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Forum Post: How Occupy Wall Street Spent $700,000 in Six Months,

Posted 6 years ago on March 15, 2012, 6:06 a.m. EST by VoterMarch (34) from New York, NY
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How Occupy Wall Street Spent $700,000 in Six Months, The Atlantic Wire, March 13, 2012


Of the $737,000 or so Occupy Wall Street reports it has raised in donations since its inception nearly six months ago, it’s managed to spend or earmark more than $700,000 of that, according to its latest finance report. Amid the staples, copies, computers, and materials for its direct actions, it paid for tea, cigarettes, and lots of Metrocards. For the group that occupied Wall Street in the first place, a financial hangover is at hand.

At its peak, Occupy had around $500,000 in the bank as donations poured in thanks to the national exposure of its Zuccotti Park encampment. Now, aside from the $89,029 that remains of its $100,000 bail fund, it has $30,537 to work with, according to last week’s report. So where did all that money go? A sampling of some of some of line items in the Occupy budget:

$45,000 on Metrocards The movement moves by New York subway. (Though it’s a little hard to tally because some of those are reported as one of a few bundled expenses, such as $87 for ”metrocards and earplugs” for the security detail on Nov. 9).

$9,900 on legal expenses Almost all of that going to bail out activists arrested during Occupy actions.

$6,000 on tea and herbs And do not forget the equipment to prepare them, as documented in expenditures slated for the Tea and Herbal and Herbalist working groups.

$7,196 on laundry People living in the Zuccotti encampment needed clean drawers.

$200 on tobacco and rolling papers Zuccotti Park had a Nic@Nite cigarette station.

$2,970 on fire extinguishers These were purchased after the encampment was visited by fire inspectors at the end of October.

$5,000 on pedal-powered generators The Fire Department seized the generators (which cost $2,185) any way. Eventually the city returned the machines.

$3,000 to make puppets The props first appeared at the Halloween march, but have since been used for lots of actions since (including the one pictured above).

$11,170 to churches Since early December, after police evicted the camp from Zuccotti park, Occupy has paid rent to churches housing displaced occupiers.

Of course, the bulk of Occupy’s money went to the kind of expenses you’d expect to see in a burgeoning activist movement: Printing and screen printing for flyers, T-shirts, and documents accounts for some $55,000. Another $25,000 got sent to Occupy Oakland and $10,000 went to Occupy Newark, in keeping with Occupy’s principle that it should help fund its sibling movements should their requests pass its general assembly.

Occupy’s accounting group declined to comment for this story, but from the chatter on its website not all appear pleased with the way it’s handled expenses. One named Monica McLaughlin wrote: ”It was never the intent of the donors to support young able-bodied Americans. We should use the money to grow the movement. Period.”

But Occupy organizers point out that all of its expenses and budgets were approved through its consensus-based decision-making body, the general assembly. Some members might not like the financial choices the group made when it was more flush, but it’s never kept them a secret. And each spending decision was reached by the group as a whole.

With Occupy’s bank balance dwindling, Natasha Lennard wrote in Salon today that the movement’s momentum — and the funds its receiving — has largely transferred to other related projects outside Occupy’s sphere. The group’s accounting report for March 7 put its weekly budget at $17,090, and its actual expenses for the week at $14,880. Most of that goes to the kitchen ($10,000 budgeted) and metrocards ($4,380 budgeted). ”At our current rate of expenditure, we have TWO WEEKS of recurring budgets remaining,” the report says.



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[-] 1 points by RedSkyMorning (220) 6 years ago

Why did we pay churches? I claim refuge! I claim refuge!

Internet campaigns to get people to send occupiers things is likely easy enough, too. I sent some pizzas. But if you need tea or cigarettes, you should just make that known.

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 6 years ago

too bad they didnt spend that money buying land and building a home for the homeless. 500k can go along way.

[-] 1 points by BoycottCoke (275) 6 years ago

There is a need to evolve instead of panic and despair. There is a different method of running a revolution which instead of taking money from you, it actually ensures money stays in your pocket, and incredibly enough, it is the most effective of all protests....

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 6 years ago

For a reminder into just what OWS is all about, please see (inter alia !) :

Also re. the forum-post, one can only wish that our "esteemed financial institutions' had such a level of clear and transparent accountability !!!

"Audit The Fed ... anyone ?" !!

radix malorum est cupiditas !

[-] 0 points by SteveKJR (-497) 6 years ago

Where in the hell can 1000 people spend 700,000 in six months? I mean really - spending money on peoples laundry, 45,000 in metrocards.

Hey, if you are going to protest it's not a "paid vacation". No wonder there aren't many out there protesting today, all the money's gone and they went home because the free ride was over.

Pay them for coming and they will come - that should be the OWS motto.

[-] 0 points by beenthereonce (-13) 6 years ago

Wonder how much was spent on prescription drugs and other drug paraphernalia?????

[-] -1 points by beenthereonce (-13) 6 years ago

OWS was never a movement but just a fad or (spin) from the sixties hippie times. OWS is busted and is not getting anymore support, it is over for them

[-] -3 points by aflockofdoofi (-18) 6 years ago

Without money, adios amigos.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 6 years ago

Without a brain, a human heart or imagination ?!!! "adios" F@#KWIT !! ad iudicium !

[-] 0 points by aflockofdoofi (-18) 6 years ago

Sorry to burst your Fantasyland Utopial but even OWS needs operating funds. This is simply a replay of 60s-70s communes, where disenchantment grew as work and financial commitments waned.

Good night.