G.A. Minutes 5-20-14

G.A. Minutes 5-20-14

The sun is shining brightly and there’s a moderate east wind as we arrive at CJM this evening. If we build a big fire and sit up close to it we’ll be fine.

Several Occupiers arrive on time and everybody hustles to set everything up and the get fire going. The Memorial site is empty and there are very few people on the street. It will probably be a quiet meeting as anyone who has any place out of the wind will likely stay there tonight.

Our roaring fire makes a big difference. We’re comfortable and seeing as few folks are on the street we may get a serious discussion going. One of the Occupiers is beginning his yearly gardening so everyone talks about gardening for a while. The Occupier who manages our website reports we are getting over 50 visits a week. We’re surprised at this and the Occupier who writes the minutes says, “Yikes! You mean there are actually people who read my stories?”

The Occupier who regularly works with the Northwoods Wolf Alliance reports the NWA founder and lead organizer has stepped down in order to better fulfill her many other organizer duties. NWA will be restructuring and the Occupier is trying to interest them in trying a horizontal leadership structure. This would mean they would have no one main leader but each NWA member would take the lead in the area in which they were most proficient. So far, the members seem interested in trying the new structure.

Another Occupier reports the Green Party had its entire northern MN email list hacked yesterday. All Greenies received an email giving them detailed instructions as to why the Green candidates should withdraw from the 2014 election. They were informed that if they didn’t vote for DFL state Representative Rick Nolan they would be insuring a win for the GOP candidate. They were informed the reason George W. Bush became president in 2000 was because Ralph Nader ran on the Green Party ticket. The Greenies think there was a lot more to it than that.

The Greenies are really pissed off and are contacting Nolan to find out what he has to say about the email hacking. We speculate Nolan must already be afraid of Green Party candidate Ray “Skip” Sandman. After all, Skip is light years ahead of Nolan on everything except selling out in order to get the votes of Iron Rangers.

The Occupier who regularly attends Human Rights Commission meetings reports the City Human Rights Commissioner has had his office and staff taken from him and has been demoted to a tiny cubicle in the back of the office of another department. She says the Human Rights Commissioner seems to be a pretty good guy who actually supports human rights for ordinary people.

The Commissioner has been supportive of the Homeless Bill of Rights and goes out of his way to assist homeless advocates. The advocacy of human rights for ordinary people is not popular with the City Administration. The mayor has been quoted as saying low income housing is nothing but a “diversion” from the pursuit of market rate housing for people who are well off.

An Occupier says, “Everything is so depressing. The earth is being destroyed and humans are doomed”. Another says, “I feel like that sometimes but most of the time I can see there is hope”. Yet another says, “Don’t be crazy. Everyday more people are becoming aware. People all over the world are waking up. In fact, people in other countries are much more aware than people in the U.S. We are now in the time of breaking apart when people will show who they really are. These times are going to be rough but many, many prophecies tell us after these times will come the great awakening. The earth will heal and humanity will survive in a new good way of living”. The other Occupiers nod in agreement.

As we are discussing, a good friend, who has been at the margins of Occupy for many years, stops by. She was on her way to sing karaoke but saw us and decided to sit with us instead. She sings some of her favorite songs and others join in, calling out the names of favorite songs and singing them. A few street people join the circle. They are grateful for the warmth of the fire.

A street woman who has been coming to our fires since we returned this year arrives. As usual, she’s pretty drunk. She’s always pleasant and we like her. Each time, she knows we look familiar to her but can’t remember where we have previously met. We refresh her memory. She says, “Gee, it’s cold tonight. I’m still homeless and I’m going to have to find somewhere to sleep. I guess I’ll have to go to Detox”.

Another woman says, “Detox? Why would you want to go there?” She answers, “Well, they’ll feed me and give me a bed. I don’t have anywhere else I can go”.

We check a bus schedule; tell her what time it is and when the last bus will arrive. Over the years we have met many homeless folks who will get drunk and go to Detox as a last resort. Everyone chats for a while more and as the tower clock chimes 9pm the drunken woman says, “I know I’m supposed to do something but I can’t remember what it is”. We remind her she is going to Detox, give her bus fare and point her in the direction of the bus stop.

The few people out tonight are wandering off to their sleeping places. The fire has a good bed of coals and we don’t really want to put it out. We have to though. We pack up and head on home. Hopefully, Spring will be back on Saturday.