Money, one of the main issues that sparked the Occupation of Wall Street, is now causing tension among the ranks of protesters.
Occupy Wall Street (OWS) may not have a unified goal, or a confirmed set of demands, or even an official leader… but the rag-tag group assembled in Zuccotti Park has a half-million dollars in the bank.
According to the New York Post, OWS has deposited five hundred thousand dollars into an account and is using the money to fund the daily operations in Lower Manhattan. They also have physical assets substantial enough to require significant storage space. CBS News reports that the protesters are filling a large storage space around the corner from the park they occupy.
“They’ve amassed mounds of blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, cans of food, medical and hygienic supplies — even oddities like a box of knitting wool and 20 pairs of swimming goggles (to shield protesters from pepper-spray attacks). Supporters are shipping about 300 boxes a day.”
Donations in the form of money and goods have been coming in since the early days of “Occupy Wall Street” but most of the protesters were oblivious to how much money had been collected until the newspapers started reporting it. And now there is a mad scramble by many to stake a claim on a share of the cash sitting in a union-owned credit union. Early last week it was reported that $300,000 in cash had been donated to the group from various sources and that money had been deposited in a local branch of a credit union:
“Close to $300,000 in cash also has been donated, through the movement’s website and by people who give money in person at the park, said Bill Dobbs, a press liaison for the movement. The movement has an account at Amalgamated Bank, which bills itself as ‘the only 100 percent union-owned bank in the United States.'”
Less than a week after that news broke, the total amount in the OWS bank account has reportedly swollen to $500,000 and according to the New York Post, the money, and how it is or isn’t being spent has started causing problems inside Zuccotti Park.
For example- the Comfort Working Group (one of several small sub groups that have sprouted up inside OWS) thinks its daily $150 allocation to purchase shoes, socks and cold weather gear is too little, especially compared to the $2000 a day afforded the Kitchen Group.
A drummer representing the “Pulse Working Group” (they support the seemingly non-stop Drum Circles) is not happy after his request for $8000 to cover drums damaged by vandals and weather, was rejected by the General Assembly.
As the Finance Committee renders decisions on petitions made for allocations, the working groups whose amounts are rejected or reduced are becoming quite vocal about their displeasure.
This may be a sign of bigger problems ahead.