G.A. Minutes 4-2-13

G.A. Minutes 4-2-13

There are fewer folks here tonight. A few of our Occupiers have gone to attend a workshop with the Magic Smelt people. They are going to ask Magic Smelt to join in our May Day event coalition and to get some tips on making gigantic puppets.

We begin by discussing the upcoming May Day event. There are no Occupiers present this evening who have attended the planning meetings so we can only discuss what we’ve been told. We know several members of INM and the Northwoods Wolf Alliance were present at the last planning meeting and we’ve heard one or more union members had stated they were unwilling to accept any group that was opposed to the possibility of a non-ferrous mine on the Iron Range. We do not agree with this and believe all progressive groups should be able to present their views. Unfortunately none of the Occupiers present this evening are able to attend the planning meetings. We have faith our Occupiers who are able to attend will represent our views.

Someone reports the CJM Memorial fundraiser will be held at the Northland Country Club. We all laugh as we sense a big disconnect. We find it strange that a monument to poor people which is located in a poor neighborhood should have its fundraiser in an exclusive club frequented by the wealthiest Duluthians. The memorial is maintained by the City so the Occupiers wonder why a fundraiser is needed. An Occupier reminds us there is a CJM scholarship. We reminisce about the many conversations we had with the CJM neighborhood street people. Most were baffled by the memorial. One person told a story about the dedication of CJM. He said, “They had a big ceremony with lots of speeches about how this was for the people. Then they all went off to a big dinner that cost $20 a plate. They told us they needed to get money from rich people. We didn’t get to go to the dinner”. Another person asked, “Was this made so white people can feel better about themselves?”

We begin discussing the topic of liberals. One Occupier says it really bothers him that rich liberals will give money to support various services for the poor but will go to great lengths to avoid having any meaningful interactions with poor people. Another notes, many churches give to the main organization for homeless people on our streets however, the organization will not tell homeless people from which churches they receive donations. He says, “Is this because the churches don’t want any of us showing up at their church service?”

An Occupier reports one of our government official friends is going to run for a seat on the school board. Everyone is pleased to hear this. We all agree, our friend will make an excellent school board member. Some Occupiers volunteer to help with distributing flyers and such. This is not something they would normally do but they will make an exception for our friend.

Somebody looks out the window and says, “I see a robin sitting in the top of that tree.” Most Occupiers are very excited and pull out cell phones or cameras and run to the window. One would think we are anxious for Spring to arrive. The smokers take this moment to step outside. When they return the conversation is about Monsanto and their latest evil act. The corporation has slipped an amendment into a recently passed and signed U.S. government appropriations bill. The amendment states Monsanto will be able to manufacture any type of GMO they desire, no government entity will be able to deny them this manufacturing. We hypothesize whether a state’s passing of a mandatory labeling of GMO products law will make this amendment useless. That would be nice.

The decision is made to hold another working G.A. on Saturday at the Occupier couple’s home. Plans for what will need to accomplish are made and then we head out the door. We accomplished a lot last Saturday and hope to do the same in a few days. Unless the whether radically improves, we’ll be back here on Tuesday.