Having faced police crackdowns, forced evictions of movement-occupied spaces, and attempts by politicians and organizations both sympathetic and antagonistic to co-opt its name and message, the Occupy movement faces a new challenge.
It may be running out of money.
Even a movement as staunchly anti-capitalist as Occupy has to pay the bills — or bail money, as it sometimes turns out. Reports indicate that, save for a $90,000 fund set aside for bail, the closest thing to a organizing arm for the New York City Occupy movement has under $45,000 left. At their current spending rate, that money will be gone in three weeks.
Even if the piggy bank starts running low, don’t expect these protesters to get desperate in their search for funds. They refused money (and an attempt to reorganize their operations) from liberal activists Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (the ice cream brand itself is now owned by Unilever (NYSE:UL)), because they felt the money would come with too many strings. The movement will be funded on Occupy’s terms, or not at all.
The good news for Occupy is that they are a diverse movement, both geographically and in terms of what they do. Funding issues for one branch in one city might not have any effect on other Occupy-related activities in that same city, or Occupy activities across the country. Furthermore, the movement started out small-scale, and this might just be a comfortable return to business as usual.
As spring fast approaches, and the weather becomes ripe for protests, we will see if funding becomes an issue in getting out their message.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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