Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Corporate greed, government corruption, and a financial system that favors the wealthy. Those are among the sources of anger and frustration protestors say are fueling their occupy Wall Street movement. For nearly a month, protestors have camped out in New York, but the movement is spreading across America. And on Saturday, occupy Phoenix is planning a demonstration at Caesar Chavez park in downtown Phoenix. Joining us now to talk about the event is Apollo poetry, a spokesperson for Occupy Phoenix. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Apollo Poetry: Thank you for having me.
Ted Simons: Why Phoenix, why now?
Apollo Poetry: I think people all around the country were watching New York, and they felt like they were tapped into the frustration but didn't know how to be a part of it, so we came with the idea to create it in our own cities. It's actually spread to over 1500 cities around the world.
Ted Simons: Have you had contact with other cities, with people in New York or other communities that have had these demonstrations?
Apollo Poetry: All the organizers are trying to e-mail each other. Every time there is some important information.
Ted Simons: Okay, so there is some sort of plan afoot?
Apollo Poetry: Yes.
Ted Simons: Okay. How are the Phoenix demonstration, protests, different from others?
Apollo Poetry: We're standing in solidarity with the others, so we're all connecting with the same message.
Ted Simons: Logistically, similar things happening? Is there a different march? A different demonstration or a ---?
Apollo Poetry: Each city is doing their own thing. This grew in only a few weeks. So each city is organizing it on their own, but we're doing it in a solidarity with each other.
Ted Simons: So who is leading this particular demonstration? Who is organizing this thing?
Apollo Poetry: We pride ourselves in being leaderless. We like it that way. And we're trying to practice what a Democratic process is supposed to be. We call ourselves organizers or facilitators rather than leaders. Facilitators don't have followers but leaders do.
Ted Simons: Who is facilitating, then? How to you figure out who is going to facilitate?
Apollo Poetry: Anybody who wants to get involved and help, this is a people's movement.
Ted Simons: How do you make sure the people involved aren't going to do bad things down at the park or in surrounding neighborhoods?
Apollo Poetry: We've done a lot of meetings, pretty much every day throughout the last few weeks. We've been contacting each other, we've done nonviolence training. We're organizing it in a way; we want it to be as peaceful as possible.
Ted Simons: When you say we, we are organizing, we are the non-violent facilitators… who is the "we"?
Apollo Poetry: Just everybody who showed up to the meeting. When we showed up we said, what skills do you have that you can bring? And then we just associate it. It's a people's movement, there isn’t a leader. I think that's why the media struggles trying to understand it.
Ted Simons: Yeah. It is -- there is a struggle, because someone's got to say we're going to do this or that, I realize there's a vote taken, but usually there are folks who move to the floor, whether it's in the '60s or even now.
Apollo Poetry: We're having a general assembly, that's what Saturday is for.
Ted Simons: OK. What do you hope to accomplish?
Apollo Poetry: Well, one of the big criticisms we always get is what is the message, what is the message? I'm sure you've heard that. One of the biggest things is really to raise awareness on the corruption that takes place in the political and monetary systems and how it influences our society. Because this is an umbrella movement we have different messages that are coming forth but the one starting to emerge is separating corporate money from government.
Ted Simons: Are you trying to influence people, are you trying to -- average folks? Are you trying to influence politicians? Or trying to influence anyone at all?
Apollo Poetry: The fact we separate regular people from politicians I think is one of the biggest issues right there. The politicians are placed there in order to represent the people, not the corporations. That's what we're trying to change. We're trying to bring the power more from the top and spread it towards the people.
Ted Simons: Until that happens, where is the message focused?
Apollo Poetry: Everyone. It really is -- we are the 99%. It really does incorporate everybody. We have democrats, we have Republicans, and we have pretty much everybody from every part of the political spectrum involved in this.
Ted Simons: What would you want to hear the president say? All after these protests are done, after a particular protest, the president decides to address this more than he has already. What do you want to hear from him?
Apollo Poetry: I don't know if I want to hear anything from him specifically. I think the solution is starting to emerge. I don't want to say what the solution is, but we need an entire restructuring of the political system and the monetary system.
Ted Simons: How would you restructure that? Any ideas?
Apollo Poetry: There are lots of ideas. I'm not going to speak my personal beliefs. That's what's going to come forward in the in the general assembly that are happening. People have to realize this just started a few weeks ago spontaneously, so that might explain some of the chaos, but it actually is organized. Everybody has a different message so as time gives on; give us more than three weeks, all the other organizations, the Tea Party and all the others, which Tea Party members will be part of occupy. This does include everybody. They had lots of time, they had months, political funding, corporate funding, and they had a long time to merge their message.
Ted Simons: It sounds as if, if there is a message, it is - we're not happy. We don't like the way things are.
Apollo Poetry: Right.
Ted Simons: So change what's going on.
Apollo Poetry: Right. Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, I don't think anybody is happy with the current system.
Ted Simons: If the Tea Party folks want to change it more to a conservative bent, that's got an open forum too?
Apollo Poetry: Yeah. They're allowed to express their opinion. They want less power from the government, we want less power from the corporations, but the corporation and government are in bed with each other. They influence each other big time. So our message of the court is really the same, which is how much power is on the top compared to the rest.
Ted Simons: How did you become spokesperson for this?
Apollo Poetry: I showed up for the meetings and everybody kind of said, what are your skills, and we did it in a very Democratic process.
Ted Simons: I know everything is very democratic and there's a lot of ideas and we need to give you time to formulate those ideas. I'm talking to you personally. What do you want to see? What part of the political spectrum do you come from and what do you want to hear the president, congress, anyone with any kind of authority or any way of changing things, what do you want to hear them say?
Apollo Poetry: You asked me where I come from on the political spectrum. I've been independent my whole life. Right now I'm a registered Republican. Me personally, the reason I don't want to talk about what I personally want, I'm against the federal reserve but I don't want to get too much into that because the media will take that and say this is what they're about. They're just going to point their cameras at an individual and sway this message in the direction they want. That's why as a spokesperson I'm being very careful by saying this is the answer or that's not the answer.
Ted Simons: You understand why it's difficult for others who are watching, who might be curious about this, to know what exactly -- everyone needs a hook. It sounds like the hooks aren't there quite yet.
Apollo Poetry: They're forming, that's why we want everybody to come out and express their point of views. That’s what this is really about.
Ted Simons: How many folks are you expecting?
Apollo Poetry: Thousands.
Ted Simons: Are you preparing for it?
Apollo Poetry: Yes.
Ted Simons: Give us a date and location again and when this things get started.
Apollo Poetry: Friday at 3:00 we're meeting at downtown civic space. That’s just going to be a march. And the actual Occupy Phoenix is going to be at Caesar Chavez plaza at noon on Saturday.
Ted Simons: What happens the day after? What do you think -- what do you want to happen?
Apollo Poetry: We want the occupy to continue, we want the debate to continue. We want the ideas to keep spreading and like I said, 1500 cities in a few weeks is amazing. We're very excited to see the next step.
Ted Simons: All right. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Apollo Poetry: Appreciate it.