G.A. Minutes 10-17-17
A large group of Anonymous folks are already out demonstrating on the corner when the Occupiers arrive at Peoples Plaza this evening. The Fire Magician’s truck is fixed now and we have all the regular supplies back too. Once the Anons see us, some of them come in to help with the set up.
As we are setting up, the Food Occupier confesses, “Sorry guys but I killed the soup that was supposed to be served tonight. I made it last night and foolishly left it sitting out on the stove overnight. When I checked it in the morning I found it had soured and I had to throw it away. The pot was too big to fit into my refrigerator so I talked myself into believing it would be o.k. on the stove. I don’t know what I was thinking but I doubt I’ll make that mistake again.
Fortunately, the weather is really nice tonight so lack of hot soup will not be as bad as it would have been if the weather was colder. The sky is partly cloudy and close to darkness, the temperature is in the mid-60s and there is little wind.
The Anon who has recently found out she is pregnant tells us she’s experiencing morning sickness. An Occupier who has knowledge of mid-wifery and home birthing assures the pregnant woman that morning sickness is actually a sign of good health. She explains that the sickness will pass after the first few months and gives a few pointers on how to cope with the discomfort.
As soon as the fire gets going we are joined by the partner of the Stylish Native Woman, the schizophrenic African American guy from the Skinner and a few other street folks. The city official has been gifting the Occupiers with various pieces of warm men’s clothing which they then bring to the weekly fires and distribute as needed. They’ve been holding onto one very well made flannel shirt which they’ve been saving for The Partner. They give it to him now.
We ask the Occupier who has gone back to college how things are going with his environmental science professor and he tells us, “Actually, once the teacher discovered that I wasn’t someone taking the course in preparation for starting a business to make money off of the climate crisis and sustainable energy, he relaxed and is now comfortable with discussing my ideas.
“Most of what I talk about is the very noticeable increase in violent storms and forest fires all over the world. The climate crisis isn’t on its way; it’s here, right now. I mean it was 106 degrees in San Francisco a week or so ago, for christsakes!” Another Occupier adds, “I used to live in San Francisco; if it ever reached 80 degrees people were in shock”.
The college Occupier continues, “Another thing I’ve been thinking about is the fact that Americans seemed to have lost some of the rights that we used to have. There used to be something called false arrest; I don’t think we have that anymore. What about entrapment? I don’t think that is illegal anymore either”. Another Occupier agrees, “Yeah, I think you’re correct. I don’t know where I was when those rights were taken away but we don’t seem to have them now”.
The Anons come in from the corner; they drop off their excess stuff and go off marching around the hood. An Occupier opines, “I imagine they started early this evening because they need to go in early in order to majorly participate in the No Enbridge Line 3 march, rally and Public Utility Commission hearing tomorrow”. The Occupiers will also be in attendance at the No Line 3 event.
An Occupier remarks, “I thought the Dismantle the Legacy of Racism; Build a Community of Peace march and rally on Saturday went really well. I’m told that about 250 people marched to the Civic Center. I wasn’t able to march but attended the program at City Hall. It was one of the best I’ve ever had the privilege of participating in. I’m looking forward to finding out what other anti-racist experiences will be forthcoming”.
Spiritual Man appears; he has a cold and feels miserable. Several of the Occupiers are just getting over their colds; they empathize. This particular cold that’s going around is fairly intense. Spiritual Man exchanges pleasantries but mainly he just needs to drink fluids, sit next to the warmth of the fire and rest.
Someone says, “Hey, did you hear about the 650 pound black bear that was trapped somewhere inside the city a few days ago?” An Occupier answers, “Yeah, I read about it. Our human culture is so messed up. People think they should be able to live anywhere they want to. They forget that wild animals are legitimate residents of this planet too. Take Ma’iigan (wolves) for example. People keep moving deeper and deeper into the woods, into the animals’ territory. Then they get really pissed off when a wolf eats their dog or one of their cows or sheep. Dumb. They don’t realize that the wild animals also need to have somewhere to live. This planet wasn’t made for humans alone”. Spiritual Man silently nods his head in agreement.
Chicago Man rolls up. He sits down next to one of the street women and begins telling her about his deceased partner. It’s been almost 2 years since his partner passed away; he still grieves deeply.
Menagerie Woman rides up on her bike. She’ll sit with us by the fire for a bit and then catch a bus home. Bush Man has promised her homemade burgers and fries when she arrives.
The Stylish Native Woman checks in; she must have been on some sort of errand. She and her partner go off to their sleeping place. “Sleep well, pleasant dreams”, we say to them.
The pregnant Anon has remained in the circle while the others march. She talks about being afraid to give birth and thinks she will sign up for a C-section. The experienced Occupier explains that recovering from a C-section is painful and the recovery will also make it difficult for her to take care of her baby. The Anon appears to be getting most of her information from her inexperienced friends. The experienced Occupier hopes she will have the chance for a serious talk with the young woman before too long.
The Most Obnoxious Street Woman, Mr. Evil, Lil Bear and a few others are in the back of the Plaza sitting on a bench, probably drinking and talking and laughing quietly. We appreciate the fact that they take their drinking outside the circle without being asked.
The Anons return; they’re packing up their stuff and heading home in preparation for the next day. We say, “See you tomorrow”, as they leave.
An Occupier comments, “This so called Opiod Epidemic is sure a bitch, isn’t it? I hear it originated from Big Pharma but I wonder what its deeper purpose is”. Another Occupier responds, “Personally, I think it has something to do with population control. The so called leaders of this country think we have more people than they need and heroin is an easy way to off a bunch of them. Also, Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium and the USA just happens to have been having a war there for the last 16 years. The supply lines for shipping the stuff to us have been in place for a good while”.
When Spiritual Man gets up to get another cup of coffee, he puts some rocks that are shaped like hearts on the picture of the Woman Who Tells Good Stories which we always keep on the table. The rocks are meant to be an offering to her spirit.
A very straight looking middle-aged couple walks up and asks to sit down. We welcome them. After asking a few questions about what we are doing and getting a few answers, they tell us they are tourists visiting from the St Cloud/Brainard area. Apparently, fire circles like this don’t happen where they live. They don’t stay long; we think they will have a story to tell their friends and family when they get home.
Chicago Man groans and says, “Oh, I sure wish I didn’t have to go to work tonight. It’s my last night and then I get 3 days off but they want me to work at least one of my days off. I don’t think so! My co-workers and my customers at the big box store where I work are so creepy. They look at me like I’m something from another planet. They call me mean names and make fun of my long African braids. If I try to talk about it to my supervisor, she looks at me like I’m the one who’s crazy.
“People really need to take the time to get to know other people who they consider to be different than them. They seem to think that everyone from a particular group is exactly the same. The people I work with think that because I’m black, I’m supposed to be sagging my pants, slangin’ dope and saying motherfucker all the time. They don’t appreciate that I have my own style and personality.
“Black people and other people of color are mistaken too. Back in Chicago they think that all white people are rich and lead charmed lives without any problems. My deceased partner was white, so I knew a little about white people, but even I was surprised when I came to Duluth to find out that there were so many whites who were homeless or poor and on food stamps”. An Occupier adds, “The majority of people in this country who receive any type of government assistance are white”.
Chicago Man goes off to his slave job; many others go off to their sleeping places. Now it’s just the Occupiers and Spiritual Man who are in the circle. We sit in quiet camaraderie, watching the coals burn down.
As we begin to pack up, an Occupier gives Spiritual Man her stash of Ibuprofen and a package of tissues. She says, “I wish I had more to offer you”. Then the Occupiers go off to “power sleep”. Tomorrow promises to be a big day with the beginning of the No Enbridge Line 3 event starting at Peoples Plaza.
We plan to bring the fire circle back to the Plaza next Tuesday.
G.A. Minutes 10-17-17