G.A. Minutes 2-19-13

G.A. Minutes 2-19-13

Most of the Occupiers, plus one who has been out of town for a while, are here tonight. We take a moment to chat with our returning friend. The conversation begins with ideas of humorous schemes for sabotaging McDonald’s and ends with a discussion about types of compost.

The actual meeting starts with a conversation about Idle No More. Treaty rights, protection of the land and preservation of indigenous cultures remain the primary focus of INM. The Duluth area INM people have decided to also focus on sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is a big problem for most Native communities. It is even more so in our local community, probably because the Twin Ports is a major shipping port for the world. We notice the INM folks here have a very good handle on methods for healing victims of trafficking. They have our support. An Occupier says maybe we could assist by approaching the issue from another angle. Officially, prostitution is illegal. If an activity is illegal it is the responsibility of the appropriate government official to monitor his officialdom for existence of said illegal activity. INM informs us prostitution is rampant in the Twin Ports Harbor. Most trafficking happens on the ships. The ships are probably under the domain of the individual ship companies however the prostituted people are usually taken over harbor land in order to get on the ships. Apparently government officials are not watching and halting illegal activity. What’s up with that? If INM agrees, perhaps the Occupiers could do some more investigation and call attention to the fact that harbor authorities are not preventing trafficking of human beings. Another Occupier states he thinks this has too much of an attitude of punishment and we need to get away from that. He says prostitution is the world’s oldest profession and one will never rid the world of it. We don’t need to appear puritanical. The first Occupier says it’s not about punishment; it’s about protecting the victims. Another Occupier offers to assist in investigating. Nothing is decided tonight. Each Occupier is free to investigate or not.

Another Occupier states all people of the 99% are prostituted. For example, a person needs to buy a house so he gets a job and gets a loan and a mortgage payment. His job is unpleasant but he has to keep working in order to keep living in his house. Work at bad job, pay mortgage, work, mortgage………. This person is being prostituted. Most people have unpleasant jobs and are being prostituted. Everyone agrees with him.

An Occupier brings up the topic of the march on D.C. which took place last Sunday. The returning Occupier is unfamiliar with this event so it is explained that the march concerned the urgency of the problem of climate change. It also concerned the Canadian tar sands pipeline and the fact that president Obama is being asked to make decision regarding its fate. If he chooses to allow the pipeline, the world will eventually burst into flames but the 1% will be happy. If he chooses to disallow the pipeline, the world may survive but the 1% will be angry. We honestly don’t know which decision Obama will make.

The returning Occupier wasn’t at the Project Save Our Homes/Loaves N Fishes open house. We tell him about it and about the plan to have the City use eminent domain to give vacant houses to homeless people. We think this project will be very interesting.

Our thoughts then wander to our dreams for another homeless camp. We know other activists in Duluth have the same dream. Duluth homeless people have the dream too. An Occupier has received some information about west coast homeless camps from a former Duluth Occupier who is currently occupying Oregon. We listen to the information she has and discuss how we could apply it to our situation.

We’ve been talking for over 2 hours and some are hungry or tired. An Occupier announces the next Move To Amend meeting will be Thursday, 7pm at CSS Tower Building. We head out with plans to meet again on Saturday.