Money in the Movement

In Kurt Andersen’s piece he says, ” ‘Massive and effective street protest’ was a global oxymoron until — suddenly, shockingly — starting
exactly a year ago, it became the defining trope of our times. And the protester once again became a maker
of history.”

The quote means that before 2011, there had not been effective large-scale protest for quite some time. However, following the revolutions in Egypt and the Arab world, it seemed that people, not just politicians, had the power to incite change.

In Occupy Wall Street, protesters aren’t just makers of history, they’re also the people who finance the movement. My research has shown that Occupy Wall Street is largely  funded by people taking part in the protest. This does not mean that OWS does not receive any sponsorship from corporations, but the sources that I have found all say that people fund the movement.

– Justin

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3 responses to “Money in the Movement

  1. coffeeshoprhino

    Do you have any hard numbers on that funding and sources for those numbers?

  2. Which would seem to go against the idea that “the 99 percent” don’t have any money to spend…

  3. Which sources have you found to support this claim? It seems to me this field is a particularly difficult one to research, considering that OWS is a decentralised movement with no national (or international) leadership. Is the financial data similar across the United States? What about in other countries?

    In scholarly research, proper definition of terms is crucial. When you say “people”, to whom are you referring? The self-proclaimed 99% who are currently protesting? Sympathisers to the protesters who are not actually protesting themselves? These distinctions are critical; if the movement is being supported by the protestors, this means the protestors have money to spend (as said above). If it is being funded by external sympathisers, this means two things; one, the movement has external support and two, people with disposable income are still dissatisfied with the way our country’s economy has been run.

    How is the money donated? Does each movement have its own bank account to which supporters donate directly? Is the money given to a movement or person who then gives it to someone else within the movement? A more complex method of funding distribution would indicate a higher level of organisation. How do the protestors keep track of their funds? Most importantly, who decides how the money will be spent once it is received?

    Finally, have you checked for potential bias in your sources? I have found sources claiming that OWS is being supported by the very persons/entities against which it is protesting. According to this article, OWS received $20,000 from an oil trader who worked on Wall Street and owned his own brokerage firm. He also supports Mitt Romney in the upcoming presidential election (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8834523/Occupy-Wall-Street-financial-backer-also-supports-Mitt-Romney.html). This man donated the money to AdBusters, intending it to be distributed to the movement. Although this donor is a “person”, he would definitely be considered one of the 1% by the protestors, and therefore not of the “people”. A more recent article indicates several “1%” executives of large corporations have been infusing substantial amounts of money into the movement, and plan to donate over $1 million (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203833004577249811049566178.html).

    Although it is true these are individuals, and not actually corporations themselves (although two of the executives mentioned by the Wall Street Journal did give the funds through the official channel of the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation), these big donors do not seem to be part of the 99%. Therefore, we are left with a question worth asking; if the protestors are receiving substantial support from the 1%, why is this group still a target of their anger?

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