The Leaders (not really) Behind OWS

In my last post, I discussed some of the frustrations that groups in Occupy Wall Street had with the way finances were distributed, and this post will discuss how the Finance Committee at OWS works.

For those who don’ t know, the Finance Committee calls the shots at OWS in terms of where the money goes. If a working group at OWS wants more money, then they have to go through the Finance Committee.

In an article by New York Magazine, the author took a closer look at how the Finance Committee functions, and also the problems that people have with the Finance Committee.

Members of the Finance Committee, such as John McGarvey, are people that have jobs that are somewhat interesting for OWS members. Their occupations include being businessmen, lawyers, and bank investors, though they also have a tattoo artist/software project manager (who was going to get an NYU finance degree before dropping out to support OWS)

That’s right, the very same people that OWS members are taking a stand against, also happen to be a part of OWS, I guess that goes to show skeptics that you can be both rich, and empathetic to the needs of the poor, who knew?

However, the Finance Committee is a stingy group. A group of drummers went to the General Assembly of OWS to ask for new drums, their request was denied because it didn’t go through the Finance Committee.

In fact, everything in terms of finances must go through the Finance Committee, even if the General Assembly has already consented to it.

In addition, the Finance Committee also takes money that working groups or other components of OWS raises. However, if the group wants to get the money back, they must fill out paperwork, and go before the Finance Committee, and in many cases, even if the group wants back money that it raised, it may not get it back.

So does this mean that OWS has a leader, does a group of highly-paid elites run OWS?

Jackie DiSalvo, an key occupation organizer and union leader said, “At OWS, we try not to have leaders, but, in fact, that has resulted in our having many, many leaders.”

Does this mean that she was specifically referring to the members of the Finance Committee, absolutely not, but it does mean that they have a big say in an organization that is supposed to be about what the people want.

I wonder, what does it mean when a small group essentially controls what OWS will do, in terms of finances.

If I’ve proved anything with my posts, it’s that money is key to this organization, and this small group of people controls the money.


–          Justin


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