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
Reoccupation
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.