General Assembly Minutes October 29, 2011


Occupy Duluth General Assembly

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Location: Superior and Lake Streets, the fountain next to Electric Fetus

2:00 pm

Facilitator: Lara

Stack: Tyler

Notes: Diane

Key Actions since Last GA: Lara

The First Communique was posted  and pushed. It was posted on the website and sent to media contacts. It has also been made into a half sheet flyer. If anyone wants some to hand out, please contact Diane at

 A Day in the Life of an Occupier: Mike Creiger from the Duluth News Tribune is planned to be published on Halloween day. Mike agreed to stay overnight at the occupation to get the full story. He also has offered to donate any overtime pay he gets for the extra hours to the movement. Thanks, Mike!

Donation Jar: The small one was stolen. After some discussion it became clear that this was one of those issues that would best be handled by a working group of people who live at the occupation site- the Occupation Assembly.

On a related note, Jesse was robbed and mugged on Friday night, and in the spirit of nonviolence and direct mediation, will be walking the neighborhood talking to people about it, in an effort to talk to the person who attacked him, rather than report it to police.

A buddy system will be discussed at an Occupation Assembly, and Allen suggested the dojo on the corner for non-violent self defense.

Declaration/Manifesto. The draft of this was handed out at the Oct 26 General Assembly. This will be e-mailed out to members who have shared their e-mails, for comments and input, before posting on the website. If you want to be sure to have input, send your e-mail address to the following e-mails, to be sure you get information as it becomes available: and

Calendar of Events:  Phil, Lara and Tiffany can post items to the website,  including calendar items.

Aaron: A statement of solidarity with the Postal Service will be posted to the website. A draft was handed out at the last General Assembly, and approved for posting at that meeting.

A statement of solidarity and support from labor unions was tabled for future discussion.


Diane suggested that all attendees review the minutes from the previous General Assembly before attending the next one, if at all possible, because discussions and reports from working groups will make much more sense to attendees.

FOOD – Jennifer.  We are continuing with healthful, organic foods as much as possible. The Food working group follows the advice of Hippocrates: “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”

Jennifer reminded the Assembly that food gift certificates are very welcome, so the Food team can purchase the exact ingredients they need to make meals.

There is concern that food donations may be coming to us rather than going to local food shelves. As a result, our energetic Food team is having a Halloween Food Drive – a Trick or Treat So We All Can Eat. The idea is for volunteers to go door to door before the trick or treaters come out, asking for donations of food for the food shelves. Collectors (preferably on bicycles) would pick up the food at the street corners and deliver it to the food shelves.  Here are more details which came in shortly after the GA:

Volunteers needed for:

Collecting food door to door (on foot, bike, skateboard, preferably not in car and in costume)
Picking up food from collectors as they go.
Organizing routes for collectors
Posting fliers at supermarkets
Delivering collected food to food banks.

Collecting should start around 3-4. All ages are encouraged to participate. This can be done by anyone anywhere, going together just might make it that much more fun :)

Please call Jennifer @ 952.237.1705 to volunteer. Or sign up in the living room

The first time Jennifer saw this done hundreds of pounds of food were easily collected in just 2 1/2 hours!! It was the largest one time donation the Brick food shelf had ever gotten.

SANITATION: Allen: We have permission to use the facilities at the Labor Temple. If you want to help empty the camp’s trash and recyclables, bring the bins around to the back of the Labor Temple.  We will need to keep appealing to the Labor Temple for funds to continue the emptying of the portable toilets and funding of electricity.

DONATIONS: Tyler. He wants to ask people for tents so we can expand, and read a communique from Cairo. After discussion, it was determined that we should not yet expand the encampment.

MEDICAL: There is a herbal First Aid workshop Sunday at the Pineapple Arts building. Cold weather herbal remedies will be covered, among other topics.

It was suggested that a separate tent be set up to hold the extra blankets and warm clothes which are being donated, so everyone knows where to go to help someone who comes into camp cold. Details will be worked out at the Occupation Assembly.

TOWN PLANNING: Jennifer. The space at camp has been re-arranged, as proposed at the last General Assembly. Andrew from the Duluth News  Tribune arrived the day of the move and documented it.

We now have a 10ft by 20ft car port next to the living room.  We have received a huge tarp, 36 by 36 paces large. It was proposed and approved that it be used to cover the eating area, with the assistance of a tree.

Diane raised the idea of solar panels rather than our high use of electricity and fossil fuels. Jesse pointed out that solar panels also depend on non-sustainable materials for their creation. Great Northern Solar wishes to help us, but they need a proposal with energy usage need. The assembly agreed that Jennifer would calculate the energy usage needed and Vern would follow up with Great Northern Solar. Also that Jennifer would talk to the design school she attended regarding a small wind turbine for our space.

Bob Monahan has offered the Radisson Pool to occupiers at 6pm Sunday.

There will be an Occupiers Assembly at 7pm Sunday, to discuss issues specifically related to the occupation site.

Winterization: There is a general request for bags of dry leaves to assist with insulating the camp, tents, etc. Bring them in!


Events in the Transistor need to be e-mailed today. Basic information like mealtimes, teach-ins, and assemblies.

Lara is running the calendar of events on the website.


Here are some future events taking place, if we wish to do direct action at them. If nothing else, attend, talk to people, and hand out leaflets like the 1st communique.

Tuesday, November 1: Shane Claiborne event:  CHUM Fall Community Assembly The event will be held from 6:30 to 8 pm in the Mitchell Auditorium at the College of St. Scholastica. Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus.

Wednesday, November 2: Day of the Dead celebration. Our General Assembly will be postponed so we can honor this day

Thursday, November 3:  7pm,  General Assembly, at DAD

Saturday, November 5: Connecting the Dots, event put on by Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) 8:30 -12 noon, at Clyde Iron Works. Free to get in, free breakfast. Also Move the Money Day. Move your money from the big banks into credit unions or local banks.

Wednesday, November 9: – 7:00pm – 9:00pm  Move To Amend with David Cobb. Note:  Our General Assembly will be postponed so we can attend this event.

Location: Peace Church, 1111 N. 11th Ave. East

Speakers / Performers include: David Cobb, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Jim Northrup, Joel Sipress, and Sharla Gardner. Music by Rachael Kilgour.

David Cobb (Keynote Speaker): Spokesperson for Move to Amend, 2004 Green Party presidential candidate, attorney, initiator of the 2004 Ohio Recount.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer: Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas, author of thirteen books, leader of the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP).

Jim Northrup: Renowned Anishinaabe poet / author of numerous books and other publications.

Joel Sipress: Professor of history at the University of Wisconsin Superior and progressive activist.

Sharla Gardner: Member of the Duluth City Council.

 Thursday, November 10:  General Assembly: 7pm, DAD

 Thursday, November 17: Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, Veterans for Peace. This will be a big day for action, focusing on our dilapidated infrastructure. Supporters will be out for the Northern Lights Express. Big Event on infrastructure, probably at the depot, time TBA

Saturday, November 29: International Solidarity Day with Palestinian people

December trip to Washington, DC to participate in the Tent City. Depart on the 5th/6th, return on the 11th/12th. Most of the expenses will be covered by the labor unions. Transportation provided. Need 5 people. See Allen Richardson.

 Other Actions:  Donna, a member of TROU: The Rest of Us, led a discussion about possible actions people attending the General Assembly would like to personally work on. Attendees offered the following suggestions:

  • Banks – the top 4 banks. Focus on repossession of homwe where they can’t find mortgages, and moving money from banks to credit unions.
  • Duluth Port Authority and the Mars Company monopolization of manufacturing jobs in Duluth
  • Clean Water and Lake Superiour.  A Legacy Fund was set up for this but is in danger of some of this fund being transferred to build a stadium in the Twin Cities. Actions could include writing a letter, calling the governor.
  • Movie Nights. One movie suggested is “Tapped”.  This documentary is about bottled water: privatization and health issues.
  • Student Involvement: LSC, UMD, CSS. Teach students what this is all about. Show movies at UMD, other locations. Student organisations are being created, possible connection with SDS, Students for a Democratic Society.
  • Move into a foreclosed home, especially one where the original mortgage has been lost in all the financial paper shuffling.
  • Homelessness and Unemployment: Turn Cravaack’s office into an employment centre, simply by helping unemployed people fill out job applications in his office.
  • March on the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. Nathan Ness suggested this action, and would like to have a conference call with anyone who is interested.

Anybody who wants to set up a direct action at any of these events or others is welcome.



Todd Erickson, delegate for two local labor unions, reported that the International Union is supporting the Occupation. He also reported that on Wednesday of this week, when he was at Occupy Chicago with a union delegation, hundreds of fliers were tossed out of the window of the Board of Trade building onto the occupiers below, denouncing the Occupy movement, and especially against union workers. Tyler read the statement to us, which was unsigned. Lara will post it on the Misc section of the website.

It was reported that AFSME will march with Occupy Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Nathan Ness drove from St. Paul to attend our assembly, and talked about the Move to Amend event being held on Wednesday, November 7. His proposal to move our GA so we could attend was accepted. So instead of November 7, our midweek GA will be held Thursday, November 8.  Because there are hundreds of flyers out circulating among the public which state that our General Assemblies are held every Wednesday, 3-4 people will remain at DAD to discuss the occupation with anyone who shows up on Wednesday.

Next General Assembly: Thursday, November 3, 7pm, at DAD (civic center). Note: this is a departure from our normal Wednesday schedule. The next two weeks the mid-week General Assemblies will be held on Thursdays, instead of Wednesday. Please check the calendar at for the latest information.