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actions & protests | corporate dominance

Stop The Commodification Of Protest

Here are some details regarding the funding operations of "Occupy Wall Street," and the "General Assembly."
Occupy Wall Street is a group that states that it "....is the unofficial de facto online resource for the ongoing protests happening on Wall Street." Further: "Occupy Wall Street is a horizontally organized resistance movement employing the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to restore democracy in America. We use a tool known as a "people's assembly" to facilitate collective decision making in an open, participatory and non-binding [?] manner. We call ours the NYC General Assembly and we welcome people from all colors, genders and beliefs to attend our daily assemblies." Reference:


So, it appears that General Assembly is, roughly speaking, a "subsidiary" of Occupy Wall Street.

"Now the AFL-CIO has helped the movement set up an 'unincorporated association account' where it can accept donations without the money becoming taxable, Kaufman said. As long as they keep diligent receipts of where the money goes, he said, 'that should satisfy the IRS.'" Reference:


This "account" is a 501(c)(3) Federal "tax exempt" fund, and is thereby permitted to accept tax-deductible donations, and also donations from (usually large) tax-exempt foundations. In fact, due to the IRS fine print, the only people who can obtain tax deductions for donations are the 1% (or thereabouts). All large tax-exempt foundations, no matter how benign-appearing, should be regarded with suspicion. (The Occupy Wall Street money was previously handled by "The Alliance for Global Justice.")

The tax laws governing 501(c)(3) funds are complex, but most notably, they are not allowed to support or appose elections or appointments of government officials, and they are not permitted to simply give away money to people or to (non-501(c)(3)) organizations, even though that is what they effectively do. Organizations that are non-profit but non-501(c)(3) are always much more outspoken than 501(c)(3) funded ones.

 link to www.businessinsider.com

"At first, Victoria [Sobel, one of the movement's unofficial leaders] was sleeping with $10,000 in the park," says Darrell Prince, who works on the finance team. He and others on the team wear a gold "$" sign as an elbow patch to identify themselves.

"We've collected $40,000 from donations and buckets on the street," Prince says, and "the money is really going to start rolling in now."

So far, the money has come primarily from three buckets on the street, which collect donations from passersby and other supporters. Another source of income comes from online donations via the privately-registered site Occupywallst.org and nycga.cc, which is registered to a Brooklyn resident.

The finance team has established a credit union account to centralize the money at the Amalgamated Bank. Until the credit union account was established, it wasn't possible to accept big donations. Now they're ready to accept money from donors, who have already contacted the finance team about making larger-sized donations, they say.

Protest has always been the sole institution that has existed without the sanctification of money. Now protest will become merely another commodity, controlled by the 1%.

(Disclosure: I refuse to be associated with Occupy Wall Street, which is money driven, and not at all horizontally organized. Who elected the General Assembly floor-time teams, facilitators, moderators, etc? Who elected the over-arching Occupy Wall Street managers? I believe in small affinity groups of five to twelve, who can send elected representatives to (multiple) larger alliances.)

The people who attend the General Assembly meetings should vote to abolish the unincorporated association account, and all big money operations. Protests should not be influenced by the money elite.

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