CHICAGO, October 25, 2011 – Organizing a global anti-capitalist revolution is not as easy as one might think – at least that is what Occupy Wall Street leaders are discovering.
From money squabbles and freeloading ex-cons to the complaints of New Yorker residents and the specter of public health code violations, protesters are being given a crash course in Government 101, whether they like it or not.
Recently, Occupy Wall Street organizers have found themselves besieged with problems from all corners. Questions are now being raised about the $500,000 in donations Occupy Wall Street’s Finance Committee has collected since the protests began.
The irony of the situation is not lost on Occupy Wall Street campers, who claim that Finance has yet to “redistribute the wealth.” According to news sources, drummers requested $8,000 to replace musical instruments that had been destroyed by vandals in Zuccotti. Occupy Wall Street leadership denied the request and now some protesters are threatening a split
“I hope Mayor Bloomberg gets an injunction and demands to see the movement’s books. We need to know how much money we really have and where it’s going,” said disgruntled protester Bryan Smith.
Smith, who has been raising money for Occupy Wall Street, also criticizes the lack of basic provisions for his fellow protesters. “So many people need things, and they should not be going without basic comfort items — and I was told to fill out paperwork. Paperwork! Are they the government now?” said Smith.
But Occupy Wall Street’s financial red flags and internal conflicts are just the tip of the protester iceberg. By offering free food, shelter, and medical care to anyone who signs up, the organization has also made itself a beacon to every homeless person - and every freeloader.
Scores of vagrants and criminals have unofficially joined the protesters’ ranks. One of them, ex-con Matthew Maloney, 49, was released from prison on September 30. Maloney, a convicted thief, has spent the last three decades in and out of prison and says he learned about the protests on television.
But others are here because they cannot afford their rent or do not like the homeless shelters.
The strange brew of humanity has created unexpected security issues for the “Occupiers.” Public drunkenness, knife fights, and theft are more and more commonplace. With the seasonal shift, campers are also dealing with dropping temperatures and rain. Dry clothing – even socks – are in short supply, and protesters are irritated with the “takers.”
“If you’re going to come here and get our food, bedding and clothing, have books and medical supplies for no charge, they need to give back,” said Lauren Digioia, 26, told the New York Daily News.”There’s a lot of takers here and they feel entitled.”
But, Tea Party leaders argue, isn’t this socialism at work? Inadvertently, Occupy Wall Street has created what it says it is demanding, albeit on a much smaller scale: free food and shelter for the less fortunate and free medical care for all. It is a system where some are working and others, taking. Even theft, arguably, is a “redistribution of wealth” the campers have listed in their anti-Wall Street demands.
“People are waking up to the plain facts that socialism does not work. There is only so much you can “redistribute” before there is nothing left,” said Joe Terrell of Northern Illinois Tea Party. “A popular paraphrase of Prime Minister Thatcher says, ‘The only problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of everyone else’s money.’ I think that quote sums it up perfectly.”
Unfortunately, Occupy Wall Street’s biggest challenges still lie ahead. Some experts have called the month-long “Occupation” a breeding ground for rats and vermin and have raised the issue of city health code violations. Fed-up Manhattan residents have complained to authorities, calling for a crackdown on noise, public urination and defecation.
With falling temperatures, campers have been seen putting their tents back up in Zuccotti– a violation of rules issued by the owners of the park – which could trigger more arrests, this time for criminal trespass.
With other camps around the U.S. plagued by similar problems, Occupy Wall Street may not be able to occupy much longer.
Conservative commentator and satirist William J. Kelly and Laura Kelly edit and manage the Tea Party Reports for the
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