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Francine Hardaway Headshot

Why the Media Will Never Understand the Occupy Movement

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Although I live in Arizona, I was in New York this weekend and I went to show my support for OccupyWallStreet. It was one of the most exciting things I have seen in my life, for as I suspected, this movement is not about left and right, it is about up and down. But it isn't about class warfare either; it is about crowdsourcing solutions.

The Occupy movement will never be understood by the media or by the current political establishment, because it is a movement of questions, not answers, and circles, not poles.
Early this morning when I was there, two circles of "residents" were seated on the concrete. One was listening to a lecture on the Fed, and what it does and means, and discussing how to get more educated about the financial system. The other was talking about what to do (or more accurately what not to do) with donated funds ("let's not use them to make ourselves more comfortable because that is not what this is about").

When I went to the Press table there were several representatives of the people who take notes on little pads, otherwise known as Journalists. They're the only people who don't take notes on smartphones, recording audio, video, and photos. That's only for citizen journalists and tourists, who want to make sure they share reality.

The people with the pads all came with rehearsed questions. You could see they already had a concept, a point of view, a story they wanted to write. And it was the job of the poor, sleep-deprived spokesperson, crawling out from under a blue tarp, to say "we don't know the answers yet.That's why we are here: to find them" 

From all the signs I saw today, the common purpose is to unite against a financial system that has  cheated most of America. If there is an enemy, it is not one political party or the other, it is government that has been bought off by banks and multinationals. It is not an anti- business or an anti-government movement; it is more like an anti-greed and anti-selfishness movement.

It doesn't involve giving up all your worldly goods to show solidarity; it involves just showing up to show your solidarity. The goal is to make the people's voices, so long drowned out, heard. It's to remind the banks and the government that the citizens are the people, and that the American people are getting angry and impatient at the top 1%.

Oh, and it is by no means all kids. Plenty of people my age are out there. We may not be sleeping in Zuccotti Park, but we are there all the same, some in body and many more in spirit.