The Associated Press provides a detailed glimpse into the lives of what’s left of New York City’s “Occupiers”:
NEW YORK (AP) — It was only a few nights after the Occupy protesters began sleeping in his church sanctuary when the Rev. Bob Brashear realized that his laptop was missing.
The refugees from Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park had found their way to his cavernous Presbyterian church on a cold winter evening, hoping to stay for a few nights, maybe longer. It was the latest stopover for the nomadic group, which has been living in a rotating series of churches since the city shut down its camp in November.
“There was a sense of shock and sadness that it had happened,” said Brashear, whose laptop will soon be replaced by Occupy organizers. “And there’s a common understanding that if there’s one more theft in the church, that’s it.”
This is what the Occupy encampment has become: a band of homeless protesters with no place to go. Amid accusations of drug use and sporadic theft, they’ve been sleeping on church pews for weeks, consuming at least $20,000 of the donations that Occupy Wall Street still has in its coffers. Their existence is being hotly debated at Occupy meetings: Are these people truly “Occupiers” who deserve free food and a roof over their heads?
“We don’t do this out of charity,” said 34-year-old Ravi Ahmad, who works for Columbia University and volunteers with Occupy in her spare time. “We do this so that whoever wants to work in the movement can work in the movement. This is a meritocracy.”
But money is draining rapidly from Occupy’s various bank accounts, which currently amount to about $344,000. Including church maintenance costs and meals, living expenses are more than $2,000 per week.
“We are all aware that the NYPD destroyed the tent homes of many Occupiers in just one night,” someone recently wrote on www.nycga.net, Occupy’s General Assembly website for New York City. “However, where were they living before Zuccotti Park? Are we paying for housing for homeless people who may be relocated to City shelters?”
Translation: While we demand to be allowed to be freeloaders without consequences, we sure as hell don’t want other freeloaders mooching our stuff who haven’t ‘earned’ the right to stay with us!
Wash, rinse, repeat …
Make sure to read the whole thing.