G.A. Minutes 2-20-18
It’s Tuesday evening and it’s still the cold dark time of the year; that means the Occupiers are meeting at Coney Island again. Duluth received 5 or 6 inches of snow over the last couple of days. Across the bridge in WI they received a lot more; many schools and businesses were forced to close over there today. Duluth didn’t have many closings but driving is difficult; we have a fairly decent snowplowing department however, they have a large area to cover so it usually takes a few days before the roads are back to normal. The weather people tell us to expect more snow later in the week. Ah, the joy of winter….
Right now the main roads are passable, the side streets, not so much. Driving up and down the hill varies from simply annoying to downright scary. Living on the hillside is way cool though; when it’s not winter, there are many places where one can just sit and watch the ships, boats and other things going on in the harbor and Lake Superior. Some lucky people, who aren’t even rich, can watch the lake from the windows of their house or apartment. It’s way more interesting than watching TV.
The first Occupiers to arrive are deep in conversation as they come through the door. One Occupier is telling the others, “In a little over a week I’m gonna have some fairly serious dental surgery at an oral surgeon’s office. My teeth problems are a result of being a single parent without any support from my baby’s Daddy. I never was able make enough money to give my child what she deserved while being able to take care of my own needs too. I went without dental care for over 20 years.
“So now some of my teeth are hurting bad; I went for a consult with the oral surgeon that my regular dentist recommended; his estimate was huge, but luckily I now have dental insurance for the first time in my life. The insurance will pay for two thirds of the bill so I figured the surgeon’s office would just schedule my surgery ASAP and let me make payments on my share of the bill. I’ve never been to that particular dental surgeon in the past so if they were worried about my paying my share all they had to do was check with my regular dentist to see that I always pay my dentist bills. But no, they want me to give them the entire payment before they’ll even let me climb into the dentist’s chair. I have to wait until I get paid on the 1st of next month in order to pay them. That’s gonna make paying my rent, utilities and all that really difficult.
In the meantime, I’ve been to the ER twice this month to get antibiotics because my teeth have been abscessing; antibiotics are not cheap and dental pain is not fun. I’m kinda bummed out and pissed off too.”
Another Occupier exclaims, “That really sucks! A person could die from an untreated abscessed tooth. I don’t know why the medical system treats dental care as separate from the rest of health care. Every part of a human body is connected to all the rest of the parts of the body. The entire American health care system sucks and the health insurance industry is nothing but organized crime! We need a single payer system for everything like other countries that recognize that the basic needs of their people are more important than helping rich people make more money”.
A moderate sized group of Anonymous folks roll up. They are “masked up” and have their flags and all that. They are all smiling; one Anon reports, “We had a really good day today. We went out early so we could hit the big banks. We went to US Bank first; when they saw us coming down the stairs, the bank employees started running around locking all their doors and acting like we were gonna kill them, blow up the bank or something stupid like that. They told their customers to enter through a small side door so we went over to that door and just stood outside of it while not blocking the way for peeps to enter the bank. We held our signs and gave flyers to the people willing to take them. All we’re trying to do is to let people know that the bank they use is majorly invested in the earth and water destroying Enbridge Company. We gently suggest that they might want to use another bank or a credit union. Eventually, a few squad cars showed up.
“We then walked over to Wells Fargo; when the employees saw us they quickly locked their front gate. They always look really angry; they probably hate us. We just stood around on the edges of the skywalk playing our music on our portable sound system and handing flyers to passersby who wanted them. Eventually a bunch of cops showed up. We weren’t doing anything illegal and they seemed to know that. A lot of us filming everything on our cell phones probably helped increase their awareness of the 1st Amendment.
“At first they stood around acting kinda awkward like they didn’t know what to do. Then some of them started actually listening to our music; they relaxed a bit and just stood around digging it. The cop standing next to me knew some of our music and made comments about some of the composers. Some of the other cops stood away from us, glared and looked like they wanted to bust our heads. So we all hung around until bank closing time then we split and so do they. We interrupted business at two banks in the same day….. Yes!!!”
An Occupier adds, “Yeah, I’ve been at direct actions were I’ve had some conversations with cops. Some of them have tried to tell me that they are just regular working people trying to survive like the rest of us. I tell them, “If that’s true then why are you on the side of the man instead of over here on this side with us?”
“I know that cops are actual human beings but they’ve been brainwashed and trained how to maim and kill people. If their boss orders them to bust our heads then that’s what they’re gonna do. It’s very rare for a cop to refuse an order from his so called superiors”.
Another Occupier asks, “Did you guys go to the last Polymet hearing?” When the Anons answer, “No” the Occupier continues, “It was really something. They had all kinds of security personnel and a few Duluth police officers hanging around all the entrance doors. There was a line of regular young DECC employees who were patting down each person before allowing them to enter the venue. There were eight or ten employees but only one of them was female. Of course, most of the women trying to enter demanded to be searched by a woman so that slowed things up a bit. They wouldn’t allow anyone to bring food in but they had food for sale. Hmmm…
It was all really stupid; the security guards were trying to act intimidating but all the pro-Mother Earth folks just rolled their eyes. I imagine Polymet or Glencore had to pay a few bucks for all the extra personnel; the way they throw around money, they must expect to make several bazillion bucks from tearing up our Mother Earth and poisoning our water and our children. Too bad we’re gonna have to disappoint them.”
An Occupier asks the Anons, “Have you all checked out the videos that Unicorn Riot puts out?” An Anon replies, “Sure, we watch them all the time. We also pay attention to Sub Media and Activate Now”.
An Occupier remarks, “I know this Friday is going to be quite busy for all of us but I need to remind everyone that Natives Against Heroin is going to be holding their first sweat lodge outside of the Central Hillside Community Center this upcoming Saturday starting at 12:30pm. It will be a potluck so if you can, contribute some food. Also, they’ll be holding sacred ceremonies so women need to wear skirts”.
The staff is doing their final cleaning and the other customers are packing up. We’d better follow suit; as we’re gathering our things an Occupier reports, “There’s been some strange developments between the City Attorney and the Homeless Persons Bill of Rights Coalition. The next meeting is on Thursday, after I go to that I’ll have a better idea of the whole situation and will be able to explain more”.
One Anon says to another, “We have over one hundred masks over at the house”. An Occupier chuckles, “I can see it all now. The cops raid your house, thinking they’re going to find the Mother Lode. They ransack your place and then their boss rolls up. He says, ‘Well boys, did you find lots of bombs, guns and drugs?” A cop answers, ‘No sir but we found a shit ton of their masks”. We all crack up.
We leave tips for the accommodating staff guys and head out to attempt to make it up the hill without sliding into a ditch. We expect to be back next Tuesday.
G.A. Minutes 2-20-18