G.A. Minutes 12-11-12

G.A. Minutes 12-11-12
People arrive on time to the skywalk this evening. We set our chairs in a circle and take a few minutes to chat and warm up. It’s quite cold outside, the skywalk is not the ideal meeting place but at least it’s indoors. It’ll have to do for now.

An Occupier confesses she has lost the minutes from the last meeting. She had them all typed up and was about to transfer them to the website when she hit the wrong key and they vanished. Her partner spent over 2 hours trying to get them back but was unable to find them. A conversation develops, everyone giving their opinion as to what could be tried. As of now, the whereabouts of the minutes are a mystery in cyberspace.

The next topic is a homelessness training session that will be sponsored by some of our allies. It will be held a few days after Christmas. We all plan to be there. We go on to speak about the effective actions that may result from our collaboration with these good folks.

Our occasional Occupier is with us again tonight. He tells us the MN ASAP resolution will be presented to the City Council next Monday. This resolution has already been adopted by the City of Minneapolis. Basically, the resolution states, state taxpayers money should not be spent on the bloated U.S. military but used to pay for things that are actually needed, such as, education, healthcare and infrastructure. MN ASAP is requesting all activists to attend this City Council meeting. Most of us are intending to be there.

We give the occasional Occupier an update concerning the letter we recently received from a well-known government official. The letter concerned our interactions with the DPD at the CJM Memorial. The official agrees our fires were legal. She also states she believes that the “powers on high” have dictated to all police and city governments they are to discourage the Occupy Movement as much as possible.

From here we segue into a discussion of the so called city law concerning amplified sound in public places. We have discovered there is no such law. The City Attorney has stated there are no parameters for the noise level of amplified sound in public spaces. The decision regarding permissibility of sound is at the discretion of the police officer present at the scene. …….What??? We had assumed they at least had some kind of sound measuring machine. On May 1st, 2012 Occupy Duluth held an event in the People’s Plaza. We had a stage, a good sound system and a lineup of bands to last into the evening. The people of Duluth were loving it. Everyone was cheering, all the cars were beeping. After the 2nd band about 20 police officers descended on us. They disconnected the sound, ticketed the sound person, tore down the stage, attempted to confiscate our belongings and physically attacked a small, female Occupier. They told us amplified sound was not allowed in any city public space. We were busy setting up our camp at the time so didn’t investigate. Now we add this to our list of things to do.

As we are conversing, we see a DPD officer walk by and wave to us. A few of us wave back. An Occupier reports she has finally been able to make contact with Occupy Minneapolis. She is waiting for a response. This is good. We need more contact with other Occupy groups.

The meeting is pretty much over and the conversation turns to all sorts of things. An Occupier is unsure he wants to work with one of our allies because of a minor disagreement between them almost a year ago. Another Occupier states this has been the downfall of the “left” in the past. He says, “Because another activist doesn’t agree with you on every point is not sufficient reason to refuse to work with them. No two people are exactly the same, people will never agree on everything. We need to touch each other’s hearts and minds. We have a very important mission here”.

The homeless Occupier says he has been on the streets for many years and had become rather jaded. His initial attraction to Occupy came from seeing that everyone was accepted. No credentials were required. The older Occupiers agree they saw ego trips, especially among the men, during the 60s and 70s and they believe this was the cause of many of the Movement’s failures. Somebody starts talking about the sufferings of illegal immigrants and this turns into several Occupiers telling stories about times lived in Mexico. Amazing. We find out things about each other we didn’t know. Fun.

Someone notices it’s getting late. No cops. We sort of forgot about them and they never came back. Cool. They can be a real problem, they’re always a nuisance. Let’s hope our luck hold out for awhile. Time to go home.