G.A. Minutes 1-5-13

G.A. Minutes 1-5-13

This will probably be our last meeting at the skywalk for a while. The Occupier who is willing to open his home states he would be happy to have us use his space for our meetings. He is willing to allow us to make his address public. We will need to do this as our meetings are always open to the general public. The police have been leaving us alone, perhaps because they know we will take the time to study the laws. However, the skywalk has just not been working for us. The general public does not seem to be interested in participating in skywalk meetings. A few of our Occupiers have also drifted off since we’ve been meeting here. Time for a change. As of next Tuesday, we will be meeting at 6pm at 3803 Grand Ave.(Duluth). There’s a big Buddha statue outside the front door. Then every Tuesday and Saturday at 6pm at that same address.

We have the o.k. from the Zinema to show American Autumn on January 31st at 7pm. Finally! An Occupier volunteers to download the movie and get it to the projectionist well in advance of the showing date. We will need to put out an event page and get literature together for tabling before the movie. People take on tasks.

We begin a discussion about Idle No More. An Occupier has been in an online discussion with a woman from Idle No More in Colorado. The INM woman has been having problems with the Occupy group in her area. She feels they did not look on Native folks as capable of independently taking on important tasks. She is also upset because they have been posting INM upcoming flash mob events on the internet. When the INM folks show up for a flash mob the police are waiting for them. The Occupier tells her she has seen these posting also and believes they are sent by InterOccupy. She suggests INM contact InterOccupy and ask them to stop these postings. The Occupier has always found InterOccupy to be very accommodating.

One of the Occupiers at the meeting doesn’t understand what a flash mob is. Others explain it is an event that is arranged primarily by word of mouth. People agree to casually meet at a particular spot and begin a demonstration, performance, ceremony or whatever. The people appear to spontaneously begin this event. They continue for a short amount of time and then they all quickly leave. If the police have been called, by the time they arrive, the flash mobbers have gone. INM, which is primarily a North American indigenous people’s movement, has been doing a flash mob drum circle and Round Dance in large public and private areas. The questioning Occupier thinks that a flash mob is not a good idea as he thinks the people should stay and peacefully confront the police. Others explain, each group needs to use the tactic which is most effective for them. INM is a movement which is fighting for the protection of the earth, for the enforcement of treaty rights which had been guaranteed for eternity. Oil and gas companies have been attempting to infringe on Native lands in Canada, U.S. and throughout the world. Oil and gas companies are responsible for climate change and destruction of the planet. True indigenous cultures are the original keepers of the land. Their struggle is our struggle. We would like to work with INM.

The smokers go out for a smoke break and when they return the conversation is about the synthetic marijuana market in Duluth. The former head shop, Last Place On Earth, is now the source for these synthetics. Jim Carlson, the owner of LPOE, states he is selling this product to highlight the need for legalization of real marijuana. Selling this product has also brought him a lot of money. We agree there are many sides to the issue. None of the Occupiers have smoked synthetic nor are they interested in doing so. They notice that people who smoke it behave strangely, synthetic also appears to be addicting. They know many people smoke synthetic to get high while still being able to test negative for illegal substance use on the mandatory drug tests given at their slave jobs. This leads to the subject of mandatory drug testing. All agree that these tests are a major violation of our civil rights. We have noticed every year more of our civil rights are casually taken away. Our lives are beginning to resemble George Orwell’s “1984”. Just before we really take off on this subject, an Occupier reminds us that one of our homeless Occupiers is leaving in the morning for his home state. We adjourn to an Occupiers home so we can spend some time with our departing friend.