G.A. Minutes 2-16-13

G.A. Minutes 2-16-13

There’s a full house tonight. All the regulars are here at one time. It’s been awhile since we’ve all been together.

One of the Occupiers is attempting to organize his workplace and is trying to decide which union he should contact. People express their opinions concerning the best options. AFSCME is considered to be made up of good people but it is felt they may be understaffed. SEIU is having much success nationwide with organizing service workers however; some are concerned about this union’s integrity and organizing tactics. IWW has really good ideas yet many wonder if they have the resources needed. The Occupier will continue working and investigating. We wish him well and offer our help if needed.

Almost every Occupier attended last Thursday’s Idle No More Feast in Honor of Victims of Sex Trafficking. A young Occupier and beginning union organizer suggests organizing sex workers. Another Occupier points out this would be in direct conflict with the goals of Idle No More. INM wishes to get sex workers out of the business and to offer them better alternatives. INM has a good few members who are former victims of the sex industry, these members are adamant about this kind of work being very detrimental to the workers. Several Occupiers offer suggestions as to what benefits could be offered to make the workers’ jobs less burdensome. A brief dialog develops concerning the difference between pornography and erotica and the people who purchase or work in these fields. A female Occupier gently points out that all the people discussing organizing sex workers are men while former and current sex workers are almost entirely women. We value our relationship with INM so table this discussion for the moment.

All of the Occupiers attended the open house sponsored by Project Save Our Homes and Loaves N Fishes. We were very impressed by the turnout. These groups have access to a nice little house that has been foreclosed on by J.P. Morgan Chase. A happy family was put out of their home four years ago and the house has remained empty since. PSOH and LNF invited very many people into the house to publicize the campaign to convince the City Council to pass a resolution specifically stating, housing is a human right. From this the City of Duluth will be encouraged to use eminent domain to take the many empty houses in our city and allow homeless people to live in them. This tactic has been successful in other cities. It would certainly help with our homeless crisis. It seems that most people who have decent jobs and comfortable homes would like homeless and poor people to just go away. It doesn’t work like that. The sun shines on all and all are entitled to meet their basic needs. We hope this campaign will produce sustainable results and we intend to offer as much support as we can.

An Occupier comments, all issues are connected and expresses his vision of Duluth declaring itself a City of Refuge. Another Occupier says, “Oh boy, Amy Z. (columnist for a local alternative newspaper) would have a fit if she heard you say that.” Everyone laughs.

An Occupier has a few announcements. 1.) Take Action MN will be holding a workshop at 6822 Grand Ave., 10am February 23rd. 2.) CHUM will be sponsoring an ongoing forum centering on the book “Pedagogy of the Poor”. The first discussion will be held February 20th , 3pm at Community Action Duluth. 3.) PSOH will be holding a demonstration to draw attention to their newest campaign to save a Proctor man’s home from foreclosure. Also, PSOH will hold their next meeting on February 27th, 4:40pm at 109 2nd Ave.W.

It looks like we’ll have our plates full. Spring is on its way, we’re looking forward to going back to the CJM Memorial and we’ll be back here on Tuesday.

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