G.A. Minutes 4-11-17
Without a doubt, the beginning of spring has arrived. Robins are yakking it up like crazy; all the snow has melted and daytime temperatures stay in the 40s and 50s. Our sanity has also returned (more or less).
So we’re back at Coney Island again after a two week absence. When the first Occupiers to arrive go to the front door, they find a sign on it that says, “Closed for kitchen remodeling. See you on Thursday”.
An Occupier peers through the window and sees all the kitchen equipment sitting in the isle. She remarks, “Hmmm… I’m not sure what to do. Another Occupier suggests, “Well, we could just go next door to Duluth Coffee. They stay open until 7pm; I’ve been there before and the staff didn’t appear to be too snobby. We won’t be able to get any food but they have gourmet coffee. It’s better than if we just sit on the cold cement ledge outside the Casino parking lot”. Another Occupier arrives and agrees with the plan. We put a sign on the Coney Island door informing the others as to what’s up.
The actual sitting space in Duluth Coffee is quite small. There are six little tables with benches and/or chairs; most of which have customers in them. We find one table that will seat four if we sit real close together. The décor is rather trendy; our street friends would not be comfortable here. But……whatever. We order cups of really good coffee like the kind we serve at our recreational fires. They have brownies too so we get some. They are “to die for”. We cut them in little pieces and each take just one. Even though they have no extra magic ingredients we’ll need to be careful or we’ll end up in Detox.
It’s probably just coincidence but as soon as we settle in and start conversing all the other customers get up and leave. No one gave us a dirty look so we take it as just a stroke of good luck. We quickly push most of the tables and chairs together. There will be enough room now when others arrive.
As if on cue, some of the Anonymous crew come in. They’re psyched up for the May Day rally at People’s Plaza. It sounds like they are some of the main organizers. The event will happen on Monday, May 1st from 2p-8p. We assure them that most of us will be attending.
An Occupier comments, “I’ve heard that there’s going to be a Climate March here in Duluth to coincide with the big one in D.C. and all the others across the country on April 29th. I’ve heard that it’s supposed to start out at the Rose Garden at 1pm on Saturday, April 29th. That’s all I know though”.
An Anon replies, “I heard that too. I know that the Socialist Action folks canceled the march they were planning to take place in Superior in order to accommodate the Duluth march”. The Occupiers answers, “Oh, I’m gonna be seeing some of the S.A. people near the end of the week. I’ll try and find out more”.
Another Occupier reports, “We had a really good time at the workshop out at Fond du Lac Tribal College last Tuesday. It was led by three 30 something people who were at Standing Rock for the duration. The two settler allies were attorneys from the large S.R. legal team and the Native guy was an experienced Water Protector and organizer.
“They informed us that now that all but one of the camps is closed down, the North Dakota “Injustice Department” is trying to drum up evidence in order to try hundreds of Water Protectors in court. They told us that of the wide variety of nationalities of people who were at S.R., all those who were arrested, traumatized and humiliated and are now charged with ridiculously absurd felonies are Native folks.
“The workshop leaders said that now grand juries are being formed in order to gather information that can be used to prosecute the Water Protector Heroes. The F.B.I. and assorted minions are now going around questioning anyone they can find who was at S.R. Using lies and trickery they are trying to gain information that they can pass on to the Injustice Department prosecutors for use in railroading the Water Protectors into prison.
“The workshop leaders reminded us that our relatively pristine waters in the Northwoods will be next on the death list. Enbridge, Polymet and other evildoers are already here and “revving their engines”.
“One of the leaders said, ‘If you don’t remember anything from this workshop, please remember this: When the FBI comes knocking at your door, tell them 1.) I will not answer any of your questions (then don’t answer any of their questions). 2.) I want to speak with my attorney. 3.) No, I do not consent to a search’.
“An FDL organizer and spiritual advisor who spent a lot of time at S.R. told the leaders that there were many people at Sacred Stone Camp who were facing serious charges and didn’t know what to do. The leaders gave him the contact information so that these worried people could get the help they needed”.
Another Occupier remarks, “I sure wish I could have been there. I’ve been thinking about the Keystone XL too and how it just doesn’t make any sense. They’re taking the worst Tar Sands oil and pumping it across our country. The pipeline is sure to burst at some point and poison the land and water beyond repair. The Tar Sands oil will be pumped out of Texas into the Gulf of Mexico and off to China and probably North Korea from there.
“The Keystone XL oil will not benefit the American people at all. There will be a maximum of 50 permanent jobs from it. Oil and gas are a dying resource but still they keep doing all this. Why?”
An Occupier says to him, “It all has to do with the stock market. It’s basically a high tech shell game. They move money and stocks here and there and all around. Then everything crashes and the 1% make off with everyone else’s homes, jobs and life savings. Then they start the thing all over again”.
Changing the subject, the city official reports, “The Holiday Center is giving away king sized mattresses. They’re in very good condition. People should call their security department in order to make arrangements to go and get one”.
The Occupier who guards the Occupy treasury announces, “Seeing as spring has finally arrived, we may be able to start having our recreational fires at People’s Plaza soon. The evenings are still too cold but it won’t be long until they’re not. However, our budget is really small and I’m thinking we may be able to afford only one fire a week. Our usual evenings are Tuesdays and Saturdays so which one do you all want to have a fire on?”
After minimal discussion we decide that Tuesday would be best. There’s more chance that we would have to cancel to attend an event on Saturday. We can hardly wait to get started.
Someone starts a conversation about #45s recent bombing in Syria. We all agree that the bombing had nothing to do with the fact that chemical weapons killed many Syrian children. We speculate as to what was the real reason #45 had the Syrian air field bombed.
Someone else comments, “I was listening to the leader of Sweden talk about the recent terror attack Stockholm. He said, ‘We will not give in to the terrorists. We stand firm in our resolve to fight and defeat them’. Don’t they realize that those words are the same ones used by the people who live in the Middle East when they are attacked by the USA and its allies? What a bunch or lame brains!”
An Occupier says to the official man and the Anons, “The Homeless Coalition is bearing down on the nuts and bolts of the Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights now. We’ve presented a cost estimate for various port-a-potty ideas and created maps of all the currently available public restrooms in the Central Hillside and West End area and also of suggested spots for placing port-a-pottys”.
She nods toward the city man and continues, “I told them about your idea of using a bus as a portable shower facility. They liked it. We also talked about opening the men’s and women’s shower rooms at the no longer in use swimming pool at Washington Center”.
We notice the young staff woman is rolling up the rugs and sweeping the floor. The staff at Coney Island has trained us well. We clean up our table and bus our dishes. The staff people bid us a friendly good-bye.
We expect we’ll be back at Coney Island next Tuesday.
G.A. Minutes 4-11-17