Occupy Protest Sapped of Cash
Occupy Wall Street—the movement built on protesting corporate greed and income inequality—is running out of money.
After raising more than $700,000 last fall, protesters who keep track of money for Occupy Wall Street reported this week that the group has about $170,000 in its bank account. Very few donations are coming in, they said.
“If we keep spending at the rate at which we have been doing, we will probably go broke in a month,” said Haywood Carey, 28 years old, a member of the movement’s accounting group.
Occupy Wall Street voted to freeze all spending on new projects at a Saturday meeting of its main government body, the General Assembly, but will continue spending on basics such as housing at several churches, food, clothing and transportation.
The money woes highlight how Occupy Wall Street has struggled to maintain momentum since it was evicted from a Lower Manhattan park on Nov. 15. During the two months protesters camped out in Zuccotti Park, donations poured in from around the nation and world as media attention focused on the round-the-clock demonstration.
But many activists said they quickly became fed up with the group’s spending habits. General Assembly meetings turned into long debates over how to distribute funds to keep Zuccotti Park running.
“With such an influx of donations, we’d begun to rely on economic capital,” said Jason Ahmadi, 27, an Occupy Wall Street activist who has called for the movement to return its focus to what drew others at the very beginning in mid-September: “human and social capital.”
Mr. Ahmadi, who was among the first protesters to set up camp in Zuccotti Park, spearheaded the General Assembly effort to curb spending on Saturday. He diagnosed the group’s money issue as the “nonprofit industrial complex.”
“There’s a trap that the mission becomes more about sustaining the organization than its message,” he said.