Summary of actions and other organizational support, including attendance and participation in some important meetings
Foreclosure working group Save Our Homes
Really Really free market
St.Paul trip SCSIU protest
Citizens In Action/League of Women Voters
Valentine’s Day Action:
Occupy The Hood Solidarity action
Make Out Not War
Movie: Inside Job
White Power rally Counter demonstrations
call to Occupy Mayday nationally
Occupy Chicago and actions against NATO G8 summit
‘Into Eternity’ at Zeitgeist Theater
Duluth City Council meeting
Rally for Save Our Homes
Rebuild the Dream rally
Non-violent action training day announcement, April 14th at 1pm at Unitarian Universalist church.
Wells Fargo picket
Emerson Coop Potluck, 6pm Friday, as well as at the meeting which is after
Mayday Action at Minnesota (People’s) Power Plaza
Occupy vrs. Tea Party debate at Friends meeting house
benefit to assist several Occupiers
Occupy National Day of Action
drug and alcohol policy
Citizen Review Board
Credo Take Down Cravaak party
rally in front of City Hall
well-known homeless person’s advocate
“Just Do It” at the Zinema
Reader Weekly Fest
Community Outreach Walk
movie “Home” at the Zinema
a forum (what happened to Occupy) at the Unitarian Universalist Church
Occupy Forum at the Unitarian Church
Occupy Duluth minutes (condensed)
General Assembly 27 January 2012 Tuesday,Ideas for countertop kitchen in Paul Robeson Ballroom. Foreclosure working group moving forward. Really really free market plans for Feb25th. Skywalk access action proposed. Skywalk maintenance men have been harassing and escorting poor-looking people to the door. Skywalk was built with city funding. Bike Collective and Critical Mass proposed. St.Paul trip announced: 9th Feb. Trying to get electricity for Paul Robeson Ballroom. Reports from members who went to Citizens In Action/League of Women Voters at Coppertop Church. May 1st action. Occupy Chicago event April 8. Actions against Cravaak and Walmart Frankencorn.
General Assembly February 4th 2012 Saturday Cautions against USAgain, not a non-profit, resells in Africa. Screenprint t-shirts for Respect Mother Earth Day. Banner group stalled over use of occupy name, can’t come to consensus on a slogan. Really Really Free Market planning. Critical Mass, ACTA Feb 11, Foreclosure Working Group Wednesday event was more of a victory celebration than teach-in, bank caved and agreed to renegotiate. MOMDAD working group, volunteers offer hours they can keep Paul Robeson Ballroom open. Valentine’s Day Action: “Have a heart, don’t go to Wells Fargo, move your money.” Civic center 14th 4:30 to 6:00. Puppets, cards, signs, parade.
General Assembly February 7th 2012 Tuesday This Thursday trip to St. Paul plan report: itinerary details presented for trip in support of the SCSIU protest against legislation which would impose Voter ID requirements. Two passenger vans and two cars are going. Really Really Free Market report: publicity for the RRFM on perfectduluthday and Craigslist Event invitation has been sent to about a thousand Occupy supporters and allies. Flyers are being prepared to poster and leaflet the neighborhood. A sign announcing the event to be posted on the courtyard wall. Valentines Make-Out event report: Make Out Not War actions with puppets and props and street theatre will be playing in traffic at or near the civic center and on the road to the Plaza on the 14th from 4:30 to 6 pm. Puppets working group report: a supporter delivered a gift of old newspapers to be mache’d into puppet flesh by the puppet working group. Occupy The Hood Solidarity action proposal: opportunity for action in support of the Occupy The Hood protests being planned for late February by Occupy Minneapolis for outreach to communities of color. Ballroom working group needs: heat, light, and water hookups for the Ballroom, money for the camp phone bill, money for the Porta-potty, and further projects such as a composting toilet.
General Assembly Saturday February 11th Puppet working group report, Ruckus Review. c, RRFM group: 2 weeks away, flyers are ready. Save Our Homes foreclosure group. Movie Night….totally free space. Tonight: Inside Job. Future suggestions: I am, Margin Call. PBR Open 12-4 seven days a week. Need to re-establish utilities. Need to get the steam company to turn on the heat. Need water. Some members have picked up the tab for the porta-potty, the cellphone, and fuel for the heaters. Need additional sources of income. Need planning actions in support of change the zoning ordinance which currently makes it impossible for store owners of small shops downtown to live in the second floor space above their stores. Point of information: Black Block members, a violent anarchist group which has engaged in rock and bottle throwing and destruction of property in close proximity to peaceful Occupy actions
General Assembly February 18th 2012. Bike and Pedestrian trail group announcement (meeting February 21st and February 23rd and forward), Critical Mass (Friday February 24th) contact made with members of the Bike Cave cooperative/collective about borrowing bikes, can get 15 or 20 if needed. Food and fun after, at Paul Robeson Ballroom. Really Really Free Market (Saturday February 25th) planning. White Power rally (3rd March Civic Center 10:00 am) Counter demonstrations are under consideration. This plan is to show Occupy in our community acting in a peaceful and creative way to frustrate racists. Horse building workshop by Lee Stuart of LISC announcement. Super Hero Funk dance party Proposal to get UMD students more involved. People are eager for events that do not involve drugs and alcohol. Mayday actions call to Occupy Mayday nationally. It calls for a general strike, no school, no work. Talk of sending a delegation sometime in April to Chicago in support of Occupy Chicago and actions against NATO G8 summit. Occupy Minnesota (Minneapolis) is organizing busses. Movie suggestions: ‘Into Eternity’ at Zeitgeist Theater Monday 7pm. ‘Thrive’ also Monday at 1:30 at Interfaith Community Church.
General Assembly March 11th, 2012, Saturday assertive action Pro/cons, resolved to downplay the bad image being generated by those who choose not to understand us or report on us honestly foreclosure report: Sheriff’s Sale on March 24th, deadline for petition submission March 19th. Duluth City Council meeting, Monday night at 7pm in support of HF 1886 and SF 1521, the Foreclosure Moratorium. Another Sheriff’s Sale at the end of April. Rally for Save Our Homes, 5 pm March 14th. Rebuild the Dream rally at Obama for America office March 14th, action against Federal Housing Finance Agency. Non-violent action training day announcement, April 14th at 1pm at Unitarian Universalist church. Mayday, planning continues. RRFM, announcement: interview on Tuesday 8 am on Northland Morning, 103.3.
General Assembly April 24th 2012, Tuesday 6pm at Clayton Jackson McGhie memorial
Foreclosure group report: Wells Fargo picket continues, Take Action and other progressive groups have offered to join in. Next steps will be discussed at the Emerson Coop Potluck, 6pm Friday, as well as at the meeting which is scheduled for 7pm. Announcement: a nation-wide action against Bank of America is building up to take place Wednesday May 9th. Mayday actions: Enthusiasm abounds for the Mayday Action at Minnesota (People’s) Power Plaza, corner of Lake and Superior, noon to Late Night on Tuesday May 1st. There will be musicians and performing groups, speeches, food, information tables, discussions, activities for children, sign making, giant puppets, Spin Collective fire dances, and more.
Really Really Free Market: at the Paul Robeson Ballroom for the last Friday in April, on the 27th, from 11am to 3 pm. Last month’s action was a great success, many neighbors attended. Critical Mass Bike Ride is scheduled to start at 5:30 pm from the Minnesota (People’s) Power Plaza. Flyers were passed out to all bike riders and other interested persons at the Magic Smelt parade last Saturday. Jesse also reminded us that Rise Like Lions, a documentary about the origins of the Occupy movement, will show Thurday April 26th at Zinema 2, 7pm, suggested donation $7.00, but no one will be refused entry if they can’t afford the ticket donation. Money is going to support Mayday Activities. Occupy vrs. Tea Party announcement: debate is still on the schedule even though the Tea Party Leadership has refused to participate.
General Assembly April 28th, 2012, Saturday Those present included representatives from the Save Our Homes working group, Take Action Minnesota, and Credo. Really Really Free Market open all afternoon, and small groups of people passed through, taking mostly clothing and all the hot delicious home-made corn chowder, served with Great Harvest bread. We also formed a working group to move compost to the roof for the raised bed gardens, and we reorganized our space for support of oncoming direct actions. Foreclosure report on the status of the Save Our Homes action in support of a single mother and her disabled children. Petition drive is wrapping up, actions going on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at branch outlets of Wells Fargo bank. The petition will be delivered to the main Wells Fargo store in downtown Duluth on Thursday. A deadline has been set for Wells Fargo to respond. If they do not come up with a plan to save Mary Anne’s home, the protests will escalate. A request from the Save Our Homes group that undisciplined autonomous protesters keep out of it. Mayday actions: Rain in the forecast. We will adjust accordingly, the action will go on. Speakers and musicians continue to sign on. Tents and tables are being prepared. Money for food and other supplies was raised at the “Rise Like Lions” movie night, courtesy of Zinema II, which waived the showing fee. There will be a debate between occupy members and The Tea Party Thursday May 3rd at the Friends Meeting House. Save Our Homes is working with a new foreclosure project in Washburn. A meeting has been set in Washburn at 2 pm, May 5th at Stage North.
General Assembly Minutes 12 May 2012 We discussed our general impressions of our May Day event. It was decided that in spite of an hour or so of unwarranted police harassment, the event was successful and we learned a lot of things we will be able to use in the future. It was also decided that we will organize a benefit to assist several Occupiers with their legal expenses. These expenses were incurred as a result of the police harassment.
General Assembly Minutes 5-19-12 We made a homemade tarp to protect is from the forecasted rain. Good discussion re: racism and local politics, upcoming benefit to raise $ for our people who will have legal fees because of unwarranted police harassment and the idea to hold an Interdependence Day event some time near the 4th of July. The wind and rain came down, the tarp held. Great meeting. A shout out to our good people in Chicago. Our minds and spirits are with them.
General Assembly Minutes 5-15-12
There were some new developments today. General Assembly was in the Courtyard. Mainly we discussed some new strategies that will be necessary. If you are wondering what this is come to the next General Assembly, 5-22-12.
General Assembly Minutes 5-22-12
Mostly work tonight. Everything went very smoothly. All the tables and chairs are moved, lettuce and flowers planted. Urban gardening rocks! We received word that all our people in Chicago are safe and well. There was another big demonstration there today. Of course, the media never reports these things. We’ve got a lot of exciting things coming up. Stay tuned. Better yet, come to the next 5-22-12
Sat.6pm in the Courtyard).
General Assembly Minutes 5-26-12 All our good people are back safe and sound(pretty tired though) from Chicago. They have lots of stories to tell. Apparently, Chicago is the 2nd most militarized city in the world(London is 1st). The Anti NATO rally was reported to have between 8,000 and 15,000 participants. Many incidents of police brutality were witnessed. Beating Occupiers appears to have been very much in fashion across the country over the past 8 months or so. A lot of the mtg consisted of discussion of Chicago politics. There was good hot coffee, gluten free treats and a warm fire on a cool, damp night. Wish you were there.
General Assembly minutes, May 29th, 2012
A new person from the alley showed up tonight. A very charming and intelligent woman who didn’t realize that the combination of capitalism and democracy is not mandatory. You can just imagine the discussion that took place. We also started discussing where the tents should be placed. Oh, did I mention that the camp is coming back? Right in the Courtyard? Tents will start going up on Thursday. It will be smaller of course, as the Courtyard is smaller. You should stop by. If you do, you might get the full story.
General Assembly Minutes 6-2-12 A working General Assembly on another beautiful night. We reinforced the tarp covering the kitchen area. It’s quite strong now. We also built a teepee. Our permanent campers are increasing. Tonight our youngest Occupier is 6 yrs old and our oldest Occupier is 62. CHUM gave out lots of fresh fruits and vegetables today and someone made the most delicious salad. Lots of good food, a campfire into the night while listening to some of our musicians play. It doesn’t get much better than this. Wish you were there.
General Assembly Minutes 6-5-12 A lot of people at the General Assembly tonight. A few were there for the first time. Much political discussion, also discussion of legal issues as we have had a couple of established Duluth attorneys offer their pro bono services to Occupy Duluth. Across the country Occupy has been subjected to police brutality and harassment, unfair treatment by local, state and federal government and lies from the media. Occupy Duluth is no exception. Fortunately, the message of Occupy is so blatantly true that many citizens hear and support the cause. We remain firmly committed to making this world a better place in which to live. We will gladly accept donations of non-perishable food and/or cash at this time. Drop by the camp at any time to donate or just to visit.
General Assembly Minutes 6-9-12 We didn’t really have an official General Assembly tonight. Ben and Kala were married today and all Occupiers were invited to their after party. It was decided that everyone wanted to attend, so a couple of people agreed to stay behind and watch over the camp while everyone else went over to congratulate Ben and Kala. As it turned out, many people from the neighborhood came by throughout night. Some were frequent visitors and some were visiting for the first time. As usual, there was lots of very interesting conversation. One interesting topic was brought up by a veteran of the first gulf war who visits regularly. He spoke of the conflict which exists in local Native American culture between being anti-war and fighting for peace and the respect given to the culture of the warrior. As with all cultures, there are varying opinions on the subject. The camp watch went on until very late in the night, a low fire surrounded by fairly thick fog. Sweet. If you weren’t there we hope you at least made the party.
General Assembly Minutes 6-16-12 Small gathering tonight. It’s raining but we’re warm and dry under the tarp with good hot coffee. We understand there is an Occupy National Day of Action this upcoming Thurs. We need to get all the info so we can participate. We discuss plans for a small neighborhood BBQ next Sat. We adjourn the meeting, the rain stops, we start a fire and a bunch of people show up.
General Assembly Minutes 6-19-12 It was really raining tonight but we are a hardy bunch, so proceeded with the meeting. while drinking hot coffee and eating treats under the tarp. We made our plan to participate in the Occupy National Day of Action re: the foreclosure on the home in the Cities( if you want full details on things you need to attend the General Assembly Then came the plans for the making of a new tarp and basic redesign of the camp to take place on Thurs. No General Assembly this upcoming Sat. as we will be having a potluck/BBQ at the camp from 2pm-6pm. There should even be a band. All are welcome. Bring food if you can. Lastly, we discussed initial plans for a movie night to take place in mid-July. The meeting was short and sweet. Afterwards we marveled at the intense lightening, thunder and torrential rain. Those that chose to stay dry did so under the tarp, others ran around laughing in the downpour.
General Assembly Minutes 6-26-12 Many people at the General Assembly tonight. Several folks from the alley neighborhood are attending for the first time. The agenda was as follows: 1). Discussion of the need to formulate a drug and alcohol policy similar to the one we had at the Civic Center. We need to make it clear to any visitors that our camp is child friendly so all behavior needs to be appropriate to the needs of children. Our alley neighbors give us very helpful insights into this subject. 2). Discussion of the idea of providing an auxiliary tent for people not living in the camp so they can get a few hours of safe rest when needed. A meeting is scheduled for Wed. at noon to further discuss these 2 topics. 3). The Citizen Review Board currently coming up for a vote by the City Council on July 2nd at 7pm. 4). The need for all to be alert re: the behavior of the Duluth Police Department in our neighborhood and the need to keep a record of any incidents of harassment towards ourselves and others living in our neighborhood. A meeting is planned for Fri. at 3pm to further discuss issues 3 and 4. 5). We are short on firewood and need donations. A tentative plan is made to go to an Occupier’s woodland cabin and harvest dead wood. 6). An Occupier has written several articles and plans to submit them for publication in local newspapers. A unanimous decision is made that the articles are good and should be published. 7). Another Occupier offers his services as a graphic artist. Perhaps we will create a Zine to be distributed throughout the neighborhood. The mtg is productive but lengthy and we’re tired. Time to get some rest and start another day.
General Assembly Minutes 6-30-12 A small working General Assembly tonight, some people have gone to the Credo Take Down Cravaak party, others to a benefit for a respected local musician. The weather is pretty hot but we have constructed lots of shade areas. We discuss a few camp logistical things, work in the garden, drink homemade lemonade and cook some food. A few of our alley neighbors stop in for a visit, most have been here before. One man looks at one of our signs and says, “People before Profits, ain’t that the truth.” We invite them to share our humble but nutritious meal. After eating, one neighbor leaves and returns with a food donation for the next meal. As the suns sets, a gentle cool breeze kicks up. This has happened every night since the weather has turned hot. We’ll take it as a good omen that what we are doing is a good thing.
General Assembly Minutes 7-3-12 It is REALLY hot tonight. Too hot to work, almost too hot to talk. We organize a crew for tomorrow to help the porta-potty guy switch out our current one for one with larger capacity. Seeing as we allow passersby to use it, a larger one is very much needed. Our movie showing at the Zinema will have to be pushed back to July 26th as the DVD (or whatever) hasn’t arrived yet from Britain. That’s about all we can handle tonight as climate change is kicking our (and the whole world’s) butt.
General Assembly Minutes 7-7-12 It’s another hot night at camp but we’re a little more used to it so conversation is flowing. We begin by receiving information that an anti-choice clinic is going to be built soon on the edge of the parking lot which is next door to our Paul Robeson Ballroom. Is it a coincidence that this will be kitty-corner to the Women’s Building? This leads to a discussion of the of many gentrification attempts we see in our Central Hillside neighborhood. We note that our city government doesn’t seem to care too much for providing low income housing but always has a buck to spare when it comes to helping developers build fancy condos for rich folks. Bayside Point comes to mind. They call it progress. We call it classism, racism and corruption. This leads to a discussion of racism. As our camp is always a mixture of ethnicities, everyone has a story to tell. We are all “those people”. The older folks tell the younger folks how it was before and during the Civil Rights Movement when a multicultural gathering such of ours would have been illegal simply because it was multicultural. One of the Occupiers picks up a guitar and begins strumming a soft jazz type melody. A regular visitor from the alley begins throwing down his rap, another new alley visitor throws down hers. They alternate, he with his deep voice and story of struggle and confusion. “People before profits” he chants. Her voice is softer, “Worship Buddha , Mohamed, Christ, whoever you choose”. Their raps flow easily back and forth, the guitar player throws in his story of true love. The rest of us are quiet, the air is warm and sensual. Perfect.
General Assembly Minutes 7-10-12 A short meeting tonight as people want to get to bed early. Tomorrow everyone will get up asap and begin the reconfiguration of the camp. More tents are going up and more people are moving in, so we will have to change everything around to accommodate that. The weather is so hot these days that it’s a good idea to get started when the day is most cool. We also plan for the rally in front of City Hall on Fri. at 1pm. One of our Occupiers was brutally attacked and choked by a member of the Duluth Police Department at our MayDay event. Her so called crime was to attempt to stand next to another Occupier who was being verbally abused by a large number of Duluth policemen. She was charged with disorderly conduct. Her court date is on Fri. and we will be there to support her. This type of thing goes on with Occupy all across the country. Apparently the plutocrats don’t like when Occupy tells the truth.
General Assembly Minutes 7-14-12 It was a little difficult having a General Assembly tonight as the weather was so hot and humid, formulating thoughts was challenging. We did our best. A band from some sort of religious group had 1st Ave. E. blocked off and was playing so loud that we had to shout at each other in order to be heard. After the group left, one of our regular visitors stopped by to tell us they had walked off and left the Jackson-McGhie area in a huge mess. Perhaps the religious folks felt it was the job of “those people” to clean up the mess. Of course, that’s what will happen. Occupy and our allies always leave any area we have been in better condition than it was when we got there. Just one of the many facts you’ll never hear from the media. Anyway, a well-known homeless person’s advocate stopped by for a visit which led to a discussion about the shocking amount of homeless people we notice in the Duluth area. She told us we are not imagining things, she’s been doing this work for quite a number of years and this is the worst she has ever seen it. A couple stopped by with a generous non-perishable food donation and some frequent visitors from the alley dug through the coolers to see what there was to eat. One Occupier took the time to give a few people a ride to the top of the hill as they surely would not have been able to make it walking in the heat. Talk turned to where we will be living when winter comes. Plans are being developed. Bye the way, our Occupier had her disorderly conduct charges dropped provided she doesn’t get into any “trouble” for a year. We wonder how much trouble the cop who attacked her will be able to get into. After a few hours, most folks say goodnight and go off to soak their feet in the lake. One of the benefits of having less tourists this year is that we can soak our feet in our own lake.
General Assembly Minutes 7-17-12 Most of the regulars are here tonight, including a couple of folks that have been out of town for awhile. We’re very happy to see them. We will be showing the movie “Just Do It” at the Zinema at 7pm on July 26th. Suggested donation will be $7.00. Of course, no one will be turned away for lack of funds. We’ll have a discussion period afterwards somewhere in the Zinema complex. The new Porta-Potty is great. It lasts for the whole week. Now we’re having a problem with garbage service. The Blight Officer (apparently there really is such an office) was by today, complaining that the dumpster was too full. We explained that we personally haul our own garbage to the dump and were told it is illegal to do that. We contacted a friend from city government who will let us know if there really is a law against taking care of your own garbage. We suspect this is just another incidence in the constant stream of unwarranted visits from the City and Duluth Police Department. Across the country, Occupy is plagued by government harassment. We think that all in all the camp is doing very well. Things are running smoothly and meaningful relationships are being developed. So where do we go from here? We discuss legal issues and get reports relating to the legal professionals who have offered their services. Suddenly one of the Occupiers (who is always on the cutting edge of everything) says,” Has anyone seen the movie “Abe Lincoln – The Vampire”?” This cracks everybody up and the Occupier talks about his frustration with the gullibility of the general public and their willingness to believe media lies. Perhaps he will run for office and set everybody straight. More laughter and then he agrees that if he doesn’t win he will become the leader of the Occupy Entertainment Committee. Seeing as we don’t have leaders, this could prove tricky. The comic relief is welcome by all. One person suggests that we pick a particular group of people to try and organize to be more involved with Occupy. Another reminds us that one should not attempt to organize anyone to do what the organizer wants them to do but only to help that person toward their own self actualization. All agree. Another makes the comment that much of Occupy concerns itself with the injustices committed upon the poorest members of society and “If you want to roll with Occupy you will have to actually touch a homeless person.” The original speaker states that he and many others have found this to be a problem during their lengthy time in the social justice movement. He states that many people want to help the world by giving speeches and donations while still remaining within their somewhat privileged comfort zones. We will need a deeper commitment from those who wish to save our planet and bring true equality and justice to all. He believes he knows a group of caring people who are willing to tackle this problem honestly. We agreed to pursue this further. Many more people from the neighborhood begin arriving and the evening evolves into music and several small groups engaged in interest ing and meaningful conversation.
General Assembly Minutes 7-21-12 There was no official General Assembly. A lot of people attended the Love Your Mother Earth Festival. Only a few Occupiers remained behind to watch over the camp and then, as happens every evening, visitors came in to sit and chat. Conversation included the Unfair Campaign and it’s unintended negative consequences that mainly effect “people of color”, speculation about the effects of the Seaway Hotel situation and various people’s stories about the religious upbringing during their childhood. When it got good and dark, someone from way up the hill sent out a long stream of floating, burning lanterns. Very beautiful. Off to bed around 11pm or so for most people. As always, an evening spent at camp is enjoyable.
General Assembly Minutes 7-24-12 The weather is more pleasant than it’s been in a long time tonight, a strong breeze and cooler temperature. Our garden is doing well, things are growing like crazy and we’ve even eaten a few of the cucumbers already. We keep it well watered but tonight it looks like there will be actual rain and therefore, a break from watering. Yes! Tomorrow the camp will have to be reorganized again. So many people want to live here that an upper camp has materialized in front of the parking lot. This is not working too well as a lack of communication is developing between the two camps. It’s difficult when all the autonomous beings are unaware of what is going on with each other. So tomorrow, all tents will be moved down to the lower camp. There is an enormous amount of homeless people. The medical, judicial, educational and just about every other kind of system you can think of have completely abandoned these folks. They have nowhere to be that is safe. To quote an old cliché, “People should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps but first they have to have boots.” Occupys across the country struggle with the dilemma of needing to radically change the entire economic and governmental system while the poorest of the poor cry out to have their most basic needs cared for right now. We will keep on keeping on. A recent Duluth News Tribune article stated that the Occupier who was attacked by a police officer on May Day received a sentence of one year of probation. The Duluth News Tribune lies. As previously stated, all charges were dropped. That was probably due to the fact that we had a video of the entire incident. We will be hosting a showing of the movie “Just Do It” at the Zinema on Thurs. July 26th at 7pm. Suggested donation is $7 but no one will turned away for lack of funds. It’s an excellent movie which has had few showings in the U.S. Hope to see you there.
General Assembly Minutes 7-28-12 Tonight’s meeting is short with just a few people in attendance. Other folks have gone to volunteer to help with the Reader Weekly Fest. The first topic for discussion was the need to get some respite for the Occupiers living in the camp. These folks are on duty 24/7 and are getting tired and burnt out. We will put out a call for other Occupiers, especially elders, to come down and watch the camp more often so the campers can take a break. It was reported that the U.U. Church is requesting a presentation from Occupy as they are genuinely interested in what is going on. We made initial plans for a presentation sometime around the end of August. After that, neighbors began strolling in and the evening evolved into quiet discussion.
General Assembly Minutes 8-4-12 People are a little upset tonight. The owner of our camp property has very recently hired a new property manager. This new manager was at our camp in the late morning and informed the Occupiers that she was throwing us out. We have one week to remove all our things. An Occupier also received a phone call from the manager stating the same thing. This does not make a lot of sense as we have been doing good things for the community and the property owner is a very ethical person who is deeply empathetic toward our community’s most vulnerable people. People who do not know the owner are very angry saying, “All rich people are like this!” People who know the owner say, “ Wait a minute, for one thing the guy’s not really rich and he has shown his integrity in this community for very many years. Something is not right here and we need to give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s contact him and see what’s really going on.” We attempt to have a discussion about what we will do should this threat be real but we are all pretty much in shock and not thinking too well. Then, on top of it all, it starts to rain. We feel that we won’t be able to accomplish anything more tonight, so campers head for their tents and others head for their homes. To be continued……….
General Assembly Minutes 8-7-12
This General Assembly happened about 3:30pm in the afternoon because the owner of the camp property wanted to be there. Many people attended and the mtg. was quite lengthy. It was also very positive. It turned out the owner had no idea his newly hired property manager was attempting to evict us. He did not support any eviction but had been hearing plenty of false rumors about what was going on at camp. Just one look around the site showed him that he had not been told the truth. Being very busy person he doesn’t get a chance to visit often and had placed his trust in the Occupiers, expecting us to use the site to further Occupy ideas, experiment with food growing methods and try to bring some aid and comfort to a troubled neighborhood. Surprise! Surprise! That’s exactly what we are trying to do.
We discussed all of our dreams for what a better world could be like. We discussed lots of things and the general conclusion was the only people who know what’s going on at the camp are the people that come there. Our camp is physically sheltered from public view so if a person has nothing better to do they could easily come up with all sorts of negative ideas about what’s going on there. In actuality, the biggest benefit the camp has to offer is peace and quiet. In the past we have not been helped by the local media. Whenever we spoke with them they distorted our words, edited footage to portray us unfavorably and sometimes told outright lies. We’ve been staying as far away from the media and city watchdogs as possible. We need to make better use of the Reader Weekly as they have always treated us fairly. We would like to say, that as of now, things are pretty good. However, we all carry a heavy burden right now. We have recently received word that our rapper camper who was to return to us in two weeks was murdered in his hometown. He had only been back there for 2 days. He was only 22 years old. We hope he had time to spend with his children. He loved them deeply. We are shocked and numb. We are angry and our hearts are broken. He stayed with us for only a month but brought us laughter, joy and insight. We loved him. We will always love him.
General Assembly Minutes 8-14-12 We got started a little late tonight as some of our people were off taking care of other things. The discussion was a continuation of the discussion held at last Saturday’s General Assembly ( this writer was unable to attend that meeting). When we had our meeting with the property owner we noted that most people in the neighborhood had never been in our camp and had no idea what we were about. We brainstormed about ways to respond to this problem and thought establishing a type of neighborhood watch program might be a solution. During the General Assembly last Saturday a speaker from a nearby neighborhood watch program explained how they did things. It seems that most watch programs are required to call the Duluth Police Department whenever they see anything unusual. We decided we didn’t want to do things that way as our neighbors already have more interaction with the police than they care to. While the police can be and have been very helpful in emergency situations, some officers harass and insult people living in our neighborhood simply because they are poor and/or people of color. We decide we will just walk around the block and pick up garbage and talk to people who want to talk to us. Tentatively, we will call it the Community Outreach Walk. Having a wagon would be good. We will put out a call to let people know we could really use a little wagon if anyone has one lying around. We are also hosting the movie “Home” at the Zinema on Thursday, August 16th at 7pm. Admission is free with donations being greatly appreciated. Hope you can make it.
General Assembly Minutes 8-18-12
We have some new campers now. Tonight some of them are attending their first General Assembly ever and want to know what Occupy is all about. Others have been to many Occupy camps in the last year and have stories to tell. We’ll get to that, but first we have some business to attend to. Occupy is participating in a forum (called what is Occupy or something like that) at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Sun. Aug. 26th at 9am. We discuss who is going, what materials they’ll bring etc. We hope you all will attend. So, back to what is Occupy all about. We talk about the role that corporations have played in nearly destroying the planet, how most jobs equal slavery and rob us of our lives, how a person (in this country at least) cannot live on any piece of land without having to pay something just to have a place to lie down at night, that technically homelessness is illegal and one can be incarcerated simply for being homeless. We discuss how the presence of the Occupy camps around the nation have pointed out the lack of true public space. We most experienced Occupiers feel that it is the job of Occupy to make the people truly aware of these things and to challenge everyone to do something about it. The planet is dying and we haven’t much time left. We begin a discussion about what the camp will be like in winter and we also talk about the fact that maintaining the camp takes a lot of time and energy and that over the last few months we have been neglecting direct action. We want to maintain the camp over winter. Being in camp is actually kind of fun, everybody learns a lot. We need more people to help us. In the past, we haven’t been really been very good at planning ahead so this is a start. It’s been raining off and on throughout the evening and it looks like more is coming. The young ones go off to the newest nightclub and the older ones go to rest up for another day.
General Assembly Minutes 8-21-12 All the usual crowd tonight plus a few people we haven’t seen in a while. An Occupier tells us about a plan he has for a bank action. He will do the organizing and we will give support. Enough said. Come to a General Assembly if you’d like details. We have more discussion !@about the Occupy Forum at the Unitarian Church, Sunday August 26th at 9am. An Occupier shows us flyers he has made for the event. We like them. There hasn’t been any progress related to the Community Outreach Walk. People have been busy with other things. Everybody walks up to take a look at the new gate that one of our Occupiers has made for us. From now on, the gate will be closed from 1am until campers wake up in the morning. This is probably the shortest meeting we have had. Afterward, we load up the garbage and then sit around the camp. Campers who haven’t been around for awhile meet the new campers. The neighborhood is quiet and there’s a gentle, cool breeze. Sweet.