G.A. Minutes 12-2-14
It’s pretty darn cold tonight as we jump out of our vehicles and scurry across the frozen ground and into an Occupier’s high rise apartment building. It’s 10 degrees or so with no wind. It could be and will be worse.
No Occupiers have walked or taken the bus. Those with vehicles made sure that those without were picked up. Even though the temperature is well below freezing, it’s not yet considered cold enough for CHUM to be forced to open its doors to everyone. That means there are quite a few homeless folks still huddled in doorways and bus stops.
The apartment is small, warm and comfortable. We chat and joke a bit then get down to business.
An Occupier reports she has been talking with the leader of Howling For Wolves. They discussed the fact that neither group and been able to do much to protect the wolves in the past months. They thought it might be a good idea to partner HFW and the Northwoods Wolf Alliance and have a Stop The Wolf Hunt/Overpass Light Brigade action on the sidewalk freeway overpass at Lake Ave. and Superior St. They felt Friday November 12th would be a good time to do this.
The Occupier made contact with members of NWA and received an initial positive response. The Occupiers have been storing the OLB lights since last year. NWA can supply a few people who have participated in OLB actions in the past and a camera person with media contacts. If HFW can supply the additional people needed to hold the lights, this could be a successful undertaking.
An Occupier who hasn’t participated in OLB actions asks for an explanation of what it’s all about. Another explains the process for making the lights and why it is necessary to do the actions at night.
The first Occupier says, “I would like to do something related to homelessness”.
Another answers, “One can do these OLB things about anything they wish. The first thing to do is to come up with the wording. Keep it simple with as few letters as possible but the wording must also be clear so the viewers will easily understand the idea being put forth. Then you make the lights; get the number of people needed and committed to hold them; pick a spot and go for it. As long as you are on public space and are careful to not completely block the walkway you shouldn’t be harassed by police”.
The Occupier mentions Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance will have their next meeting on Friday, December 5th. Plans for the OLB action can be finalized at that time.
One Occupier says, “You know OLB lights could even be used as an emergency form of communication during a demonstration or other large gathering.
Another jokingly says, “Oh everybody would just use their cell phones”.
The initial Occupier replies, “The servants of the 1% can shut those things down. We need to think about using other forms of communication”. We all agree we have become overly dependent on cell phones, Facebook and other things which are actually under the control of our oppressors.
Someone remarks, “Apparently we already don’t have good communication. Look how we ran around the day after the Ferguson grand jury verdict was announced. We went to all the events we knew of only to find they were being sponsored by and for the white people of Duluth. I’m sure Duluth’s African American community must have been doing something but we sure didn’t know what it was”.
We know it is true, we would like to ally with our African American community but it’s just not happening. We know there is a long history in this country of betrayal of black people by white people. We know that at least some of the African American community would not want us as allies. We will continue doing our best to wait and watch for direction.
An Occupier states, “I wish we could find a way to be prepared beforehand to provide quick assistance when a crisis occurs. We could at least then be able to offer food, shelter or other help”.
Another agrees, “Our problem is funding. The majority of us are from working class backgrounds. We never have extra money that we can save. Our treasury has three dollars in it. We’ll have to think of ways we can provide immediate help without needing monetary resources”.
Somebody comments, “In the past I’ve had experience working with many people from Somalia. I never noticed a suspicious attitude like I was just waiting for a chance to betray them or something. I feel that from American black people many times”.
Somebody else responds, “Somalians have a different history. I worked with a bunch of guys from Kenya. They used to get mad when they’d hear us criticize the government and make fun of the President. One guy said, ‘In my country you can go to prison for just thinking about killing the President’ “. Another responds, “We need to remember that the advantages we take for granted are given to us off the backs of the so called third world”.
Someone else reminds us tomorrow the Jefferson People’s House will show the film “Breaking the Spell” with discussion to follow. We are all hoping to attend.
It’s past 9pm. We think we’d better end the conversation for tonight.
We head back out into the cold. We’ll be in our warm homes shortly, unlike many of our friends from CJM.
On Saturday we’ll meet in an apartment at the Washington Studios Artist Co-op.