Occupy Phoenix is gaining momentum

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PHOENIX -- The “Occupy” movement continues to grow legs around the country and the globe with protests in Boston, Seattle and the Bay Area this week. There have been a number of arrests as protesters clashed with police, but for the most part the protests are peaceful.

The movement is growing rapidly in Phoenix leading up to a protest Saturday. There are people from different generations and they are involved because they want to talk about money, who has it and how it controls our lives.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, will converge on Cesar Chavez Memorial Plaza in downtown Phoenix Saturday joining protesters around the country.

Bob Diehl has been in a lot of businesses, but he said his distrust of the financial system solidified while working for a collections company.

“How is it that someone who doesn't know how to balance a checkbook is granted $25,000 in unsecured debt?” he asked. “Something’s wrong and I think everyone has that aha moment.”

Apollo Poetry, who claimed to be a Republican, recently became a spokesperson for the “Occupy Phoenix movement. I say recently, because this movement or organization in all cities is in its infancy.

“This is not like a lot of other protests where there was an organization behind it where we had months and years and corporate funding and organized this entire thing,” Poetry said. “This was an idea that sparked in just a few weeks, so be patient.”

“Where do you see it going one month from now, six months from now?” I asked.

“Hopefully the dialog will keep continuing and we're hoping it keeps expanding,” Poetry said. “We went from one city to over 1,500 cities in a few weeks, so who knows what will happen in the next few months?”

“This place is a ghost town on Saturday,” I said. “Do you think you are going to get any bang for your buck on Saturday?”

“Yes, we are expecting thousands of people to show up and we don't expect it to end on Saturday,” Poetry said.

It is clear this movement is gaining fans, but from questions we received, most people either don't understand it or believe the participants are a bunch of bums.

Shelley Kowalsky Dalton asked on Facebook, "Who pays for your cell phone coverage? Who provides your transportation? When was the last time you worked for a living?”

Poetry had to say...
“At first they were portraying it as a bunch of unemployed lazy young hippies and this is probably one of the most diverse crowds I've seen at any protest.  These aren't people who were just against the system. These are people who did everything right.”

Poetry went on to say, the overall message isn't just a complaint about inequality, it's about separating money and the political system. He expects it might take a generation to change the thinking in this country.