Just call it Occupy Wall Street, Inc.
The month-long movement against corporate greed is well on its way to becoming a fabulously wealthy corporation with a mounting war chest of more than $200,000 in public donations at last count and is now faced with some tough questions.
Among them, does it have a fiscal strategy? Does it intend to distribute the wealth? Who will supervise its finances? Will it appoint a board, overseen by a chief executive officer and a chief financial officer? Will those be paid positions with bonuses and other lulus offered as plump perks for good works? And, could a swank office base in lower Manhattan, where rents are astronomical, be a beer-bottle toss away?
Ironically, the humble campaign to expose America’s greedy fat cats has itself become a public entity, representing the interests of the masses which now fund it, and therefore subject to public scrutiny — just like a real corporation.
Time will tell if the protestors possess the same scruples they demand from the targets of their wrath, but for now, all eyes are peeled on their next move, especially if it involves multiple trips to the bank every day.
Then, there’s the question of Occupy’s own commitment to accountability and transparency while navigating its new-found wealth: will it be able to produce — at the drop of a hat — a paper trail of expenditures down to the last dime?
After more than a month of talking the talk, the rallyers are now in the unenviable position of having to walk the walk, with their own integrity on the chopping block. Their actions have sparked copycat rallies around the world, and now the Zuccotti Park sit-ins have a responsibility to steer the course above reproach — all of the time. That means cutting out the illegal boozing, drugging and crashing out in public — forthwith — so that Occupy can stride to the next level, and lower Manhattan can once again resemble a great metropolis instead of downtown Karachi.
The daily cash injections — through online donations, money orders and loose change plunked in jugs and buckets — could amount to millions, maybe even billions, as the protestors march onward to expose the fiscal shenanigans of others. It remains to be seen if their sudden wellspring of wealth will compromise their own playing field — and blur the line between the tycoon and the unemployed working stiff — because Occupy is, after all, a baby of the system it is decrying.
Most significantly, the protesters are no longer the underdog, but a juggernaut of action, appointed by public trust, funded by public dollars, and equipped with a unique opportunity to show the rest of us how it’s really done — much like a real corporation.
The well-heelded rallyers might find their work cut out for them, though, because they sorely lack the three essentials necessary for a successful revolution: a hungry belly, a humiliated soul, and a tyrannical government.