DOWNTOWN: Who is the leader of Occupy Atlanta?

8:54 PM, Oct 25, 2011   |    comments
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Occupy Atlanta's Tim Franzen speaks with members of the media in downtown Atlanta on Oct. 25, 2011

ATLANTA -- Wearing his trademark red knit cap, Tim Franzen is very concerned when I meet him at Woodruff Park. He points to a man standing just three feet from former Mayor and Ambassador Andrew Young.

The man has an AK-47 slung around his back. The man goes by the name of 'Porch.' Porch later tells me he is at the park to support the occupiers and the gun is part of that support.

Franzen has become the unofficial leader of Occupy Atlanta. Video of Franzen was shown at the Mayor's press conference monday, and Franzen was there as well, challenging the Mayor while he was speaking, almost getting himself thrown out.

The 34-year-old says he has a job with the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker founded social justice organization.

"I run a curriculum called 'Be the Change Curriculum.' We also have a youth group called Be the Change. It's basically young people learning how to identify root causes of problems in their communities and grasp the community organizing tools to create the change," Franzen said.

Franzen says he no longer lives in his Reynoldstown house, that the park is his home now.

"This opportunity is so important that I'm willing to do my day job, then pour every hour into this, that's what everyone in the park is doing," he said.

Franzen calls himself a community organizer but he also says, "I'm not the guy that's out every week with a a sign in his hand."

Tim Franzen is no stranger to being in front of the camera. He appears to be the star of something called the International Leisure club.

In a series of YouTube videos between 2006 and early this year, Franzen is on camera enjoys cigars in Miami, talking about the pillars of leisure which include dancing and conversation, and warning about managing money, that people shouldn't spend so much money that their 'handcuffed' to their jobs. Franzen is clearly the on camera star of the International Leisure Club which also has a Facebook page.

"Here it is right here, see?"

I nod yes, looking up at the building. I am asking Franzen about his latest proclamation, that he and the group intend to levitate the Georgia Pacific Building if the Koch brothers in New York do not withdraw their political money from Georgia Politics.

"We've been having a team of alchemists and faith healers and doctors of physics working together to develop a mathematical formula to levitate the building," Franzen said.

It's a bizarre claim from an unorthodox leader who has no intention of not occupying Atlanta.







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