Will Donor Money Destroy Occupy Wall Street?

An emerging existential debate in the movement.


In recent weeks, a series of existential debates have erupted within the Occupy movement. Soul-searching discussions on violence vs. non-violence and leaders vs. leaderless and autonomy vs. consensus are happening everywhere… welcome signs that the core principles of phase two of Occupy are being hashed out organically. Now, a conversation is beginning in New York City with profound implications for the entire movement. Jeff Smith, a member of the Occupy Wall Street press team, explains the situation:

A crowd of about 100 gathered at the West Park Church on the Upper West Side Sunday for an open meeting dedicated to the unveiling of the newly re-named Movement Resource Group. The 501c3 is the latest incarnation of a group of wealthy donors who have been trying to plug into OWS for months…. Six months after OWS began and three months after the NYPD violently “cleaned” Zuccotti Park, there are a lot of occupiers struggling to make ends meet—especially those who are new to activism and are relying on the money coming through the New York City General Assembly, which has nearly run through its remaining funds. The protesters are hungry. And when these latest money men moved in, it felt like a two-way con. The rich people were trying to buy a piece of OWS on the cheap. Desperate protesters were there to see if they could get one over on the rich guys by taking their money without sacrificing anything of value, namely their values.

Read the entire article at The Daily Beast and weigh in below. Do you think Marisa Holmes, a founding Zuccotti, is right that accepting Ben & Jerry’s money will “destroy the very foundation of the movement”?

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51 comments on the article “Will Donor Money Destroy Occupy Wall Street?”

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Money is just a means to an end. Find the end, and fight back. The otherside is well funded. Why shouldn't OWS be?


It would really kill me to see OWS become just another propaganda gimmick of "liberal" corporatism. Just like every musician, band, writer, authentic voice that has "sold out" and become part of the establishment infrastructure, the co-optation of OWS would be a monumental tragedy and would leave seemingly little hope for a humane and sincere existence from here on out... Please resist and stay true. I cant express how much I'm counting on all of this.


It won't corrupt as long as the donors do not get to decide policy. If they only want to give money for supplies, food, & essentials, that's fine & should be welcomed.


As long as Ben and Jerry's does not get to decide policy. Although I really think they should have donated it directly to the General Assembly, anonymously. Why do they need recognition for what they're doing if their goal is really to help the movement? So I don't think it's necessarily wrong to accept their money, but if it comes with strings attached and if Ben and Jerry's uses OWS for advertising purposes, then thats wrong.


Ben & Jerry endorsed. This gets others to come out of the closet of fear about endorsing. I remember when I first started blogging about 99% occupy Anonymous...very few were writing in support. Then after more and more persons supported with words...more and more people came out of the closet of fear about endorsing.


Before I became a member of the Occupy movement last year, I followed the happenings all over the country. There were two things that stood out consistently, Ben & Jerry was supporting the fledgling movement and it was not a popular thing for a business/corporation to be supporting the "Dirty, smelly hippies that needed to take a shower and get a job. If it were advertising Ben & Jerry was looking for, it would seem they were getting a lot of negative advertising simply by showing OWS some well needed love. Here in my city, all one had to do was go into a shop and say I support OWS and get a free ice cream. With Ben & Jerry, I kinda feel they get it. I support Ben & Jerry for having the balls to support us before it was cool. Trust but verify comes to mind with any group or business that supports the cause, if it seems they are looking for "quid pro quo", politely say thank you but no thanks...


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