G.A. Minutes 11-22-16
It’s beginning to snow as we arrive at Coney Island this evening. The weather people say it’s going to keep on snowing until tomorrow afternoon. You just can’t win with winter. When there’s a lot of snow, driving and walking are treacherous. Slippery streets can cause a driver to uncontrollably slide sideways and or spin out while simply attempting to get from one place to another. When walking, slippery sidewalks and paths can cause broken bones and such.
When winter temperatures are super cold it doesn’t snow but getting one’s car started may be problematic. Walking or just being outside in way below freezing weather can kill you. In fact, Duluth has already had its first cold weather death of the year. A street person, who was vaguely familiar to the Occupiers, was found dead from hypothermia last Sunday morning.
Everything appears to be unchanged as we cruise into our winter headquarters. There is only one customer, the same friendly hipster is behind the counter and best DJ in the Twin Ports area is casting his spell from up at KUMD. The back booth is empty; it has probably been waiting for us.
We’re just settling in as the city official arrives. We haven’t seen him in over a week. He’s been busy with his various regular responsibilities and also with managing the itinerary for the visiting scholar, Dr. Mamoud El Kanti.
The official asks, “So what did you all think of the speech that Dr. El Kanti gave in Duluth last Thursday?” We all thought the professor’s presentation was fantastic. The city man continues, “I thought so too. Dr. El Kanti spoke on several occasions in the Twin Ports; each of the events was standing room only. I’m so proud. I think that much of the information he presented was entirely new to most of the audiences”.
An Occupier responds, “I was blessed with having several excellent college teachers in African history classes that I took in Oakland, CA. They taught the same things that Dr. El Kanti teaches. This was in the mid-80s.
“I know the concept about the four races of human beings on the earth is really ingrained in our culture. Even so, I’m surprised at how long it took for the true information to reach the Northland”.
An Occupier changes the subject, “Clinton won the popular vote but Trump won the Electoral College so Trump is in line to be president. That kind of stands things on end, doesn’t it?” The city official replies, “It does. The privileged, white guys who created our constitution were afraid that if the general public was allowed to directly elect our countries government officials, this general public in its ignorance could elect a despot. That’s why they invented the Electoral College. Now, thanks to the Electoral College, a despot has been elected”. We laugh at the absurdity of it all.
Another Occupier says, “I think things are going to be very difficult for these next four years. We are going to have to work even harder than we do already. However, we know that Trump is a bully and bullies will back down. Nationwide, we will all have to keep up the pressure”.
The city man states, “I believe we are involved in sort of a spiritual war. The most important thing will be to keep one’s spirit intact”. An Occupier exclaims, “That’s the same thing the Indigenous people all over the world are telling us! They have variations on the same theme about fighting a spiritual battle between those who use love and non-violence to bring about a new way of living and those who want to maintain the old way of greed and destruction”.
An Occupier comments, “Speaking of Indigenous peoples, some of our folks from All Nations, the Indigenous Commission and our local community will be heading out to Standing Rock tomorrow. The sewing people are going to come to my place early in the morning and put the final stiches on the biggest tipi cover so they can take it with them”.
Someone asks, “Did you see the videos of what the cops did to the young water protectors at Standing Rock on Sunday night? If I didn’t know any better, I would hardly believe it. Using rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray and water cannons in freezing weather? On innocent young people who are only trying to protect the water supply of a million people? WTF?”
Somebody else inquires, “How did the chili feed fundraiser for Standing Rock go on Sunday?” An Occupier tells him, “It was slower than the pasta feed but it was still successful. Actually, it’s a good thing it was slower. One of the main organizers was ill that day so most of the work fell on the shoulders of the other main organizer. I stopped by around 7:30pm, saw the situation, rolled up my sleeves and started washing dishes”.
Another Occupier reports, “I’ll be holding the first meeting of the Bathroom Committee for the Homeless Bill of Rights at my house this upcoming Wednesday evening at 7pm. You all are welcome to attend. My partner made a map of the area from West End to the beginning of East Hillside. It covers the hill from Superior Street to 4th Street. Maybe people will want to take a look at it and get an idea of what we’re working with. Of course, the best thing to do is to ask local homeless people for their opinions. We can probably get going on that after Thanksgiving.
“Speaking of Thanksgiving, what are you guys planning on doing that day? My partner and I are going to the DECC for their pretty decent free meal. Anybody else want to join us? Many of our friends will be there”. Everyone agrees; they would also like to go to the DECC. We make plans as to where and when we will meet up.
There are no other customers in the café; the hipster dude is rolling out the mop bucket. We know what this means. As we begin to get ready to leave, someone reminds us we were going to decide whether we should meet just once a week during the winter months.
An Occupier opines, “I think it would be good if we just met every Tuesday. There are usually things to do on Saturdays and we frequently have to cancel our Saturday meeting in order to do them. We need to check out what the others who are not here tonight have to say. Then we can decide for sure. For right now, let’s just plan to meet back here next Tuesday”.
So that’s what we’ll do.