Occupy Wall Street Debit Card Raises Eyebrows and Concerns among Activists

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Did you hear the one about the Occupy Wall Street anniversary event featuring the commemorative debit card that lets you “protest with every purchase?”


Sounds like the beginning of a joke on late night television, right? But it’s no joke.


Some of the more establishment members of the Occupy movement, including an Ivy League professor and a former British diplomat, are launching a prepaid Occupy debit card for the 99%.


The intention is to help people who don’t have bank accounts, supporters say, while also establishing Occupy as a financial services brand.


Those behind the Occupy Money Cooperative began raising money for their effort on September 17, the anniversary of the movement that took over New York City’s Zuccotti Park in 2011 and eventually spread across the United States.


Contributing to the debit card’s launch amounts to joining “the revolution to make banking fair, open and affordable,” according to the cooperative’s website.


Some Occupy participants hate the idea of the debit card, saying it conflicts with the movement’s messaging and purpose.


“Too much blood, sweat and tears have been going into Occupy to have that turned into a piece of plastic,” Bill Dobbs, a longtime Occupy member, told The New York Times. “This is a very odd fit, and for the project’s sake and Occupy’s sake, they ought to go on separate paths.”


Carne Ross, a cooperative member who left the British foreign service in 2004 to protest the Iraq war, defended the card by telling the newspaper: “There is no profit here.”


“The only revenue we want is to make the thing sustainable and eventually expand our range of services,” Ross added.


Like other debit cards, the Occupy one will include user fees, like paying $1.95 for ATM withdrawals and 99 cents for balance inquiries.


The card may even feature the Visa logo, if the cooperative is successful in establishing a relationship with the credit card giant.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Coming Soon? An Occupy Wall Street Debit Card (by Colin Moynihan, New York Times)

The Occupy Card (Occupy Money Cooperative)

Occupy Wall Street Was Target of FBI Counterterrorism Operation (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)         

Obama Too Occupied to Listen to “Occupy” Protest Song during Summit Dinner (AllGov)        


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