Occupy Wall Street challenged with freeloaders

Posted on 26 October 2011

This is a shortened version of the original article here.

Greed sucks, capitalism sucks, income inequality sucks, having no public safety sucks, hobos who don't give back to the movement suck..... Picture courtesy of Washington Post, which does not suck because we're taking this pic off their site for free.

From money squabbles and freeloading ex-cons to the complaints of New Yorker residents and the specter of public health code violations, the organizers of Occupy Wall Street are being given a crash course in Government 101, whether they like it or not.

Questions are also 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 drummer 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.

In addition to facing the first stages of bureaucracy in a growing anti-government movement, organizers are also facing the problem of freeloading.

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.”

“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.”

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