G.A. Minutes 10-30-12
We find our assumption is correct. The city ordinance Officer Tuscan states forbids us to have a fire actually doesn’t mention fire. It refers to obstruction of walkways. Our fire with people sitting around it most definitely does not obstruct any walkway. We have been conscious of the needs of others. We’ve notified Officer Tuscan of our findings. As of the beginning of our meeting we have not received a response.
There is a biting east wind tonight; if we’re going to stay here we will need to have a fire. We realize the possibly of the DPD swooping down on us and causing us a lot of grief. Nobody is particularly interested in being harassed, ticketed or arrested but there is a principle at stake here. City officials should obey their own rules. They expect the regular citizens to obey the law; they should obey the law also.
We start up the fire and it is almost instantly comfortable. Immediately street people come over to join us. We don’t know a few of them; some are past visitors from the camp. An Occupier reports the evidence related to our illegal camp eviction has been dropped off at an attorney’s office and now we must await their opinion. We begin to discuss the eviction further but a Native woman wants to pray over the fire. She has recently lost her father and another person close to her and she needs to acknowledge her grief. We dig through our pockets to come up with some loose tobacco and some sage. We sprinkle these over the fire. She prays, we join her. We talk with her and her friends for a while and then they leave to catch a bus.
Our meeting resumes. We touch base with the initial plans for our movie showing. Our environmentalist friend has no immediate plans for any showing at the Zinema and has told us to pick any date we would like. We think Thursday Dec. 6th would be good.
Somebody mentions Tuesday Nov. 6th is the big election day. An Occupier invites everyone to his home on that evening for fellowship and watching of the election returns. Unanimous happy octopi. Most of us have little faith in the current political system but will probably still vote. We cancel next Tuesday’s G.A. in favor of the election gathering.
An unhappy looking man has been encircling our group. He finally comes into the circle and angrily says, “What are you doing here? You’re disrespecting the Memorial! Get out!”. We attempt to engage him in conversation but he refuses to converse. We realize that he is the friend of the man who was yelling at us a few meetings ago. That man has since apologized and seems embarrassed when we see him.
The general theory among us is this small group of men may think we are a bunch of white folks who have come to take over black folk’s territory. This is logical as it has happened to black folks very many times in the past. We would like the angry man to articulate this but he can only yell the same words over and over. He takes out his cell phone and walks away. When he comes back he says, “20 minutes to a half an hour. You better be gone by then!” Then he leaves. Hmmm….
We continue talking; a man from the neighborhood walks up and asks if this is the Occupy Duluth meeting. He joins us and begins expressing genuine concern over the amount of our precious youth who are down at the local head shop buying synthetic marijuana. It is now about 20 minutes since the angry man left us. We see a squad car drive by. Oh well. We are doing nothing wrong so continue our conversation. A police SUV drives by, shines the big light on us, flashes his colored lights a few times and leaves. A couple more squads drive by. Suddenly, four or five squads go zooming up the avenue. Something’s going on.
If we wait long enough, a street person will come by and tell us what’s happening. Unfortunately, we have burned all the wood, the coals are dying and we can feel the cold wind again. We decide to call it a night, we pack everything up and put out the fire. Just as we are climbing into our vehicles, four squad cars swoop down on the Memorial. They shine bright lights all over the place but don’t seem to notice or pretend not to notice us getting ready to drive off. Who know? We’ll be back Saturday.