G.A. Minutes 12-12-17
It’s cold again and it’s snowing too but at least there’s not much wind; that helps. Although the streets and sidewalks are very slippery the Occupiers manage to make it into Coney Island without falling on their asses.
Coney Island is devoid of customers. As we’re peeling off all our layers of clothing, pushing tables together and getting settled, an Occupier asks, “Has anyone heard anything further about Ms. Community Cleanup?” Another Occupier responds, “I heard that they took her out of the ICU and put her into a Hospice Unit”. The first Occupier sighs, “This is all so sad”.
About 3 days ago the main homeless outreach worker informed one of the Occupiers that Ms. Community Cleanup had a heart attack. Apparently, Ms. Cleanup was alone when she was stricken and spent at least 30 minutes without oxygen before she was found and rushed to the hospital. She was in a coma and put on life support; the doctors don’t expect her to live and believe she will die when her body is ready to do so.
It’s not fair; Ms. Cleanup had been doing really well for the last year or so. After years of being homeless and living on the streets she had been getting her life back together. The last time we saw her was last summer at our fire at Peoples Plaza. She told us, “I’m not drinking or smoking synthetic anymore. I just smoke pot and that seems to agree with me better”. We’re not sure how old she is but doubt she is much older than 30. Although she experienced a very difficult childhood and a hard life after that, we knew her to be cheerful and kind hearted. In spite of her ADHD she’s intelligent and clever. Everyone who prays is praying for her recovery. You never know, everyone thought Spiritual Man would surely die after he was so badly stabbed but he pulled through. It’s possible that Ms. Community Cleanup could come back to us also.
A solitary Anon arrives; he tells us that some of the others are out somewhere west of West Duluth. They doubt they will be back in time to make it to our meeting. The Anon also tells us, “I got into sort of an online fight with Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken yesterday”. We say, “Oh really, do tell”. The Anon continues, “Have you heard about the DPD trying to get a grant or something for $125,000 in order to buy more riot gear? It was all over Facebook”. We say, “No we hadn’t heard. Most of us are unable to spend much time on Facebook. What do they need more riot gear for? They already have tons of it”.
The Anon replies, “That’s what I said too. Chief Tusken said they might need it in case the white supremacists attack all us anti-racists and there’s a big riot”. An Occupier exclaims, “WTF? The DPD should be trying to bring the differing groups together. They should be encouraging dialog and negotiations and such, not buying new toys while standing back and waiting for a riot!” The Anon agrees, “Well, because of the huge public outcry, the whole new toy idea has been put on hold, for now anyway”.
An Occupier inquires, “Do you guys remember the Overpass Light Brigade?” Another Occupier responds, “We sure do. It was a lot of fun and a very effective way of messaging when we helped the Northwoods Wolf Alliance hall their lighted signs all over northern Mn”. The first Occupier continues, “Honor the Earth is requesting that we make some OLB light boards for them. Our friend, the Catholic Worker, who goes back and forth to Kurdish areas in the Middle East, is going to help us make them. If you remember, she helped us with the boards we made for the NWA actions too. The boards for HTE will say No Line 3; that’s pretty simple and will be easy to make. We may have everything finished by the end of the week. HTE plans to start using them on the evening of Winter Solstice.
An Anon comments, “What the hell is up with this new tax bill that the House and Senate are trying to ram through Congress before the end of the year? It sounds like they’re trying to give a select group of 1%’ers a shit ton of our taxpayer money and then get rid of the entire small safety net for regular citizens which is all we have left”. An Occupier agrees, “Yup, that’s about right. Their greed and destruction of the earth and her resources has created a situation where the 1% is now cannibalizing the very hand that feeds them. I think we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the capitalist system”.
On a different note, another Occupier exclaims, “I have good news! The City has put up 6 porta-pottys on sites that were chosen by homeless people around Lincoln Park and Central Hillside. The pottys are located at the skate board park underneath the freeway near Midtown Manor, 12th Ave W and W Superior St, the bus parking lot next to the M+H gas station on Superior St, the Main Library Plaza, Central Hillside Community Park and Lake Place Park. I think they finished putting up the pottys today although I haven’t had time to check things out yet”
Someone adds, “That is so cool! We’ll have to get out there and check them out; go in them and make sure everything is functioning properly. How about this? We could tell everyone we know to forgo taking a drive to look at all the beautiful Christmas lights on the rich people’s houses and take a tour of porta pottys instead”. We all groan.
The Occupier with the good news suggests, “Well, the next meeting of the Homeless Persons Bill of Rights Coalition is this upcoming Thursday, 6pm at Dorothy Day House. You could show up and pitch your idea, see how it is received”.
Another Occupier rolls in; he’s spent the last couple of days out at Makwa Line 3 Resistance Camp. He had a wonderful time and tells us, “I met a lot of kind, hardworking and committed people and attended some good workshops. I even learned the basics for doing a lockdown. There are a lot of men in camp but the leadership consists primarily of Indigenous women. Some of the people there had also spent a lot of time at Standing Rock”.
An Occupier asks, “What did their firewood situation look like?” The Occupier returning from the camp informs her, “Oh, they have tons of firewood now. HTE sent an entire semi-truck full of it; there’s now an absolutely gigantic wood pile. I’d say the pile contains at least 20 cords of wood”. The questioning Occupier exclaims, “Hurray! I’ve been trying to look for firewood for them but with all the other stuff I have to do, I haven’t had much luck. I know we need to bring things out there and be of use while we’re there because it’s a working camp. I’ll have to bring things that are easier to find because I’m chomping at the bit to go out there again”.
The Anon reports, “If you guys have any warm clothing or blankets or things like that, we’d be happy to take them off your hands. We’re trying to collect things to give to the many people in need in this community”. An Occupier replies, “I have some really nice things that were left behind by a guy who moved out of my artist co-op. I was gonna take them to the Dom or to CHUM. It would be easier to just give them to you guys as they’re going to end up going to the same people more or less”.
An Occupier opines, “Hey guess what, our friend, the main CHUM staff person told me he believes that the Stylish Native Woman and her partner found an apartment to rent. I was so glad to hear that; I’ve been scoping out the streets looking for them but haven’t seen them”. We all say, “Woo Hoo!”
We don’t think there have been any customers, besides us, during the entire evening. One of the staff guys comes over and tells us, “We’re really glad you guys are here but because we haven’t had any other customers, our boss says we have to close at 8pm”.
No problem; as we are packing up an Occupier states, “Hey, I have a plan. Next Tuesday, at 6:30pm, the students at UWS are going before the Superior City Council to ask the Councilors to pass a resolution denouncing the cuts to classes, majors and minors that the UWS Chancellor is trying to push through. They need bodies to pack the council room; whadaya say we go over there and give our support? We haven’t done anything as a group to help them yet”.
We think that sounds like a good plan. We gather up our stuff, leave some tips and inform the staff that we won’t be here next Tuesday.
The week after that is December 26th, the day after Christmas Day. One of the Occupier couples always has a recreational fire and a dinner that most of the Occupiers and others attend. It sometimes goes rather late so we’ll have to play that next day by ear.
However, “Good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise” we will definitely be back by the beginning of the New Year.
G.A. Minutes 12-12-17