G.A. Minutes 1-22-13

G.A. Minutes 1-22-13

There are just a few Occupiers tonight. The weather is still incredibly cold. Several people have called stating their vehicles aren’t running. Walking is out of the question. Homeless advocates are all on alert, searching for any homeless folks still outside. Only the coldest of hearts lack empathy for the homeless during weather like this.

An Occupier has returned from a month long sabbatical. He is anxious to know what has transpired and asks about our relationship building with other likeminded groups. We inform him of our progress stating things are not moving as rapidly as we’d like but they are moving.

He asks us what’s been going on with the homeless community. We tell him the second leg of the government census is about to start. Our homeless advocate ally had come to our former homeless camp in midsummer to explain the census and how it determined the funding for her homeless shelter. She had stated, “Of course, we only get the crumbs at the end of the food chain. The majority of the funding goes to the big charities. We really need those crumbs.” It’s now time for counting homeless in winter. Most are locked up in shelters with only the most determined folks still attempting to stay out on their own. All too often, these people are found frozen to death come morning.

Those refusing shelter have differing reasons for doing so. Some have experienced a lifetime of institutional abuse and just can’t be enclosed by four walls. Others have severe untreated mental illness and do not like being around others. Many just do not want to be found or identified. Whatever the reason, the official government policy states they should be counted and they should not be allowed to die in the cold. Strange, as they aren’t much valued when they’re alive.

The Occupier who has been making contact with the IWW tells us a little more about the “Wobblies”. Their organizational structure is very different than ours. They have all kinds of officers and even collect dues. We find this amusing. The older Occupiers are familiar with the IWW and believe their politics to be reasonable. Some of us give a little money to the young Occupier, become members and get official red cards and buttons.

Discussion switches to the subject of our local food co-op. We are disappointed with their choice of some products. These products are labeled as organic but we know they are really owned by major corporations. We also know these corporations were big donors to the campaign against the labeling of GMOs. This tells us these products contain GMOs. Can there be such a thing as an organic GMO? What a horrible thought! We agree we are pleased to have a large locally owned whole foods co-op in Duluth but feel they are politically uninformed. A former Occupier has recently been elected to the co-op BOD and is trying to introduce a larger world view. Unanimous happy octopi for her efforts.

Our two upcoming actions are briefly discussed. Everything is on track, the main artistic Occupier has returned so the making of a new flyer will happen soon. We’re looking forward to the movie and the big music event.

It’s time to leave. Someone says we’d better do it quickly or we’ll start talking about something else and another half hour will go by. We laugh because we know it’s true. We’ll be back on Saturday.