Few protesters in Zuccotti Park but organizers vow they'll return
Occupy Wall Street has gone into “winter hibernation” as donations have dwindled and the weather has gotten colder.
“We’re not broke,” Pete Dutro, a member of the OWS finance committee, said Tuesday. “But donations have not been as plentiful as they were last fall.”
Asked about reports that the group had just $170,000 left in its bank account, Dutro chuckled.
“There are other accounts,” he said. “In fact I just deposited $100,000 we set aside for bail.”
Dutro confirmed an account in the Wall Street Journal that OWS’s main government body voted over the weekend to freeze all new spending.
He conceded that the movement, which was fueled by widespread outrage over corporate greed and income inequality, lost some steam after OWS was ousted from Zuccotti Park just before Thanksgiving by the NYPD.
He said there has been grousing by some activists about the way OWS redistributed some of the more than $700,000 it got in donations during its two month occupation of the park.
“The way we started, everything was done frugally,” said Dutro, who said he is a business major at a local college and ran two successful start-ups. “But it was hard to control things. There were redundant expenditures.”
Still, he said, “the fact that you don’t see us doesn’t mean we’re gone.”
“It means we’re not the same thing we were last fall,” Dutro said. “Come springtime I see a lot of that changing. There’s a lot of things being planned for the spring.”
Look for OWS protesters to make themselves heard at both the Republican and Democratic conventions, he said.
Activists said the movement needs more fiscal discipline if it intends to continue demanding that the government and Wall Street be held more accountable.
“I think it just proves that we have to have the same kind of oversight that we're looking for in government,” said Brendan Hunt, 28.
“We need to have the same oversight at OWS too."
The Bayside, Queens resident was among a handful of activists at Zuccotti Park on Tuesday.
Last week, cops removed the barricades at Zuccotti Park and some OWS protesters quickly filed back into the square. But their numbers quickly dwindled as the temperatures dropped.