According to the Wall Street Journal, Occupy Wall Street is down to their last $170,000 after raising more than $700,000 this fall. "If we keep spending at the rate at which we've been doing, we will probably go broke in a month," a member of the accounting group tells the paper. Where did all the money go? Housing, feeding, and clothing lots of people. On Saturday, the movement voted to freeze all spending except for bare necessities: housing, food, and clothing.
The tally is down somewhat from what Rosie Gray reported last week: $230K with another $100K bail fund, so the actual total is probably somewhere in between. Gray also noted that the movement is wisely interviewing accountants.
"With such an influx of donations, we'd begun to rely on economic capital," Jason Ahmandi, a protester who has been with the movement since its inception. Ahmandi deems the dwindling funds as a symptom of the "nonprofit industrial complex," which perpetuates a "trap that the mission becomes more about sustaining the organization than the message."
The cash shortage brings up a question that never had to be asked during those heady fall days: should Occupy Wall Street be courting donors? Michael Levitin, who marshaled $75,000 in donations for the Occupied Wall Street Journal, believes they should. "That money is there. Many people with money believe in this movement. I think we would be wise to tap into it." Ahh, those conniving capitalists at the OWSJ!
The spectacle at Zuccotti Park has been limited, and with winter's chill deterring many regular citizens from joining demonstrations, the nation as a whole and OWS are very much on the same page: a WaPo/ABC poll released yesterday shows the public despises Congress at record levels, and 75% of respondents disapprove of Republicans in particular, compared with 62% of Democrats. Asked which was more of a problem, "unfairness in the economic system" or "over-regulation" of the financial market, 55% stated it was "unfairness in the economic system."