Tag Archives: money

Occupier + current system + social media = ?

20 May 2012: The police crack down pretty hard on the Occupiers in Chicago today during their Anti-NATO protest.

I found this photograph moving around Facebook and I thought I’d post it.  I thought the Occupy protests were winding down, but based on this chaos, I’d say I was quite off the mark.

The focal point of the image is the young man guarding himself against a police officer, as well as on the overwhelmed and scared woman with the camera.  I feel like this image represents three main elements of the entire Occupy movement really well.

The young man represents the generic Occupier: the recent college graduate, possibly a hipster, who feels the need to stand out against the current regime and say that he doesn’t approve of the current status quo.  His hands are up to shield himself against the night stick, but the look on his face isn’t necessarily one of fear.  There is determination there, a confidence that comes out if you stare a little longer at him, and you can see that he isn’t just going to defend himself against the police officer, he is willing to take him on.

The police officer is not only representative of police presence and the issues that have come out of that during Occupy, but the illustration of faulty government itself.  The police are supposed to protect citizens, just as the government is supposed to benefit the people, but clearly the police were not protecting anyone but themselves in Chicago today, and clearly the system is not working for the governed because groups like the Occupiers and the Tea Partiers exist.

Finally, the woman with the camera represents media, more specifically social media.  Before social media took off, people heard about things like this through news articles or segments done by professionals.  Ideally, the news is supposed to be unbiased but it rarely is.  Now, with social media, people who were actually there in the moment can show their own evidence to anyone they want at lightning speed for free.  With these kinds of resources, the moments like this will always be available to the public and the truth will never be forgotten.

The Occupier, the current system and social media. Put them all together and what do you get?  Based on this photo, a real Charlie Foxtrot.



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


Some People Never Learn to Share…. and for Good Reasons

This post will be dedicated to examining the financial relationships between Occupy Wall Street’s financial section and the groups in OWS. I will warn you ahead of time, I couldn’t find any reputable sources aside from the NY Post article on this topic, so the material won’t be as factual as my last post, but it’s an interesting topic to consider nevertheless.

According to a NY post article, OWS was rather stingy with its funds in October of last year. In the article, a disgruntled member of OWS stated that the financial section of OWS “dives on whatever money is raised by OWS working groups, and doesn’t give it back.”

What are OWS working groups? Someone might ask. Well, in short, they are groups that take care of necessary functions inside the organization. For example, there is a kitchen group, who takes care of the necessary function of a kitchen, and there are other groups who fulfill other roles.

These groups raise money, which is then taken by the financial section of OWS, officially dubbed the Finance Committee. The Committee then re-organizes and redistributes the money how they see fit, much to the apparent chagrin of some of the smaller groups, such as the Comfort Working Group, who don’t receive nearly as much funding as some of the larger groups.

If you recall from my previous post, which looked at the funds required to keep OWS going, it stated how much OWS spends on different things. OWS grouped together different things for that report, there are roughly 30 OWS working groups, and not even 8 categories, which means that some of them had to be grouped together, because you can’t exclude things in a financial audit to the government.

According to my last post, OWS is running out of money. In fact, according them, they should have already gone broke.

If that’s not the case, then they have a few options

1.)    Accept the money from MRG

2.)    Cut costs and raise more money

3.)    Raise enough money to keep going without cutting costs

They still haven’t accepted the money from MRG, so they’ve either done option 2 or 3. Personally, and there is no real way to verify this without another financial audit report, I believe they’ve done number 2 (no pun intended).

Judging from their last report, the amount of money they would have had to raise would have been staggering, but they haven’t completely ceased operations, so option 2 is the only real choice here. So was it a good move for them to be stingy with their money, and not give more to less essential groups? Judging from the financial state they’re in now, it sure looks so.

–  Justin