Occupy Duluth General Assembly
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Location: Duluth Autonomous District, Civic Center, 7:00 pm
Summary of Proposals Passed, Key Announcements, and To Do’s Agreed Upon
1. We received a statement from the police department, unsigned, which states what must be done by midnight Sunday or the encampment will be removed, and people will be arrested. The statement has been scanned and is posted separately.
2. We agreed to hold a facilitated discussion on Constitutional Rights and the Occupy Movement for the Public at 7:00 pm on Thursday, November 17, specifically inviting Mayor Don Ness and Chief of Police Gordon Ramsay
3. We agreed to contact Mayor Don Ness and Chief of Police Gordon Ramsay to sit down this week and discuss a counterproposal from Occupy Duluth, which will be drafted tonight after the General Assembly.
4. We agreed to investigate empty commercial offices on Superior Street to see if any of the owners would be kind enough to offer space to us for teach-ins and meetings and a visible base for the winter.
5. We agreed to obtain legal advice for Occupy Duluth as soon as possible
- Jay will call to set up the meeting with the Mayor and Police Chief, with Joel and Tamara if possible
- Draft the proposal for the city
- Everyone with contacts of owners of Superior St buildings will start making inquiries for us
- Supporters should call the mayors office and police chief in support of Occupy Duluth
- Everyone with attorney contacts will start making inquiries with them for support
- People who will be regularly at the encampment will arrange to be trained in the operation and maintenance of the solar system, which will be delivered Thursday or Friday, minimum 3-4 people. See Vern for details on timing
- Diane to videotape and post the presentation on foreclosure and bankruptcy by Peter Greenlee
- Show up at camp Thursday and Friday to take down tents, organize extra equipment, and return it to owners or move to storage.
- Add Dec 1 to calendar of events: Occupy UMD hosting “What is Occupy?” Free pizza and music, 7pm start. Link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-UMD/301241356560454
Tyler: 30% of the people of Duluth live below the poverty line. He is seeing no concern for the safety of homeless people of Duluth, yet so much concern about the safety of the people in the Occupy Duluth encampment.
Allen: Next week there will be a meeting with the American Indian Commission – Red Lake, and there will be a teach-in here at Occupy Duluth.
Sharla Gardner: Sharla made inquiries to clarify the situation. She spoke to Police Chief Gordon Ramsay who felt he was making good progress with Joel and Tamara, but was frustrated with what he was reading in the newspapers. The message from the Police Chief was “Do not believe everything you read in the papers. If you haven’t heard it from Joel, Tamara, or the Chief of Police, it isn’t happening.” And the message to the media is “If you haven’t heard it from the Police Chief, you haven’t heard it.”
Sharla confirmed her support of Occupy Duluth: “Your message is important. You are speaking for all of us.”
The mayor and the police chief are getting calls every day complaining about Occupy Duluth. Supporters of Occupy Duluth can call too, and share their support.
We discussed and approved having a meeting with the Mayor, Police Chief, and if possible Sharla Gardner, our representative for this area to clarify the situation of the encampment. Jay Benson will set up this meeting. In addition, we discussed and approved creating a counter proposal to the Police statement. Volunteers signed up to work on this after the General Assembly.
We also discussed and confirmed that a facilitated discussion on Constitutional Rights and the Occupy Movement would be held for the Public at 7:00 pm on Thursday, November 17, specifically inviting Mayor Don Ness and Chief of Police Gordon Ramsay. Jay will do the inviting on behalf of Occupy Duluth.
Occupy Assembly Recap
Every week on Tuesday evenings at 9pm there is a separate assembly for the people who are living at the encampment. We recapped the most recent OA.
The group discussed who would be willing to get arrested
The OA worked out how to get down to one tent, and the process of making that happen.
They decided on an Occcupiers Schedule and a Food donation schedule.
Open Discussion on Encampment
Lara: Reminded the group that the United States Constitution overrides local ordinances, and this is something we should talk about when the meeting is set up with representatives of the city.
Aaron: Encampments are a tactic, and it is time to move into a new phase. It has been a burden to maintain this encampment. The tactic of encampment has opened up a lot of eyes on this movement. But what kinds of numbers has it brought in to work locally? It is not a terrible idea to change our direction of focus. We need to be conscious of that.
Jennifer: This space has done a huge amount for he movement. Because I am here most days all day, I have talked to hundreds of people who have never heard of Occupy Wall Street. It is time for something different. Now it is time to DO what we say we want.
Jesse: This encampment has brought in a lot of people. And it serves more purposes than just bringing in people. It is an illustration to society where people take space for public well-being. By being here, by being forcibly removed, we force the police to demonstrate their violence against peaceful demonstrators. We force them to demonstrate who their bosses really are.
Aaron: He advocates that our camp become smaller in our efforts, and direct action becomes our main priority.
Direct Response: It is useful to have a hub still here
Tyler: the cops will arrest us, if we don’t comply with their statement.
Ryan: Even getting a permit is appropriate, in many cases. He gave the Rainbow Coalition as an example. Bureaucracy is there to protect us as well.
Lou: Sounds like they are concerned about our safety.
Point of Interest; We should find an attorney. An Attorney can file an injunction, and buy us time. Could also file a restraining order. We should get legal advice on the rebuttal proposal. Lara mentioned her father. Another suggestion was Greg Gilbert.
Ryan: note that the statement from the police is an unsigned document.
GA passed an agreement to get legal involvement as soon as possible.
People were asked to come by 8am on Thursday to start taking down tents, organizing the extra equipment in preparation for moving it off site, returning it to its owners, etc.
Friday 9am people will come and finalize the moving of this extra equipment off site.
Other Open Discussion Topics:
Superior Street Properties: Diane mentioned Jennifer’s work in identifying about 20 empty properties on Superior Street. The owner of one of these might be willing to offer the space to us through the winter for visibility, teach-ins, and a public meeting space.
Winter City of the North Parade: Friday, November 18
After much discussion, we agreed that anyone who is handing out flyers must walk on the sidewalk, and not on the street in the parade. We are walking with the Union. We do not have our own space in the parade. Because of this, it is important that we do not cause problems for the union, especially since they have not been in the parade in many years.
Solar Electrical system: Vern reported this will be delivered Thursday or Friday. We need 3-4 people to be trained in the operation and maintenance of the system.
Allen: review the particulars of tomorrow, the International Day of Action
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION
11:00 Peter Greenlee: Attorney specializing in bankruptcy and foreclosure, will be speaking and answering questions in the DAD/MOM living room. Diane will take a video of his talk, for people who cannot be there.
11:30 am: Rally at Depot, rally and speakers at Northern Lights Express Passenger Rail project. The Northern Lights Express, www.northernlightsexpress.org, could bring in 13,000 jobs. At the rally there will be speakers, then a march to City Hall.
Pot Luck Lunch at Encampment
12:45 pm: speaker on Protect our Manoomin
Nathan Ness will speak
A family undergoing foreclosure may speak
Music by Partrick McKinnon and others
Wild Rice/Polymet discussion
7pm: Fire Spinners
Discussion on eviction
A booth where people write their stories and have a photo of them.
OCCUPY UMD event: Jeff Pollari announced an event to be held 7pm on December 1. Free pizza/music, and the theme is “What is Occupy?”. Event details will be on the Occupy UMD Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-UMD/301241356560454
Next meeting: Saturday, November 19, 2:00 pm, People’s Power Plaza