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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The United States is already showing many of the characteristics of a failed state, not because of any movement but because domestic and foreign policy objectives are moving us in that direction at an alarming rate.

"The "system" is coming to have some of the features of failed states, to adopt a currently fashionable notion that is conventionally applied to states regarded as potential threats to our security (like Iraq) or as needing our intervention to rescue the population from severe internal threats (like Haiti)," says author Noam Chomsky. He continues:

"The definition of "failed states" is hardly scientific. But they share some primary characteristics. They are unable or unwilling to protect their citizens from violence and perhaps even destruction. They regard themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law, hence free to carry out aggression and violence. And if they have democratic forms, they suffer from a serious "democratic deficit" that deprives their formal democratic institutions of real substance. One of the hardest tasks that anyone can undertake, and among the most important, is to look honestly in the mirror. If we allow ourselves to do so, we should have little difficulty in finding the characteristics of "failed states" right at home."

His thesis is more broadly covered in his book "Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy".


I am pretty sure the bank will not appreciate me defaulting on my mortgage. I enjoy having a place to live that isn't a box in some ally. We came to an agreement and I intend on living up to my end. That and the gas station owner won't accept anything but currency in exchange for petrol. Damn these parameters set up for productive members of society!


The lyrics to "Corduroy" come to mind in this debate. "Can't buy what I want because it's free." That is my emotional response. Liberating lyrics, aren't they?


Liberating? No. More like alienating poetic bs, if you ask. I have a family to support so what I need is not free. Occupy is too full of this non-sensical crap, not enough down to earth realism.


For the most part, our NEEDS are free, it is our WANTS that cost us. For do you also have a car and house to pay for? Choose life!

Then again, have we not had enough "down to earth realism"? Enough of being told to live in the 'Real' World?


Groceries... rent... clothing... gas to go to work to support it. What else am I missing here?

Hardly "wants" and hardly "free"


Dude! didn't you read the above post? all we need is love and subsistence farming! you are harshing my buss with your facts


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