Is Occupy running out of money?

Cash donations come and go while a self-sufficient movement uses what it has

Topics: Occupy Wall Street, ,

Is Occupy running out of money? (Credit: AP/Andrew Burton)

Over the weekend, news emerged of financial woes in the Occupy Wall Street camp (or displaced camp). According to a Reuters report, predictably picked up by the New York Post, “New York’s Occupy Wall Street group is warning it could run out of money by the end of the month.”

A report posted on the New York General Assembly website by the accounting working group detailed that, apart from $90,000 set aside for bailing out future arrestees, under $45,000 was left in the OWS kitty (an amount that would dwindle to nothing within three weeks at the current rate of expenditure).

Much digital ink has been spilled about the slowing rate of donations flowing into Occupy compared to the boon days last fall, when donations totaling around $20,000 per day were flooding in (as opposed to under $2,000 per week more recently). As the Reuters article puts it, the shrinking funds “[raise] questions about the future of the movement that sparked nationwide protests against economic injustice last year.”

But before we strain our ears listening for death knells, I’d suggest that problems with funding needn’t necessarily raise (troubling) questions about the future of the movement at all. To be sure, the allocation of limited funds has long been a contentious issue in New York Occupy working groups and elsewhere. Recent challenges have also emerged, as I discussed in previous posts here, about how to deal with wannabe benefactors who don’t adhere to Occupy’s ethics of horizontalism.

However, the Reuters article highlights the financial situation of just one Occupy group. While the central OWS funds are dwindling, other autonomous projects continue to spring up which do not rely on these funds to operate. Take, for example, Occuprint, a self-described “volunteer-run collaborative project that curates, collects, prints and distributes posters and graphics produced by and for the global Occupy movement.” Through a Kickstarter campaign with a goal to raise $16,800 to produce and spread propaganda, Occuprint has raised over $18,000 with two weeks still to go on their pledge drive. Evidently, people are still willing to donate to and support Occupy efforts, even if there is shrinking financial support for the central OWS pot; it is no bad thing if decentralized, autonomous Occupy projects find different ways to fund and support themselves.

Furthermore, as the OWS media team put it in a statement, “This is a struggle which doesn’t come gift-wrapped or fit on a spread sheet. The bank account will go up and down – we’ve done a lot with a lot and also done a lot with a little.” The accounting group’s report cannot, for example, quantify the work people put in to providing free food, salvaged from supermarket dumpsters — efforts which will only increase if funds to buy food dry up.

It is worth remembering that Occupy did not rely on substantial funding to get started and to resonate across the country. There is no reason to think that a lot of money is needed to jump-start its momentum again. But now, at least, there’s some money tucked away for bail.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Rose Jay via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Labrador Retriever

    These guys are happy because their little brains literally can't grasp the concept of global warming.

    Hysteria via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    German Shepherd

    This momma is happy to bring her little guy into the world, because she doesn't know that one day they'll both be dead.

    Christian Mueller via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Golden Retriever

    I bet these guys wouldn't be having so much fun if they knew the sun was going to explode one day.

    WilleeCole Photography via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America


    This dude thinks he's tough, but only because nobody ever told him about ISIS.

    Soloviova Liudmyla via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America


    This little lady is dreaming about her next meal-- not Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

    Labrador Photo Video via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Yorkshire Terrier

    This trusting yorkie has never even heard the name "Bernie Madoff."

    Pavla via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America


    She is smiling so widely because she is too stupid to understand what the Holocaust was.

    Aneta Pics via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America


    Sure, frolic now, man. One day you're going to be euthanized and so is everyone you love.

    Dezi via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    French Bulldog

    He's on a casual afternoon stroll because he is unfamiliar with the concept of eternity.

    Jagodka via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America


    Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be this care-free? But we can't because we are basically all indirectly responsible for slavery.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>