G.A. Minutes 7-13-13

G.A. Minutes 7-13-13
It’s overcast, quite warm and very humid tonight. It’s also dirtier than usual, cluttered with cigarette butts and empty bottles. That’s probably because we have been absent from the Memorial for an entire week. Important obligations kept us away but now we’re happily back home.
The regular Occupiers are here and an Occupier who is somewhat new has brought his mother and her young dog. The dog is completely new to city living, having spent childhood living in the country. The constant activity of the street makes her nervous, she barks every time anyone moves. Oh well……. We’re accustomed to working around things.
An Occupier gives us the sad news that our County Commissioner and dearly beloved comrade is probably losing his battle with cancer. This good man has been under the care of some of the top oncologists in the country for over a year. A few days ago these doctors said the cancer continues to spread and they have no further treatment to offer. Surrounded by his family and close friends, he will be receiving hospice care. Throughout our community, people are holding vigils for this well-loved man. Tonight we light our fire in honor of him and we spend some time reminiscing and praising his life.
As the first order of business, we discuss the monthly Howling For Wolves Rally and the status of the movement to stop the wolf hunt. It was reported that MN legislators told the Northland Wolf Alliance members if they could get their supporters to “make the phones ring off the hook”, these legislators would vote to discontinue the legalized hunting of wolves. Last year the Alliance organizers were unable to convince enough people to make those phone calls so will try again soon. Some sort of phone tree has been suggested and we discuss the technicalities of how this might be accomplished. Cell phones or land lines? What type of phone bills can be accommodated? The actual decisions will be made by the wolf people. We’ll offer whatever assistance is needed.
An Occupier reports the main Occupy leadership (if there is such a thing) is pushing for a nationwide Occupy March Against Corruption on November 5th. We are interested and ask him to keep us updated on the progress of the event planning.
An Occupier who has been tasked by Idle No More with gathering information related to the Alberta Clipper Pipeline Expansion. She tells us she has discovered that the Clipper is owned by the Canadian company, Enbridge while the Keystone Pipeline is owned by the Canadian company, TransCanada. These companies are in direct competition with each other to pump the most tar sands oil at the fastest rate possible. The company that wins will have the most money and also the honor of making a major contribution to the total destruction of our planet. We, along with INM and many other environmentalist people intend to stop this. No pipelines, no fossil fuels, green energy etc.etc.
The newest Occupier and his mom ask about the history of our meetings at the Memorial. We explain all we went through in our battle with the DPD for our right to have a small safe fire in a public space. We comment our victory is the reason our presence is accepted in the neighborhood. It was a long fight but now we have “street cred”. People’s victories over the police are very few around here.
An Occupier reports she recently attempted to make an online purchase from an out of the country vendor. Her valid debit card was refused and after much investigation she found her bank had blocked all its customers from making online purchases from other countries. She asks if anyone else has had this experience. No one has attempted this type of purchase recently and no one has enough spare money to do so right now. We’ll ask around. Everyone is shocked but it’s assumed this is another gift from Homeland Security aka Big Brother.
Our good friend, the former City official, is running for another City office and we are giving him support as individual citizens. We are happy to hear that another one of our friends will also be running for a different City office. We will also support him. We say, “Maybe we should publish official support from Occupy”. Everybody laughs. We know Occupy has a lot of support in many communities, but in the more well to do communities, not so much. Our friends will be better served from our support incognito.
During our discussions neighborhood folks have been coming up to get coffee and lemonade as per usual. Now it’s time for a forced Dog Break. We have been joined by a street man with a story to tell and Ms. Puppy decides to go berserk. She is barking frantically and jumping up and down but the man is undaunted. He tells a story about selling drugs on the rez, being the shortest man in the Marines and deliberately setting himself on fire. Or something like that. One of the Occupiers blows hard on the sage bundle and the smoke fills the air. The man leaves, the dog chews on a stick.
Everyone wants to know what is going on with the conflict from the City re: the presence of the Anishinabe Cultural Staff at the Civic Center. We review the events of the past week. Along with our other obligations, we have been lending our support to the local Anishinabe community. The City has been very disrespectfully demanding these Native people remove their Cultural Staff from Civic Center grounds. The staff has remained on the grounds for almost 2 years. The DNT recently published an article about the staff and we suspect the City is being pressured to remove it by some right wing racist group. There have been several gatherings this past week concerning this issue. The Duluth Human Rights Commission has issued several resolutions ordering the City to treat the Anishinabes with respect and to leave their staff alone. After these resolutions were issued, the City covertly removed the staff. A City Council meeting will be held on Monday July 15th 7pm in Council Chambers. We expect this issue to be addressed. All the Occupiers plan to attend.
An Occupier reminds us that Water Legacy will be giving a presentation at 9am tomorrow morning at U.U. Church.
The street lights come on. It’s much later than we realized. This is the first time in a while we’ve left as it was getting dark. Barring unforeseen circumstances, we’ll be back next Tuesday.