Occupy Duluth General Assembly April 14th, 2012

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Notes on Occupy Duluth General Assembly April 14th, 2012, 6 pm at Paul Robeson Ballroom Courtyard.

Many of our occupy members were among the fifty-or-so who attended a spring training workshop on nonviolent direct action at the Unitarian Universalist Church, given by Joel Kilgore and Donna Howard with assistance from Verne Simula. This workshop conflicted with our usual Saturday 2:00 GA, so we held the meeting after the training. The evening was mild and beautiful, we had a campfire and roasted hot-dogs and brats over the coals. There were about twenty people there, including representatives from CREDO, Take Action Minnesota, and Food Not Lawns. Sorry I didn’t catch all the names, there were several people from out of town.

Justin led a hand signal and meeting process review and gathered the agenda. We listed the agenda on a sign board as follows: Mayday, Food Not Lawns, Project Save Our Homes, Really Really Free Market and Critical Mass bike ride, and changes at the Ballroom/GA space.

Plans for Mayday at the Peoples Power Plaza (formerly known as Minnesota Power Plaza, corner of Lake Avenue and Superior Street) are boiling merrily. There will be activities for children, as well as adult and juvenile activities, from noon to midnight, including but not limited to speakers, music, a seed and plant exchange, open soapboxes, puppets courtesy of Mary Plaster, more puppets from The Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe, and marches involving non-violent direct actions on notorious corporate stores and offices. If you like puppets and want to participate, people will be needed to operate and assist the giant puppets. Probably a dozen volunteers will be needed. Volunteers are also needed for setup and decoration activities starting at 10:00 am. If you want to help organize the events, contact Jesse. I’ll send you his contact information if you ask me for it.

A representative from CREDO announced that there will be a rally and march with CREDO and Take Action on April 17th starting at 11:00 am, from the Civic Center to the Rainbow Senior Center, where a Town Hall meeting will be held to discuss Medicare and the changes planned by our representative in Congress, whose name I won’t recall but it has something to do with craven vacuums or something. Check it out at http://www.takedowncravaack.com/citizen_to_citizen_town_hall.

Justin announced that Rise Like Lions, a film about the origins and messy street birth of our Occupy Wall Street movement, will be shown at Zinema on Thursday April 26th at 7 pm. Donations from the door will go to support our Mayday activities, give if you can, but no one will be turned away.

A representative from Food Not Lawns talked about plans for the upcoming Respect Your Mother Earth Day Festival, which is being held this year on July 21st, to avoid the traditional Earthday weather catastrophes. An activity is also being planned for April 28th at the Duluth Farmer’s Market, http://calendar.perfectduluthday.com/Earth-Day-at-the-Duluth-Farmers-Market-2012-04-28.

A representative from project Save Our Homes passed around a petition for the new Mary Anne Jones family action. You can find more online at PSOH facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Save-Our-Homes/220452774710312. Project Save Our Homes usually meets on Thursday at five or six o’Clock.

Tyler said he is going to the City Council meeting and would appreciate some support.

Lara said the next Really Really Free Market will be held at the Paul Robeson Ballroom, on the last Saturday of the month from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Paul Robeson Ballroom Courtyard. If weather permits we will also have a ‘teaser’ table set up at the Clayton Jackson McGhee Memorial. The organizer for the RRFM has stepped aside at least temporarily, so if someone wants to step up and take a swing at it, contact Occupy Duluth at the Paul Robeson Ballroom.

Justin said the Critical Mass bike ride is held on the last Friday of every month at 5:30 at the People’s Power Plaza (formerly the Minnesota Power Plaza) and rides by circuitous routes to the Paul Robeson ballroom for campfire and refreshments if available. Please bring food if you want to be supportive but don’t trust yourself on a bicycle. Justin mentioned that this event is held at the same time as the Northern Anti-War Coalition rally, and the two events may enjoy some cross over.

Tyler proposed a move of the Saturday GA from 2:00 to 6:00 to accommodate the schedule of Very Important People (Nadia) who cannot be at the GA at 2:00 because of her corporate slave job. This proposal was met with approval, in spite of the fact that our adverts and posters will now be showing the wrong time.

Tyler also suggested the GA be moved from the courtyard to more visible and public spaces such as the People’s Power Plaza, the skywalk, one or another bank lobby, or so on. There was some discussion of problems with noise and inhospitable conditions at the public venues, and a voice rose in favor of continuing to gather in the relative comfort around our courtyard camp fire. A temperature check showed that members are willing to try out public venues, and several other interesting locations were mentioned. Matt said it will be important to announce the time and place for drop in members who may stop by the courtyard while still believing in the old schedule. It should be posted in the courtyard. The idea of having roving tables, a sort of moveable feast of information, was soundly approved by all present. Justin suggested tabling the idea until after Mayday, and everyone was happy.

There was then discussion of the courtyard and ballroom, where we continue to struggle to make improvements. Access to the porta-potty facility has been blocked by people from the neighborhood who think it a good idea to park crosswise in front of our entryway, thus keeping the septic sewage sucking service from being able to reach the potty for maintenance. It was recommended that the potty be moved to a more advantageous position, and this task was accomplished by brave volunteers, shortly after the meeting ended. It was also mentioned that the potty costs about $85.00 per month, and the fee has been paid up to now by a generous member. It is wrong to let this burden fall on just one person.

Jesse set a date and time to work on the courtyard gardens from 9:30 am on Tuesday. We are currently building a straw bale raised garden bed, which needs to be enclosed around the edges, covered with compost, and planted to produce food. We also are working on a rain water collection system, a solar electric system, and a waste composting system. Volunteers get to watch and participate in a radical alternative urban agriculture project.

Scot announced an Echoes of Peace Choir concert, including free food, beginning at 6:00 pm on Sunday at Sacred Heart Music Center. This event is in celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the Choir, and free-will donations will be accepted at the door. No one will be turned away.

Tom announced that Vets for Peace meets on the third Tuesday of the month, usually at the Superior Public Library, but this month will meet at Essentia retirement community (Formerly the Lakeshore Lutheran) to accommodate a member who is currently house-bound.

Nadia announced that her court date (for throwing a snowball at a fascist except she missed her target and allegedly hit a cop) is Tuesday morning at some time after 8:00 am. She would appreciate some moral support.

The meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm, with about sixteen members still in attendance. True, some of the faces changed along the way, people arriving and departing on their autonomous schedules. Several of us stayed after for further conversation around the campfire. If you were not there, sorry, you missed a great meeting.

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