ€ but have since devolved into something more sinister. He said it was â€œinteresting for a group that claims to be against current civilization and rules to set up a far more oppressive society than our own.â€
New York Magazine compares Zuccotti Park to “Animal Farm“, reporting with amusement that some of those who Occupy Wall Street are levying taxes on other more enterprising protestors, and the latter are not very happy about having their earnings spread around.
All occupiers are equal â€” but some occupiers are more equal than others. In wind-whipped Zuccotti Park, new divisions and hierarchies are threatening to upend Occupy Wall Street and its leaderless collective.
As the protest has grown, some of the occupiers have spontaneously taken charge on projects large and small. But many of the people in Zuccotti Park aren’t taking direction well, leading to a tense Thursday of political disagreements, the occasional shouting match, and at least one fistfight.
It began, as it so often does, with a drum circle. The ten-hour groove marathons werenâ€™t sitting well with the neighborhoodâ€™s community board, the ironically situated High School of Economics and Finance that sits on the corner of Zuccotti Park, or many of the sleep-deprived protesters.
â€œ[The high school] couldnâ€™t teach,â€ explained Josh Nelson, a 27-year-old occupier from Nebraska. â€œAnd weâ€™ve had issues with the drummers too. They drum incessantly all day, and really loud.â€ Facilitators spearheaded a General Assembly proposal to limit the drumming to two hours a day. â€œThe drumming is a major issue which has the potential to get us kicked out,” said Lauren Digion, a leader on the sanitation working group.
But the drums were fun. They brought in publicity and money. Many non-facilitators were infuriated by the decision and claimed that it had been forced through the General Assembly.
â€œTheyâ€™re imposing a structure on the natural flow of music,” said Seth Harper, an 18-year-old from Georgia. â€œThe GA decided to do it … they suppressed peopleâ€™s opinions. I wanted to do introduce a different proposal, but a big black organizer chick with an Afro said I couldnâ€™t.â€
To Shane Engelerdt, a 19-year-old from Jersey City and self-described former â€œhead drummer,â€ this amounted to a Jacobinic betrayal. â€œThey are becoming the government weâ€™re trying to protest,” he said. “They didnâ€™t even give the drummers a say … Drumming is the heartbeat of this movement. Look around: This is dead, you need a pulse to keep something alive.â€
The drummers claim that the finance working group even levied a percussion tax of sorts, taking up to half of the $150-300 a day that the drum circle was receiving in tips. â€œNow they have over $500,000 from all sorts of places,â€ said Engelerdt. â€œWeâ€™re like, whatâ€™s going on here? Theyâ€™re like the banks weâ€™re protesting.”