G.A. Minutes 11-14-17
The temperature is in the mid-40s this evening; all week long the weather people were forecasting warm temperatures along with rain all day and evening for this Tuesday. They got the warm temperatures right but it didn’t rain at all today.
WE COULD HAVE HAD A FIRE!!! Instead, we listened to the weather people and did not make preparations for a fire circle. Bummer; we’re at Coney Island once more. We probably won’t get a chance like this again until the brief January thaw that comes around each year. However, with all the climate change activity going on, we have no idea if we will be blessed with a thaw this season. Everything just gets curioser and curioser.
When the first Occupiers to arrive drive up they see a small group of Anons walking down the street, away from Coney Island. They figure the Anons must have showed up early, saw that no one was there yet and decided to cruise the hood. They’ll probably be back later.
As we are settling in, an Occupier comments, “I noticed that the City workers were putting up the annual gigantic Christmas tree in Peoples Plaza this afternoon. They was a big crane, other equipment and lots of people there. Maybe it would have been too difficult to have a fire tonight”.
Another Occupier responds, “I don’t know, remember last year when winter didn’t start until December? We just moved our fire over to the far west side of the Plaza so as to not have stray sparks falling on the tree. We would have been hard pressed to explain why we burned the big tree down”.
We all laugh and an Occupier adds, “Actually, I’m betting they spray that poor tree with tons of fire retardant chemicals; otherwise it would be too easy for some hater to take a lighter to the tree and start a major blaze. You’d think there must be a least one person working for City maintenance that realized the annual live giant evergreen could be a fire hazard”.
Another Occupier says, “I have no desire at all to burn down the City’s Christmas tree but as usual, I’m not looking forward to the holiday season. The actual day can be nice if you have pleasant friends and family to spend it with but all the capitalist crap we’re forcibly bombarded with for over a month before Christmas really gets me down. Also, it seems like each day closer to Christmas Day makes the drivers on the roadways more aggressive and deadly”. Everyone agrees that the capitalist system makes the holiday season unnecessarily stressful.
A small group of Anons roll in. We tell them about some of their crew that we saw as we pulled up. An Occupier says with concern to one of the youngest Anons, “Dude, I heard you were chased by Nazis with baseball bats the other night! Are you o.k.?” The Anon answers, “I’m o.k. I was able to out run them but it sure was fucked up. I was walking home up 1st Ave W. about a block up from CHUM when a black SUV full of guys pulled up to me. They were all wearing Nazis arm bands and identical Anonymous masks of a particular style; they jumped out carrying baseball bats and started swinging at me. I ducked, they missed and I started running; they chased me for about six blocks before I got away. I wasn’t wearing any of my Anon gear at the time but I think they knew who I was”.
Another Anon adds, “We’re pretty sure that this is the same group that harassed us last year. We have a picture of the car and the license plate. We gave it to the cops but we haven’t heard anything further from them. I wonder if they will investigate”.
An Occupier opines, “I can’t tell you if the cops will investigate or not but if they do, they’re not gonna tell you about it. They might say something to you six months or even a year from now. I’m guessing Duluth Anonymous has not been the only group these baseball bat psychos have attacked. Maybe the cops will take your report and combine it with other reports they’ve received. It’s hard to say. Damn! HWSNBN has every sicko in the country out and strutting these days”.
An Anon tells us, “We have the name of the owner of the black SUV. We’ll be doing our own investigating”.
An Occupier changes the subject by saying to another, “So how did your meeting with the Mayor about the Homeless Persons Bill of Rights go?” The questioned Occupier replies, “It went o.k. I guess. It was what they call a Stakeholders Meeting. That means a meeting between the HPB of R Coalition and representatives of all the City departments who are gonna have to make adjustments when the HPB of R Ordinance passes. Those government suit types speak a whole different language that I am just beginning to learn. I refuse to speak it but I need to know what it means.
“Anyway, our HPB of R folks consisted of the president of the Human Rights Commission, some heavy hitters from Loaves N Fishes and me. The City Human Rights Officer, Carl Crawford was there, DPD Chief Tusken too and a big group of suits way too numerous to mention. Mostly, it was just dialog between the HRC president and the mayor with the HRC president saying that we will be expecting compliance from the City when the HPB of R passes and the mayor saying that the administration is not at all opposed to a homeless rights ordinance but they need to be able to figure out exactly what they will need to do in order to comply.
“They call that type of dickering back and forth ‘pushback’”. We all groan and the Occupier continues, “So we’re all reading the introduction to the ordinance which is a description of all the various living situations that are considered to be homeless situations. Some guy from some City building department starts freaking out and says, ‘Wait a minute! It says people sleeping in abandoned buildings; it’s illegal to sleep in an abandoned or condemned building. This is going to make people think that it’s o.k. to sleep in condemned buildings. It’s not, it’s illegal!’ Then he goes on a diatribe about that particular sleeping arrangement being a safety issue.
“When he finally stops to breathe we explain to him that the couple of words in the introduction are just a description of where a homeless person might be sleeping. Illegality or legality is not an issue. Gehzz…. Stuff like that always happens when we meet with the suits. I swear they live on another planet.
“As all this stuff is going on, I tried to keep the human perspective alive by telling occasional stories about the actual life experiences of homeless people that I know. The time for the meeting went by without a whole lot being accomplished. That’s pretty normal. The mayor suggested that we have another meeting with less people in it and really get down to the details. They need to get their shit together soon because we’re expecting the ordinance to be passed before the end of the year”.
The conversation turns back to the white supremacy problem. We entertain the Anons with the story from about five years ago when a white supremacist group from down south announced that they were coming to Duluth to have a rally at City Hall. There was a big split between white progressives with the larger group planning to hold another event far away from City Hall and a smaller group supporting a confrontation with the racists.
We went with the group confronting the racists. It turned out that five people from Stormfront (the bigot group) showed up. Our anti-racist coalition had at least one hundred folks; we had banners, signs and music and Native Americans showed up to drum and pray. A big snow storm started and we chased the Stormfront away with massive amounts of snowballs. One of our Occupiers was arrested because she didn’t have very good aim and one of her snowballs hit a cop in the head. Once the racists ran off, we Occupiers were dancing and singing “We gonna chase those crazy ballheads out of our town!”
After hearing our story, the Anons are ready to get busy. They are going down to the protest corner outside of Peoples Plaza to do some thumping and jumping.
An Occupier comments, “I see that a lot of people are figuring out that the best way to get a corporations’ attention is to cost them some money. I can’t remember the details but I know that some local governments are suing the big pharmaceuticals for the damage and expense their pushing of narcotic medicines has caused. Some other groups are suing Remington for the damage mass murderers have caused because of easy access to the weapons that Remington produces. We say, “Good for them”.
Another Occupier asks, “Have you noticed that a lot of the corporations who are major polluters are running ads talking about how green and sustainable they are? Of course, it’s all a bunch of b.s. They’re trying to make money off of the word sustainable while continuing to destroy our Mother Earth”. We say, “Grrrr…..”
The clock is reading close to 9pm. The staff is washing everything down. We pack up, leave a few tips and head out. As we’re going out the door an Occupier suggests, “Hey, before we go home, let’s cruise by protest corner and beep our horn in support of the Anons”. Sounds like a plan.
Unless we’re struck by a surprise heatwave, we’ll be back at Coney Island next Tuesday. You’d be welcome to join us if you like.
G.A. Minutes 11-14-17