GA Minutes 11-12-11

Occupy Duluth General Assembly

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Location: People’s Power Plaza, Superior and Lake, 2pm

 

Lara shared today’s agenda

Facilitators; Tyler, Lara

Stack: Drake

Minutes: Diane

 

Lara reviewed the hand signals for consensus decision-making

 

Use blocks sparingly and have a proposal to rectify your problems if you do block.

 

Summary of Proposals Passed , Key Announcements, and  To Do’s Agreed Upon

 

1. We have approval from the city to keep our occupation camp where it is indefinitely, with a review scheduled for March 21, 2012.  We agreed to the city’s proposal in principle. We will work on getting changes made to the city ordinances related to camping in public parks as a first step, rather than immediately applying for a permit.

 

2. We passed a Resolution to Support the work of MN ASAP, http://www.mnasap.org/ .

 

3. Discussion of Bank Foreclosure issues will take place Monday morning at 9am at DAD/MOM.  Volunteers needed to join this working group.

 

To Do’s

  • Diane to put notes from Move to Amend up on the Facebook and Website so people canlook at it and understand it, before we discuss it again at our next GA.

 

  • Diane to get the support letter regarding the grounds to the Police Liason working group.

 

  • Vern will contact his friend to bring in a solar panel system as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Working Groups

 

1. Facilitation: Lara:

The Facilitation working group has always wanted to have other people join them, and this request is going out once again.  The Facilitation Working Group  will be doing teach-ins on this, so people who haven’t done it before can feel comfortable facilitating the General Assemblies and other assemblies.

 

2. Direct Action/Community Outreach

 

Donna Howard: This past Wednesday, the Direct Action working group met. We will be meeting again to discuss foreclosures and assign research work needed on Monday, November 14, at 9am at DAD/MOM. Volunteers needed.

 

Tyler: Teach-In: Monday, November 14th, 5:00 pm Duluth Autonomous District (DAD/MOM)  Agitation and Organizing 101 Teach in by C Ryan Welles

 

Tyler: Teach-In on Winterization on Tuesday, Nov 15, 6pm, MOM/DAD. Winterization is a pressing matter.  The ground is getting too hard to get stakes into the ground.

 

Heather Lynn Henkel: There is an Occupy UMD Student Group, which meets every week.  This next week it will meet at 5pm Wed, Nov 16, at the UMD Kirby bus hub.

 

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

 

Tamara: Nov 17 Rally at Depot, 11:30 am 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.

 

Jesse: Nov 17th: event at MOM/DAD we will have musicians, wish lanterns, speakers, different things going on all day, beginning at 11:00 am

The 17th is an international day of action.  There is an opportunity for Actions for any activist organization or union. Push for activism –  Get out and do something on the 17th.  Let’s get our people out there, let’s get a lot of folks down there.

MN for a fair economy is all announced, and will be there. (Note from Diane: there are now 3 reflective vests with Occupy Duluth on the back and front pocket at DAD/MOM if anyone wishes to go out picking up trash, delivering coffee, etc. Sizes: Medium, Large and Extra Large. Look above your head in the Living Room)

 

 

Christmas City of the north parade Friday, November 18

Ed Barkos: It is too late for Occupy Duluth to get their own spot in the Christmas City of the North Parade, but we can be part of the Labor group, if we wish.  This is the first time Labor is back in the parade in 20 years.

 

If we want to be part of the Labor group, bring signs like “We support Occupy Duluth”, and keep things respectful, as it is an event aimed at children.

Line up at 5:30pm, Division Yellow, Unit 11, by Georgia Pacific General Mills Plant.  Just tell them you are with Unit 11.  The Park will get filled fast.  The actual parade begins at 6:20pm. It is a 3 hour parade. No alcohol or drugs, including smoking.

Tyler: There are costumes donated by Allen, if we want some.

 

 

Lara Mary: Community Outreach is planning an event on Portland Square on Saturday, November 19th. If you know any one interested in speaking or playing music at the event, contact Lara

 

 

Move to Amend:

Vern proposed that we adopt a resolution in support of Move To Amend, www.movetoamend.org   There was an event at Peace Church this past Wednesday.  David Cobb from Move to Amend spoke on the importance of ending corporate personhood. Many Occupy Duluth supporters were there.

 

Because not many of the attendees of the GA were at the Move To Amend presentation, Diane offered to write up her notes on the event, and put them on

Facebook and our Website so people canlook at it and understand it.

 

We agreed to Table this resolution until Wednesday’s General Assembly.

 

 

Minnesota ASAP:

Vern proposed a 2nd resolution:  That we officially support MN ASAP:  www.mnasap.org   This organisation is working to shift federal spending priorities from war to meeting essential needs. Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer spoke on this important effort at the Peace Church event on Wednesday.

 

Attendees were given a handout on the effort, and we passed a resolution to

support it, and a request for  all of us to  take the time to sign it individually. A paper was sent around for everyone to sign their support for the work this group is doing.

There were no sad octopi on this temperature check.

 

 

3. Donations

Winterizing Donations: We need Firewood, kindling, hay bales and big plastic garbage bags to encase them, and bagged dry leaves. You can bring them to the camp.  See also our donations page at www.occupyduluth.org

 

For donations by check, contact the Northland Antiwar Coalition, www.northlandantiwar.blogspot.com

 

We need no donations of small tents, or tarp yurts, or foam yurts. The foam releases toxic gases if it burns. Walled canvas tents are allowed, because if they catch on fire, you do not have the issue of toxic gas.

 

4. Police Liason

Joel: would like to bring some new people into the work.  Would like Peacekeeping and the medical team to join in the meetings.  Would like it if the people who wish to join the Police Liason group would be consistent in turning up for the meetings, and would like no more than 2 extra people. Tamara would like at least one of the additional people to someone who stays at the camp on a regular basis if possible.

Jonathan would like to help.

 

Bridget: do we still have a peacekeeping team? Reply: we do still have a core group, but we are working to get everyone who is an occupier savvy to the way to handle things.

 

Joel: The city has brought a proposal to us to allow us to stay at the civic center indefinitely, with re-evaluation scheduled on March 21, 2012.  There are concerns about electricity, safety, care of the grounds, and preferential treatment given to the Occupiers. We are currently violating city ordinances by being there. They have asked that we voluntarily comply with not using city electricity. We have already decided to move the kitchen off site, which helped.

 

They would prefer that we move into one large canvas tent. Tamara said we would need at least one separate tent for medical (smaller than the current tent), Tyler: advised the Police Liasons to ask for 3 tents: barracks, living room, and medical. The medical tent does not need to be as big.

 

 

There are two ways to proceed on the city ordinances issue.

One way: apply for a permit: The city is willing to work with us on the fees, and think of some creative way to put it in the name of an organization

 

The other way is to apply to get the city council to change the ordinance about camping overnight.  Tamara had an opportunity to talk briefly with Sharla Gardner about this possibility.  Sharla supports Occupy and will be working on bringing something forward.  Tamara welcomes help to get a proposed ordinance crafted.

Joel: There are two ordinances: one is the closing hours for city parks. These can be 10pm or midnight, depending on the park. The other ordinance is about tenting. Tenting is expressly prohibited right now.

 

Heat source; waiting for an answer from the fire chief, by Monday, on what is acceptable as a heat source for the camp.

 

The Grounds: There has been no direct ask, but they are concerned about the state of the ground, and what plans we have to repair the grounds.

Point of Interest from Jennifer: Dina from the city stopped by the camp to tell us how nice it looked.

Jesse: We have already proactively started a working group that we have a plan to address the grounds, and we are capable of doing these things. Jesse reminded the group that we have a letter from a former President of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society (me) stating that there has been minimal damage done to the grounds by Occupy Duluth. It includes an offer to help fund repair of the grounds when the camp leaves. This letter will be given to the Police Liason working group.

 

Lara: electricity  – we are planning to get off the grid. There will be a meeting on Sunday, Nov 13, at 3pm on the Kitchen – at least getting the kitchen off the grid. Vern will contact his friend to bring in a solar panel system as soon as possible.

 

Temperature check approved to work with Sharla Gardner on getting changes made to the ordinances before working on applying for a permit.

 

Joel:  The Police Liason is meeting with the police on Monday: Occupy Duluth agrees in principle with the proposal.

 

 

 

4. City Planning Committee

The issues coming up from the Police Liason report are mostly city planning issues. Tyler noted that if you would like to be in on City Planning, contact Lara.

 

Tamara: We have labor support.

Duluth Central labor body paid for our loos again. Will do it indefinitely. They passed the hat, $170 was raised for canvas tent, and the union offered the rest needed to buy the tent.  We now have one canvas tent and wood stove.

Propane has been donated. But we will buy wood instead.

 

Medical Team: Everyone wants the medic tent to be accessible and organized. We have again set up the comfort tent. No comfort items will be left in the medic tent except for those items needed for emergencies.  The medic tent is for medics only. But the person who has the armband would have the right to enter the tent, in case there is no medic in camp.

 

Comfort tent: to better control the sleeping bags and blankets people donate for comfort, there will be someone sleeping in the comfort tent who will distribute the items if there are late night arrivals.

 

OPEN FLOOR

Ed Barkos, President of local 2750, AFSCME: We are supportive of Occupy Duluth because you are fighting our (union) fight. It is about basic rights.

 

Tyler: if you believe in the occupation, be here.

 

LisaLee  Williams and others discussed how LisaLee came to occupy the city park next to Electric Fetus. There was miscommunication based on previous information from the city about us being able to camp on any city park, at the very beginning. What we know now is that situation and offer changed once we selected the Civic Center as our camp.  Joel: in the initial dialogue with police, the message was that they could work with us on any city property, but not now.

Tyler thought it would be legal for us to camp in any city park based on the previous information.    Tyler has been advocating direct action that has not been approved by the GA, and apologized to LisaLee about the miscommunication. Lara also took responsibility for some of the miscommunication. “When we encouraged you, we assumed you already knew the fact that it was autonomous action.”  The miscommunication was compounded by Allen offering a tent for her. LisaLee thought that any communication on Facebook was official from Occupy Duluth.

 

It was clarified for everyone present in the discussion which followed that all key decisions are made at the General Assembly or the Occupiers Assembly, and that without approval at the General Assembly, there would be no official support from Occupy Duluth to camp in any other place except the current half of the Civic Center.  If people choose to take actions not sanctioned at these Assemblies, they are doing it as autonomous beings.

 

LisaLee:  Occupy Duluth originally said there were going to be demonstrations and teach ins at the plaza on Superior and Lake, but she doesn’t  see anything going on here.  The Civic Centre is half a mile away.

 

Ed: having more activities on Superior St would be good for better visibility.

 

POI:  We could be in the large park on the community centre on Hillside, for classes.

 

Lara: Agreed with more direct action in the public.  We need to be out.  Direct action is at forefront of our agendas. Also, we want to look into indoor spaces for teach-ins.

 

Jennifer: when we come down to the plaza for our meetings here on Saturdays, space, we want to rally and tell everyone to come join us. Invite everyone to come down.

 

Vern: thanks and supports us.

 

Tyler: Mic check of a People’s Apology, and group hug

 

Next meeting: Wednesday, November 16, 7:00 pm, Civic Center DAD/MOM

GA Minutes 11-10-11

November 10,  2011 a full moon

Facilitators: Nadia, Jay, Heather H., Vern

 

Discussing events of today concerning invasion of Cravaackistan.

-Autonomous action

-Police said tent couldn’t be there. We stood our ground by replacing the MPLS tent with a symbolic donated tent. We consensually agreed we would not move tent until clear communication about regulations of the land. Miscommunications between occupiers and police led to freak out of possible eviction. Document was brought to camp, media was present and police didn’t want to talk then. Document very confusing and did not clear up confusion. We set up a meeting.

-Ben: has 30 min. video of conversation with Police Eric. Will post/transcribe.

-Jay: Eric is nice guy, institution a big part of THE PROBLEM. Estatic that police have been so nice to us. Risch made a comment: “I’m not just a badge,” Jay, “I’m not just a cardboard sign.”

Any unwarranted act is aggressive. I feel I can approach him at any time now. Very productive discussion.

What was the reason for not being on this land?

-Original negotiations; MN Power Plaza or other public land, we chose civic center and two lots were designated as city and the other as federal. Disconnect of understanding as to why police told us to leave federal land before they found the document saying it was an easement to the city. Basically, for containment reasons.

Adeline: Occupy the skywalks suggested. Ben informs about possibility of Annex.

Feels people want daily participation without camping (some sad octopi)

Tyler: can participate without camping; GAs, living room discussion, meals

DR Lara: we will be getting fliers out more.

Mayor’s office gets many calls saying they support movement but don’t like some things they see/hear, Jessica will recommend them to stop by :)

Stack – Tyler: sustaining camp, wear on grass, etc. winterization a priority; canvas wall tent w/ wood stove – off the ground fires city said is okay. More than a campsite. Facilities housing homeless, people with substance abuse problems and mental disabilities, and overflow of city facilities. Temp check of occupation fed land (show of force, when we push we get bigger, consider effects of being part of machine): 2 blocks

Adeline: tremendous effort to move everything. Snow. Better use of effort to move inside.

Jennifer: timing poor. We’ve got to rally on Nov. 17th and moving may take more than 1 day.

Vern: occupation more than encampment. Focus on foreclosure evictions, chips to something bigger.

–          Direct  Response: agreement

–          Direct Response: agreement focus on

Ryan’s block: bureaucratic nightmare. Not worth antagonizing city. Our site is good and visible. Does not impede our rights to not be over there. Let’s work with that, they gave us this.

-Direct Response: if we are really concerned of footprint moving inside would benefit, moving here or there wouldn’t.

Tyler response: risking chips all that’s relevant, first amendment issue – that’s our land, there is no difference between those lands that’s why we should occupy that space. Reorganize on level land, don’t want to trump occupation of foreclosed home. They have said things and they went back on their word. We’re playing fair and they’re not.

DR: In mtg today we made clear expansion of movement inevitable and Joel is developing talks with them about this.

DR: no rights have been infringed yet other than those we’re trying to force.

Tyler’s response: what happens when they start saying no. liability. They are concerned about their safety not ours. Democracy is a great dream but people are whispering in Montgomery, Ness etc ear. Would there be an occupation when shit hits the fan. It sounds like every time they stand up to us we…

DR: there’s a time and place for CD – when you have no other choice and the authority is illegitimate. They are giving us what we need. If not it’s time to sit down and get arrested but that’s not this time.

DR: we’re willing to fuck shit up, but this is not the time.

Point of Process:

Autonomy DA:  wanna set up camp over there, DO IT ON YOUR OWN, we’re not moving camp collectively.

Stack: foreclosed houses invite homeowners to storytelling time about thier stories to find ideal candidate to help out and occupy their home – public event, improve our structures, work with relationship we have, police is on our side their the 99%. Shake the mass public up not the police would be more productive.

DR: known houses empty for years, potential living space for occupiers. Plus known family being foreclosed.

Point of process: clarification of filling with occupiers or homeless.

DR: both. Plus send people showing up at night to dorothy day house

Point of Interest: we can’t, those showing up at night have been turned down due to intoxication.

Back to event idea…

DR: there’s a DA committee working on something for 17th

Point of process back to the proposal

Proposal: stage for storytelling of foreclosure families to find a poster family to begin our first home occupation. Temperature check – hot DO IT. Connect with DA committee.

Tyler: let’s not send it to the committee wants to discuss now.

Security culture discussion…                                                                                                                            

Proposal: committee work quickly to plan and come back to GA

Stack: 17th day of action good time for this.

MOVING ON

OA RECAP:

Every Tuesday at 9pm. First was last night, focused on: drunk population, winterization, electricity, cravaackistan issues, addressing media.

–          Agreed on media blackout because of overwhelming. Yet we called media today due to events.

–          Teach in on winterization Tuesday 15th at 6 pm

–          Go off grid as much as possible/completely. Kitchen will change to off-site.

–          Individuals showing up in altered mind states: big topic! Spent 3 hours chasing/babysitting individuals. Increasing issues to figure out. We don’t want to get law enforcement involved if violence/sexual violence not involved. Everyone is involved in peacekeeping and we will start incorporating teach ins for all occupiers. Should not so welcoming house people so intoxicated because it’s distracting. Detox/hospital options for those

  • Liability of transporting ourselves
  • Health risks may need to be taken to detox

Call Joel to pick up and bring to detox

Temp check for list of help resources: hot.

Working Groups:

Treasury: lock box purchased. Armband is in charge of collecting donations will know where and combo of lockbox. This will change on regular basis. Need to be more in contact with treasury to deposit more regularly.

Peacekeeping: discussion of accountability teach-in series.

Medical: Teach in Tuesday 6pm winterization keeping warm, signs of frostbite, fellow with training in arctic. Winterizing camp – move quickly because the grounds going to freeze. We’re going to take down most of these small flimsy tents and consolidate to 1 big communal sleeping area.

Food: kitchen closing soon and we need contact list to prepare off-site food please contact us if you have capabilities and interest in preparing meals through winter – we have funds for you to purchase food. Be responsible for recycling!

-Sunday @ 3 open kitchen discussion of thoughts, ideas, wants, needs, anything etc.

-Please be very conscious and considerate of allergen cross contamination. For more info about those allergens talk to kitchen people,

Facilitation: Nadia’s doing’ great :) we need more people to step up and get involved.

-temp check for 1 more ga/week: hot – suggestion of a FB survey of when: hot

Communications: live stream 2 more people to create accounts needed. See Lara or Phil to volunteer.

Lara: sorry for improper wording of today’s announcement. We need to communicate better and don’t put out false/misworded information.

-Tyler applauding tenacity of communications today

-Nadia thanking for solidarity and 30+ dropping their things to be present.

Direct Action: Message from Jesse: Nov. 17th make it big, get the word out, be on the corner every day, be autonomous, make it big and strong.

-a lot going on for 17th, should we discuss times for actions, still saying we should discuss these.

17th international action day: 11:30 press conference at Depot northern lights express and jobs. At 12 march to fed to rally. More to be discussed, but

18th: fair farm bill 7pm Kirby ballroom senator or staff present and we will demand stance on GIPSA.

19th international solidarity day: plans needed.

Sanitation: cleaned out tents today. We need to know which tents are available for those who need it. Tons of shit in them: CIGARETTER BUTTS! HUGE FIRE HAZARD AND DISRESPECT TO TENT OWNERS, food PEANUTS now have to be washed b/c of our allergies can’t be back in comfort tent until clean.

–          Accountability? Reaction?

–          Every morning clean up suggestion.

–          Temp check on occupiers checking’ tents each morning: hot

  • 1 block: I’m not going to clean up after full grown adults
  • Clarified we would just collect donated materials

–          Implement with intention to phase out

Community Outreach: only 3 of us. Bridgett, Lara, Mary Ann, Heather-UMD SA

Event at Portland Square on 19th outdoors early afternoon to draw out community members to talk with one another and get familiar with our process. Almost informal intro GA process. Get ideas flowing. Music – if you’re willing to play let Lara/committee know!! We will have electricity/.

Flyering more. Would like help with that when we have them posted.

1st occupy colleges meeting: 5 present, focusing on cost of higher education. Wed. at 5 at Kirby bus hub for now. We will be flyering, not tabling want to think outside the box b/c we want to pop the bubble people up there are stuck in. needs a 2/3 majority student participation but community members welcome. Move to amend will sponsor for food and stuff. SUPPORT THEM CUZ THEN THEY WILL COME DOWN HERE