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A "Protest with Every Purchase."
October 1, 2013 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Coming Soon? An Occupy Wall Street Debit Card. (SLNYT)
posted by whimsicalnymph (56 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was gonna buy some Karl Marx checks the other day. At least I *know* I'm being played for a sucker and realize that this isn't helping "the cause" in any way.

Good luck with your branding Occupy.
posted by symbioid at 11:08 AM on October 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


There will be no upfront cost for the card, Mr. Ross said, but there will be fees, including $1.95 for A.T.M. withdrawals and 99 cents for balance inquiries.

The card appears to intentionally avoid high fees that other debit cards have imposed


These two statements seem contradictory. I'd be paying far more with the Occupy Card's fees than I do with my big bank's debit card (zero fees, since I'm not overdrafting or doing other things to incur fees). Can't they find a way to provide a transparent, honest service without actually charging me more than the evil profit-minded competition? Or am I missing something?
posted by naju at 11:18 AM on October 1, 2013 [19 favorites]


Does this mean that occupy employs people? Does this mean that you can be preoccupied with your occupy occupation?

Great. Now the word has no meaning for me anymore.
posted by poe at 11:18 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


"There will be no upfront cost for the card, Mr. Ross said, but there will be fees, including $1.95 for A.T.M. withdrawals and 99 cents for balance inquiries."

Does it also yell FUCK YOU, PINKO when you take it out of your wallet, because keeping cash in a mattress will cost less than using this debit card.
posted by griphus at 11:19 AM on October 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


The AMA mentioned in the article: I am Carne Ross, one of the founders of the Occupy Money Cooperative.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:19 AM on October 1, 2013


jinx naju
posted by griphus at 11:19 AM on October 1, 2013


Good luck with your branding Occupy.

For the benefit of those who haven't yet read the fine article, "Occupy" wants nothing to do with this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:19 AM on October 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't see what point there is to this post (or the NYT piece) other than the attempt to score a cheap laugh at the expense of some self-promotionally glib nonsense coming from self-appointed movement members who are actually not speaking for the movement in any sense. And any movement that gains an ounce of traction in the media has to deal with cooptation; there's nothing special about this particular farce. It'd be more interesting to talk about the transparency and organizational problems facing Rolling Jubilee or the teensiness of the anniversary protests or the movement-building parallel to the early-2000s anti-war fizzle.
posted by RogerB at 11:20 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Occupy" wants nothing to do with this.

So the Occupy Money Cooperative is wholly separate from Occupy? Because that's not what the article says.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:21 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


"...it also aims to make Occupy a recognized financial services brand."

Did whoever quote that at Colin Moynihan say it with a straight face? Because I refuse to believe he typed it with one.
posted by griphus at 11:22 AM on October 1, 2013


They'll have to partner with a bank.....I guess that makes them "banksters" now.
posted by jpe at 11:25 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Occupy" wants nothing to do with this.

Given that most people who self-identify with Occupy want nothing to do with most other people who self-identify with Occupy, I had taken that to be one of their defining characteristics.
posted by belarius at 11:32 AM on October 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


OMC? How Bizarre.
posted by Kabanos at 11:33 AM on October 1, 2013 [20 favorites]


You know if I could get a debit card that would chant at me when shopping and limit my purchases to group consent, this would actually be a pretty good idea.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:33 AM on October 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


This is performance art, right?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:34 AM on October 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Occupy" wants nothing to do with this.

Is "Occupy" defined any more than "Anonymous" is?
posted by kmz at 11:34 AM on October 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


RogerB, the point of the post was to discuss the way that counter-culture movements are continuously co-opted by their own members or by others who are piggy-backing on their ideologies to create consumerist-oriented paraphernalia. The insidiousness of constant consumerism is the way it undermines legitimate gripes with itself by integrating those gripes into the whole. This is an example of that.

The point of the article seems to be a reportage of this phenomenon as it is taking place.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 11:35 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is one of those stories that just sounds so absurdly bizarre to me.

Today's stories:

British Woman Finds Potato Shaped Like Sheep
WATCH: Python Vomits Whole Dog
Coming Soon? An Occupy Wall Street Debit Card
Fencing Coach Foils Butt-Johnson Robbery With Sword

Blends right in.
posted by phunniemee at 11:35 AM on October 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


counter-culture movements are continuously co-opted by their own members

Sounds like this is premised on a hierarchical position on what Occupy is in the first place. From the outset, Occupy refused to define itself, and had the consensus procedures to make it even harder for corporate action. It was, instead, a loose federation of independent actors. If some of those actors do something that others in OWS disagree with, that's a feature, not a bug.
posted by jpe at 11:44 AM on October 1, 2013


If they can provide direct deposit services to those who can't otherwise get banking services, this is fantastic.
posted by phooky at 11:45 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kabanos: "OMC? How Bizarre."

Oooh baby - it's drivin' me crazy!
posted by symbioid at 11:46 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every time I look around, it's in my face.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:49 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Join a credit union.
posted by Apropos of Something at 12:00 PM on October 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


If they can provide direct deposit services to those who can't otherwise get banking services...

They don't seem to be charging any less than those ridiculous pay-by-godawful-debit-card schemes screwing people without bank accounts in the first place.
posted by griphus at 12:01 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can I use this to pay for my Anonymous-brand web filtering software?
posted by PlusDistance at 12:03 PM on October 1, 2013


The weirdest part of the Occupy movement has been how all the splintered groups move in different directions while still claiming the same name. Around these parts, Occupy is now an advocacy group for the homeless.
posted by echo target at 12:04 PM on October 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's bad enough being continually screwed by the banks, but do they have to continually find ways to use it for their daily amusement?
*sighs*
posted by BlueHorse at 12:08 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Mr. Ross said he respected the objection to Visa. But he said his group had no choice but to do business with that company or a similar one in order to produce a debit card that could be widely accepted."

It's just another prepaid Visa debit card issued by yet another financial concern.
posted by Ardiril at 12:16 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is like becoming the thing you hate.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:21 PM on October 1, 2013


On the other hand...

Occupy Vaporware
posted by JPD at 12:30 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


How quickly we evolve from the lowly occupy to the vampire squid.
posted by chavenet at 12:38 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speaking as someone who supported and semi-participated in Occupy Vancouver, there are serious concerns about financial mismanagement at the Rolling Jubilee initiative.

It's a bit lazy to snark about how anti-corporate activists have turned out to be really bad at corporate governance (the jokes write themselves) but it's certainly understandable and deserved. I'm just going to say that buying debt for fractions of a penny on the dollar was a really good idea for getting people out from under the worst of the American medical and financial systems, and seeing that idea executed so poorly is making me feel really bitter.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:49 PM on October 1, 2013


...there are serious concerns about financial mismanagement at the Rolling Jubilee initiative.

"– All Board members are authorized to individually sign checks up to $10,000. Checks greater than $10,000 require a signature of a second Board Member.
– All Board members are authorized to enter into contracts for activities that fall within the purview of the organizational mission."

Holy shit I'm not a lawyer or financier or business-runner or whatever but how did that even get passed? It's practically a recipe for embezzlement.
posted by griphus at 12:58 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Next, Hot Pockets will unveil the new "Occu-pies," the nutritious treat for the protester on the go!
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:59 PM on October 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


CAN I PUT BITCOINS ON THIS
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:02 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


And at the 1,000-dollar level, you get the Occupy travel mug, mouse pad and desktop wallpaper!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 1:04 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


how did that even get passed? It's practically a recipe for embezzlement.

There's been a lot of controversy around this in the last couple weeks, and much of what I've seen has been on places like Facebook (e.g. on Doug Henwood's wall) so it's hard or impossible to link. The upshot appears to be that the RJ folks are well-intentioned and no one is actually doing anything wrong with the money, but they're also operating in some combination of simple incompetence and naivete and with a disturbing lack of openness. It seems like they assumed that good intentions were enough going in, and got blindsided by how much work it is, while doing a lot of reinventing the wheel of the traditional nonprofit. It's kind of an interesting clusterfuck, especially in terms of how it's likely to be spun to movement outsiders. Only the lack of good public-Web links (and, to be honest, the contemptuous drive-by snark that use of the word Occupy on MeFi often attracts) has kept me from making a post about it already.
posted by RogerB at 1:09 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


You know if I could get a debit card that would chant at me when shopping and limit my purchases to group consent, this would actually be a pretty good idea.

"Whose credit?"
              "OUR CREDIT!"
"Whose credit?"
              "OUR CREDIT!"
"Price check!"
              "PRICE CHECK!"
"Price check!"
              "PRICE CHECK!"
"Okay guys, the GA's starting! First order of business is the No Fun Allowed Committee to argue why MCMikeNamara is not allowed to spend $300 on a new tablet!"
posted by chrominance at 1:26 PM on October 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


And at the 1,000-dollar level, you get the Occupy travel mug, mouse pad and desktop wallpaper!

...and a tote bag that will get you stopped and frisked on most American city streets.

But if you wanted to pull a mass scam, a Tea Party Debit Card would attract enough of our most gullible citizens for the scammer to retire with hundreds of Breaking Bad Barrels of cash by the 2016 elections...
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:35 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


There will be no upfront cost for the card, Mr. Ross said, but there will be fees, including $1.95 for A.T.M. withdrawals and 99 cents for balance inquiries.
Sounds more like Chase is engaging in some fifth-column activity to make their policies look better.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:35 PM on October 1, 2013


I don't see what point there is to this post (or the NYT piece) other than the attempt to score a cheap laugh at the expense of some self-promotionally glib nonsense coming from self-appointed movement members who are actually not speaking for the movement in any sense.

Isn't that enough reason? That it ties in with Metafilter's initial enthusiasm, and gradual disenchantment, with Occupy, makes it even more poignant a post.

I can understand the salt-in-the-wound feeling over this (and the RJ thing) getting more exposure, but if there was ever a good story to post of MF, this is it.

The Rolling Jubilee thing definitely deserves its own post, for sure.
posted by 2N2222 at 1:42 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I see two major points of interest with the Rolling Jubilee thing. First, the boring parts of life are often the most important parts. I bet everyone was very excited by the Big Ideas and Exciting Activism, but it doesn't sound like anyone leapt at the chance to responsibly manage the board. Second, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It's tempting to not want to embarrass well-intentioned activists, but this is actually an excellent teaching moment. The next time someone wants to start up a similar project, they should instantly remember Rolling Jubilee, thereby making a mental note to get someone who Knows What They're Doing to give the group structure. It's not a romantic mental note, but it's still one of the best mental notes to make.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:52 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


The next time someone wants to start up a similar project, they should instantly remember Rolling Jubilee, thereby making a mental note to get someone who Knows What They're Doing to give the group structure.

Man you'd think that would have occured to the Rolling Jubilee people after what happened to Yéle Haiti.
posted by griphus at 1:54 PM on October 1, 2013


Ha. Well, the presence of both Wyclef Jean and the notoriously weak/corrupt Haitian state may have distracted people from the more basic lesson.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:57 PM on October 1, 2013


"how did that even get passed?" - How soon we forget the human microphone.
posted by Ardiril at 2:15 PM on October 1, 2013


"There will be no upfront cost for the card, Mr. Ross said, but there will be fees, including... 99 cents for balance inquiries."

Heh.
posted by linear_arborescent_thought at 3:44 PM on October 1, 2013


What I don't understand is how this would be different from any other financial co-op (credit union) already available. Except you "donate" to be a member while in a regular credit union you pay for a $5 member share, which you get back when you leave.

Also, one of the purposes for a credit union is to help ordinary folks do things like financing a car purchase or mortgage.

I think this is an interesting project (in effect, an attempt at a national co-op bank... sort of) but I am disturbed by this from the FAQ:

"If I am a member of the Cooperative, will I have any responsibilities?

Unlike many cooperatives that require member work hours, or a membership fee, The Occupy Money Cooperative will have no such requirements. Membership is free. All one needs is an active Occupy Card. That’s it. Members can choose to be active or not."


IMO member involvement is key to the success of a co-op, along with the right to vote, change bylaws, and stand for election to the board. No commitment to involvement as a plus = not a movement.

What I am left wondering is "when do we hold elections for the board? How can I run for the board?"
posted by chapps at 3:48 PM on October 1, 2013


Why not rent your next place from OCCUPY Real Estate Developers? Housing for the 99%!
posted by miyabo at 3:50 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hands up! This is a BUTT-JOHNSON ROBBERY!
posted by dr_dank at 3:52 PM on October 1, 2013


Is the Rolling Jubilee note to remember that they've totally crapped out and are now inactive? like every other Occupy offshoot?
posted by jpe at 5:43 PM on October 1, 2013


This card seems pretty silly, but man I wish Occupy were able to be about reforming runaway corporate capitalism without always being more about the fundamental incapabilities of anarchy.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:26 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


In case you were wondering, Occupy Wall Street is most certainly still around and accomplishing a great deal - albeit in a much more decentralized/fragmented form.

Lets just look at a few things from the last year or so:

OWS in its more familiar form has helped plan and launch several high profile demonstrations in the NYC around May Day, OWS's recent 2 year anniversary, the Zimmerman verdict and countless smaller & more targeted demonstrations in support of public financing of elections in New York, ending Stop & Frisk, ending fracking, and dozens of other issues.

Occupy Sandy raised & spent over a million dollars and coordinated thousands of citizen volunteers to help with hurricane relief. They were basically the first coordinated effort on the ground after the storm and still today are helping residents in the worst hit and most under served areas -- literally saving lives climbing 30 floors in projects without power to deliver food, water, & medicine to disabled seniors stranded along the shore. After the immediate relief and cleenup needs subsided, Occupy Sandy helped set up cooperative small businesses in the Rockaways to keep the recovery local and keep real estate hacks and disaster capitalists from destroying the community.

Recently in Colorado, a group of OWS & Occupy Sandy volunteers formed Boulder Flood Relief to help residents displaced by the flood.

OWS activists helped workers at the Hot & Crusty bakery unionize for fair wages & treatment when none of the big unions would help.

OWS alumni led an occupation of Cooper Union's administration building until their demands to find ways to keep their school free were agreed to.

OWS runs a worker owned and worker run print shop so the hundred million leftist pamphleteers in NYC don't have to go to union-busting Kinkos any longer

After settling a lawsuit against the city for their illegal eviction of Zuccotti Park, the OWS Librarians are using the proceeds to set up free book programs across the city in areas where budget cuts are closing library branches.

And, as mentioned before, aside from some irritatingly predictable issues surrounding process and governance, OWS's Rolling Jubilee project successfully bought and paid for millions of dollars of real people's medical debt. MILLIONS. That is fucking amazing.

I'm only mentioning projects that came out of the NYC Occupy effort that I was a part of for the better part of two years. There were a hundred occupations and a thousand new endeavors were launched out of them to try and make the world a better place. I know better than literally anyone alive the maddening flaws of OWS. And yes, it certainly didn't live up to the insane expectations placed on it after becoming the most important thing in the world in its THIRD week of existence. But it's not doing nothing.
posted by willie11 at 7:32 PM on October 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


Also, I don't really like this project because I don't think it's particularly useful when just about anyone can join one decent credit union or another. But the people behind the Occupy Card are stellar folks with the best of intentions and they're trying their hardest to make a financial services product that doesn't exist solely to rip people off. That's good. They should be commended.
posted by willie11 at 7:36 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Damn straight, willie. For all my snark against the anarchist underpinnings I love most of the things about Occupy, and credit unions can be a very good alternative to banks for those ideologically opposed to banks.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:39 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


"There will be no upfront cost for the card, Mr. Ross said, but there will be fees, including... 99 cents for balance inquiries."


They've got two specific ad slogans to address this:

"If you're the type of person who needs to inquire into your balance, you can't afford us."

"You won't need to inquire about your balance, because you can trust us!"
posted by BlueHorse at 8:01 PM on October 1, 2013


Miley Cyrus did an Occupy music video (uploaded 11/23/11 so most who care have already seen It's a Liberty Walk.)
posted by bukvich at 8:14 AM on October 2, 2013


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