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 tool. You and I do not worship cash.
We only use it like Air; Water; Food; Clothing; Shelter...
Use money To stop the collapse underway...

Only we understand the evacuation underway in the U.S. of America.
Friends; loved ones; it is serious beyond all belief...
The collapse is so very near.
I have been blogging for 6 years ever since the first of my 5 deployments
to the Corporate Credit Card war by our Masters of War
beginning with LBJ 40 years ago.
For years I have worried about no new energy for U.S.
Now it is even worse.
We are being systematically extracted
by a Nazi Atheist Ann Rand cult that calls itself ultra conservatism.
Please be rational more than idealistic.


I think the OWS folks should hold their ground. If those forces truly do want to help then they must be made to realize that its sort of like a leap of faith. They can donate money and then have to trust the OWS General Assembly to do its best to turn those resources into growing and thriving as a movement.

If they really want to help they will ultimately donate the funds with no strings attached if that is the only option they are left. If they refuse under those conditions, the purpose of the donation was never to help a grassroots movement thrive as a grassroots movement anyway.


OWS has already had, by the article's account, around $800,000 in donations that it has decided how to spend on its own through its existing structures of the GA and the Spokes Council. What I would love to read is an analysis of how this money has been spent so far. I'm not saying it's been used wisely or not - I don't frankly know. I just would like to know HOW it has been used as some kind of indicator of how this movement allocates money when that money is donated entirely without strings or well meaning help of any sort. So what has been bought for the $800k already given? Where is the report of that? It might be a solid argument against the kind of donation that is being offered here. Or it might show something else.


I agree. As a supporter of OWS I expect the same sort of transparency that I expect from the government. I also hope that the people that are recieving this money don't get bit by the greedy capitalist bug.


Take it from an old fart: The most frustrating thing about leftish social movements is how their urge for personal purity keeps preventing them from actually achieving anything.

Revolutions don't usually go bad because the movement compromises, but the opposite. The Jacobins, and Bolsheviks were not exactly known for their moderation and pragmatism.

If money can bring the movement closer to achieving its goals, then go for it. If too high favours are asked in return, preventing the movement from achieving its goals, then do not. That's the simple part.

The complicated part, with a movement rather than an organisation, is "how".


Trust me, OWS doesn't want to be Bolsheviks or Jacobins or Trotskyites or Marxists or Lenninists.


The true (r)evolution would be to reject money in its entirety. We can do this NOW if we want to, but we have to give up our attachments to it. Money is the root of all evil, period. And we don't need permission, or laws enacted to do so. Stop paying for shit, stop accepting money for shit. Stop paying your bills, your student loans, your mortgages or rent, stop driving your cars, throw your cell phones away, grow your own food and share it, help your neighbors and friends, create art and music, dance, play with children. Look at your life and eliminate the causes of oppression within it, replace them with love. Walk away from everything that causes stress, in yourself and others. A new world IS possible, but we have to let go of the old world first. We can't do this by keeping one foot in both...we will tear ourselves apart.

We can do this NOW, too.


Like the USSR.
Like North Korea.
Like Cuba.
Like Iran.
Like so many other Failed States.
Grow up, get a job, buy a minivan and have some kids like everybody else.


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