SCHOOL GIRLS & ACCOUNTING
Nice thing about writing through the night is that you start the morning early, if not completely useless. I started Monday morning in McDonald’s writing long hand into my black spiral bound notebook. The notebook was a reminder of when I had office access, which meant I had office supply access.
You don’t really appreciate the little things until they’re gone. I’m reminded of a time I was staying at a hostel which was closing within a couple days, something about not being able to afford renovation to keep up with building codes. Some school teachers pounced on their office supplies. It turns out these are hot commodities in times of budget cutbacks.
But back to the revolution. I’ve been writing between two homeless, sleeping occupiers for the past couple hours and it’s approaching that time. When the shift changes and the new manager comes in and they start to notice the patrons without the happy meals. The guy next to me has his head thrown back mid-snore. Perhaps if I find some bits of burger and wrapper to dangle from the corner of his mouth, dress him up a bit…
So a half hour later I find myself a couple blocks down Wall St, at our nerve center, 60 Wall. The Occupied Office would like to be our nerve center but there’s just something about multiple access checkpoints, an anonymous undisclosed donor, paid activists and closed practices that doesn’t sit well with populists. Or maybe they just prefer the higher ceilings of 60 Wall.
This is the coordinators meeting, 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We used to hold one every morning but then people have been trying to make our orgs more efficient. You might know the girl who spearheaded reforming this particular meeting. She walked CNN through the Occupied Office. Funny thing about reform in this movement, it always seems to have a chorus of familiar voices. God bless the noble few, this should be our motto in this movement. And God damn the homeless.
Fuck, I’m already half-way through my quota for this post and I haven’t described shit.
Let’s see…the important thing about that morning meeting, other than my report back about Occupy Farms (everything’s roses, we’ve got a farm in Woodstock, come up to ride a horse sometime)…Oh, it was interesting to watch the guy from media lay into the guy from finance. This is out of 4 people in attendance. That’s another thing, these meetings are supposed to be for the coordination of Occupy Wall Street’s working groups, 100+.
So this media guy, he says point blank: You guys fucked up, you fucked up from the beginning, and the blame is completely at your feet, or something to that affect. He is older and more New York than me, so he has a way with foul language. Basically blamed finance for not only our money issues, but our identity issues and everything else that seems to be fracturing the movement. And rightfully so, in my opinion.
Weeks ago I asked finance why they don’t perform an independent audit to create a blank slate. This was after I learned that they had just started to implement electronic data-entry TWO MONTHS after receiving donations that totaled well over half a million dollars. Now I don’t care if you’re our lord and savior himself (George Soros?), keeping track of that much dough using just paper receipts is begging for funny money to happen.
I should know, I used to sell insurance. Not just car insurance, where you’re throwing $150 broker fees on top of a couple hundred dollars of premium. I’d gun for the $30k, $60k, $100k+ premiums. Funny side note – although I never stuck with it long enough to make a real career, one year the state of California sent me the following letter: Dear Mr. So-and-so, the average person with your professional licenses and years of experience makes X number of dollars. We want our cut. I understand parents getting on your case for not living up to your expectations, but when the tax man chimes in you really have to question the decisions you’ve made in life.
But back to homeless adventures on Wall St. Having that type of change filtering through my hands, even when I was only collecting a couple hundred or even a $5 processing fee, is called a fiduciary responsibility. There are ways to handle it. Jotting down notes on paper is not one of those ways. Now, people are funny when it comes to money in this movement. It’s almost like trying to talk about sex to a bunch of Catholic school girls. Everyone stonewalling you and yet you have a suspicion they’re all the kinkiest freaks behind closed doors.
I should know, I used to date an ex-Catholic school girl. Sweetheart, grew up in Brooklyn, became a dominatrix, now she’s a waitress somewhere in mid-town.
Ok, back on point. The finances of this movement, and the people who run them, beg a lot of questions. And it was interesting to see that I’m not the only one who’s noticed this, or who feels like these questions should be voiced. So that was a pretty good start to my groggy Monday. Let’s see, what else happened today?
Oh yeah, I used my working group’s funds (Occupy Farms) to buy a laptop from J&R. I guess there goes my fiduciary responsibilities. Fuck it, I have a receipt, I’m just borrowing from a corporation. What’s the worse that can happen?…