11-19-11 General Assembly Minutes

Occupy Duluth General Assembly

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Location: People’s Power Plaza, Superior and Lake, 2:00 pm

Facilitator:  Jesse

Stack: Lara

Minutes: Diane

 

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

 

1. We agreed to pursue a permit with the city, subject to staying within our goals and mission.

 

2. We agreed to hold a General Assembly at 10:00 am so the police can join us, and we can all discuss together, and the General Assembly can make decisions immediately based on our discussion with the police.

 

3. We agreed to hold future General Assemblies (beyond Monday) indoors.

 

4. We agreed to hold a General Assembly on Tuesday, November 22, at 4:30 pm in the Skywalk outside Wells Fargo.

 

 

 

To Do’s

  • Blake will keep people posted on developments with the permit: on both Facebook docs and the www.occupyduluth.org website
  • People are to bring flyers and signs for the General Assembly on Tuesday in the Skywalk. Diane to supply copies of the list of Credit Unions within a 50 mile radius of Duluth
  • Add to calendar of events: Every Wednesday from 5-6pm, Solidarity Picket for Wisconsin Public Workers, on the corner of Belknap and Hammond Ave, in front of the Douglas County Courthouse, Superior.
  • Add to calendar of events: Tuesday, November 22, Bret Thiele, former leader with Amnesty International, will be speaking on Housing Rights and Reclamations. Time: 7:00 pm. Place: Dorothy Day house, 1712 Jefferson St.
  • We are all to think of inspirational quotes or very short stories we can share at the beginning of our General Assemblies

 

 

Encampment Discussion

Jesse: He met with Eric Rish Friday afternoon, regarding the permit process to help us be legal during the encampment. But because the person who files the permits was not there, the police said the permit was “a moot point”.  There will now be an inspection meeting at 10:00 am on Monday.  In order to speed things along, we agreed to have a General Assembly at 10:00 am also. In this way, if decisions need to be made, we can make them immediately.

 

After much discussion among the General Assembly, we agreed to pursue obtaining a permit, as long as it is clear we are here to exercise the rights we have under the Constitution.

 

The City Planning Working Group (more members always wanted) will meet and work on this. Blake will post the progress and information we receive to both Facebook and the Occupy Duluth website: www.occupyduluth.org

 

It was noted that in the past, the city has on occasion waived the insurance requirement.

 

Other City Planning Issues: We will no longer have a kitchen, so will need hot food already prepared. There is a sign up sheet at DAD/MOM.

 

Point of Interest: There has been criticism of the group that both sides are accusing each other of lack of communication, and that the police have a hard time finding the leader of the group to talk to.  Response: Justin stated that we are not followers. We are all leaders.

Diane responded with a reminder to everyone that the General Assembly is the only forum where we speak for Occupy Duluth, unless some assignment has been specifically delegated. No individual, no one who posts on Facebook, speaks for Occupy Duluth. That is why the General Assemblies are so important, and why minutes of the General Assemblies are so important.  Imagine how efficient and clear the dialogue could be if the police chief and the mayor would show up at the occasional General Assembly. We could all hear from them directly. They would know whenever a temperature check was called, exactly where Occupy Duluth stands on any issue. No confusion. No lack of communication. If people want clear communication from Occupy Duluth, they must get it from the General Assembly.

 

Direct Action

  • Diane: wanted to let the Assembly know that action is being taken on the issue of foreclosures. Occupy Duluth members are researching and reaching out to people whose homes have been foreclosed. One woman came forward and told her foreclosure story to the public present at Thursday’s International Day of Action. In addition, Peter Greenlee, a bankruptcy attorney, visited us on Thursday and presented a 15-minute statement on what is happening with foreclosures and bankruptcy, and how good, hardworking people are being hurt by the banking system. He has given us his statement, Diane videotaped him, and we are waiting approval to make the video public. He also answered questions about the issue.

 

  • Joel: Related to this action is that on Tuesday, November 22, Bret Thiele, former leader in Amnesty International, will be speaking on Housing Rights and Reclamations. Time: 7:00 pm. Place: Dorothy Day house, 1712 Jefferson

 

  • Riley Hanick is drafting a statement from Occupy Duluth on the foreclosure issue.  The draft is posted on the bulletin board in the DAD/MOM living room.  If you would like to have input on this, please contact Riley Hanick or Diane Emerson at DianeEmerson@Yahoo.com  and one of us will send the draft out to you.

 

  • Adam is working on the recall of Governor Walker, and handed out flyers about the solidarity pickets for Wisconsin Public Workers. These are held every Wednesday from 5-6pm, on the corner of Belknap and Hammond Ave, in front of the Douglas County Courthouse, Superior. Contact e-mail: wainosunrise@yahoo.com Occupy Duluth will include these in our Calendar.

 

  • Adam is also working with the Northland Anti-War Coalition, which is holding anti-war pickets every Friday, from 5pm to 6pm at the Minnesota Power Plaza.  www.northlandantiwar.blogspot.com  Occupy Duluth will include these in our Calendar.

 

  • Justin Anderson is working on gathering our Occupy stories. Write up your story, in a few words, and hold it in front of you while someone takes your photo. Then send it to Justin at gibsonman113@yahoo.com

 

 

What Occupy Is All About: Justin Hamilton reported a great find: something everyone can share with people who ask what this occupy movement is all about. George Carlin on Bankers. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeLLR3LWtv4  (DE note: for some reason I have been unable to find George Carlin in his banking video where the sound is decent.)

And his favorite quote: “The American Dream – the only way you can believe in it is to be asleep. Wake up.”  He suggests those of you who have smartphones have this link on standby so you can show the video whenever someone asks you about Occupy.

 

Future General Assemblies: We agreed to hold our future General Assembly meetings indoors, after Monday.  We will begin on Tuesday, November 22, with an indoor General Assembly outside Wells Fargo, in the SkyWalk.  Time: 4:30pm, so people can join in after work. Come with flyers and signs, and be ready to walk to other locations in the SkyWalk to continue the meeting.  Jesse also suggested that we bring inspirational tidbits, quotes or short stories to share at the beginning of our General Assemblies.

 

Next GA meeting: Monday, November 21, 10:00 am, DAD/MOM

 

 

 

 

11-16-11 General Assembly Minutes

 

Occupy Duluth General Assembly

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Location: Duluth Autonomous District, Civic Center,   7:00 pm

Facilitators; Tyler

Stack: Lara

Minutes: Diane

 

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

 

 

To Do’s

  • 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

 

 

Encampment Discussion

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

Internet Issues/Censorship

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