G.A. Minutes 1-3-17
The Polar Vortex is visiting again. It showed up a few hours ago and we’re told it won’t be leaving until Sunday. Marvelous. The temperature reads 8 degrees; when the wind blows it feels like it shoots down to well below zero. Some of our homeless folks freeze to death in weather like this.
Things look calm and somewhat under control when we arrive at Coney Island this evening. It’s very different than it was last week when we showed up for a meeting that never happened.
Last week we walked in to find the newly hired young African American woman hauling rugs around and sweeping the floor. She appeared to be stressed. The newest hipster was behind the counter wandering around, completely flummoxed.
He told us a street man came in acting crazy, yelling, swearing and demanding to be allowed to charge his cell phone. The hipster dude told him that if he wanted to charge his phone, he was gonna have to stop swearing and scaring the customers. So the swearing dude grabbed the glass tip jar off the counter, slammed it into the food prep and storage area and walked out.
There were little bits of glass everywhere. The hipster said, “I just called my boss; he says I have to close up. I think he’s right because I can’t tell for sure if any of the food or drinks have glass in them. I don’t want to take the chance by serving anything”.
We hung around long enough to call the Occupiers who hadn’t arrived already and to help the hipster dude calm down a little. A few of us went across the street to the Chinese Restaurant in order to get something to eat. Our meeting never happened.
The newest hipster is working alone tonight. There are a few customers; he seems slightly flustered but is handling it o.k. A friend of ours who is a well-known and well respected local musician is standing at the counter placing an order. We invite him to join us.
An Occupier, who will be leaving for Europe shortly, has been working on planning for the People’s Inaugural to be held on January 20th (no surprise there). He reports, “It was going to be held at the Red Herring but seeing as there was so much interest and support for the event, we decided to hold it at Sacred Heart”. He gives us the tentative rundown of speakers and performers.
Our musician friend says, “I assume someone will be calling me”. The Occupier replies, “Oh crap, no one has called you yet? We need to take care of that right away because we were already saying we had enough white guys. We want to make sure voices from all community members are heard”.
The musician has to move on to his next destination. We chat a bit more and after he leaves the Occupier comments, “Gee, I hope he wasn’t offended because I called him a white guy”. We all laugh because we know the musician is pretty much without ego problems.
We ask the hipster if he would mind putting KUMD on the radio. He does and an Occupier tells us, “I’m sorry to have to let you know that last Tuesday was the last show the best DJ in the Twin Ports did. He’s going back to college to get a degree in environmental studies so won’t have time to do a radio show anymore. Someone else will be taking his place and I think they’ll be trying to play the same type of music”. Another Occupier whines, “Yabut, it will be a very long time before they can find someone who can throw down the tunes like Steve-O does”.
An Occupier passes a flyer around. It advertises an event sponsored by Woodland Hills. Dr. Martin Brokenleg, a Native American, will be speaking on “Walking the Ancient Path of Purpose, Power, Achievement and Belonging”. She explains, “I think I may have heard this guy speak before. He was really inspiring. He’ll be speaking on Tuesday, January 17th, 1:30pm at Mitchell Auditorium. The event is free but they’re expecting so many people that they’re asking folks to register beforehand. I registered myself and 5 guests. So who wants to go? We all do; maybe we’ll have to register someone else in order to accommodate everyone.
A few of the Occupiers have a meeting out at Fond du Lac on the same day. They will attend the Dr. Brokenleg event and leave a little early. One of these Occupiers reports, “The last meeting was small but very good. Our friend, the FDL spiritual leader, started things out with a prayer ceremony; we had a potluck feast and began a discussion about Enbridge’s Line 3. There were a couple of FDL guys there who knew a heck of a lot about pipelines. They are guys in their 50s or so. One of them has spent most of his life working on pipelines and the other has spent most of his life taking care of the earth and wildlife around them.
“Several of the big, genuinely grassroots, Native groups are interested in working against Line 3. I hear that the First Nations people are already kicking it. It looks like we’ll be killing the Black Snake here too”.
An Occupier’s phone rings. It’s an Occupier who has taken a leave of absence in order to raise a young child and to work closely on climate change issues. He wants to know if he and some of our other friends can show a documentary film in the performance space of the artist co-op where one of the Occupier couples live. He’s asking about Sunday afternoon. The couple thinks it will be o.k. They agree to discuss logistics with the calling Occupier tomorrow.
The Occupier who lives in Superior exclaims, “Wisconsin is doing it again! This time they’re trying to make it even harder for Wisconsinites to collect unemployment benefits. They’ve taken away the 800 phone number that people used to call. Now the only way to apply for and/or monitor ones’ benefits is to go on a computer and do it there. Believe it or not, there are still people who don’t know how to use a computer. There are also people who live in rural places that don’t have internet access.
“The Scott Walker people do this shit on purpose! Their main goal seems to be to utterly destroy the lives of regular working people. I don’t understand why they think this will benefit the state of Wisconsin”.
Another Occupier adds, “I used to live in Wisconsin. There were progressive people living there. I wonder what happened to them. Maybe they all moved to Minnesota like I did”.
The city official stops in. Several of us missed his radio show last week. It featured the new president of the Duluth NAACP. One Occupier has managed to find the show on The Cloud. He agrees to send it to the rest of us.
An Occupier asks, “So what exactly is The Cloud anyway. I know we’re supposed to send all our computer files, music, passwords and everything else to The Cloud for supposed safe keeping. But what if it’s not there when we ask for it? What do we do then? Where is this cloud? Who maintains it? Who owns it? Does the NSA have access to it?”
None of us know the answer to her questions, not even the city official. She continues, “Well, I don’t think I’ll be sending any of my stuff to some stupid cloud that I don’t know anything about. I’ll just stay old school and use a jump drive”.
Someone changes the subject saying, “You all remember that Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance is holding their next Anishinaabe Taco Sale this upcoming Friday from 9am-2pm and that they need us all to help, don’t you?” We all remember.
Someone else asks, “Is everyone planning on going to Socialist Action’s Marxmas party on Saturday? I go every year and have a great time”. Everyone is planning to attend.
The hipster is sitting at the counter talking to a young woman. He’s probably done with his cleaning. We know we should leave but nobody wants to go outside. The Revolution will require us to be brave. We clean up our mess and gather our courage to face the freezing cold that awaits us.
When we collect our tip money we notice the new tip jar looks exactly like the old one. An Occupier jokes, “Right on dude! The crazy guy smashes your jar and you put another one up right in the same place. ‘In your face!’
The hipster answers, “Yeah, but now when someone puts money in it, I take it out and put it in my pocket. I’m thinking, if you’re gonna rob me, why not take the money in the till? That’s not my money. My tips are what I survive on from one day to the next”.
All of the Occupiers have homes now. That means we probably won’t freeze to death before next Tuesday when we plan to return to the Original Coney Island.