A couple of iconoclastic, liberal-leaning business leaders are funneling money to Occupy Wall Street protesters to get them up and running again. The group, which includes Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and former Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg, calls itself Movement Resource Group and so far it has raised $300,000 in funds. It hopes to kick that investment up to $1.8 million. The group plans to give grants of up to $25,000 to protesters who apply for them, in a process that begins in March.
Will Warren Buffet step in here? Perhaps he should. He’s already attracted something of a firestorm in his crusade to encourage the wealthiest of the wealthy in this country to pay higher taxes. (I called Ben & Jerry’s to find out if they had reached out to Buffet, but was told it might take a little while to find out.)
The Occupy movement attracted quite a bit of media attention during the fall months in which the occupiers were actually occupying city parks around the country. But since they were kicked out of those parks by local police forces, some of the buzz has died down.
Critics complained that it was difficult to pin the Occupy movement down on its aims. But Ben & Jerry’s knows exactly what it is protesting against. On its website, the company enumerates its reasons for supporting the cause:
- The inequity that exists between classes in our country is simply immoral.
- We are in an unemployment crisis. Almost 14 million people are unemployed. Nearly 20% of African American men are unemployed. Over 25% of our nation’s youth are unemployed.
- Many workers who have jobs have to work 2 or 3 of them just to scrape by.
- Higher education is almost impossible to obtain without going deeply in debt.
- Corporations are permitted to spend unlimited resources to influence elections while stockpiling a trillion dollars rather than hiring people.
Ben & Jerry’s has been active in lobbying for liberal causes over the years. On its website it lists many of the causes it has supported:
- Support for a Constitutional amendment that would limit corporate spending in elections.
- Support for stronger social and environmental protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
- Support for the Youth PROMISE Act, which funds proven youth violence prevention programs.
- Support for continued funding for the United States Institute of Peace.
- Support for continued funding for the Complex Crises Fund which supports State Department emergency efforts to defuse volatile conflicts around the globe.
- Support for aggressive federal legislation to limit and reduce carbon emissions to respond to the challenge of climate change.
- Opposition to FDA approval of foods from cloned animals.
- Support for a USDA program to require mandatory tracking of cloned animals in the food supply to support consumer choice.
- Opposition to FDA approval of genetically engineered animals in the food supply.
- Support for the right of dairy companies to label their products as being ‘rBGH-free.’
- Support for the United Nations Millennium Development goals to eradicate extreme poverty and inequality.
Read the Wall Street Journal story on the new group.