G.A. Minutes 12-5-15

G.A. Minutes 12-5-15
It’s back to Coney Island again tonight.  Temperatures have been in the high 40s all day and it’s still pleasant, for this time a year, by evening.
Every parking space is taken for blocks around; the street is just packed with people.  There are the usual street people hurrying from one place to the next but the majority of the pedestrians appear to be frequenting the many downtown clubs and/or the casino.  Coney Island even has five or six customers.
Get it while you can folks, winter will be here soon. 
A young man of the street calls out to a few Occupiers who are preparing to enter the café meeting place.  They recognize the young guy as being one of the people who occasionally sat on the outer edge of our Clayton Jackson McGhie recreational fires.  He was always too under the influence to participate in conversation.
He’s quite under the influence of something tonight. He’s walking crooked which makes us wonder if the Coney Island staff will throw him out.  The staff people don’t seem to notice or if they do, they don’t care.  We think, that’s a good sign.
The guy slides into the oversized booth with the rest of us.  He wants food and money.  We give him some of the food we have purchased at the front counter and one dollar. 
We begin a serious conversation.  The street dude quickly loses interest and staggers out the door.  Many of the area street folks are intelligent and pleasant.  We hope some of them will join us during our winter hibernation.
An Occupier asks, “Seeing as I’ve been ill and absent for the last month or so, will you explain what we’ve done and will be doing?”
Another Occupier answers, “We’re going to be busy this week I think.  Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance is sponsoring the last leg of Honor the Earth’s Miigwitch Tour: Building Our Resistance to Enbridge Pipelines.  The event will happen in Rm 200 in the Chemistry Building at UMD, Tuesday December 8th from 5p-8p.
INM/NWA will be providing the feast and they need us to be up there by about 3:45p to help set up and carry in the food”.  Almost everyone says they will be able to help.
The Occupier continues, “Also, the protesters, the Duluth 7, who were arrested at the sit-in at the Enbridge office during the Stop the Enbridge Invasion rally last month are being arraigned at the St. Louis County Court House at noon on the same day, Tuesday the 8th.  They need supporters.
“I won’t be able to be there because I volunteered myself to provide the coffee for the evening’s feast.  I’ll be grinding up the beans of our good “occupy coffee” around the time of the arraignment”.
Everybody grins.  Most will be at the arraignment.
Someone else comments, “Don’t forget about the INM/NWA NdN Taco Sale this Friday, December 11th at All Nations.  We’ll be helping there too. 
Another replies, “No problem.  We always work hard but it’s fun and when we’re done we all get to eat a free taco”.  We all agree no problem.
We get the previously absent Occupier up to speed on what we’ve been doing with Black Lives Matter/Justice City Coalition.  An Occupier reports, “Justice City has some interesting plans in the works.  There’s talk about involving City officials and Duluth citizens in some round tables or town hall meetings.  Of course, the purpose would be to educate them about the real lives of black folks.  I don’t have anything definite to tell you all right now though”.
We tell the absent Occupier about the silly official responses we’ve received from the DPD and FPD regarding our small, safe and legal campfires at CJMM.  We discuss what our next moves will be.
One Occupier states, “I suppose the DPD, FPD and CJMM BOD believe we’ve accepted their responses and have decided to discontinue our fire meetings.  After all these years, they still don’t realize we have common sense.  One can’t keep warm enough at our small fires to sit long during the winter”.
Somebody adds, “Every once in a while somebody tells me they feel displeased with Occupy because Occupy is no longer holding protests outside the banks.  I disagree with that opinion because across the country Occupy groups have evolved since then.
“We may not have taken over the banking system yet but the idea of the 99% vs 1% is imbedded in the U.S. culture and in many other cultures too.  Before Occupy, I knew something was wrong and I had a feeling it had something to do with rich people having too much money. When Occupy revealed the actual facts and figures about the way the worldwide system robs and oppresses humankind, it opened a door and a window for a lot of us.  Now the real work is beginning”.
An Occupier agrees, “I’m really glad that many indigenous people throughout the world were aware of all this stuff way before we were.  We have to remember to let them lead the way”.
Another asks, “So how is the Homeless Bill of Rights Ordinance coming along?”  The Occupier who goes to the Human Rights Commission responds, “It’s taking forever.  The Commissioners keep getting distracted with other human rights issues.  Sometimes I want to say, ‘Look, get a pen and paper and start writing 1…..2….3…  Write down 10 or 12 things you think should be in the Bill then discuss and work from there’. 
“A couple of years ago I was asked to apply to be on the HRC.  I did but apparently our current mayor doesn’t like me.  He didn’t appoint me.  Now I’m glad he didn’t because I can get a lot more done from the outside.  It’s too bad because there are some really well-meaning people on the Commission”.
The most elder Occupier says, “Commission is just another word for co-option.  The Man takes all that good energy and neutralizes it”.
The conversation bounces over to the subject of the currently descending price of gasoline.  An Occupier comments, “It worries me.  The general public will forget about climate change and sustainable energy if they can get plenty of gas for a really cheap price”.
Another hypothesizes, “I wonder if they’re lowering the price in order to starve so called ISIL and other so called terrorist groups.  Those groups reportedly have taken over a lot of oil fields and oil infrastructure.  If the price of oil is really low, those groups will have a harder time supporting their armies etc.”
Someone else replies, “Who knows?  Whatever it is, I know the 1%, as usual, is up to no good”.
All the customers are gone.  All the Occupiers are very tired.  We think we should leave a little early and get some sleep.  There is a lot of good work to be done.
As we are leaving we put a few bucks into the workers tip jar.  We appreciate them letting us sit for hours.
The female of the Occupiers couple mentions, “I almost forgot.  Next Saturday we have to work the Holiday Show at our co-op.  We’ll be exhausted by the time it’s done.  Would you guys be willing to just come to our apartment and hang out?  We have a lot of musicians living in our co-op and they will be kicking it in the performance space all day long.  There will be art and craft vendors, good food and a new show in the Gallery.  It will be fun”.  We answer, “No problem”.
So it looks like we won’t be meeting at Coney Island until Tuesday, December 15th.  Maybe you will join us?
 

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