Occupy GA minutes, Saturday 28 January 2012

20120127 Momdad Camp II GA minutes 27 January 2012
Agenda: Really really free market
Citizens in Action discussion
Bike Collective
Street Theatre
Public Access to Skywalk
Working Groups
Furniture move

Hand signal review by Tyler. Justin agreed to make an illustration of hand signals for posting on the wall by next Saturday GA.
Reese spoke about the Really Really Free Market idea and about concerns that need to be addressed and tasks that need to be delegated. The event was scheduled and approved for 25 February 2012 from 11 am to 4 pm, to coincide with the national RRFM on the fourth Saturday of the month. Jesse opined that this should become a standard function of Momdad Camp II. He suggests having a week of actions, starting with the first ever Ben Butter Birthday Bike Block on the 24th, a critical mass event, followed by a band bash up in the basement of the Retro Antiques Mall, if it is available. Jesse said he hopes to have the kitchen fully functional by then. Reese gave his ideas for a café counter/ cafeteria style operation.
Richard said the breakout group he attended at the Citizens in Action/ League of Women Voters training session at Copper Top Church was a guide to the process of building up to a social action, from concept to execution. Steve O’Neil presented the format with examples from the ongoing “Save our Homes” movement and from the successful Occupy foreclosure working group action to prevent foreclosure on a Central Hillside residence. Further actions are being planned in Superior.
Tyler, Justin A. and Jesse reported on the Puppet and Street Theatre working group. The puppet action at the courthouse occupation last week was highly successful, and Fun, said Tyler. Jesse said the puppet workshop has been meeting on Wednesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 pm and will continue until Feb. 16 at the West Duluth Institute of Arts. Richard also said he has arranged access to a heated, lighted, large open room with tables, some tools and materials, where we can make our own masks and puppets. Temperature check was warm on having puppet actions every Friday afternoon.
Matt reported that building goons are denying access to the skywalk to persons they feel are undesirable (broke). This is occurring all over the skywalk but especially at the Holiday bus courtyard area and at the so-called Soft Center, areas that were constructed in part at public expense and with considerable cooperation from the city, purportedly in exchange for a permanent public easement to skywalk common areas. Occupy GAs were ordered to leave the skywalk on at least two occasions by these same goons. When refused, the goons contacted city police, who informed the goons that they would not press the force of law on public citizens using a public easement to conduct lawful and orderly business. The goons backed down, after considering that we were about thirty five people, and they only had four goons. Now the goons have started to use their own good judgment in refusing access to the skywalk to “undesirables,” or at least to those who arrive singly on private business. Matt put forward the idea that this situation is ripe for direct action, and was warmly received. Tyler said he would press the city skywalk admins and the downtown council about the actual official policy, if there is any. He will report back Tuesday on his success. The matter was therefore tabled until next GA meeting, Tuesday 6pm at Momdad Camp II.
We then moved on to a discussion of working groups. The Foreclosure working group has been very successful. In past, we have also considered working groups to take care of Momdad Camp II building issues, a facilitation group to work on the structure and process of meetings, a street theatre group to build props and plan guerilla flash theatre events and actions to support other organizations at their protests, demonstrations, and direct actions, a sanitation group to make sure we leave action sites cleaner than we found them, and a kitchen group to provide food and drinks to hungry and thirsty people. Noted that this communal feeding activity has been heavily busted in several public locations across the country. Who knew it could be illegal to offer comfort to those among us who hunger and thirst? Other groups mentioned were the banner group, the scheduling group, and the media group.
Jesse asked that we set a date for the facilitation group meeting, and was given twinkly fingers. The time was set for 6 pm Monday at Momdad Camp II.                                                                                   We agreed to move on to the discussion of Re-Occupy. Tyler has spoken with Matt and Ben from the Minneapolis Occupy, and some dates for a grand-re-occupy even have been suggested. The Ides of March is a target date for actions, and an Occupy Chicago event is being planned for April 8th. A nationwide general strike has been called for May 1st. Later in May, the G8 will be meeting with Nato and actions are being planned to leverage the session. Jay commented that it is never too early to begin planning to go there. Jesse asked the members of the GA to be thinking of and looking for strategies and ideas. Allen commented that there are many vacant properties which could be sites for Occupy in Duluth.
Mike then updated us on his need to find a place to live, and he offered to move in to occupy Momdad Camp II as a permanent resident. Jesse pointed out that it would be great to have Mike around as a night watchman to protect our occupation rights. All agreed. Mike said he has furniture he wants to move to Momdad Camp II and asked for volunteers to help move. Several people offered to help, including one member with a truck.
Allen announced that there is a good calendar of events online at Minnesotans for a Fair Economy website (google it yourself.) February 1st is a Protect Our Homes meeting at Pilgrim Congregational (4th Street and 24th Avenue) at 7:30. Caucuses are on the 7th of February. Allen also told us about an exciting and fun action being planned for the 9th in St. Paul. Allen said it would be a good thing to take the 99% signs door to door, distribute the signs, collect names of people who would support us.

Allen also updated us on the antics of Chip Cravaack, who took his second largest donation of campaign money from Fed Ex, and then after he was elected, he voted on measures to kill the US Post Office, which is of course in competition with Fed Ex. Fed Ex has also been implicated in several notorious tax dodger schemes. Jesse suggested a planning session for Feb. 9th actions, to be held Feb. 6th at 6 pm at Momdad Camp II. Allen also told us about a gathering protest against Walmart for promoting genetically modified corn on their shelves. He shared his vision of an attack led by giant mutated ear-of-corn puppets.
Adam announced an action being planned by the Organizing Apprentice program to be held at Holiday Center during the noon hour on date TBA toward the end of February. Matt informed us of a practical economics class delivered to Chum on how to open accounts and write checks. The class was given by Wells Fargo. The irony is sharp as metastasis.
The next GA will be held at Momdad Camp II Tuesday January 31 at 6pm. Momdad Camp II is located at the Paul Robeson Ballroom, uphill side of 1st Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue East, next to the burned-out but not forgotten grandeur of the old Kozy Bar complex. Entrance is through the rear courtyard.
The meeting adjourned at about 6:00 pm.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY Tuesday January 17th 2012 at 6:00 pm at the new MOMDAD camp.  Directions: go to the corner of 2nd Avenue West and 1st Street N, go up the hill one half block to the alley.  Turn left into the alley and MOMDAD is in the first courtyard on the left.  Look for the tarp tents!  Come on in.  Some heat and hot drinks may be available.

Minutes of General Assembly held on January 10th, 2012, by Richard

Richard Harbaugh

‎201201101800 GA DECC harbor side entrance to skywalk lobby

Minutes, short form (expanded form may follow if I get time)

About thirty members were present. Lara reviewed hand signals and consensus process. Kathy took Stack, Richard took minutes, Jesse and Lara facilitated. Agenda: Foreclosure working group report; Occupy Courtyard; Phase II: banner drop; next GA at new MOMDAD site; update on West Duluth Office site.

Foreclosure: Vern reported that the bank has agreed to push back the January 19th sheriff’s sale at one of the occupy foreclosure locations. Petition to the foreclosing State Farm bank asking it to reconsider has been extended to February. A media forum is to be announced. There will be a Martin Luther King march on Monday 16th January. Occupy will gather at 10:00 am to march from one of the foreclosure sites (7th Ave. & 8th street in central hillside neighborhood) to Washington Center, where it will link up with the King marchers. On Saturday 20th January Move to Amend will rally at the Duluth Federal Courthouse. Planning meeting for this event will take place on Saturday 14th January from 3 to 5 pm at the Friends meeting house, 18th Ave. E. and 1st Street. Friday 29th January at noon there will be a Moveon.org and Minnesotans for a Fair Economy presentation to pressure Obama to move to the left by supporting the attorneys who are now suing the banks. Saturday January 28 from 9 to 3 the Citizens in Action and League of Women Voters will have a teach-in on how to navigate the caucuses and how to work the media. Pre-registration is required and the registration forms have just come off the press. Adam will present a request at the next meeting of the Central Labor Body that the labor body endorse the Save Our Homes action. Vern suggested a five day encampment on the lawn of the foreclosure house.

Jesse said several members have agreed to rebuild MOMDAD camp at the courtyard of the Paul Robeson Ballroom. Paul Robeson Ballroom is an undamaged part of the burned out former Kozy Bar complex, and the courtyard is accessed from the alley behind St. Regis apartments. This phase II action is in solidarity with Occupy groups across the planet, which are taking back foreclosed and condemned buildings and returning them to use, since the current governments have failed to serve the public interests. The Paul Robeson Ballroom courtyard is private property, and the owner is not responsible for our being there, but is expected to be sympathetic to our cause. The occupiers will work to restore the building to code, to clean up the site and the neighborhood, and to address the needs of the people who live in the neighborhood. Thursday at 11:00 occupiers will need help, especially people with trucks and trailers, to haul trashed-out furniture and materials to the recycling center. People who wish to help will need to park on the street next to the Kozy and walk up or down the hill and through the alley to the Paul Robeson Ballroom courtyard.

The next GA will be held at the Paul Robeson Ballroom courtyard on Saturday at 2pm, under the canvas of MOMDAD phase II.

Tyler reported on progress with the Ft. Meyer office space in West Duluth, 24 N. 21st Avenue West, suite C. Melanie Ford’s office is in the same building. Computer and telephone banks are possibilities. There is office furniture and a small kitchen area. A working version of Microsoft Office could be very helpful if anyone can donate one. Also needs an Ethernet jack. Tyler also announced a National Protest of the Guantanamo prison camp, with local action from 2 to 4:30 tomorrow, Wednesday 11 January, at the power plaza. Move to Amend is having an occupy the ports action at 7 pm February 20th.

At this time the meeting was rudely interrupted by four burley employees of the DECC, led by Terry Burke, who informed us we were on private property and we would have to leave. We asserted our right to use the space, as has been agreed with police representatives at past GA skywalk occupations. Burke stated that “we don’t want anyone hanging out in the skywalk” and implied that we were loitering. We informed him that this was a public meeting, which he was interrupting. He threatened to call the police. When we did not move, he retreated with his would-be goons to an employee only area.

The meeting was almost over, and despite Mr. Burke’s protest that our meeting was unsafe and could be trampled at any moment by the thousands of people who could show up to attend a DECC $anctioned activity, we continued to occupy the space unmolested for another half hour, until we were properly agreed (happy, happy hands) and we adjourned at about 8 pm. Small groups stayed another half hour for conversation, but unfortunately no police responded to the emergency of Mr. Burke.

This is a preliminary report and is subject to correction. Dates and times should be verified with the relevant action committees.