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

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