G.A. Minutes 3-5-16
Weather wise, things are back to normal right now. We had a March blizzard yesterday; today temperatures were in the mid-30s and most of the new snow melted away. The weather people are promising 40s and 50s all next week. Nothing to complain about there.
As Occupiers are filing into Coney Island, a few report almost running over a young couple who occasionally visit our fire. An Occupier reports, “They appeared to be really wasted and were holding each other up as they walked. They didn’t notice they had staggered right in front of our vehicle as we were turning the corner. I heard they both got kicked out of CHUM on Thursday for substance abuse”. Another Occupier comments, “That’s rather romantic”.
The street contains many folks out walking. Many look like they could possibly be homeless. Another sign of spring approaching?
The regular hipsters are working the counter tonight. They have some nice jazz playing on the sound system. The place is completely empty.
An Occupier remarks, “I wonder where the East Coast Occupier is. She’s usually the first to arrive”. Another Occupier answers, “Oh, she went to the Islamic Center. She called me earlier saying she’d been invited to go there this evening. I advised her to go ahead and do it. One doesn’t want to miss a chance like that”.
As we are ordering food and settling in, an Occupier states, “So I see that the DNR has approved the Polymet environmental analysis. I guess that’s no big surprise; we all know the DNR works for the corporations. I know there will still be over 20 more permits that Polymet has to get, so maybe they will still be denied. If not, then we’ll be blocking mining roads, equipment and stuff like that. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no way Polymet or any other sulfide mine is going to ruin our wet lands and manoomin. Maybe we should discuss possible strategies we might use when the time comes”.
Another Occupier rejoins, “If the time comes, we should probably follow the lead of the serious environmental groups like 350, Save the Boundary Waters, Honor the Earth and others. They will know what will be most effective”.
The Occupier who is tasked with managing communications with all the government agencies who are attacking our right to a small, safe and legal recreational fire at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial reports she has had a busy afternoon. She passes around copies of several emails that she received from the co-chair of the CJMM BOD.
After reading the emails an Occupier exclaims, “What! They are refusing to invite us to a meeting?” The tasked Occupier replies, “Yup, that’s what it says. It’s all so totally ridiculous! They all want to harass us but no one is willing to take responsibility for the harassment.
“Acting Chief Tuscan sends the cops on us but tells us to leave him alone and take our complaints to the fire department. Deputy Fire Chief Simonson and Fire Marshall Grundahl tell us the City Attorney and the CJMM BOD are working on writing some rules for the CJMM site so we should talk to them.
“The City Attorney (via one of the City Council members) says that CJMM is not a city park so those rules don’t apply. So we ask to meet with the BOD and the BOD tells us no, because they don’t have any power to decide about our fire?
“The street cops and fire people don’t like having to put our fires out but they have to or they will lose their jobs. So who the hell is in charge of this f’ing circus anyway?” We all laugh.
In the midst of this conversation our friend, the city official, arrives. He’s already privy to all our goings on so just joins in.
The Occupier continues, “I’ll check with another of our friends on the City Council to hear what advice they have to offer. I’ll get going on my letter to the Reader in order to shine more of a public light on the issue and I’ll try contacting that attorney in Minneapolis”.
Another Occupier adds, “It looks like we’re on the cutting edge of the ‘law of the commons’. The city official agrees and says, “Don’t forget about the 1st Amendment of the Constitution that gives us the right to assemble”.
An Occupier asks of another, “Has anything happened with the letter you wrote to the Duluth News Tribune?” The writer answers, “Well, I received an email from someone who works for the DNT. He said he was a former member of the CJMM BOD and it had been decided that our fire was not appropriate. Then a woman from the DNT called me to confirm my address and all that stuff. Actually, I have no idea if my letter will be published or not”.
An Occupier cries out “Not appropriate?!?! WTF? She pauses, then says, “Don’t get me started!” We all know her well. Someone says, “Oh please, don’t get her started”. Everyone laughs.
The city official remarks, “There are very many events happening this month. Shall I tell you about some of them? We nod and he continues, “On Friday, March 11th at 5:30pm there will be a retirement party for the Duluth Human Rights Officer at the Central Hillside Community Center. He is such a great guy, I’m sure the place will be packed. On Saturday March 12thstarting at 8:30am there will be an all day workshop at Peace Church called “Living Into the Difficult – Race, Diversity and Duluth for All. This workshop will be led by 2 female professors/ministers who are really skilled and knowledgeable. On Monday March 14th, 7pm at Kirby Center, UMD, Nikima Levy Pounds of Black Lives Matter will be speaking and on March 19th 1pm-4pm I will be holding In Black Ink. It’s the initial presentation of a big historical presentation that I and other African American writers and historians will be working on. The project will focus on the experiences of African Americans who lived or are living in Minnesota”.
Coney Island has been empty until now. A large group of young, probably Asian, hipsters roll in. They fill up the counter spaces. It appears it is the first time they have been here as they are taking pictures of all the cool decorations on the walls.
It had appeared as though the staff guys were getting ready to start cleaning up but now they stop and wait on their first customers, besides us, of the evening.
An Occupier asks of another, “So tell us about the attorney that you and the others from the Duluth 3 have hooked up with”. The Occupier member of the Duluth 3 replies, “Well, it turned out that the attorney is only interested in defending the case using defense of the water. That works out well for the defendant who is from Honor the Earth because of course, defense of the water is what HTE is all about. However, our organizer friend and I work more with general climate change issues. We felt we should maintain our integrity so will need to keep looking for a lawyer who is willing to take on the entire issue”.
An Occupier says, “I have a few events to report also. On Thursday March 10th, 7:30pm at Mitchell Auditorium St. Scholastica a professor from Norway will be speaking on “Why Civil Resistance Works” then tomorrow at 1pm on the Fond du Lac Reservation, Ditchbank Road area, the Sugarbush Learning and Action Camp Feast will kick off the start of the maple syrup season”
Another Occupier responds, “Crap, I wish I’d have known about this earlier. I have another obligation that I can’t get out of. Of course, there’s no way anyone could have known earlier. The sap runs when it’s ready to run”.
Now it looks like the staff is really going to start cleaning up. We begin to bus our table and commence with our usual routine. Before we do that an Occupier asks, “Hey, I’m wondering if we could cancel our meeting for next Tuesday. The 2 of us will need to be over in court in Superior very early on Wednesday morning because of the bogus charges that were filed during the Stop the Enbridge Invasion rally. We have to go to 2 separate court appointments so will probably have to be there most of the day. It would be nice if we could get a good night’s sleep on Tuesday and wake up with all our ducks in a row”. Everyone agrees to cancel and let them sleep.
The Asian hipsters are leaving too. Of course, they are so cool they don’t even notice we are alive.
The staff guy walks over to a booth and says to a pair of feet that are sticking out, “Hey guy, time to wake up”. A very tall young man attempts to get up. He falls against the counter but hangs on tightly. The staff guy gives him a big glass of water; he chugs it down. He goes out the door; his legs are made of spaghetti.
We say good night and head out the door too. Spaghetti Man has made it to the end of the block and he’s still standing. Someone says softly, “Good luck dude”.
Some of the Occupiers are going off to party. It’s Saturday night, after all. Some are going to pick up their kids, some just home to relax. We are all planning to live to fight another day and to return to Coney Island next Saturday.