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But hypocritical or not, the funding comes at a desperate time for OWS. By all accounts, the movement is in shambles. Now that it is no longer generating media attention, the movement’s finances have fallen to $200,000, half of which is apparently designated for bail money for arrested occupiers. OWS also has nothing to occupy, having been evicted from its hijacked headquarters New York’s Zuccotti Park last November. To that end, funds from the Movement Resource Group are intended to pay for an OWS office in New York as well as stipends for “core activists.” Exactly who these might be is not clear, but given OWS’s history of violence, the infusion cash should raise eyebrows.
In fairness, not all OWS protestors have welcomed the corporate bailout. Some are already complaining that the movement’s financial backers want to turn it into a progressive nonprofit, complete with a liaison and formal operational structure. For a movement that prides itself on its decentralized nature, the imposition of a top-down hierarchy would be an embarrassing setback.
Still, the fact remains that without that bailout, OWS looks likely to disappear from the political scene altogether. The movement that drew media in flocks has become a distant memory. And nothing better underscores OWS’s irrelevance than the fact that the self-styled anti-corporate, anti-capitalist movement may soon be dependent on corporate cash to keep it alive.
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