G.A. Minutes 2-24-15

G.A. Minutes 2-24-15

We are a small group tonight at the Amazing Grace Café. It’s a good thing we’re here. If not for us, the place would be completely empty.

It’s hard to say why no one is out and about this evening. It’s not storming and the temps are a little above zero. The past several weeks have seen wind chills to -30 and -40.

The weather is probably not what’s keeping folks at home. As a matter of fact, most of our normally severe winter weather has visited the East Coast this year.

Maybe everyone is beginning to burn out on the cold even if it hasn’t been terribly bad this year. If we start dreaming of spring this soon we will surely be insane by April.

An Occupier mentions she had an interesting conversation with a professional organizer friend of ours today. The organizer had just returned from a tar sands conference in Madison.

He told the Occupier that people from 350.org and Honor the Earth were in attendance. He said the Alberta Clipper is definitely now on the radar.

The Occupier is quite pleased with this news. She says, “I am so totally excited! I’ve been trying to get people to understand the threat that Enbridge poses to our North Woods land and water. It sounds like folks may be finally getting the message.” We are all also pleased and ready to join and support the “Big Guns” in whatever ways that we can.

Another Occupier tells us about the NAACP meeting she attended a little over a week ago. She reports, “It was pretty wild. There were more black people than white people. Many people we know were there.’

“A 30 something black man was trying to tell folks about a daughter of Malcom X who is coming to Duluth soon. The old president allowed him to speak but whenever he said something the old president didn’t like the old president would say, “You’re out of order”. The man would ask why he was out of order but the old president wouldn’t answer.’

“Finally the man yelled, “You’re out of order! You’re a dictator and we don’t like it. Your days are numbered!” It appeared that the rest of the people agreed with the man.’

“People started talking about committees and the old president informed an older black man that he had been removed as chairperson.

The older man said, ‘How can I be removed? I was just recently voted in by the membership’.

The old president said, ‘I’m the president and I can remove and appoint anyone any time I want’. The older man was so angry he had to leave the room for a while’.

“The new president was also there. She said, ‘Everybody needs to read the bylaws. She had her friend read the relevant bylaw. It seemed like the particular bylaw did not exactly support what the old president was saying’.

“I could see that the new president was pretty smart. The old president then said,’ Let’s just finish the official meeting, then we can stay after and talk about all this stuff’.

“I left as soon as the official meeting was over because I’m not a member and I didn’t want to over step my bounds’.

“As soon as I have $35.00 to spare I’m going to join. I have a lot of experience reading and understanding bylaws and such”.

Another Occupier wants to show us his recent mathematical equations having to do with explorations of a 4th dimensional view of everyday reality. Many of us take this opportunity to go out for a smoke break.

Upon return, an additional Occupier reports that the next Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance NdN Taco Sale will be held on Friday March 6th11am-2pm at the Duluth Indian Center.
Several Occupiers volunteer to be delivery people and another will help with the cooking.

Someone informs us about plans for Rod Coronado’s visit to our area. As things stand now, he will be giving his Wolf Patrol presentation at the Perch Lake town hall, 4 or 5pm on Wednesday, March 4th. It’s probably going to be a potluck and we generally bring a big salad.

We’re also informed that at the last INM/NWA meeting someone suggested we make a movie about the wolves’ importance to a healthy environment. All of those in attendance were very excited about this idea. The Occupier giving us this information states she has some experience with movie making so realized the members did not realize how very difficult making a movie actually is. The Occupier has a friend who is skilled in animation so suggested this might be an easier way to go. INM/NWA members were open to the idea.

Just as the staff is preparing to close up and we are preparing to leave, a group of noisy, laughing young women arrive. We imagine they want to go home but they cheerfully take the women’s orders and give them a table. We’d say goodbye but the workers are busy.

This upcoming Saturday we’ll be attending a Soul Food Dinner at UWS-Superior.

If nothing interferes, we’ll be back here next Tuesday.

G.A. Minutes 2-14-15

G.A. Minutes 2-14-15

There are only a few Occupiers tonight and we are meeting at the Occupier couple’s home. Their home is centrally located and it’s just too darn cold to go anywhere else. The temperature didn’t get above zero even during the day and the wind is strong.

Here we thought we were going to get by with a very mild winter. In the back of our minds we knew better. The real winter started today and threatens to continue for a while.

We have been unable to have an official meeting for several weeks. We’ve had obligations with our allies and there has been quite a lot of colds and flu going around. Several Occupiers are still under the weather. Anyway, it’s good to be able to get together this evening.

We start out by talking about the film Occupy Love which we watched as a group a few weeks ago. An Occupier has discovered the film is the last in a trilogy of films created by Velcrow Ripper, an artist who is active in the worldwide Occupy Movement. We decide to watch all three of his films and then decide if we should do a series of film showings with each film being screened on a separate date. The Occupier expects to receive the download of the first film by mid-week so we make plans to view it on Saturday February 21st.

Next we get a report about the NdN Taco Sale that some of us assisted Idle No More with about a week ago. It was a huge success. Everything was sold out well before the scheduled closing time. We had theorized that having the sale on the first Friday of the month instead of the last Friday would draw more customers. We were right about that.

The plan is to have a taco sale on the first Friday of every month. We will prepare at least twice as many taco ingredients and hope for as many customers again. If things go as anticipated we’ll be able to raise enough funds to get some INM projects off the ground.

Another Occupier tells us about the invitation we’ve received from Water Legacy. They’re having a fundraiser event at Trepanier Hall, February 22nd 11am-2pm.

Still another Occupier tells us about a comment she heard during last week’s Human Rights Commission meeting. She says one of the commissioners jokingly stated, “One of the problems with Occupy Wall Street is that they occupied a burning house”. She laughed and replied, “Yeah, most Occupiers have figured that out”.

Someone reminds us that we are going out to the Fond Du Lac Reservation area on this upcoming Tuesday in order to meet with an Elder. We’ll be leaving at 4pm.

Another item on the agenda is the fact that MN 350.org has approved the formation of a Twin Ports chapter. It’s going to be called Northwoods 350.

Local organizers put out initial feelers and there appears to be plenty of interest. We have all signed up as helpers. An Occupier comments, “Finally! We have been saying for over a year that local folks need to become aware of what the 1% has in store for us with the Alberta Clipper and Sandpiper pipelines’.

“I wrote an article about it over a year ago for our local alternative newspaper but received absolutely no response. Everyone was totally focused on the Keystone XL. Now it looks like that’s not gonna happen so you know they will try to quietly slip in the Clipper. The pipeline is already built so they can get Obama and whoever else’s approval on the sly, fill that snake with tar sands and destroy what’s left of our pristine wilderness and sacred Lake Superior. We have got to get the word out”.

We begin discussing the route the pipeline travels and where it crosses from Canada into the U.S. Because we are at the couple’s house, we have access to several computers. People begin looking.

At first we find the official map put out by Enbridge. Then we look at other maps of northern MN. We can’t find the names of any of the towns listed on the Enbridge map on any of the regular maps of MN.

By tracing and comparing we think the Clipper runs at least through Bemidji and Grand Rapids. We believe the Enbridge map deliberately lists just the pumping stations in order to reduce the amount of alarm that would be felt if people realized how close a potential tars sands spill will be to where they are living. Seeing as Enbridge has had over eight hundred spills in the last fifteen years or so, a spill is pretty much a given.

Eventually we notice it is well past the time for our meeting to be over. Computer work tends to mess with one’s sense of time.
We print a few things out and do a posting to the Northwoods 350 site.

All Occupiers without vehicles are mandated to accept rides with those who have driven. No one complains. This is the time of year that homeless folks are found frozen to death.

We will be doing actions during our next few meeting times and are not sure when we’ll be able to have an official meeting again. Probably not until February 24th or 28th. Stay warm.