General Assembly minutes, 24 March 2012, Occupy Duluth, Paul Robeson Ballroom

A beautiful evening for a campfire. I didn’t get the names of all the people who were there. This is a partial list: Scot, Richard, Kathy, Justin, Sarah, Jesse, Ben, Tyler, Verne, Adam, Matt, Mike, Blake, Allan, George, Chris, Lydia, Riley, Ryan, JJ, Sleepy, Bridgette. There were about ten others, mostly from the neighborhood, more than thirty people in all.

Agenda: April 14 Direct Action Training; Foreclosure report; Mayday activities; Paul Robeson Ballroom and courtyard situation report; Food Coop contact; Coming events.

Verne reported that there will be a non-violence direct action training on April 14th from 1 to 5 at the Unitarian Universalist church in conjunction with a nationwide call from 99% Spring Movement. Training is available in Chicago and Milwaukee, but we will also have training here in Duluth using local facilitators. This action is undertaken by a coalition of about 30 progressive organizations. Scot said he would like the training to include discussion on the definition of terms, for example ‘non-violent’ and ‘direct action’ and ‘civil disobedience’….and he hopes it will present a diversity of tactics. Watch facebook for further developments….

Adam reported for the Foreclosure group, which has a two for two success record. Now we are working with Mary Anne, who was scheduled for an April 24th Sherriff’s sale, but someone from Wells Fargo has already called her and apologized for messing up her paperwork. They agreed to postpone the Sheriff’s sale. This action isn’t over yet, and an occupation is still on the table, if needed. Foreclosure group has yard signs which are ready to distribute, and also anti-business cards, containing contact information.

Scot said there is a planning meeting to bring organizations together to coordinate Mayday activities. Adam said a 99% festival is in the works, with music, tables for organizations to present literature, and probably other events. The planning meeting is open to anyone interested, and will be held Monday April 2nd 2012 at the UU church at 7 pm. Adam said we need to consider what the Occupy role will be at the festival. He suggested we act as master of ceremonies. Jesse said he has 3 bands on standby and is in contact with Mary Plaster about puppets. Scot asked for a reappearance of the Giant CEO puppet, but it seems that puppet is going to the Mayday Parade in the Twin Cities. So Scot suggested that we make our own puppets. We already have the Giant Human Heart puppet, which we made for the Make Out Not War event that was held at the People’s Power plaza on Valentines day.

On Friday morning the Occupy situation at The Paul Robeson Ballroom was challenged by two men in police uniforms and a lady who claimed to be a city fire inspector. They presented no warrant or papers and demanded that Occupy members not enter the ballroom building. They said we are trespassing. They said we have to have a permit for any activity in the building, including assemblies. Tyler reported that Eric told him we need to maintain a working relationship with the police department and not ruffle any feathers. Jesse said we should visit with the city council at their meeting this coming Monday evening at City Hall. Tyler said all we need is paperwork signed by an inspector.

Richard said he talked to a manager at the Whole Food Coop, who said the coop does offer support to organizations in the form of donations of tasty food items. He said he would go to the coop on Monday to fill out the paper forms.

Upcoming events:
Riley said he wants to show a film in the courtyard. The total length of the film is about three hours, so he wants to show it in two installments. There was some discussion of where we can obtain a projector. Justin offered to make posters.

Kathy said the Really Really Free Market is still on for March 31st. We will have it in the courtyard if weather permits, or find an alternate venue.

Alan said there will be a demonstration at noon at the civic center against the Paul Ryan budget plan, which is supported by our own congressional reprehensible, Chip Craveass.

Verne said there is a group called Transition Town which is meeting to find ways to make Duluth resilient to coming environmental and economic crisis.

Alan said Take Action Minnesota is now hiring canvassers to door knock from 2 pm to 10 pm. Scot said he made $11.00 per hour canvasing for them. Tyler said door knocking is so exciting that he had to go for a run after his most recent shift. The job does not include hitting the public up for donations, but is strictly informative.

Scot asked for a recap of Mayday actions at People’s Power Plaza, Lake Avenue and Superior Street. Ben said the PPP is a prime location for Mayday actions, especially since Mayday this year falls on Home Grown week, so there will be lots of crawlers to accost. Tyler said our Anishinabe friends will be having a pow-wow at 10 am, and there will be a table with materials for making May baskets. Adam said the main act, a rally, should happen at about 6pm. Justin suggested applying for a permit. Tyler said permitting requires an insurance policy costing $300.00 per day.
We had a loon heckle-fly by about here. First loon I have heard laughing this year. No one else seemed to notice, I just thought it was worth reporting, even though the damn bird did not bother to ask to be on the agenda.

There is a talkback session, on the Amy Goodman talk which occurred at CSS on Saturday, at Glen Avon church on Woodland at 7 pm on Monday, which conflicts with the time of the city council meeting.

A group called Students Seeking Spirituality is planning to show a movie on April 10th at UMD TV lounge. The movie is “The Awakening.” Check facebook for details.

Tyler said people have been unhappy with the way the minutes are written. He said Richard should not have to be the one to take notes at every meeting. There was a confusion about names of local media outlets which had to be corrected. The minutes should be approved. They are not really minutes, but are too encompassing. It isn’t necessary to write down what people said. Some people don’t want what they say to be recorded.

At about this time the neighborhood contingent came in. The meeting wasn’t centered after that, but broke into small group conversations. I couldn’t keep track after that.