GA 12-10-11

10 December 2011
Occupy Duluth General Assembly
Hell’s Cargo (Wells Fargo) skywalk
General Membership: 22 present.
Facilitator: Tyler
Stack: Blake
Notes: Richard (sorry if I get any names wrong….feel free to correct. I’m still learning who is who.)
The general assembly convened at about 2:30 pm.
Tyler read the text of the US Constitution 1st Amendment, which bears repeating here:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Tyler also read from a Starhawk guide to conducting meetings. Some roles discussed were Facilitators, Stack, Note taker, Scribes, timekeepers, Dragons, and Empath (aka Vibe Checker).
Scott proposed a ten minute limit on discussion topics, which was met by a consensus of happy twinkling Octopi.
There was a discussion of possible actions in solidarity with the West Coast close the ports movement.
Justin H. announced that he is spearheading a drive to collect food to support a pantry at the Vinland Church. He offered to let Occupy participate. Jay spoke in favor of an Occupy soup kitchen or of running our own pantry. Curly brown hair woman mentioned Ruby’s Pantry, which often runs out of food.
Tyler noted that the ten minute limit was up.
Jay asked for five more minutes, which was met with happy fingers.
Justin H. went on that we need to change the perception in the media that Occupy is only about camping on public property, and feeding people would raise awareness that Occupy is more than that.
Robert asked for a vote.
Jay said it could be as simple as collecting money and passing it out in $15.00 vouchers.
Dean said what we need is a freezer, since much of the food from Ruby’s pantry is frozen and they do not have enough freezer space.
Donna said leftover food at Ruby’s is distributed for a $5.00 donation.
Robert proposed that the discussion be continued in a working group.
Scott suggested asking for food donations on the website.
Tyler called for a report from the D.C. contingent (AKA “the cool kids.”)
Bridgette, Mike, Nadia, Jay, Lara, Jesse, Blake, and others (….sorry about names again) who went on the trip reported their experiences. Occupy actions went on alongside Union actions. The contact was mostly good, even though the union is organized top down, not bottom up like Occupy. Some of the Union members did not seem to understand what Occupy intended. Union route marshalls tried to keep the marchers off the streets, but eventually the protesters occupied K Street at four intersections, effectively shutting the lobbyists down for at least five hours.
Occupy members in DC have formed two camps, one run on the mall by the Veterans for Peace, the other camp run by Occupy members at McPherson park. Allen has posted many video clips from the action on the Occupy facebook page. Otherwise coverage by local media was sparse. Our cool kids estimated 150 to 300 people were at each camp. Mcpherson tried to set up a pre-fab house in the park, but they were met by tear gas and heavy demolition equipment. Hotel rooms were offered by the organizers, but our contingent stayed at the camps where they felt they would be more effective. Scott said he was most impressed by the way people from all over the country stood arm in arm against cops and even police mounted on giant Clydesdale horses. Jesse said it was good for the Union and Occupy members to mingle for a while, but then someone yelled that cops were coming, at which the Union members formed up and marched away, leaving Occupy to defend themselves.
Some of our cool kids did take advantage of hotel rooms on the third night, where they were able to get some rest, get clean, change socks, and then back to action. Jay said this is a good example for the future, and shows the need for cooperative planning if the Unions and Occupy are to work together. Jay spoke of the new friends he made from Occupy Rochester. Lara said she brought back good feelings about the way actions were taken on with gusto and no fear. Jesse said he was impressed by the bannering of the capitol. Scott said the solidarity with people from other states, other cultural groups and other economic conditions was inspiring, very powerful. Bridgette said she went with the group that approached Boenner’s office. Of course the good rep would not meet with them. Bridgette was hyped on the chance to lead call and response chants and mic checks outside Boenner’s locked offices.
Tyler called a temperature check on moving on to the next agenda topic, foreclosure. Happy happy

12-3-12

3 December 2011
Occupy Duluth General Assembly
Minnesota Power Plaza, Duluth MN
General Membership: 24 present.
Facilitator: Tyler
Stack: Lara
Notes: Richard (sorry if I get any names wrong….feel free to correct. I’m still learning who is who.)
The general assembly started at about 2:20 pm.
Nathan spoke about the upcoming December 6th action at The Gitchigami Club. Expect 50 to 100 demonstrators from Save Our Mahnomen, and 30 from Occupy.
Verne sent a mass email inviting his contacts to be at The Gitch, and asked the assembly to mass email their contacts and encourage them to join in. Entrance to the event is a $45.00 ticket so most of the action will be outside.
Nathan asked for an Occupier with video equipment to attend and record the event.
Lara reviewed the use of hand signs. Point of interest: the hand signal technique is not new. Google Delphi system.
Justin (UMD) said there is an event being planned for Thursday 15 December at UMD in Kirby lounge. Other groups are encouraged to participate. The lounge holds about 80, and there are wings that can open if there are more. The event may include a revolutionary dance competition. Justin also commented that he has been surprised by how many students have no idea what Occupy is about, and many have never even heard of it. So this event will be a chance to open some eyes and ears. Dick asked if MPIRG is in. Justin said people from MPIRG have been invited.
Tyler passed along information about the National Emergency Employment Defense Act, in which Dennis Kucinich offers concrete plans to create jobs and eliminate the deficit. He said the Act would make the Fed a part of the US Treasury. The Fed recently issued 7.7 trillion dollars in paper money to keep banks afloat. Much of it went to the biggest corporate banks, which continue to foreclose homes all across America.
Justin (2) said American media is not giving coverage to occupy movements in Europe. Few Americans know there is an ongoing general strike in Greece. In Italy, a man who was head of Goldman Sacs has been appointed to replace Silvio Berlusconi, the media magnate who ruled Italy for decades. Goldman Sacs is a multinational financial institution which was deeply involved in the crash of our economy, and other ex-Goldman Sacs executives have been appointed to replace elected leaders in Europe and elsewhere. Tim Geitner was a Goldman Sacks executive. Goldman Sacks now appears in position to become the Tyrant of the western world.
Kathy said that there is also a news blackout on the revolution in Iceland, where the people have nationalized the banks and are refusing to pay debts which were created by private institutions in Europe. The chief bankers have fled the country, where the courts would like to have some meaningful conversations with them about why their profits are their own, while their losses are laid on the public.
There was a discussion about the proposed storage site. Several locations are still being considered. One site offers two months of paid rent. Several occupiers spoke about the danger of being co-opted. It was suggested that we need more of a community center than an office. Jay proposed that before any contract is signed, the terms of agreement should be discussed by the General Membership at an assembly.
Tyler said accepting the lease will be an autonomous action by individual community and assembly members. The Occupy movement will not be a signatory. Lara pointed out that the autonomous action was discussed and approved at a previous G.A. Justin commented that we shouldn’t get fixated on one site, multiple sites would be better. Kathy asked if utilities are included or separate.
Nathan said there is a sign making party at Pineapple Arts on Monday December 5th from 10am until 2 pm and again from 4pm until 6pm. Requested that members bring supplies, poster board, markers etc. Some supplies will be available.
Dan pointed out that there is no way listed for the community to contribute funds on the website.
Jesse emphasized that Monday’s sign workshops will also be the place to organize the Tuesday action at the Gitch. He also noted that Nathan is very good at organizing and we should listen to him and heed his advice. The action against Polymet and parent company Glenco is not a minor side fight. This is the real thing. Glenco, with a $100,000,000,000 (one hundred billion) budget is well-known in the activist community for manufacturing famine and profiting from Human suffering and environmental destruction. Pineapple Arts is located at 124 W. 1st Street.
Justin (2) suggested that Occupy should engage in activities such as a food drive to benefit local people. Twinkles. Justin (UMD) said he would like to attend the Gitch action on Tuesday as the Lorax (Dr. Seuss: The Lorax speaks for the Trees).
Verne said he would not be able to attend the Monday Pineapple Arts workshops. He wants to know what the basic message is. Nathan said Polymet is working to ease water quality standards, which will make it even more profitable for them to destroy our streams, lakes, and rivers.
There was a five minute break. The meeting resumed with a question….is any money from the national Occupy Wall Street movement going to support local groups, with rent for example. Lara said there is some money going to city groups, but she does not have any details. Jay commented that the funds could go to more needy groups. Here we have a supportive community to meet our needs. Lara said she is not worried, it has been easy to raise funds locally.
Verne said he had a new topic. Jesse said Pineapple Arts activities are still on the agenda. Drake said the space could be used to make snail mail efforts to raise funds. Tyler commented that we want to support the U.S. Post Office, which is under pressure from privateers. Drake went on listing reasons to rent space. Get more people involved, contact point for people who want to support the movement, workshop area, place for visiting speakers to organize their presentations.
Lara asked for a temperature check on moving to the next topic. Twinkles.
Verne asked for more members to help with the foreclosure group. A person who is being foreclosed in Superior has said we can camp out on their lawn. He said we should concentrate our activities on action points, like the Sheriff’s Foreclosure sale. Nathan asked about the timetable on the Superior foreclosure. He said people would have more time for it after the D.C. trip. There is a foreclosure teach-in on Thursday at the Friend’s Meeting House.
Dick asked how soon we may be in the new storage space. Tyler said probably January 1st.
Lara said she has a communication from DPD Sgt. Farquhar, which says our Momdad camp property will be released to our common ownership on 28 December. She said she will need people with trucks to help move.
There was discussion of funds needed to support member’s daily needs. Donations were quickly and generously offered by the membership, along with hugs and other signs of emotional and physical support. Jesse commented that we have been trained to argue and insult and undercut others, but we have not been taught to communicate. We need to listen to ideas and not just say no. Those who are silent must be encouraged to speak. We are not here to slam each other down, but to learn to recognize everyone’s right to speak openly and know they will not be called names or unfairly suppressed. This is what the process we use, the hand signs and meeting format, are intended to cultivate. We should all work on knowing and using the signals and the meeting procedure.
Lara said that many of the core group are leaving on a trip to Washington D.C. She said meeting notes can be emailed to her or to Tiffany, or posted as a comment on the website, occupyduluth.org.
Verne said there will be a foreclosure meeting following the General Assembly. Lara said she needs exact dates of events for posting on the calendar. Lara proposed that the core group will get on the space question after the D.C. trip. She asked when the next G.A. meeting will be. Adam suggested we next meet on Wednesday, and Verne suggested the skywalk location. Justin (UMD) said Occupy UMD will meet on Wednesday at five, and we are welcome to meet with them. Jesse said he thought the stay-at-home members should meet once or twice while the cool kids are gone gallivanting to DC. Adam said the core group should meet daily.
The Occupy UMD group meets at the Kirby bus hub on Wednesday at five. Adam proposed Occupy Duluth meet with them. Lara called a temperature check and the happy twinkly occupies outnumbered the sad occupies, so the meeting will be held Wednesday at five at the Kirby bus hub on UMD campus. Lara said facilitation will also meet after today’s assembly. She then said we need to pay more attention to passer-bys and to opportune joiners. Someone should greet them, explain why we are meeting and what the hand signs are used for. They could be given flyers about the movement.
Lara talked about the hand signals and meeting process. There was some discussion about the use of mIc check.
Drake said he is now handling day to day finance while Mallory is away.
Meeting agreed to adjourn at about 4:30pm.