G.A. Minutes 5-6-14
Tonight we’re in the WSAC big meeting room. It’s not cozy and we have to sit around a big business type table. Kinda weird but all the other rooms are taken so we’ll make due. Many people have no roof at all over their heads; we can’t complain.
The May Day events went well, however we expended a lot of energy so decided to take last Saturday evening off for rest and to possibly catch the last of the bands playing at the annual Homegrown Festival.
Someone asks how the artist co-op (WSAC) functions and this begins a somewhat lengthy discussion about the possibilities of a wonderful old building like WSAC. Another notes the co-op is not doing many of the things that they could be doing and an Occupier who lives in the co-op explains many of the WSAC work long hours at low paying jobs while still trying to produce their art. These co-op members generally don’t have much energy left over for organizing art showings in the hallways or hosting big community events. The Occupiers spend much time discussing possible remedies to the co-op situation but in the end everyone agrees co-op life would be much more productive if lived under a system better than capitalism.
An Occupier suggests it is now time to start having meetings again at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. Some Occupiers are excited by the prospect; others say they want to meet there again but they want to do things differently this year.
When questioned about what they would like to do differently people suggest serving hot meals, making deliberate attempts to draw the homeless and street people into conversations, making a video of the people telling their stories or making a bench to be left for people to sit on. Another Occupier says that one needs to offer something that the people actually would want and appreciate.
Still another says, “We don’t have the funds to provide a hot meal, the street people don’t like to be approached directly but will join us as they please, a video would be interesting but we’d have to locate equipment and be trained how to use it and it would take a long time to get people willing to be filmed. However, the idea of making a bench might work”.
Someone else says they think things would be fine just the way they were in the past and she can hardly wait to have a fire in the fresh air.
An Occupier says, “We spent about 2 years standing up to the DPD over our right to have a small safe fire and we won. Now we have to move forward and accomplish something else that is meaningful”. After more discussion we come to the conclusion that if it doesn’t rain, we’ll meet at CJM on Saturday and continue the discussion.
An Occupier reports on the Northwoods Wolf Alliance supported presentation by long time animal rights activist Rod Coronado. He was in town yesterday and spoke about his life and his time spent in prison because of actions to protect abused animals. He advised young activists to be aware that things have changed very much since 9/11.
The government passed many laws that label actions previously warranting a mere citation, as acts of terrorism. People are now being sentenced to 15 or 25 years in prison for simple acts of property destruction. Mr. Coronado advised people to plan their actions very carefully. The Occupiers who attended the NWA event were glad they did so.
Another Occupier reports the Duluth mayor holds open office hours once a month. During this open office time citizens of Duluth are allowed to bring almost any topic they wish to discuss to the attention of the mayor. The Occupier isn’t sure of the exact time and day of this open office as it isn’t well publicized but he’ll find the information for us. We think we should pay a visit to the mayor ASAP and ask him about his actions in relation to affordable housing and our large homeless population.
We notice it’s getting dark and if we’re going to continue we’ll have to turn on the obnoxious over head lights of the meeting room. We opt for calling it a night. Weather permitting; we’ll be at CJM on Saturday.