Occupy Wall Street, who decides how donations are spent
[Readers, I'd like more information on this. As Marx said, love flies out the door when money comes innuendo. UPDATE I should explain more why this post worried me. The Occupations have given me the first real hope that I've had in, oh, a decade or so. And I think I share the feeling with many in my age cohort that if real change for the better is going to happen in my lifetime, this is it. So the Occupations are important to me (and in RL, too; I'm not completely lazing in the Barcalounger). And a huge part of the hope and the joy does, in fact, come from the GA, from self-organization. And over the past decade, we've seen a lot of collapsed ideals, and a lot of self-betrayal by self-identified idealists and change agents. And -- surprise! -- the Occupiers aren't saints; they're humans, just like the rest of us, and subject to all human failings. Now, when the first proposal for Spokes Councils was brought before the NYCGA, and rejected, I was watching the live twitter transcript of the questions and answers -- and I didn't like some of the group dynamics I saw or rather read. (Not that I was present on the ground, but I've been reading political texts 24/7 for eight years or so, and my ability to comprehend is reasonable.) This post reinforces those concerns about group dynamics. The poster may have an axe to grind, but... that's human. What would be helpful to me is concrete detail on how the Spokes Councils are working, on the ground. Readers? -- lambert]
On Sunday, October 23, a meeting was held at 60 Wall Street. Six leaders discussed what to do with the half-million dollars that had been donated to their organization, since, in their estimation, the organization was incapable of making sound financial decisions. The proposed solution was not to spend the money educating their co-workers or stimulating more active participation by improving the organization’s structures and tactics. Instead, those present discussed how they could commandeer the $500,000 for their new, more exclusive organization. No, this was not the meeting of any traditional influence on Wall Street. These were six of the leaders of Occupy Wall Street (OWS).
Occupy Wall Street’s Structure Working Group (WG) has created a new organization called the Spokes Council. “Teach-ins” were held to workshop and promote the Spokes Council throughout the week of October 22-28. I attended the teach-in on Sunday the 23rd.
According to Marisa Holmes, one of the most outspoken and influential leaders of OWS, the NYC-GA started receiving donations from around the world when OWS began on September 17. Because the NYC-GA was not an official organization, and therefore could not legally receive thousands of dollars in donations, the nonprofit Alliance for Global Justice helped OWS create Friends of Liberty Plaza, which receives tax-free donations for OWS. Since then, Friends of Liberty Plaza has received over $500,000. Until October 28, anybody who wanted to receive more than $100 from Friends of Liberty Plaza had to go through the often arduous modified consensus process (90% majority) of the NYC-GA—which, despite its well-documented inefficiencies, granted $25,740 to the Media WG for live-stream equipment on October 12, and $1,400 to the Food and Medical WGs for herbal tonics on October 18.
Maybe pizzas and in-kind donations are best.