G.A. Minutes 12-20-16

G.A. Minutes 12-20-16
We’re having a bit of respite from the Polar Vortex right now.  The weather people tell us to expect milder weather until after Christmas Day.  That would be nice; we hope they actually know what they’re talking about.
Temperatures are in the mid 30’s with not much of a wind. Everything is kinda slushy so we wipe our feet as we enter Coney Island this evening.
A group of people are in the back booth already.  It sounds like they’re having some type of meeting.  We take the slightly smaller booth in the middle of the café; we’re not expecting many Occupiers tonight so everything should be just fine.
The hipster guy who used to be the newest staff member is working and the tall non-hipster guy is working too.  The tall guy is now the newest staff member; he’s still in training.  It looks like he has a little more confidence now but still requires supervision so he doesn’t accidentally kill someone or set the place on fire.
As we place our orders and settle in, an Occupier comments, “I think it would be a good idea to push the Duluth Police Department to sign a non-aggression pact with all the Twin Ports and Fond du Lac water protectors. That way, when the time comes that we need to do serious direct action in order to protect our water from Enbridge and Polymet, we won’t have to be hit with rubber bullets, attack dogs and water cannons”.
Another Occupier responds, “That would be nice, wouldn’t it?  However, I don’t think the DPD would sign something like that.  I’m sure Chief Tuscan would give a speech saying that the DPD would never behave in such a manner unless they were protecting us from ‘outside agitators’ blah, blah, blah.  Besides, with all the work we already have to do I don’t know if we have enough water protectors to spare a few to push for a non-aggression pact.  It’s a good idea though”.
The newest hipster has already brought all our orders; they were correct.  Now he’s hovering saying, “Is there anything else at all that I can do for you?”  An Occupier asks, “Would you be willing to change the radio station to 103.3 KUMD?”  The hipster says, “No problem” and immediately and easily does it.  Now were listening to the best music DJ in the Northland.  We feel like we’re at home again.
For the past two weeks the radio has been on some wacko rock station with lots of commercials.  The new staff people were so discombobulated that we figured if we asked them to change the station, their heads would blow up.  So we just suffered.
An Occupier asks, “Does anyone know what’s going on with the evil Polymet sulfide mine project these days?” Another Occupier replies, “Well, I think they’re in the permit application process right now.  Polymet has to apply to the MN DNR for twenty permits to mine.  I’m not sure if they have to apply for each one separately but I do know that they’ve applied for the first one and a decision will be handed down soon.  Then there will be a public comment period.  If you want more information you could check out Water Legacy.  They and Paula Macalbee are the main watchdogs on this.
Of course, we all know the MN DNR is in the back pocket of Polymet and all the other murderers of Mother Earth so they won’t actually listen to anything the various water protectors have to say.  They’ll just follow the process until the end; grant all the permits and give Polymet permission to destroy our water and manoomin.  Then it will be time for us to put our bodies on the line”.
The first Occupier exclaims, “I just don’t understand what is wrong with these people!  They know their mines and pipelines are going to pollute and destroy all the water and land on the earth.  They are going to wreck the entire planet and cause the death of the human species.  Yet, they continue their vicious ways in order to get some more stupid money.  What is wrong with these people?!?”
An Occupier tells her, “Well, you see, it works like this,” he puts his fingers in his ears and yells, “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!  La la La la!  La la La la!”  We all laugh.
Another Occupier adds, “Yeah, and all the unemployed miners up on The Range want any kind of mine or pipeline they can get just so they can have high paying jobs. What about giving them and a bunch of other people high paying jobs cleaning up all the messes already made by industry and mining?
Changing the subject somewhat, an Occupier says, “Seeing as the Standing Rock elders are asking everyone to campaign for people across the country to take their money out of all the big banks that are bankrolling the Dakota Access Pipeline, do you think we should ask the City of Duluth to divest from Wells Fargo?”
Another Occupier opines, “That’s a really good idea.  The City Council just approved a resolution in support of Standing Rock so it follows that they wouldn’t want to keep their investments and such in a bank that enables Energy Transfer to destroy the water at Standing Rock and brutalize the S.R. water protectors.  Let’s pass your idea around and see if others want to step up”.
The Occupier who lives in Superior arrives.  He’s tired and stressed out.  He is the single parent of three boys and is trying to make a good Christmas for them while also complying with all the things expected of him by the various aunts, uncles and grandparents.  We get him a cup of coffee and he tells us, “Christmas is supposed to be a time when one shares warm and happy fellowship with family and friends.  Instead, our culture and the media demand we buy lots of presents. 
“I’ve managed to get each of my boys two nice presents a piece.  Then I have a few small things for them to give to the relatives.  That’s the best I can do.  I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to make the fire on Christmas Day.  I have to drive the boys to several places across MN and WI”.
We say to him, “Don’t worry about it man.  Just do what you gotta do.  We know that you would like to be with us but it just can’t be helped”.
An Occupier reports, “After all the children were grown, my family decided to do Christmas without presents, decorations or any of the other capitalist trimmings.  That was over ten years ago and it’s been wonderful.  We just all got together at Brighton Beach and made a big fire in the fireplace out there.  When the sun went down we went to someone’s house for a good potluck dinner.  That’s where the idea of having a Christmas Day fire circle came from”.
Another Occupier informs us, “A couple of us have been invited to a small feast out at FDL tomorrow.  Some of the heavy hitting FDL organizers will be there.  The plan is to have a prayerful meal and then start to lay the groundwork for the upcoming battle with Enbridge’s Line 3.  We’ll have more to report to you all at our next meeting”.
Many of the Occupiers attended Honor the Earth’s Support Standing Rock fundraiser at the Red Herring last night.  Someone comments, “Man, it was less than standing room only.  We were all packed in there like sardines.  It was cool how everyone could barely move but still were friendly, smiling and polite.  I bet they raised a lot of funds”.
Someone else agrees, “It was pretty cool.  I enjoyed listening to Winona LaDuke speak; the performers were excellent too.  It’s a good thing that they put glasses by the water fountain; there was no way I was gonna attempt to order a drink from the bar”.
We’ve stayed later than usual.  There have been customers in and out all evening so the staff folks are just beginning to clean up.  The newest hipster tells us he’s been working a lot recently.  He’s looking forward to Coney Island being closed for a few days for the holidays.  He needs a break.
We clean up our mess, put tips in the jar and head out with plans to meet up at the fire circle on Sunday and back here on Tuesday.   

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