201202181400 Paul Robeson Ballroom General Assembly 2 pm Saturday February 18th 2012. The assembly began a few minutes after two o’Clock. Present: Sue visiting from Florida, Eli from Occupy Minnesota (Minneapolis), Kathy, Reese Justin, Blake, Mike, Tyler, Jen, Richard. Kathy was scribe and Richard took notes. Group decided to meet informally, so process was conversational rather than formal consensus. Matt and Nadia were late joiners.
Agenda: Bike and Pedestrian trail group (February 21st and February 23rd and forward)
Critical Mass (Friday February 24th)
Really Really Free Market (Saturday February 25th)
White Power hissy-spitty fit (3rd March Civic Center 10:00 am)
Super Hero Funk
Reese informed us about a bike trail and pedestrian path improvement group which meets in West Duluth on Tuesday and Thursdays at 6:00 pm. The next meetings are on February 21st at City Center West, 5830 Grand Avenue, and February 23rd at Portland Community Center, 4601 McCulloch. Reese said this is a very active group and we should link up with them. He and Tyler are planning to attend one of their next meetings and will recruit for Critical Mass cooperation. Two further meetings are scheduled for Central Hillside Community Center and Kirby, UMD. Call Reese or Tyler for more information.
Reese said he has been in contact with members of the Bike Cave cooperative/collective, and has an offer of the use of fifteen or twenty rebuilt bikes to be available for anyone who wants to ride in the Critical Mass event this Friday, 24th February, 5pm starting at Civic Center and proceeding via routes to be announced to the Paul Robeson Ballroom for food and fun, and then there will be a birthday bash for Ben “Black Block” Butter across the street at The Retro. Critical Mass participants will be passing out half-sheet flyers on the ride, explaining the purpose of the event. Justin offered to look for graphics on the web, and Eli said he has the address of a web site where historic Critical Mass event posters are available for download. Jen asked if there will be costumes, and Eli said costumes will be good for attracting new members. Eli is concerned that Black Block references could be alienating to some potential allies. He asked us to consider the goal of the event.
The Really Really Free Market will be held for the first time at Paul Robeson Ballroom this coming Saturday. Discussion of details included how to handle people who bring trashy stuff and then leave it here. People will be directed to take any of their stuff that is left over home with them. Eli said the RRFM in Winona keeps leftovers and puts them out again the next month. Jen suggested the organizers should screen donations to keep trash out. One of the features discussed is to have warming fires in the courtyard. Jen said her landlord has assured her that he would not mind if a group of people came and gathered firewood in the forest around Jen’s place. Kathy offered use of a truck and trailer to haul the wood. Jen said she would contact the landlord and ask for a specific time. She said it would probably be late afternoon, since she works until 3pm this week.
A group which promotes white supremracist movements around the USA has announced plans for a rally at Duluth Civic Center, March 3rd at 10:00 am. Counter demonstrations are under consideration. Justin described a tactic to approach business, civic, and religious organizations to make pledges to donate some amount of money for each minute that the supremracist rally continues. The longer the supremracist speakers talk, the more money will be donated to a cause white supremracists detest. YWCA was suggested as a likely recipient of the pledge money. This plan has the additional benefit of showing Occupy in our community acting in a peaceful and creative way to frustrate racists. Our members will get to know and be known in the neighborhood by conducting door knock campaigns and local business visits. Tyler called for a working group to meet after the GA.
Blake said we need to get Transistor to update our meeting announcements. We changed our mid-week meetings to Tuesday some months ago, but the announcements still show us meeting on Wednesday. Tyler said he would look into it.
He said it would help if as many people as possible sent emails to the respective editors. (ed.: don’t bother transistor any more……they know.)
Richard said puppet making was successful and the giant human heart puppet has seen some street action. Next we will be building a giant mutant corn monster. Please come help on Sunday afternoon, fun times. Contact Richard or Kathy.
Reese said he met with Eric and Doug about free cabinets and counters we can pick up at Bayside Warehouse in Superior. Tyler and Jesse are planning to pick up said furniture on Monday. Tyler commented that Eric and Doug are very supportive of our work, and Eric even suggested we open more of the building to our community center. There is a storefront and apartments on the street level.
Jen told us about a Horse Building Workshop given by Lee Stuart of LISC. She is an organizer with successful experience in The Bronx neighborhood of NYC. Her workshop is full of practical organizing knowledge, and is given in four sessions. Building the horse refers to putting the horse before the cart….that is, to focus on community relationships and building power in the people. She says one big flaw in social movements these days is that there is no plan of what to do when we win. The next session in her current workshop series is Tuesday at 6:00 pm at Central Hillside Community Center. Further workshops will begin next week. Dinner will be served.
Jen then talked about her proposal for a Super Hero funk dance party, and Justin said it would be a great way to get more UMD students involved. Reese suggested it be part of a repeating monthly series of events. He said for example a party was given recently at the Totally Free Space, 215 E. 1st Street, where 70 people arrived. The event was not advertised, but spread rapidly by word of mouth. Many people are eager for events that do not involve drugs and alcohol. Reese said the Retro basement is a huge space and awesome for a party. A hundred to a hundred and fifty people could fit in there.
Eli asked if Duluth does anything for Mayday. Hangdog looks and reluctant answers indicated a high level of frustration and disappointment . No, Duluth does not do anything for Mayday, but probably should. Eli said there is a call to Occupy Mayday nationally. It calls for a general strike, no school, no work. Posters and ‘zines are available online from national groups. Tyler mentioned the NATO G8 summit meeting in Chicago, and he said Occupy Chi has a plan to reoccupy Chicago sometime in April. There has been some talk among our occupiers of sending a delegation to Chicago for one or another or both of these events. Nadia said Occupy Minnesota (Minneapolis) is organizing busses and asking people to sign up. Matt said a good place to find information about these and other actions is at Interoccupy.com.
Tyler mentioned a good film, “Into Eternity” about nuclear waste storage, which is coming to Zeitgeist 7pm Monday. No, the film is coming to Zeitgeist, not the waste itself. Jen added a recommendation for the movie “Thrive”, which will be shown Monday at 1:30pm at Interfaith Community Church, 9th Street and 14th Avenue, with a meal to follow. Information about Thrive can be found on web at Thrivemovement.com.
Reese said he has seen some nice projectors selling for around $100.00 on Ebay and Amazon. He said he is in contact with Frost River, which makes backpacks, and they have scrap canvas that could be sewn together to give us blackout curtains for showing films in daylight hours. Frost River also makes outdoor tents to order, which is of interest to our own plan to re-occupy.
There being no further business and because many cigarettes needed to be smoked, the meeting adjourned at 4:41 pm.