201202041415 Saturday 4 February 2012, 2:15 pm Paul Robeson Ballroom Occupy Duluth general assembly notes
Present: Margie, Tyler, Jesse, Justin, Blake, Jenn, Ellie, Reese, Scott, Ron, Adam, Matt, John, Kathy, Richard.
Agenda: USAgain, Screenprint, RRF Market, Critical Mass, ACTA Feb 11, Banner, Foreclosure Group Report, MOMDAD working group, Valentine’s Day.
Facilitator, Jesse. Stack, Justin. Time, Blake. Notes, Richard. Scribe: Kathy.
Reese spoke about the presence of green donation boxes around town, and the profit USAgain is making from them….not a non-profit, but resells clothes in Africa. Proposes action, cautions about aggressive lawsuits against protesters by USAgain.
Reese volunteered to build a screen press to make t-shirts for the Respect Mother Earth Day celebrations. A local business person has offered to pay expenses, may also make donation to help Ballroom repair utilities. Homegrown Music Festival may also want us to make t-shirts. Other groups may follow suit. Could be a source of income for the building maintenance (M.O.M.D.A.D) working group.
Jesse commented that these proposals may best be treated as autonomous actions. Temp check was warm for not blocking either action idea.
Reese spoke about the February 25th Really Really Free Market. People suggested places to put flyers. Kathy said it would be nice if we had flyers to put. She asked talented members to make a design or slogun for flyers before leaving the Ballroom. Adam commented that we can have flyers posted all over UMD campus, one freebie allowed each semester for non-profits. Tyler volunteered to head up the security team for the market. He asked potential peacemakers to meet after the GA.
Jenn asked what other volunteer positions are needed. She mentioned the need to have food at the Market. Also someone to insure no one dumps junk on us. Jesse said we need trucks to haul away the inevitable trash. Jenn suggested donors be assigned a space which can be tagged to them, and which they will be expected to clean up before leaving. Tyler suggested two or three yellow band members to hang around and watch for trash. Jenn said she can head up the potluck, and Kathy said she would make soup. Jenn suggested a yellow band be stationed at the entrance to explain the trash policy and assign spots. Have people sign up, fill out application, name and address. Kathy suggested the Ballroom could donate some of the blankets that came from M.O.M.D.A.D camp. Jesse said the Ballroom could donate stuff that we have cluttering up our space. We have new furniture donations and could get rid of some of the old stuff. Reese said whatever, we need to promote the event NOW. Jesse said we can talk about it more at the next meeting.
Jesse discussed the Critical Mass event. He would like to have a potluck at the Ballroom, and a band bash at the retro after the action. Scott noted that the day of the critical mass is also the day MN ASAP, which has events planned for 7pm. Jenn said the Critical Mass event is planned to start at five. Tyler asked if we could send a group representative from the Ballroom, and Scott said we could, but the event is fully scheduled and there will be no floor time available.
Reese suggested the Critical Mass action and the Really Really Free Market both be advertised on the same poster. Reese said Andrew from the Bike Collective is in support of the Critical Mass event. Someone suggested contacting the Tall Bikes Clan, Loaves and Fishes, and other coalition groups. Jenn suggested bike shops.
Reese spoke of ACTA, which is a European version of Sopa and Fifa, which were meant to place controls on the web. Sopa and Fifa were rejected in the US. Reese suggested planning a day of action to support our European cohorts day of action on the 11th of February.
Kathy reported that the Banner working group needs consensus on what message the banner will display. Last meeting some people said we should avoid using Occupy in the main title, but can still have links to websites. Jesse said the concern is that Occupy could be painted ugly in the media, and we need to be wary of stereotyping. Scott suggested “Peoples General Assembly”. Kathy said it could be insulting to some people if we put our banner over the Paul Robeson Ballroom sign. Tyler said we need to remember Paul. Justin suggested a mural featuring Paul’s profile.
Adam reported to the GA for the Foreclosure Working Group. There is a core group of about ten, and they have been feeling swamped by all the media publicity. Plans made before the bank caved have to be reevaluated. The Wednesday event was more of a victory celebration than teach-in. The attendees were a cross section of the public, with church members and union members rubbing shoulders with activists. The working group will meet again on Thursday at 6pm, location to be determined, look on the projectsaveourhomes.blogspot.com for the location. Adam said the Forclosure W.G. now has a telephone, number is also posted on the website. About two dozen attendees signed up to help out. One or two people who are being forclosed also asked to be considered as projects.
Scott described a tactic to occupy bank lobbies by overwhelming them with deposits and withdrawals.
Adam went on to say that the forclosure group is now sending people with forclosure problems to Lutheran Social Services, but that organization is not proactive, and they only send a request to the bank for reconsideration. When that doesn’t accomplish anything, Occupy will pick up with actions. However it looks like direct actions may not be needed since attorney Peter Greenlee has been filing bankruptcy claims for people losing their houses, pro-bono, which means the service is at no expense to the client. Jesse said we need to address the concept of foreclosure itself. Housing is a human right and no one should ever have to face eviction. Tyler said the housing market should be abolished. Anyone who agrees is invited to contact Tyler. Jesse pointed out that the working group is doing a fantastic job, and no actions under consideration are meant in any way to challenge or criticize the working group.
Jesse talked about the M.O.M.D.A.D. working group, which needs to set up a meeting to discuss allocation of space and time resources in the Ballroom. Justin said he would be willing to open the Ballroom on Thursday and Fridays. Jesse said he would open the Ballroom on Sunday at noon. Jesse suggested a signup sheet for hours that members can cover. Tyler said he would be able to open the Ballroom from 9am to Noon on weekdays.
Jesse also spoke about a Valentine’s day action, with props, and would involve meeting at civic center and march to the Plaza. Jesse suggested the slogan “Have a heart, don’t go to Wells Fargo, move your money.” He said we can make a lot of Valentine days cards with messages to distribute, and have a chant and march parade. The action is planned for Civic Center to Plaza, 4:30 to 6:00 pm.
Jenn said the cool people are now using twitter, since facebook is vulnerable to hackers. She suggested we change over, but there were questions from the less-than-tech-savvy.
The meeting adjourned to the happy happy sunshine in the courtyard at 3:52 pm.