201202281900 PRBR Occupy GA notes Tuesday Feb. 12, 2012, 6:00 pm
Present: Jesse, Adam, Paul, Kathy, DJ, Reese, Lara, Mike, Tyler, Richard (note taker)
Agenda: March 3rd actions, disussion
Foreclosure report, Adam
Critical Mass and Really Really Free Market
Sulfide Mining, Adam
Lara said there are many actions planned around town for the March 3rd Diversity rally. Some groups are coming in from out of town. Occupy Paul Robeson Ballroom is meeting at 9:30 am at People’s Power Plaza, and will provide free food, warmth, and good vibes to protesters, celebrationists, and passers by. Kathy said she will bring some coffee, orange juice, sweet treats. Supporters are encouraged to bring pot-luck items. Lara said the three main actions she has heard of are the emergency response events to be held at the civic center starting about 10:00 am, our support and de-escalation activity at the Plaza starting at 9:30 am, and a party for those who believe the best response is no response at all, gathering near the lift bridge at 10:00 am. We have heard that a contingent from the Anishinabe first nations is gathering for a peaceful diversity action at the civic center, peacekeepers are coming from the Twin Cities Occupy, and we have heard of some autonomous Black Bloc actions being planned. This event has the range, scope, and front-line adrenaline to be a memorable party. Something for everyone. Tyler said the DPD liason for the day’s events is an officer named Anne. Jesse said there is a pre-action organizing event being held on Friday night at Emerson Coop, with a focus on peacekeeping and de-escalation. Food will be served.
Adam reported for the foreclosure working group. Chris and Chrystal Dunbar are facing a sheriff’s sale at the end of the month. Last Thursday’s meeting in Superior was attended by only a few of the usual Twin Ports Liberal crowd, but was jammed with angry working folks whose homes are being threatened. Chris and Chrystal’s mortgage story is not much different from the millions of others around the nation, even around the world. When the housing market failed, their mortgage was called by USBank on grounds that the security (cash value of the house) was no longer enough to justify the loan. USBank demanded a full cash payment of the remaining mortgage, and refused to re-negotiate the loan, even though Chris and Chrystal were not behind in payments and continued to have sufficient income to cover the payments. Chris and Chrystal even offered to make higher payments on the loan and to pay down the remaining balance as much as possible. USB said no. The sheriff’s sale will be held in the sheriff’s office, and the actual physical eviction from the premises will occur five or six months later. It appears that USB does not back down from this kind of fight unless they are going to be embarrassed in the media. The plan is to pressure USB to renegotiate the mortgage through petitions and protests, which will be organized on a facebook page and website. Attempts will be made to discourage the sheriff from carrying out the sale. There is another meeting to plan to contest the bank’s decision tonight, Thursday March 1st 2012, Superior Public Library, 6 pm.
Reese reported for the Critical Mass bicycle ride that 7 riders in black held an action last Friday at 5:00 pm, starting from the People’s Power Plaza. 7 bike riders in February in Duluth is a pretty good turnout. Critical Mass rides are intended to promote awareness of bicycling, both for riders to understand the laws, and motorists to understand the needs and rights of the bike riders. The next Critical Mass ride will start at People’s Power Plaza at 5:30 pm on March 23rd, the Friday evening before the next Really Really Free Market. Reese is also meeting with a group in West Duluth to promote bike and pedestrian trails and signage.
Reese also reported that this month the Really Really Free Market event will be held at Paul Robeson Ballroom on March 24th. The Really Really Free Market event last weekend was very successful. People started to gather in the courtyard, and there was a crowd of twenty or more waiting for the doors to open. Many people were delighted to carry away some really nice stuff, and quite a few donations of free stuff were accepted. There was food, beverages, and a camp fire in the courtyard. Many free-ranging discussions took place. Occupiers got a chance to meet the neighbors and establish relationships. The Really Really Free Market is not about the exchange of stuff, but the exchange of stuff provides a platform for developing a community. Reese could use some help with setup, and with publicity. He is working with Scat Radio graphics to produce permanent screen print posters. The Paul Robeson Ballroom Occupy will continue to offer a free store every day, with big community events once a month. Usually someone opens the Paul Robeson Ballroom daily from about noon to about 4 pm. Next Really Really Free Market will be Saturday, the 24th day of this month, March, 2012, from 11:00 to 4:00 pm, at the Paul Robeson Ballroom and courtyard. Everyone is welcome.
Adam reported on the autonomous actions of an Occupy supporter, who has been hauled into court for the crime of yelling at bankers. He was sentenced to a year on probation. This brave person then turned their attention to the Sulfide Mining issue, by writing a 3 page resolution calling for an investigation of the environmental issues. The resolution was presented to the Carlton County Central Labor Body, and after consideration they voted to approve it and send it forward to the North East Minnesota Labor Council, where it was voted down. Funding for an organizer at Carlton County Central Labor Body was reduced by fifty percent at the same meeting, a symbolic gesture since the stipend is tiny anyway. The resolution will be reformulated and presented to the public as a letter they can sign and send to union, government or corporate officials.
Reese reported on our funds, which are now pretty thin. Various Occupiers are holding about two hundred dollars of donated funds. Alan told Reese he needs about $80.00 to pay for the portapotty, and other occupiers have dipped into their own funds to buy fuel and heaters to help keep the ballroom warm. Reese said he would like to buy a projector and blackout curtains for the Thursday movie, and the money could be repaid from donations collected on movie night. Tyler said we need to focus on finding a reliable treasurer. Kathy said she would be willing to open a bank account, but is not open to holding large amounts of cash on her person. Reese said first we need a continuous money flow. He said a donation button on the website could help. Tyler said the current website is run by Phil, who has been busy with other projects. Lara pointed out that there is another website option in development.
Lara offered to loan her copy of Inglourious Basterds (2009), a film about Nazies, this coming Thursday night, 7 pm at Paul Robeson Ballroom, sliding scale admissions for donations. Please bring drinks and munchies to share.
Kathy said Eric called Richard and tipped us off to some potential media attention. A reporter from WDIO-10 has asked Eric what is going on in the ballroom. They may want to interview some of our members. Lara offered to take point on this interview, and asked anyone present when a reporter asks questions to refer them to her. Matt said we should have a media group to deal with this kind of thing. It’s been discussed before and while it seems a good idea, no one volunteered their time to participate in yet another working group.
Jesse said he has locked down the facebook Twin Ports page because of a suspicion of Troll incursions.
Mike said he will be taking the open hours at Paul Robeson Ballroom every afternoon for the next week, since Reese is going to be Occupied elsewhere. Mike said people have been hanging out in the backyard every day. Seven were there on Tuesday. We will need to make them familiar with our drug and alcohol policy, which does not permit intoxicants of any kind in Occupied areas.
There being no further business, the assembly adjourned at about 8:30 pm.