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

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie

    A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie

    Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant

    A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Black Silk" by Judith Ivory

    A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale

    A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner

    A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ...   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen

    Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal

    A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time.   Read the whole essay.

  • 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>