Continues To Grow
Nearly 2,400 Have Indicated Via Facebook That They Will Be Attending The Saturday Event
The Occupy Phoenix Logo.
By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine
Oct. 14, 2011 — A little more than three weeks after the planning began for Occupy Phoenix, the grassroots movement in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street has continued to gather thousands of followers through social media sites and is on track to convene its occupation Saturday at noon at Cesar Chavez plaza in downtown Phoenix.
As of Thursday night, the Occupy Phoenix Facebook page had more than 6,500 likes and nearly 2,400 had stated they will attend the Saturday event. Those numbers are up from 4,200 likes and 1,500 indicating they would attend last Friday.
The Occupy Phoenix Twitter account has also attracted more followers — more than 3,200 as of Thursday night, up from 2,100 last week.
The Occupy Phoenix Twitter account is http://twitter.com/#!/occupyphoenix and the Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/occupyphoenix. A website has also been published, http://occupyphoenix.net/.
Hundreds of posters and flyers have also been handed out throughout the city.
The leaderless movement has apparently remained so, in keeping with the precedent set by Occupy Wall Street — that all final decisions need to be made by the general assembly. The first mass meeting of the general assembly is the Saturday event at noon. Other meetings have already been held in order to get the movement off the ground.
Over the past week, though, some of the people that have joined together through social media and are now part of Occupy Phoenix are starting to make public statements and appear on local television stations.
A man calling himself Apollo Poetry and identified as the spokesperson for Occupy Phoenix, gave an extended interview to longtime Valley fixture Pat McMahon on AZTV Tuesday. In that interview, Poetry deferred the message of Occupy Phoenix to the general assembly. However, he did identify the core of the Occupy movement: that the 1 percent which has 99 percent of the wealth has rigged the system through their purchase of the government and its officials.
“We’re not opposed to wealth, we are opposed to the corruption of wealth,” Poetry told McMahon.
View full video of Poetry’s interview here
A web search on Apollo Poetry identified him as a spoken word poet, film maker and hip hop artist who performed at the Billboard Awards and on MTV. Poetry, 28, was born Sevan Aydinian in Jerusalem.
While Occupy Phoenix backers have been getting the word out about what the movement is planning through traditional media, the majority of the message and discussion has been conducted through the leaderless, anonymous nature of the social media sites the movement has been using — chiefly Facebook and Twitter.
Posts to the Facebook page have communicated that creating and maintaining a leaderless, independent movement has been a lot of hard work.
“Ahhhh!! Everyone seems to be fighting for control of the movement and it's making me sad! We are all affected by this and we should not be fighting!” according to a post Tuesday by an unknown backer of Occupy Phoenix through the group’s Facebook page. “We, in my opinion, should all wait for the General Assembly on the 15th where we will all have a chance to talk about this as a community and come together to begin addressing all these issues. Let's not start splitting off and fighting before the movement even begins!”
A member of the Occupy Phoenix media team also said that an important part of the movement is that it is not about liberal or conservative but rich versus poor.
“The truth of the matter is that all Americans, conservative, progressive, and moderate alike are suffering the effects of decades of fiscal malfeasance and the undue political power of all who practice capitalism irresponsibly and pursue personal wealth at the expense of America’s best interests, values, and ideals,” said Michael Pack with the Occupy Phoenix media team. “However, it is critical to the future success of our nation that all Americans who wish to work can find employment at a fair and reasonable wage. All who support equality, liberty, and a strong, sustainable economy are welcome to attend our general assembly meeting this Saturday and have their voices be heard.”
The first truly public event of Occupy Phoenix will take place not Saturday at noon, but at 3 p.m Friday as several hundred will march from the Downtown Civic Space, 424 N. Central Ave., to Cesar Chavez Park, 201 W. Washington Street.
Through social media and sporadic workshop sessions, backers of Occupy Phoenix have also stressed that the movement is nonviolent and warned that any violence brought upon the protesters would surely backfire.
“We condemn the violence of the police and any individual. We want a peaceful occupation, not a show for the cameras. Phoenix PD take note, beating and using chemical weapons on peaceful protesters will only make us stronger,” according to an anonymous post Monday on the Occupy Phoenix webpage.
John Guzzon is editor of Modern Times Magazine.
Occupy Phoenix Event Locations
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