Proposal to Spend Remaining NYCGA Funds Exclusively on Actions

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

Occupy Wall Street is not about money. Occupy Wall Street is about action. So lets spend our money on action.

If accepted, this proposal would mandate that every dollar remaining in the NYCGA’s account, outside of the bail fund, be used exclusively on actions.

What constitutes an action – in the context of expenditures – and which expenditures are included in an action’s budget will be decided by the New York City General Assembly.

In solidarity,


189 Responses to “Proposal to Spend Remaining NYCGA Funds Exclusively on Actions”

  1. DirekConek (aka Dallas)

    CQ: @haywood So we’re going to have a separate discussion of what defines an action and the contexts in which that definition is applicable? Or is this to be decided ‘on the fly’ per proposal?

  2. Haywood

    Hi Dallas. I would imagine that if the action requires funding, it would need to be approved by the GA on a per action basis. The GA would, I hope, use its discretion in determining what constitutes an action: i.e. renting an office would not be considered an action.

    As it is today, not every action has to be approved/sanctioned/twinkled/whatever by the GA. And with this proposal, I would imagine that, unless you want to use GA funds, there wouldn’t be an issue as to whether your effort was an “action” according to the GA or not.

    Furthermore, My hope is that this proposal, if it passes, will shift the discussions we have as a community back to what we came here to Occupy Wall Street for, ACTION.

    We seem to have fallen into the same traps that we came here to protest, with money determining our every move, dividing us and turning us against one another to the advantage of the wealthiest 1%. I’m saddened every day at what money has done to us and this is the best idea I know of to get us back on track.

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      I can dig it…. but as someone who can be *very* slick with words when I feel like it, I’m concerned about people deciding covering their bar tab or something is an action making a statement against poverty. Just food for thought. Thanks for raising the subject, Haywood.

      • Urbaned

        Right, @direkconek Dallas, I agree. Does direct action constitute planning for direct action? If so, how many hours of planning per hours of action? Maybe the wiki can help. Like you, who has some software engineering background, helter-skelter actions breed misinterpretation and confusion. And, I wouldn’t want to be supporting a direct action that (inadvertently) goes against our principals.

        And, why does direct action need $? If you want to have a rally, make some signs out of recyclables, tweet it out, and just do it.

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          For example, our half of the price of the “bat-signal” cost $9500 IIRC. Probably still the best money we ever spent on DA.

    • Justin Samuels

      @Haywood , personally, I think the money should be given away to a charity. The money just attracted people from all over who just saw dollar signs, and Occupy became a social service agency that housed, fed, and clothed people. This distracted occupy from its mission of economic justice, and to be perfectly honest, I think its too late to get this incarnation of occupy on track. Its time for a new movement with much better organization, one that doesn’t attract free loaders.

      • Urbaned

        @johndoe79 The movement that created the freeloaders was called the 1%. We can do better than that. Here’s how: REFER people to agencies and organizations that are in line with our values. We need to create a large spreadsheet of organizations that meet our standards. Then, people can say “OWS referred me.” We have the power to do that.

        • Justin Samuels

          @Urbaned That’s been done before, and some of that is on this site. Ultimately, I’m sorry to say, if they are going to stay in NYC long term they will have to work. Why move to a place where you have no place to stay, no job, no nothing? If you do that and you go through hard times, its on you.

          A number of these precious darlings were simply living at home with families pre OWS, and likely can go back when they want to.

        • Jondean

          I would have to agree with this. NYC is actually pretty great in terms of Social Services, and ways to get them. If the Social Workers, and/or whomever else can get together and just direct people where to go, with clear concise resource sheets, this would go a very long way.

          This movement does a lot to empower people. This would be another aspect of that…someone that has been given the tools to navigate the system will feel a lot better about themselves, and their situation in the long run, because they didn’t need to be totally dependent.

  3. Urbaned

    It has been very clearly, rationally, and logically stated that the best way to get us back on track is to set up a transparent financial system – an open spreadsheet, etc. It’s an unfortunate fact that we have to deal with money (although the idea of burning it doesn’t sound bad). And, until we get our structure in order, we’re as bad as the you-know-what%

  4. DirekConek (aka Dallas)

    Sorry, can’t agree there. Mismanaging $700K != intentionally ripping off trillion$

  5. John Doe

    i totally support this. maybe we donate all of the $$$$$$$$$ to direct action?

    • sumumba

      is ‘direct action’ the ONLY way we’re going to build this movement? what about OUTREACH? AND US BUILDING INSTITUTIONS so we are no longer dependent on the 1%’s?

      • Haywood

        I don’t believe that the Direct Action working group is the only place where direct action is done.

        For example, the pop-up occupations over the last month are ABSOLUTELY actions – direct or otherwise. The internet blackout against SOPA was ABSOLUTELY an action.

        • John Doe

          Yea I agree. I just meant direct action in general. Not just the working group

        • Sean McKeown

          Outreach is action. Beating the pavement counts as work after all! :)

          • vets74

            As long as you’re thinking “Outreach,” it’s time to put together a first-rate representation or the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. That’s March17th. Biggest public event in New York apart from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day floats extravaganza (which doesn’t have open enrollment.)

            No $$$ required. A skosh of humility, probably. And lots of neat signs.

  6. sumumba

    One of the SERIOUS shortcomings of this Movement has been its CLEAR focus on ‘ACTIONS’ alone…cuz unless we are talking about appeasing EGO’s in DIRECT ACTION we’ll NEVER build this movement beyond Liberty Square or 60 Wall Street…OUTREACH, ENGAGEMENT, PR, MEDIA AND ACTUAL PROGRAMS that SERVE the COMMUNITY are an integral part of BUY IN from the COMMUNITY and the MASSES…if ‘actions’ also mean all those things then im all for it…but if NOT …this proposal should either be BLOCKED or…the WG’s should be able to use AFFINTY groups to continue their work…which in ESSENCE we’ll have to if by ‘ACTIONS’ you only mean ‘DIRECT ACTION’……. #moreofaMEALforthought

  7. sumumba

    i guess the MORE i think about this…the MORE i like the idea….think i’d rather that OUTREACH AND MOVEMENT BUILDING go through AFFINITY GROUPS and OR whoever else wants to fund us….at least we wont have to run it through GA…who u NEVER know will support or BLOCK what’s needed for us…

  8. Lopi

    My clarifying questions about this proposal are:

    Are you proposing that the money be allocated to the Direct Action Working Group to dispense as they see fit?

    Are the planning of “actions” to be limited to DAWG, or could other working groups base line upcoming actions and projects?

    Would the following be construed as “actions” under this proposal:

    taking over vacant lots to build community gardens
    forming worker collectives (creating a democratic workplace model, asking for occupiers to come up with solid business plans for collectives, giving interest free loans to collectives)
    running skill shares and free educational programs
    starting a food program for school kids who don’t eat breakfast because they’re family is too poor
    building a network of squats for housing for homeless activists
    doing extensive art propaganda campaigns to occupy street walls with the message of occupy wall street
    implementing community wide clean up programs to generate positive models for engagement
    mural projects with city youth
    public outreach in the form of videos
    community building through open forums
    teach ins and trainings
    creating intentional communities off the grid

    Would this budget proposal allow for money needed to procure meeting spaces for spokes council

    My concern is that the characterization this proposal puts forth of what we are here for is very limited and narrow and does not include the multiple levels of engagement with the public available for ows to utilize which embraces a diversity of tactics beyond simply doing direct action.

    this includes but is not limited to:
    education, non exploitative job creation, art as a tool for change & empowerment of youth, community building, outreach, pr, food production (aka farming) and alternative currency (this is just off the top of my head, there are many many more avenues)

    I get where this proposal is coming from, but I think an over simplification of “what we are here for” is a dangerous and slippery slope. It also could be dismissive of other ways to create change in the world, which could alienate many who are actively engaged in projects that are not going to fall within even the broadest definition of what a direct action is.

    thanks for listening

    • Haywood

      Lopi, all really good points. Let me address a few of the more pressing ones first:

      I am NOT advocating for the Direct Action Working Group to control all the money. I am advocating all the money we have left be put towards actions.

      Lopi, your art is CERTAINLY considered an action in and of itself.

      I would consider ALL of those things to be actions, save maybe the last one. But it really isn’t up to me to determine what is and isn’t an action. This proposal leaves it up to the GA to determine that. So, while a mural project about the Prison industrial complex may be considered an action, renting office space may not be. Hopefully the GA will use its discretion

  9. Lopi

    in responding to Sumumba’s post above I would say, “Case in Point”

    If we do pass such a proposal, important aspects of the movement could fractionalize into affinity groups who will not be accountable to the NYCGA for the messaging that is being put out to the world about occupy wallstreet.

    Is this a good thing? not sure. on first glance, my reaction is no, nfg

    • sumumba

      i think it will be good actually…cuz wg’s STILL would need to pass whatever by consensus…and honestly…many working groups such as OUTREACH have been doing a kick azz job in certain areas..we have no ‘central messaging’ center anyway…the only things we can really ‘message’ is what has been consensed on by the GA….ending CORPORATE PERSONHOOD PEOPLES BEFORE PARTIES and all the other documents…etc…

  10. sumumba

    LOPI…i think whatever gets passed depends on who’s at the GA and ‘decides’ what is meant by ‘ACTIONS’ it will either be a LONG night with so many compromises that it wont really change anything..or if DA shows up STRONG as they usually do it might ALL go to ‘DIRECT ACTION’ … advised…THE AFFINITY GROUP seems to be the BEST way to get funding around here….hopefully certain working groups wont BLOW it when or if it comes to that…

    • Lopi

      Sumumba, the affinity group funding approach would be an awesome alternative if all the interested donors were not being corralled by certain elites within OWS. My extreme concern with this is that the funding through donors is being controlled by gatekeepers who do not use a horizontal structure to decide who gets this funding. This creates a system of privilege based on social capital and who is best at networking and shmoozing up those in charge of dispensing funds

      Having clusters of donors who are not available to all equally is perpetuating classism within the movement.

      the whole ability to sustain ourselves while continuing this work is also a serious issue. some of us have begun to receive stipends to pay bills with while others continue to struggle along with no means of financial support. This funding of some over others is causing a general feeling of demoralization for those that are working extremely hard with tangible results which greatly benefit the movement while having no support with which to maintain body and soul. (workers co-ops, squats, intentional communities, farms are ways to deal with actually creating a self sustaining movement as opposed to a fractured class)

      • Lopi

        that is not to glaze over such grassroots funding models such as kickstarter and indiegogo and some soon to be unveiled which are specifically geared towards ows. Occuprint is doing this now and they are happily having alot of success!

        one last thought before I return to the drawing board is another danger of affinity groups independently seeking funding from presumably sympathetic 1% ers, is the problem of those funders having undue control over what the affinity group does.

        for a ridiculous example:
        if I got funding to make art through ben and jerry’s, what if they required there be a cow visible in every painting or print I made? I like cows and all, but don’t fancy putting them in everything :)

        (i don’t think they would do this, I met them and they appear to be really integral type of people, just thought a funny and outlandish example might prove the point. hope you guys have a good sense of humor)

        • Haywood

          I would hope that this proposal encourages activists and working groups to be more creative and self-reliant in their consumption of resources. Ideally, that would come from crowdfunding efforts or basic pass the hat efforts and not any type of reliance on 1% philanthropists like OMG/BAG or other such groups.

      • sumumba

        certain ‘elites’ in OWS? such as whom Lopi? and its AMAZING how twisted we get with this ‘horizontal’ double speak lingo…i mean REALLY? HORIZONTALISM? LEADERLESSNESS…. smh

          • Lopi

            if you want to ask him yourself, come to the meeting….

            Movement Resource Group Informational Meeting

            The Movement Resource Group, (formerly OMG) would like to invite you to an Informational Meeting for the OWS Community.

            Sunday, February 26 7PM
            West Park Presbyterian Church
            165 West 86th Street (Amsterdam Ave)

            The Movement Resource Group (MRG) is an independent non profit tax exempt organization which functions as an Occupy affinity group. Its purpose is to raise money to fund certain projects within the national Occupy movement.
            We hope that you can join us.

          • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

            Just like anyone else in the movement, no one has to take anything Shen says as gospel or an order. There’s no guns being held to anyone to do what he advises or accept any resources that he may make available.

        • Lopi

          I’m not going to name names, Sumumba, but it’s definitely not you or outreach I was referring to.

  11. sumumba

    i mean really DIRECT action has been able to plan actions without the rest of our ‘consent’ ….and what kind of ‘messaging’ has been put out to this point regards to ‘actions’? hmmmm hope to see u tonite at 7 wall street LOPI,..we’ll be discussing these things then

  12. Lurking

    I FOR ONE….. am very surprised to see a proposal so focused on ACTION from someone who is N_E_V_E_R at any actions. Maybe if you feel like getting this movement back to ACTION, you could just show up to one? IJS

    • Haywood

      Ouch. I’m usually at most OWS actions. I have a bum knee for the rest of my life from a beating by the NYPD to prove it. Not sure if we’ve ever met, but my name is Haywood.

    • Sean McKeown

      Hi there, brand new secret identity! Given that you’re not willing to use your real face to call someone out on not attending actions, it’s mighty surprising that you’re calling someone out for “not showing up”. I’ve never seen this @lurking d00d anywhere… nope, not at any actions… riiiight.

    • Monica McLaughlin

      How funny! I understand where you are coming from, but no matter. Someone can armchair realize that direct action is what works.

  13. DirekConek (aka Dallas)

    @haywood another CQ: Meaning all funds in account at time of passage, or all funds going forward? Also, might be good if it was announced how much there is before proceeding with consensus process.

    • Haywood

      Dallas, GREAT QUESTION. I’ve thought about that a lot and want to leave it up to Friendly Amendments to decide. My thought is that this proposal would only apply to the money that we have in the bank RIGHT NOW and not for all time.

      Accounting will give a full financial reportback at the beginning of Saturday’s GA, which I’m told that they will do every Saturday from here on out.

      • Monica McLaughlin

        The money we have in the bank right now? Pray tell what that figure is. Thank you.

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          @monjon22 I believe the reportback said $63000 and change available bail fund notwithstanding as of Saturday. I have it written somewhere in my notes… Should be archived on at least 2 livestreams as well.

  14. Patricia L

    I’m not sure we’re all in agreement that OWS is solely about action. According to the Declaration, objectives included “…creat[ing] a process to address the problems we face, and generat[ing] solutions accessible to everyone.” Solutions will not come by action alone. I would hope education, meaning dialogue, outreach, etc play a vital role.

    Further, it is my understanding that Accounting isn’t involved in decision making about the way that GA funds are allocated; therefore, it seems strange that such a proposal would be coming from a member of Accounting.

    CORRECTION: The proposer is no longer in the Accounting group.

    • Haywood

      I am no longer in Accounting and haven’t been for a few weeks. One of the reasons I left accounting was so that I could finally address issues about how this organization makes money. I forgot to mention that, thanks for bringing it up, Patricia!

      • Monica McLaughlin

        Uh . . . I am having a hard time believing you are sincere Haywood. It was one thing for you to come up with a good idea. But for you to step away from the cash? Don’t believe it.

    • Yoni Miller

      What Patricia said is correct, and who said we shouldn’t keep doing what other stuff we do. Finance is a separate question and topic, from OWS in terms of “what is OWS” and what should we do? That’s still up to each of us

      *Smashes Wiffle Bats against wall as violent protest* 😉

  15. Lisa Rubenstein

    The proposal does not state that the funds be given to a specific working group – such as DA. Personally, I have never had a problem with DA not having to go to the GA for funding. Actually, I find it charming, as the majority of DA subscribes to the principals of Anarchy to do so would be a contradiction of terms, and it is pretty great to allow the trust – that is so sorely missing within this movement – flourish.
    That being said, since, according to this proposal, these remainder of the funds are not “earmarked” for the direct actions of DA – it would seem that they are asking that the funds for all direct actions be prioritized for actions – and as Lopi mentioned, actions have specific criteria with regard to (I am paraphrasing) strategy, intent, outcome, and contingency plans. That would seem to apply to all actions in all WGs. Since there is a limited amount of funding, proposals for all WGs, including DA, should bring their proposals to the GA for consensus – I know this goes against DA’s core – but hard times deem it necessary. If this proposal passes, those who create actions hopefully will find this affirming in that actions will be the highest priority for funding. If the proposal is meant to subsidize one group’s actions then it will, most likely, not pass consensus. This above scenario seems entirely possible, so I hope they are taking FA.

    • Yoni Miller


    • Lopi

      POI: DA does not require consensus at the GA for approving actions, but they DO for receiving funds

      • sumumba

        true Lopi…and this is what makes OWS undemocratic and hierarchical…the whole ‘actions’ without consensus…and thats why i cringe when i hear the word…not to mention that more than a few DA members have their own ‘affinity’ groups and trust funders…smdh

        • Lopi

          dear Summumba, try really hard to hate less and love more.
          your friend,

        • Urbaned

          Although I had an idealistic vision when OWS started, the fact is that there’s a boatload of work ahead of us. If there are trust-funders and affinity groupers, they are part of the challenge. For example, if someone is a trust-funder, are they contributing positive ideas and work? If there are affinity groups, are they practicing our values? We need to remain vigilant in “vetting” what people both DO and SAY in OWS.

  16. Sally Marks

    I too, think all funds should be spent on actions however, it appears that an ‘action’ can be a very diverse term. I’d like to suggest that before consideration is given to the outlaying of resources (people, property or dollars) that a clear and agreed on definition of what an ‘action’ is. Based on the preceding four/five months, all expenditures could be justified as an ‘action’. I think the scope of what an action is/should be needs some narrowing. Then figure out how to ‘amke it happen’.

  17. Chris O'Donnell

    My hand is pointed toward the sky and my fingers are wiggling. As someone who has worked with the kitchen WG, one of the only groups still getting cash, I can say that the possibility that we may use the last of the GA fund serving meals disturbs me. Not because I don’t like feeding people, but because the cash is making us bad activists. When I go to Chicago in may I want to be able to help set up a food distrobution system to support the activists that will be coming up there. Working with kitchen isn’t helping me learn how to do that. Take the money away from us and I assure you that the food will still flow, just maybe not exactly as it does now.
    Now, that being said, a good question might be if food can and should operate without budget, what projects cant? Ultimately, if this proposal passes, that would be a question for GA to decide as it considers the various proposals that will come before it requesting funding.

    • Monica McLaughlin

      The cash is not to blame. It is the people who gathered around the cash and set up the rules regarding the spending of the cash that are to blame. Some of us may have spent in things that would have grown the movement. Things like advertsiing and public relations, actions that involved more than 12 people and so on.

  18. Yoni Miller

    I’d like to see allocations of funds to Paper requests too then. 1% of the Donations allocated to Fliers (they add up), however they can only be used from OWS Funds if they’re for Actions approved by GA (doesn’t have to receive funding)

  19. Monica McLaughlin

    OMFG. Will miracles never cease — Haywood of all people has put in a proposal that I actually agree with! One of my pet peaves has been all the money spent that did not go towards the furtherance of the movement. Yes, actions to the exclusion of all else. By all means.

  20. social worker in park

    Down twinkles on the part that says that funds be used exclusively on actions. Actions may be our ultimate “product”, but it takes a large network of support to get there… Just like for a school – education is the ultimate product – but they need a space and desks, and cleaning products for the floors and chalk (do they still use chalk?) and people who figure out the budget etc. etc. etc…

    my 2cents.

    • sumumba

      thank u ‘social worker’ the UTTER cluelessness of those in OWS is to think that ‘ACTIONS’ alone will BUILD this movement! I guess building insitutions, working with community building through outreach and a mechanism to build trust and community BUY IN means NOTHING to some folks around here… it any wonder why other Occupies look side eyed at OWS? SMDH

    • Marsha aka the Knitting Lady

      up twinkle with enthusiasm for this comment. there is so much more to this movement than “actions” I felt our efforts by sitting in the park and knitting was a form of action. We talked to so many people (and still do) on a daily basis that sometimes I did way more talking than knitting. I want to do a teach-in this sunday at the occupy town square but the last few classes I taught has left me with very few crochet hooks and other supplies. That is what I would spend my money on if I could get some from accounting.

      • Monica McLaughlin

        Marsha, that sounds like Outreach, which is also very important. When I sit in the park with my dog who has a tiny sleeping bag and her own protest signs (Tax the Big Dogs, etc.), I consider that to be outreach because we attract and speak with many outside of the movement. By action, I am assuming they mean a march or a pop-up occupy — something that many take part in.

        Maybe this proposal could be amended to include Outreach.

        • sumumba

          well they havent said or defined what ‘actions’ are and by the time it goes through may well include OUTREACH…but one thing im SUPREMELY tired of is people talking about the ‘ELITES’ in OWS or HORIZONTALISM or how we ‘decide’ what constitutes each…not to mention…how we decide how to judge and spend OTHER people’s money…MAYBE WE should ask the DONORS themselves what would they like to DONATE to? I can tell u for a FACT that NONE of the most active people in OUTREACH ‘elite’…unless u mean we who no longer have to sleep in shelters cuz we sleep on someone’s couch and survive on weekly metrocards to do our outreach and DINNER from kitchen to eat once a day….even though we’re doing this OWS work FULL-TIME….o whatta life! smdh

          • Justin Samuels

            The biggest events that Occupy has had, such as the huge crowd at Times Square or at the Brooklyn Bridge, were made of working people who paid for their own transportation.

            Occupy’s numbers have dwindled and no one even pays attention to it anymore, as it has become a welfare program for those who are unwilling to work. I personally think the money should be donated to a charity and the accounts closed. Grassroots activism doesn’t need money.

          • jillturnerart

            I remember the G.A. gave Direct Action $7,000 for costumes (for the Nov. 17th action). Direct Action is our face page, our poster boys and girls for fundraising efforts.

            One DA young man told me 1/2 of D.A.s have trust funds and the other half don’t and are homeless. We don’t have statistics on these things. But they’re interesting numbers.

            Sparo who works with the homeless said 1/3 of the homeless are “newly homeless” due to joining the movement.

            Who get’s to run the movement? Those who can afford apartments in NYC.

            Tech ops got $8,000 at a G.A. to buy the web URL (occupywallstreet). They are launching that site at some point and I think they hope occupations around the world can jump on board and do mega fundraising for more of the same.

  21. jillturnerart

    I saw in the budget OWS spent $8,000 on food for the times square action.

    • Justin Samuels

      Most of the people at Times Square were not eating food. I was there for hours. Also, most people know how to feed themselves here in NYC.

      • Justin Samuels

        Oh, and in terms of someone becoming newly homeless due to joining the movement, that is entirely on them. Its up to the individual to make sure he or she has secure housing or whatever else that individual needs.

    • James

      If you are talking the Occupy Broadway event I was cooking for that action with a bunch of other people. It may have been budgeted, but we def did not use 8 grand for that action. All of the food was eaten happily, and I’m pretty sure we made over 2,000 servings, just sayin.

  22. DirekConek (aka Dallas)

    @johndoe79 :

    –The O1 Brooklyn Bridge march and O15 Times Square rally happened when it was warm enough for people to *walk* to the action if they were broke and reasonably close to the site of the action. Also, it’s one thing to pay one’s own way to 3 or 4 major actions a month – quite another to commute daily to volunteer in order to facilitate said actions.

    — This is offhand and I do not have documentation handy at the moment… but I’m pretty sure that unions provided transportation for some that attended the N17 Foley Square/Brooklyn Bridge action. I doubt that anyone involved would be comfortable with referring to said rides as ‘welfare’. (please everyone correct me if this is inaccurate…)

    — should we also refuse to offer ‘welfare’ in the form of the bail fund and expect everyone who is willing to stand with us, march with us, and work with us to cover their own court fees, lawyer, bail, fines, etc.? Not everyone who is employed has an extra couple of hundred to couple of thousand sitting in their account for such a rainy day.

    –assuming that we are willing to support those who stand with us in the form of covering legal needs and costs incurred as a result of participation in OWS actions… it would seem that our grassroots activism does in fact require funding to an extent.

    –Again, this is just my opinion, but not one that I am alone in holding: In terms of outreach, messaging, rallying the masses that make up the 99%, the bat-signal first used for the N17 Brooklyn Bridge action is among our most effective actions and most worthwhile investments. This cost quite a bit of money… and we’d need an army of MacGyvers to make the same thing happen with freecycled equipment. Again this demonstrates that (while it may not be an absolute requirement) money is not necessarily detrimental to the success of a grassroots movement when handled properly.

    –why is it acceptable in your mind to donate funds donated to OWS to some non-profit or charity, but not acceptable to donate the same funds as ‘welfare’ to feed and transport the poor directly, without paying for the bureaucracy and other overhead that goes with many established non-profit orgs? Do you mean to say that it is OK for a cut of our money to go to salaries and office space etc. for professional non-profit staff, but not OK for the same money to feed those who have little or nothing at all, let alone a job and an office?

    • Monica McLaughlin

      >>–why is it acceptable in your mind to donate funds donated to OWS to some non-profit or charity, but not acceptable to donate the same funds as ‘welfare’ to feed and transport the poor directly, without paying for the bureaucracy and other overhead that goes with many established non-profit orgs?

      The donors sent the money in so OWS would change the world. Had they wanted to feed and house the poor, they need not have gone the a middleman to do so. Once we change the world, the poor will be fed and housed. Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse.

      • Jondean

        Agree. A line needs to start being drawn that OWS isn’t a social service agency. I am more than sure, that if some outreach is done to Actual social service agencies, they will assist in any way they can….and leave OWS to the important task of changing the world, which is more than enough work! Enabling, and Empowering are two very different things, and garner two very different results.

      • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

        Sure, but my point is that donating to charity in a lot of cases will just be adding another layer of middlemen.

  23. Justin Samuels


    How many millions of people go to work, to the movies, to the bars and restaurants, or to wherever in NYC under their own money? Why would unions need to provide transportation? Union people can afford a metrocard, and many union members in metro NYC have cars and can drive.

    Why I am against handouts? Because you attract people who don’t give a damn about economic justice. I was interested in a movement, not in a soup kitchen or welfare organization. Occupy has actually alienated most New Yorkers, as turning it into a welfare organization has brought in the worst people. No one even comes to occupy events any more. Truthfully, its OVER!

    A few people in 60 Wall Street hanging out for dinner isn’t going to change anything. The GA’s are lucky if they get 30 people. There’s no reason to pretend anything worthwhile is being done.

      • Justin Samuels

        Are you saying OWS cannot tolerate dissenting opinions? Because if it can, it shouldn’t matter that I’m “negative”.

        I liked the original OWS, before it became a welfare agency.

        • Shazz

          you know Justin, I hear that someone is organizing a real occupy for New York City, an “OccupyNewYorkCity” if you will (ahem ahem).

          I haven’t met the man myself, but I hear he’s 7 feet tall and shoots lightning from his arse, and has an affinity for nudity and the consensus process…

          • Justin Samuels

            @Shazz, he sounds like a brilliant man. Because someone needs to build a new movement. I will certainly check out this new occupy. I just hope he doesn’t electrocute me.

          • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

            Um… Shazz, aren’t you currently without a place of your own? Not that I have a problem with that but…

            /grabs popcorn

          • Shazz

            Yeah I’m bouncing around between places, why? The lack of clothes you mean? Well it would make sense that abject poverty means less material possessions, have you ever heard of that saying about owning only the shirt on your back? Well imagine a couple steps below that. This can also be a symbolic protest for more “transparency” in OWS finances, whose with me? @christine, nothing settles some bad blood like some good skin, no?

            Naw, actually NYC’s a wonderful place where nice people with cameras pay you a couple bucks to take your clothes off. God bless America.

            Other than my professional modelling career, I have a couple other leads about surviving in NYC. Right now a top contender is a little old lady (70’s?) who proposed marriage so she can pass off her rent controlled apartment eventually to spite her landlady. But I think she’d expect me to consummate the deal and I’m just not sure if I’d be able to get behind that rusty plow if you know what I mean 😉

            @direkconek, feel free to offer up your own suggestions as to how to get by in this city. Oh, and Haywood is usually full of shit, the guy’s intellectually dishonest with his own agenda. He shakes hands and kisses babies like a politician while keeping involved with all of the players, the fakest motherfucker I’ve met since I’ve been here. If I had to drop money right now for a CIA agent pool…You’ll know them because deep down they’re administrators, not activists. Their shallow politics and distrust for democracy gives them away.

            But then, one naked guy’s opinion. Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

    • Marsha aka the Knitting Lady

      @Justin S. Just because someone is homeless or just doesn’t have enough money to buy a meal everyday does not make them the “worst people” or “people who don’t give a damn about economic justice”. I don’t have a job at this moment but I have worked up to 3 jobs at a time. I am currently waiting for a decision on disability (I paid a lot of taxes in the last 40 years to pay for such) and I am behind on my rent and the electric will probably be turned off on Monday. I have been involved in the movement since Sept. and I need the metro cards they give out or I could not be there. I need the food they give out. I need a lot more than that but I am not asking OWS to take care of me. I am doing my best to change the world for my 5 grandchildren so they can live a better life than I am right now.

      • Justin Samuels

        Occupy has had issues with rapes. I have personally been at the General Assembly and I have seen people get assaulted MULTIPLE Times. I have seen people get bullied.

        How is assaulting people and bully people behavior to be admired? The mentally ill, the homeless, and the crazy are exploiting the generousity of the feel good liberals.

        As for needing food, there are soup kitchens all over NYC, and food stamps do not take years to be approved. If you totally have no money you might try social services.

        And also, if you have 5 grandchildren, then you have children so you should be able to stay with family in case of emergency.

        • Sean McKeown

          Thank goodness we have non-liberals, then, to take care of the feelgooders who don’t want to turn off the hose. But that doesn’t mean there is a specific CLASS of people who “can’t participate,” just that we need a toleration threshold past which we defend ourselves instead of seek to hug it out and sing kumbayah.

    • Monica McLaughlin

      We are trying to build a movement that will change the world. We cannot stop along the way to feed and house the homeless using donations sent in by people who donated that money for the movement. OWS became the new destination for the homeless. (One woman came from Chicago with her 2 kids which were promptly taken away from her by the City because she was allowing them to sleep on a church bench.)

      Now providing aid to a homeless occupier who is an active participant in movement building is a different story. The point is that we have a goal and everything we do as activists must be in furtherance of that goal. (Which isn’t to say that any person should not work with the homeless in any capacity they want to on their own time.)

      • Yoni Miller

        and what is the mechanism to determine who is/isn’t an activist? Seems like homeless people have to work for the resources, that we, because of class structuralism are more easily able to get, from our families and even social capital-friends. I know if I ever became homeless, I would be living rather decent lifestyle still.

        • Monica McLaughlin

          @yoni2b, this is a problem. OWS. MRG (Movement Resource Group) will most likely provide stipends only for activists whose work serves to grow the movement originally as defined by them and then as defined by history — the effects of past projects on movement growth.

          Right now in 4 short months the movement has all but disappeared from the public eye and donations have slowed to a trickle. Clearly something is very wrong. One of the wrong things is an utter lack of accountability for projects that OWS funded. The checks are written and that is the end of it. No one need provide a receipt. No one need write up a report critiqing the project to determine what worked and what didn’t.

          • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

            Exactly. I get the whole 1% thing in that usury is pretty much evil and counterproductive, as is kleptocracy in any form…. especially my pet peeve…. the form so common on Wall St. where people get rich on usury and then buy laws and lawmakers.

            OTOH when you have someone like Shen or Ben or Jerry that is clearly capable of producing a tangible product and doing it very well, you may want to hear them out before deciding they are shady and out to get you. Maybe they actually know stuff we don’t… maybe they actually are OK with everyone else being able to live like they do if at all possible, instead of wanting to enslave and/or destroy. Just consider the possibility, is all I’m saying.

    • JaneDoe

      Sorry about that. I argue most NYers support the idea of ows and the 99% and willingly describe themselves as the 99%. The issue is that ows does not reflect that. 60 Wall Street is disgusting with the young people who declare themselves to be homeless, spending all day hanging out not having a clue about ows.
      People are sick of trying to find out information for the most basic groups, events and meetings and it being met with a wall of silence. Many of these groups are run by a few people who are happy to put on “events” that in no way reflect the majority of the 99%.

      The bridge events, large marches, and the use of the bat signal were successful because they were events for adults. What is up with the glitter nonsense? Has anybody been able to get a straight answer about anything coming up this week? Yes, I do attend GAs and those get hijacked by nutcases.

      I agree with the people who want the handouts to stop this includes the food and shelter. Do these churches realize they are now stuck with these people? “Real” homeless are in shelters. The people the churches shelter are the ones living out some nyc dream on someone else’s dime, who have no interest in the movement.

      There are plenty of people working hard on behalf of ows but at this point they are being abused.

      • Yoni Miller

        For people who hate and detest the homeless population, especially in the Occupation movement, I compassionately call on you to read this fascinating piece, published in N+1, which will change your perspective hopefully on the “freeloaders” that “don’t represent the 99%”

        I personally am not too fond of this easily abused phrase 99%, as if we are inherently better, or something, and as if the ultimate means is to represent the majority of people, rather than specifically the most disfranchised and institutionalized victims of the 1%

      • Yoni Miller

        By the way, I think I am the youngest active Occupier in OWS, just pointing that out, ;P Lot’s of love to the elderly as well, we’re both marginalized so often from “the adults” who “run” this thing.

      • Monica McLaughlin

        I have been homeless, and I still say that feeding and housing homeless is not what OWS is about. Once we have changed the world, that new world order will or won’t feed and house the homeless. We cannot get sidelined. We have a job to do.

  24. nowopposed

    FYI – this intra-OWS argument makes the movement look dysfunctional misdirected unorganized and not worthy of support. Money spoils the recipe. Get rid of it.

  25. Justin Samuels

    +1, Jane, Well said. OWS stopped being about the 99% and was taken over by freeloaders, run away street kids, substance abusers, and others who wanted to come to NYC and live for free. That’s a crowd that working New Yorkers are simply not interested in. The young crowd that was running all over the place at 60 Wall Street to a large degree has dispersed and gone home now that the housing program in the churches is over. Its now time for food, medic, and transportation to be over.

    • Yoni Miller

      For people who hate and detest the homeless population, especially in the Occupation movement, I compassionately call on you to read this fascinating piece, published in N+1, which will change your perspective hopefully on the “freeloaders” that “don’t represent the 99%”

      • Justin Samuels

        No one said anything about hating homeless people. Only that if Occupy is a welfare office, you’ve made something most people aren’t interested in participating in.

  26. Urbaned

    If we were very smart, we would do as little as possible to “replicate” what exists already. For example, if there are food shelters all over the city, how could we ever compete with them? It would take forever to get that going. And, we would be “liable” for problems and for animosity from the existing ones. What we need to do is to REFER people to existing structures that meet our standards. Compassionate food shelters would certainly be among them.

    OWS has not been taken over by anyone. Justin, you have a pretty negative outlook, sorry to say.

    Many hoped OWS would be encampments in cities, but things got in the way (police, mental issues/crime, bad weather). But, we did manage to create an entirely new media of livestreaming. We created a wordpress with hundreds of groups and thousands of members. “The Protester” is Time’s Person of the Year! We have the power, and we’re on a roll!!

    Let’s visualize how OWS could make the next effective change. Let’s think of a solution with higher standards. Rather than calling us ragmuffins, how about we get some offices that are “action centers,” and volunteer in them. For example, someone comes in who needs medical care. We refer them to the local clinic. Someone comes in who needs food, we refer them to the shelter.Someone comes in who needs a job, we help them with their resume (or refer them to the local agency). This would be our outreach deparment. In the meantime, we coordinate our actions with other occupies via interocc and meetup, which are already out there. We find out about legislation that will hurt the 99%. So, we tweet out to meet in Albany or Sacramento. We find out that Goldman is maintaining ridiculously high interest rates in certain cities, so we stage a demonstration.

    This stuff is all happening already, it’s just not organized. How can we do that? (Let’s see: 1 google doc with Office Procedures, 1 google doc with “Sanctioned Organization” 1 google doc with “Event Calendar – oh, that’s on our websites already!) You know what, the dream is not far off. We already have non-profit status, computers, volunteers, etc. It will just take some people with organizational skills to implement it.

    Let’s use our power wisely and be effective in our fight against the 1%. They should be afraid of us, not the other way around.

  27. Justin Samuels


    Basically, if people are intelligent human beings there is no real reason for OWS to do any referrals. Each person knows his or her situation base, so the solution to help them is WITHIN them. Somehow they were surviving before OWS, so that implies they must have had places to stay before OWS and access to resources of some sort.

    This coddling of people needs to stop. No one made anyone move to NYC without a job or a place to stay. If they need a job, all they have to do is walk up and down the street and apply to any number of retail stores, bars, or restaurants. If they need a resume, type one up on a computer at a library. If they don’t know how to write a resume, then they need to get an education or whatever. But still, the problems of these individuals are their OWN problems.

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      Damn, the least we could do if these are supposed to be people we consider to be part of our community is help them acquire some job skills!

      • Justin Samuels

        There are organizations and places that specialize in helping people with no job skills obtain them. Higher paying jobs tend to require certification, licensing, or degrees. It really cannot be done by OWS.

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          <<<<< HS dropout. College dropout. Self taught IT professional. Haven't been out of work since right after 9-11.

          Speak what you know, not what you heard!

          • Justin Samuels

            Dallas, your personal situation with your job is absolutely irrelevant.

            Doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, home health aides, insurance sales people, stockbrokers, ultility workers, and a whole list of relatively high paying positions require some combination of degrees, licenses, or certification.

            Advanced IT level work is done by engineers. I seriously doubt that Google or any major company would hire a high school drop out to design their networks. But yes, if its simply help desk or low level sys administration, a person with experience and a low level of education can be hired.

            To pretend that newcomers to NYC who are high school drop outs are likely to be able to get anything better than bartender is to ignore reality. If it were that easy for high school drop outs to do well, there’d be no homeless and we’d not be having this conversation!

          • Yoni Miller

            Yup, since Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Marc Zuckerberg all got college degrees 😀

          • Justin Samuels

            @Yoni Miller Gates and Zuckberberg were Harvard drop outs. That tells you something of the background they came from and the resources and the networks they came from. Basically, they came from the 1%.

            I seriously doubt people begging others for places to stay in churches, people dependent on OWS for metrocards or food have access to the resources or networks to start Fortune 500 companies.

            As for Jobs, he too was raised by a well to do family and he also had ties to people who were able to help make it happen.

            Those three men, I might add, are still rare exceptions. Most CEOs have degrees from top schools, and often MBA’s from top school.

  28. Justin Samuels

    @Urbaned, an occupier who just came to NYC from some other place is not truly homeless. These people were using occupy to travel from place to place, particularly when the encampments were around, and when we had church housing. Most of them can go home to their families whenever they want to. So there is no need for anyone to do anything for people who are NOT homeless! Many of them know how to use electronic devices quite well, they don’t need help writing resumes.

    Jane is right, they are simply using OWS to live out their dream in the Big Apple.

  29. Urbaned

    I see your point. But, many of them are representative of people who have no opportunity in life right now. Unemployment is still very high and students are straddled with debt. Many other problems still abound. The people that went to NY represent many others.

    Also, I will say that in my life, people have made very valuable and helpful referrals to me. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees. I’m glad they helped out.

    So, what do you think OWS should do – not the people who are freeloading on it, but the organization itself?

    • vets74

      My generation came out of school with no debt whatsoever. Tuition was dirt cheap. it took me a year or so to appreciate the depths of what has happened.

      Same time, cities usually had slums into the 1960s and 1970s. Then the slums were torn down most places. And mental hospitals were closed for something on 1,000,000 people.

      The both of these problems are large. OWS NYC is tiny by way of comparison. What can OWS NYC do that is useful ?

    • Justin Samuels

      Occupy Wall Street should have engaged the political process. This includes voting drives. Occupy Wall Street should also come up with campaigns like Bank Transfer Day. Remember that, the big campaign that got a number of people to open up new credit union accounts and leave big banks? Companies that do truly harmful things or that support extreme right wing politicians could have been challenged or boycotted.

      Sadly, I think OWS by being all so inclusive, leaderless, and accepting, has lost the respect of the general public. I doubt it could ever again get the interest of the general public. My true recommendation is take what worked from Occupy, be honest about the things that didn’t work, and start a whole new movement. Occupy is over.

      • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

        My man….. in all respect… it sounds like maybe you should engage the political process and start your own new movement. You clearly feel like we aren’t handling our business, and no one is making you stay.

        In other news, I didn’t feel like too many people at the Town Square pop-up at Tompkins Square today viewed us as unworthy of their respect. Quite the contrary as a matter of fact….. didn’t see you out there, though. Like I said, you might just be frequenting the wrong places and running with a bad crowd. 😀

  30. Yoni Miller

    For people who hate and detest the homeless population, especially in the Occupation movement, I compassionately call on you to read this fascinating piece, published in N+1, which will change your perspective hopefully on the “freeloaders” that “don’t represent the 99%” :(

    • Lurking


      You’s has somehow missed the BIG point. Its NOT homeless people who bother us, it’s the people who DO NOT DO SH!T.
      Yes, even the hipsters, the occupy clad KIDS, meeting junkies, the people who ask for resources and leave. The no march, no shout, no pickett, hands opened silent compliners of where’s my FOOD, my METRO, my SLEEPING BAG. Those, them, that’s the group we are talking about. We have people without means, who do a TON of work, and I sure as fire like supprtin’ them.

  31. Justin Samuels

    @Yoni You apparently have no actual contact with people outside of OWS. If I went into any bar, restaurant, or any other place where most New Yorkers go to and attend, if I told them I was homeless, with no job and not likely to get them, people would SHUN ME.

    To the extent I tell people on the outside about some of the stuff going on in Occupy, they’d say why even speak to those people. And yes, these people are the 99%. People who work or who want to work, not young kids who want to freeload.

    No one on a Friday night goes to hang out in the soup kitchen or the welfare office. You can “love” the homeless all you want, but in creating a social service agency, you’ve ensured that most Americans and most New Yorkers won’t take interest.

    • Yoni Miller

      Most Americans won’t take interest if I reveal that I am Marxist, High School dropout, 18 years old, or ZIonist. Few people respect any sort of combination.

      I would say, there IS a lacking in our response of the “9-5ers” and we need to be more accessible and flexible to part time occupiers :) That said, it’s not to say the homeless are the problem.

      It’s clear by your last paragraph you don’t know much about what a homeless person is/does.

      I personally don’t see ourselves as a social service agency, nor do I want that. rejecting the homeless altogether is another story.

      • Justin Samuels

        Being that I am not a social worker, expertise in homelessness is not necessary.

        And its not that people don’t respect combination. An 18 year old high school drop out sounds like someone on the wrong path, particularly if he is unemployed. Add communist to it and it sounds even worse.

        So if this is what occupy is about, you needed bother making it more accessible to 9 to 5 ers . They simply won’t want to come, and quite obviously don’t want to come. Out of a city of 9 million people, 60 Wall Street these days is lucky if it gets 150 occupiers down there, and the GA’s are lucky to get 30.

        That’s so small it doesn’t even qualify as a fringe movement. Its a shame, because occupy at one point had promise. And now its gone.

        • Urbaned

          @johndoe79 Justin, I think you are negative and myopic. OWS just had a victory in Napa County, and we are branching into the neighborhoods in Oakland, CA. Sure there are problems, but we’re working on them. Why not JOIN US rather than create more?

          @yoni2b you’re 18? You don’t say!!

        • Yoni Miller

          Anyways, we could have large conversations about this, which is fine, Marxism is a loaded topic, but alas, I am fairly certain, all the dedication and work I’ve put into Occupy would not be worth it for me, if it was just going to be a populist “collection of the 9 million people in NYC”, there’s also 12 Occupations in NYC 😀

          And Occupying, is so much more than just OWS or meetings etc,… I do the dirty work of meetings, and organizing, because I am privileged to have that free time (yeah by being a societal failure 😉

          Because we’re not physically occupying anything (60 wall is not an occupation) there is less of a need for the 9-5ers, to be there 24/7, it’s for effective actions and rallies imo, that they’re crucial, and there are very very productive part time occupiers, e.g. almost all of Political Action and Impact. We all have complete mutual respect, and don’t have any of this divisive dichotomies of “who’s the 99% who isn’t…” derp?

          There are over 1,000 occupations in the US. that’s fucking impressive, alas, in sympathetic (but less cynical) light of what you’re saying: Michael Walzer from Dissent Magazine formulates it nicely

          • Justin Samuels

            There are many occupations that have what, 20 or 30 people? Not at all impressive in a nation of 300 Million.

          • Urbaned

            Justin, Occupy includes everyone except 400 rich gazillionaires who are refusing to overcome their insatiable greed. It even includes people who have differing political opinions. The challenge is to make sure that we know where the money comes from/goes to and we consider things in a very deliberate manner. Thanks for posting.

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      Maybe you’re not frequenting the right restaurants and bars, Justin…

      I’ve had random people overhear me discussing Occupy and buy me drinks, shake my hand and thank me, ask what they can do to help, etc. on several occasions.

      OF COURSE if one enters a place of business and makes it utterly clear that they are not and do not intend to be a paying customer, they will be shunned. However, this generally does not happen in contexts where the primary objective is not to turn a profit on every interaction. People don’t generally get shunned at most houses of worship (for example) simply for being poor and out of work, as long as they don’t make problems for others in the congregation. Often these are the orgs that *do* go out of their way to feed, clothe, and shelter those who for whatever reason aren’t able to support themselves adequately.

      Not to say that Occupy is a religion or a church or a temple.. but a community organization built on opposition to economic exploitation sure would look like $&%* telling those in need that they may NOT have a plate of our food because we feel that they should leave the public spaces where we meet and ‘get a job!’

      PS PoI: homeless New Yorkers frequented the 60 Wall Street Atrium well before Occupy Wall Street even existed. Who are we to evict them because we lost our home in the park?

      • vets74

        Yeah, team !

        Justice and Reconciliation are the traditional objectives for nonviolent groups, going back to Gandhi. If OWS NYC at Zuccotti Park “wasted” a couple hundred thousand dollars feeding and tenting the homeless instead of attacking corporate corruption, then so be it.

        Karma is real. Still, we must plan carefully to succeed going forward. Nonviolence is the fulcrum. Discipline is the lever. A united community can move the world.

        See you St. Patrick’s Day at the parade !

      • dougb

        Gosh, Gee Whiz, Justin

        Here in Maine, a big state with an eighth the population of NYC we have 6 Occupy groups, 2 formed just in the last 2months. We are much more numerous than last fall. Our groups range from a dozen or so up to 60. We’ve had meetings with 150. We’re protesting ALEC on Wed, greeting Obama when he comes to raise money from the rich, have letters and ads in Maine’s biggest paper, our own Occupy TV. A lot of support from our communities.

        We’ve had our encampments, with some of the same issues and triumphs as at Zuccoti. We’re moving on, healing a few wounds and intend to make a big difference up here this year.

        OWS will get through these times, do its needed soul searching and emerge strong. By the way, directly and indirectly we get guidance, help and inspiration from OWS all the time. And the time a number of us spent at Zucotti have inspired and changed us.

        • janedoe

          You are in Maine, not NYC. You are getting support because you do not have to support a group of layabouts who think it’s fun to be homeless; or those who feel that they deserve food, clothing, and shelter because they decided to leave mom and dad’s house and join the revolution.

        • Justin Samuels

          You were not at the NYC GA’s to see people get assaulted. You weren’t around at OWS NYC to hear women say they stopped coming because of fear. A very bad element hijacked things, and a number of people left because of fear or simple disgust.

          • Yoni Miller

            I’ve seen assault many times, and heard about the horrible rape incidents. It’s worth noting, that the alleged rapist was NOT homeless, and neither were several of the assaults.

            I have my theories to discuss what/why could have been done, and to further prevent future such activities.

      • Patricia L

        @janedoe – Characterizing occupiers as homeless layabouts who left their parent’s house to join the revolution sounds like something you’d hear on Fox News, not from someone involved in an economic justice movement. Not only is that depiction completely out-of-step with the principles of this movement it’s also inaccurate.

        • Justin Samuels

          Its very accurate. Many of the darlings staying in the churches were from other states. Many of the people in the churches had smartphones and laptops, and other electronic gear. What kind of homeless has all that? Many of those sleeping in the park and churches at times went from occupy to occupy. What homeless people are so well traveled?

          Back to the smartphones, wow, if one has a smartphone, how does the homeless person pay the bill? Monthly rates are higher when you use smartphones.

          Many of these young people talked about financial contributions from their parents paying for things such as their smartphones.

          Don’t get me wrong, anyone is free to go anywhere. But if you move to a new city, then either completely have the money to support yourself or go get a JOB. Don’t expect others to support you, to house you, etc.

          • Yoni Miller

            I have a smartphone, it costs me 25 bucks a month, which is pretty damn cheap, also, we live in a society, where you cannot be a functioning activist without internet or texting. I have absolute respect for these people, who (I know some very well personally) sold everything they had, and left their states, to support this radical visionary occupation. They made sacrifices I couldn’t have made, and they were brutally kicked out.

            I suppose, I can be a limp dick, and tell them to get a job and house, while I go back home, to my nice home, family, kittens, heating, full fridge etc..

            I make efforts to help connect people, to other places, and even hosted a few occupiers several times. :) Have you? Is “go get a job” the uniform response to give back?

            I have spent lots of time, dumpster diving, and enjoying these dinners with all of these people who see the value in saving good food, as well as socializing in free spirited dinner. It saves money from Kitchen as well.

            I’ll also point out, New Have Occupation has room for 100+ more people :) I’ve slept and been there <3 OccupyFamily and they want more people, let's be more resourceful and positive than denigrating and sneering of each other.

            Liberals and Republicans sneer at Occupy enough, I am tired of seeing that crap in OWS, :(

          • Justin Samuels

            If they had things that they left to be with occupy, then that decision is one them. Its not a good idea to move to a state where you have no job, no ties, no real plan, no nothing and then on top of that expect not to have to work and that people will take care of you. It was also unrealistic to think any city would let people live in a park long term.

            If things are hard for them, they have two options. Go home is option one, get a job here in NY is option too.

  32. Darrell Prince

    I fully intend to block this.

    I un If you are running low on cash, (keeping in mind it’s $100k) you find a way to get more, especially if you have enough to fund some things that generate revenue… there are also fiscal sponsors who would fundraise FOR us.

    Some of these comments are ridiculous… we shouldn’t feed or house the homeless people we know, let them fend for themselves… thanks, republicans. How about we require 10 hours of political education, and 20 hours a week working for the movement, giving priority to people who we can verify have been around for awhile.

    You change peoples minds by doing for them. That’s the way the world works. Volunteering is great, but volunteering excessively while your own life dies on the vine is dumb. If this is a community, communities decide how to get resources, and how to distribute them.

    If you want to fix something globally, prove you can do it locally.. a jobs program? Make sure all Occupiers have them, either with the movement or else where.

    Throwing away money, the most powerful resource there is currently, because it confuses you or it makes your head hurt, makes it seem like maybe you shouldn’t be the person dealing with it, and maybe someone else should handle.. seems kinda privileged to me, lets throw away something needs I don’t want to think about it…

    I say we throw a big ass party, invite only, activist groups from all over the city, + 300 other people,
    and put out a call to do a reoccupy on a big ass building to replicate the park. look to raise 50,000 and actually get 75

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      Word, what happened to that prop from last week Darrell?

      I’m with the party idea for sure…. IMO far more than having some homeless or mentally ill folk around, what keeps people from making that first move to get involved is that from the outside, all we do is have meetings, work, and march and chant about things that make us angry.

      Who wants to go out of their way to be angry and overworked??? We have to show the people that social responsibility and a sense of justice doesn’t have to be a drag or a chore, even when there is lots of hard work involved in the process of trying to improve the world.

    • Sean McKeown

      So, “my pet project is not an action, I’ma gonna block this?”

      There is a direct correlation between the end of the encampment and the end of funding. I do not think a warehouse in Brooklyn counts, while I do think the March “cultural reoccupation” WILL. That cultural reoccupation currently appears to be *free*, since it’s just getting folks to the park to host conversations and other fun interactions the same as we used to do… just without people sleeping there.

      Get your voice in the conversation tonight and make it into something you and we all can believe in. Threats of blocking it is just brinksmanship – make it something you can live with, and make it work instead.

  33. maura spery

    Justin Justin Justin, So Negative. I am out in Long Island 4 days a week in a really republican blue collar area. Guess what a lot of them actually support the movement. Have we lost some because of the piss poor coverage of the corporate media absolutely yes. But the 58%ers (the working middle class that get hammered with taxes) actually realize that they are getting screwed by the government and corporations. We “OWS” just needs to do a better job with Outreach and Education. Stony Brook University just hosted an Advocacy Day for Social Workers that had three OWS speakers on the panel. This was a huge success and needs to be replicated and extended across the country. In the meantime the Liberty Ave Kitchen Group had a break out group idea of doing an Occupalooza/Occupicnic in Central Park this summer. This will be an Informational/Educational action, which could include all of the working groups, in a very positive, family friendly, non-threatening “yes” event to help inform those outside the movement to our cause. The best part is there are already Occupaloozas going on in small places in Michigan and Occupations all over like the one mentioned above in Maine. Justin ye of little faith revolutions take time. As far as feeding the “homeless” as someone who volunteers my free time (and yes I actually have a business and my “own” home so free time is hard to come by) to feed the occupiers I don’t think you actually understand who we feed and why. The warriors on the ground are who we feed. If in the course of doing it we feed people who happen to also be hungry or homeless so be it. What can possible be wrong with feeding hungry people?

    Try a little tenderness. Vive la Revolution!

  34. janedoe

    This is NOT about the homeless. The issue is not those who became homeless due to circumstances. The issue is those who decided to run away from home and now suck up ows resources to feed, clothe and shelter them The people who make a mockery of the plight of the homeless. The people using ows as a welfare office.

    OWS is not equipped to deal with many of the homeless who need help. We are not trained to handle it and create more problems. Do not think that people who do outreach work for the homeless or mentally ill are happy with ows. OWS needs to partner with an agency or refer to an agency instead of this current living in a bubble nonsense.

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      Fully agree. We’re not equipped to help the mentally ill. We are equipped however to run a “soup kitchen” and consensed on doing so. We don’t hand out checks or meds, we hand out dinner.

      Why didn’t I see any of the people being negative about providing food to the poor now there to block when Ice got this budget passed? Makes me wonder how much you know about who is and isn’t a productive member of the community, since you weren’t here to say no and haven’t come with a proposal to change what the community agreed to.

      Like @drew said – do-cracy.

      • Justin Samuels

        Perhaps some of us had work, school, or other obligations outside of OWS and as we have lives cannot make every GA or Spokes. My life doesn’t revolve around every proposal that may or may not get passed.

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          Right… too busy to BE THERE, but not too busy to know how much value everyone else contributes to the community.

  35. maura spery

    On a practical note does that mean no more kitchen? Isn’t feeding the movement an action? So only homeless people and spoiled brats eat at 60 Wall Street? Or does having the food create an atmosphere of bringing people in one place for nourishment of the body as well as the soul? Just curious.

  36. Justin Samuels

    Jane brought up good points. For those who are chronically homeless (read real homeless people, not runaways or vagabonds), they have a lot of needs. Such as needing medication and treatment for mental illness. Many of them many have untreated illnesses and are more likely to have HIV, Hepatits C, other stds, tuberculosis, etc. So they need medical care. They can apply for services to get said help.

    Once they’ve stabilized, they can go back to work (with help from professionals) or continue their educations. I’ve known a number of professionals who worked with the poor in these capacities.

    But back to OWS, this isn’t what OWS is doing at all. Its sheltering freeloaders, who all have families back home and who are capable of finding work if they want to. In fact, in the weeks since the churches closed, some people have indeed found work. Others went home. Both scenarios show there was never ANY reason to worry about them to begin with. No one is going to starve if and when the kitchen is done. People will find ways of getting around when the metrocard program is over (they got around somehow before OWS).

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      Just don’t hate when the spange buckets go back out or people are selling trinkets without our consensus on Cedar Street again…

      And FWIW my mom worked for both BRC and Fortune Society when I was a kid, so we can save the appeal to authority stuff.

      • Justin Samuels

        I really don’t care if people beg for cash. That’s their business and if they want to live like that, fine. Though I seriously doubt most of them would last long term like that, in part because of the NYPD.

      • Jondean

        I worked for BRC a few years ago, and I don’t really feel that’s a fair assessment. Great work gets done by social service agencies to help the homeless in NYC. Much more so than in other States. If there is a beef, it’s the goverment that slashes money for services, and for housing….not the (good) workers trying to make miracles happen in a system that views the poor as a drain on the budget, and society.

        The fact is that there ARE programs to help the poor, and homeless, and there’s nothing wrong with helping people to seek already established programs, instead of turing OWS into a social service agency.

  37. Urbaned

    Justin, what is your sense of income and expenses for OWS? $100/week, $1,000/week, $10,000/week, $1,000,000/week? Deciding whether to feed the homeless is an economic issue as well as a value-based one. Maybe there is enough money to run a kitchen? Maybe someone who comes to OWS after work would like dinner as a “gift?” I don’t know if food is the biggest budget-item we need to deal with.

    • Ravi Ahmad

      Point of Information: food is far and away the largest expense we’ve got right now.

      • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

        OTOH It’s also probable that Kitchen is the only WG that actually operates considerably under their consensed budget. And remember *why* we twinkled (no blocks, no standasides)?

        Ice: “Food is action! If people don’t eat, there is no action! We will make sure that there is food where the action is!”

        Maybe the problem is that it seems that our primary action has been *meetings at 60 Wall* for a couple of months. Just sayin’.

        • sumumba

          i have to admit…sometimes kitchen provides me the ONLY meal for the day…guess i could hit the pantries and soup kitchens…but that takes me away from outreach and the work….if we are to ‘kill’ kitchen …i hope we get some fund raising going to restore it tho

          • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

            IMHO it would be a matter of one or more Kitchen affinity groups PDQ. Food quality might decline a bit…. maybe not 3 meals a day…. but I suspect it wouldn’t just go away.

            Remember Foley Square the morning after the eviction? Several of us helped make breakfast happen out of pocket on the spot. Folks drove from Philly and Lancaster in time to bring stuff for breakfast at Foley Square.

            We care about other too much for Kitchen to ever just go away…. at least I hope we still care about each other…. we do, right???

  38. Justin Samuels

    I’d rather get rid of the money entirely. If people love the movement so much, they can figure out ways to feed themselves. And quite clearly they had some means of doing so pre OWS.

    Donations have declined dramatically at any rate, what little money is around will be gone in a month or two.

    • Yoni Miller

      Pre OWS, we had no OWS, and I myself for example, could say fuck society, and just frolic in the intoxicating world of hedge fund internships from MIT, and later a permanent job in Wall Street and make more money than all of those “homeless losers” combined.

      I’m happy I’m doing something much more meaningful and relevant, than continuing the wheel of insidious destruction.

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      People *were* figuring out ways to feed themselves in the park, but then there were complaints about spare changing and selling bracelets, shirts, etc in the park.

      Donations would probably pick up if there weren’t so many voices painting the whole movement with the mentally ill homeless loser brush, @johndoe79 .

      Right now IMHO you’re being part of the problem. You’re welcome to be part of the solution whenever you deign to be in the presence of those homeless freeloaders that have the nerve to take a free meal we agreed to provide to them.

      • Yoni Miller

        Also, I haven’t seen ANY other movement accomplish as much as we have, during the winter. When it gets warmer, it will be easier to have more actions and in larger numbers!

        I do agree, the world will not fucking change if we have 5x or 10x meetings a week, nonetheless if we have less meetings, they’d be more productive, and more people would participate too :) and ultimately, it’s the actions out in the public that will matter.

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          @sumumba @heywood @yoni2b

          How about this: partner with Food Not Bombs or similar org + local GA and feed the poor on the Ocean Pkwy side of Prospect Park, or at Flushing Meadow, when it gets a little warmer.

          THAT my friends is Outreach…. I think even @johndoe79 can agree that every person going without in Corona or Flatbush or Flushing or Kensington is not a mentally ill layabout, and a lot of them would come out and support if they knew we had their back.

          • Urbaned

            I would also recommend that when you do participate in other activities, you state that you are representing OWS. T-shirts, buttons anyone?

  39. sumumba

    This thing will get so watered down through ‘friendly’ amendments and or blocks…im not sure things will change i do hope it leads to a BIGGER discussion about ACTIONS AND OUTREACH and how BOTH are integral to this movement….but more and more im thinking maybe each wg should have a AFFINITY GROUP funding them…cuz the mess at the GA with its blocks, friendly amendments and shallow consensus process makes most proposals moot (and sadly by extension ows) anyway…

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      Well, that’s the way GA (or any similar process under a different name) works. I keep telling people… if something bothers you about GA and you care about it being fixed, come back next time and bring people that share your point of view. If you leave in a huff (“bear up, I’m going to offend some people” thx Susan :) ) over relatively minor ish like the ‘blockers caucus’ or a person being pushed to the ground or people jumping stack and shouting over each other when they get heated…. you’re giving up your power, not taking the offending party’s.

      The mess doesn’t make anything moot. People *running away* from a mess that needs cleaned up is the problem.

      • Justin Samuels

        Or it could be we have obligations outside of OWS, and that when it gets to that point we simply don’t give a damn.

        • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

          And yet you care enough to tell us how much your way is better than our way. Why go through that messy GA where you might have to say the stuff posted here to the face of those you’re calling mentally ill and layabouts?


  40. Haywood

    Interesting thoughts, for the most part.

    I look forward to seeing y’all at the GA, Tuesday.

  41. Michael Hudson

    “A family that eats together stays together.” When we spend money to buy a meal, especially for those of us with no money, we exemplify the society we want to create. Further, we build comraderie and friendship that may not otherwise exist than if we did not meet and eat together at the Public Atrium. We will slowly but surely grow apart from one another and disperse as a movement if we lose that time together.
    But what else should we do with the money? What makes Occupy Wall Street different from the hundreds of other groups and movements? That one thing is occupation. That’s what gets us the long-term attention and international recognition. Actions other than occupation are what the other wonderful but less noticed group do. Point, it’s not the actions that got us here, but the fact that we occupy.
    Second, what are we going to do if this proposal passes and we reoccupy? Will they feed anyone at the new Zucotti or will we all just leave breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday? And if we are occupying, how will the “free loaders” who will just sit around the occupation talking politics change the world? Money allows us to focus on improving the world, lack of money will force us all into jobs which take away from our time and energy to change the world.
    Yes, free loaders who do nothing for the movement are out there, but if abuse of the system means we should not have that system, then no system would survive. Why not think about how to better administer the funds rather than cutting off very important members from their only source of food and metro cards?
    How can we, acting “in solidarity” turn our backs on our brothers and sisters who need food or shelter while working for a better cause?
    Perhaps if we want to show the world we can make a better world, we need to show them how? Will we show the world that the best way to make a better world is, in effect, to negate the input of those too poor or too busy trying to make a living from contributing to our movement?

    • Justin Samuels

      “Money allows us to focus on improving the world, lack of money will force us all into jobs which take away from our time and energy to change the world.”

      You’ve said why I oppose money for food and metrocards. Most people have to have real jobs to support themselves. Some of you have decided you don’t ever want to work, so pretend to be faux homeless/pretend activists.

      It took a lot of effort for me to maintain my residence. Why should I support people who are unwilling to do whatever it takes to support themselves.

      • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

        Thanks for being totally clear and real with all of us about the fact that this is a Justin thing and not an Occupy thing.

        It’s fine to put yourself first…. not so much to put everyone else down to justify it.

    • Urbaned

      That’s why we need to continue deliberating on alternative currencies/work such as workers’ co-ops, timebanking, and badges.

      • maura spery

        Right on! In the meantime let us not “throw the baby out with the bath water” It has taken a loooonnnggg time to get the Liberty Ave. kitchen running in an organized and efficient manner. The Park Slope Food Coop and the Liberty Ave Soup Kitchen have been extremely generous and very patient in working with OWS. I fear that if we discontinue the kitchen it will be very difficult to get it up and running again. On a personal note I feed the OWS because I cannot be out on the front lines protesting, demonstrating and agitating. I feel that by feeding the movement we are helping to keep the OWS “warriors” strong and ready for battle. If the “spoiled brats” and “homeless” leave I am not sure who you have left to do actions and demonstrate.

        Justin how many marches, demonstrations and actions have you participated in? I work and cannot afford to be arrested. Somehow it feels worse to me that you are so willing to marginalize the already marginalized.

    • Trish OWS

      I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to

      voice this needed insight into what is good

      and the right thing to do within Occupy Wall



  42. sumumba

    this thing will be getting BLOCKED or so ‘friendly amendmented’ that wont much change ..and we will be out of money by end of march…but with BRG funding projects the work will go on, HOWEVER now is the time for BETTER PR and for us to not only raise but use our money wisely. I receive metro cards every week and sometimes the only thing i eat is at kitchen in the evenings, and i do this work 24/7…i think its time we do a ‘audit’ per say of people who are TRULY contributing to this movement and who’s NOT but reaping the benefits. I have no issue with ANYONE in any working group receiving continued funding but the TRUTH is sometimes u ONLY see folks when the metrocards are given out or when there’s FOOD…i think that has to end…