Anne Kadet writing for the Wall Street Journal is intrigued by what she refers to as “The Occupy Economy”. Kadet claims Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters are living in New York on less than $10 a day — a feat, promises Kadet, even the guidebooks wouldn’t dare promise since the average tourist family of four spends $3,500 per visit.
While the OWS protesters have been labeled an unorganized motley crew of ragtag ne’er-do-wells, in less than a month the protesters have established a highly organized frontier-like outpost that provides food, clothing, a cell and laptop recharging station, a library, and even an infirmary to serve its growing protest members.
According to a recent article in the Kansas City Star, OWS protesters have amassed mounds of blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, cans of food, medical and hygienic supplies – even oddities like a box of knitting wool and 20 pairs of swimming goggles (to shield protesters from pepper-spray attacks). Supporters are shipping about 300 boxes a day.
Additionally, according to Bill Dobbs, a press liaison for the movement, close to $300,000 in cash also has been donated through the movement’s website and by people who give money in person at the park. OWS has an account at Amalgamated Bank, which bills itself as “the only 100 percent union-owned bank in the United States.”
The storage site space where the OWS packages arrive was donated by the United Federation of Teachers, which has offices in the building.
Kadet claims Kim Heines, an office manager volunteering on the storage committee, displayed records of just one morning’s 90-odd shipments that included soap from Winnipeg; rain ponchos from Keller, Texas; sleeping bags from Indiana; gluten-free snack bars from Santa Monica.
The Star claims the storage site doubles as a sort of Occupy Wall Street central command post, with strategic meetings that are separate from the “general assembly” free-for-alls in the park.
In the Occupied Kitchen, notes Kadet, a half-dozen volunteers chop carrots and man the buffet line. It’s a puzzle to invent meals for hundreds of protesters using donated food, says Beau Sibbing, a kitchen worker from Wisconsin. “It’s 50 bottles of ketchup one day, a box of tomatillos the next.”
Instead of buying pizza or eating in restaurants, which Zagat suggests is $40 for an average NYC restaurant meal, Kadet says volunteers make trips to Costco for food supplies and cook in kitchens offered by nearby residents.
Larry Dvoskin, a music producer, has housed about three-dozen protesters and provided them with a meal and a bath, saving them the average $250 a night fee for a New York hotel room, according to Kadet.
Many protesters are quite resourceful when it comes to subsidizing their activist lifestyle. Kadet notes how one protester takes the train to Brooklyn, where he shops at Trader Joe’s, showers at Gold’s Gym and does his laundry. Another student protester met a Brooklyn man who paid him $75 for an afternoon of apartment painting.
In spite of the negative press reports OWS protesters have received from corporate owned mainstream media, considering the amount of money, supplies, services and good will donated to this movement, a great many Americans support the protesters.
Over the weekend, Bloomberg reported Wall Street protests had spread to four continents.
About 6,000 people gathered in Times Square on Saturday in what organizers called a “global day of action against Wall Street greed.”
There were 92 arrests, according to the New York City Police Department. And the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported that more than 100 people were injured in Rome, where as many as 200,000 gathered.