G.A. Minutes 3-6-18
The city of Duluth Mn dodged a bullet yesterday. A big snow storm was moving northwest (really); it pretty much covered the whole state. We were prepared to get a ton of snow dumped on us again but the whole storm passed about 10 or 15 miles south of us. There was some very strong east wind but not any snow. Whew! We’ve already accrued all the snow that we need this winter and are hoping to just slide peacefully into the beginning of spring in a month or so. It could happen.
So this evening as the Occupiers roll into Coney Island, the weather is a little chilly with temperatures in the low 20s and remnants of the cold east wind. At least no one had to wear their winter boots tonight. We can handle this; we all have homes. Our unsheltered homeless ones…..that’s another story.
This evening there are a few Anons and our friend the socialist, feminist organizer waiting for us when we arrive (slightly late). After we move some tables around, our friend the organizer reports, “Socialist Action will be sponsoring the Women’s March this year. It will be on Thursday, March 8th of course, 5:30pm starting from Peoples Plaza.
“Also, the location of the Socialist Pizza gathering, 6”30pm on every last Friday of the month has been changed to the Building for Women on 1st Ave E + E 1st St. The group has just become too big to fit into Luce’ so we’ll just meet at the BW and order pizza to be delivered. S.A. is planning on holding an Earth Day Rally too on Sunday, April 22nd. I don’t have any details yet but I will have them soon”.
An Occupier remarks, “I’m so glad you stopped in tonight. We don’t get to see you as often as we’d like and you’ve given us some good information; we’re totally down with supporting and participating in all the the events”.
The Anons agree; they’re also psyching up for their Line 3 Resistance rally and march this upcoming Friday, starting around 1pm at Peoples Plaza. An Anon mentions, “A lot of people have told us they’re gonna join us. Peeps from out of town have promised to step up too. Of course, we’ll go bother the big banks again; their customers need to realize what the money they put in these banks is being invested in. The customers probably work really hard for the money they earn and deposit in Wells Fargo and US Bank. Many of them don’t want to work in order to pay for earth destroying ventures that companies like Enbridge create. We’re just trying to get the word out”.
An Occupier says,”I just heard a little while ago that 2 Sacred Fires went out somewhere around here. That’s all I know right now; I’m guessing it had to be at one of the Line 3 Resistance Camps. Does anyone know more?” A few of the Anons have been given the same information but no one knows anything further. Someone comments, “Well, being a white person, I’m not completely knowledgeable when it comes to Native ways but I believe having or letting a Sacred Fire go out is not good. It has something to do with losing one’s power I think”.
Another Occupier announces, “Do you all know that Natives Against Heroin are going to do Ishkode (fire) teachings this upcoming Saturday, 2pm at the Central Hillside Community Center? An Occupier replies, “No, I didn’t know that. I’m sure it will be interesting and if it’s anything like the opening event NAH held a couple of weeks ago, it will be packed”. Many of us plan to attend.
An Occupier says to another, “So how you feeling these days?” The questioned Occupier tells him, “The surgery was pretty creepy and then I slept for a day and a half. After that I was still tired for days but I tried to get a few things accomplished between naps. Tonight is my first time out of the house; I feel pretty much back to normal now. I suppose you noticed I didn’t put out any minutes from last week’s meeting. Another Occupier adds, “No problem, we would have been worried about you if you had put minutes out. You’ve been through a lot so deserve a rest”.
The Occupier who has been through a lot exclaims, “Something truly marvelous happened to me in the midst of all this. A friend of the city official just GAVE me a computer; no strings attached! The friend is getting ready to move across the country and didn’t want to ship his computer. He was thinking of just putting it in a free store but the official man remembered that my computer crashed so hooked me and the computer-giving man up. Now I have a new computer and it works just great! It would have taken me many months to save enough money to buy even a refurbished one. I am a very happy camper”. Another Occupier responds, “I sure miss having the city official at our meetings”. The Occupier with the new computer tells him, “Yeah, me too but he’s busy with his radio show and lots of other good things”.
An Occupier laughs and tells us, “I somehow got into an argument with some woman on Facebook. She was telling me that cobalt is a very rare metal. It’s mandatory for the creation of cell phones, computers and stuff like that. She said that MN has a lot of cobalt up north where Polymet wants to open a sulfide mine. She tried to tell me that it was o.k. to let Polymet destroy our precious clean water and manoomin beds because at least they will pay all the miners up north a living wage to work the mine. She said otherwise the mining companies will continue to get cobalt from African mines where they have child slave workers. I didn’t even know what cobalt was so had to look it up and then I came to this meeting”.
Another Occupier suggests, “I think the Facebook woman’s argument is lame. There is plenty of cobalt in all the old computers and cell phones that just get thrown to the trash heap to rot and pollute the earth for a bazillion years. All those old broken things can get recycled and the cobalt can be reused. The miners can have decent jobs recycling the old stuff and doing other earth sustaining things and the child slaves can just go to school. It just takes a new way of thinking in order to save our Mother Earth”.
The feminist organizer remembers, “Oh, I forgot to mention, the WI legislature is debating a bill that would take 650 million taxpayer dollars and build a new prison”. We all groan; she continues, “Superior Save the Kids and Lake Superior Ex-incarcerated People Organizing are sponsoring a rally against the creation of a new prison next Monday, March 12th at 4:30pm at the corner of Belknap and Hammond Ave in Superior. It’s right next to the Douglas County Court House”.
An Anon is monkeying with his phone; he finds a very clear picture of a Duluth Police Officer and passes it around. He says, “That is a picture of the cop who was really throwing people around at one point during the lockdown at Wells Fargo a couple of weeks ago. He was being cruel; he grabbed me and smashed me into a wall”. An Occupier smiles and replies, “It’s good that you got the full face picture of the cop. I watched that hour long video of the lockdown and the part where the cops got out of line was in it. I have that video and you have that picture. I know I’m always preaching about filing complaints with the Citizens Review Board but every time we let police brutality slide it tells the offending cops that they can do whatever they want. If you want to file a complaint, I’ll be glad to help you”.
Somebody asks, “So what did you think of the Community Meeting About Riot Gear or whatever it was called that we went to last Wednesday?” Everyone is quiet for a bit; then an Occupier opines, “The Duluth News Tribune said that community sentiment was evenly divided but it didn’t look that way to me. I thought a lot of people spoke against supporting the DPD purchasing $125,000 worth of riot gear. SURJ really rocked it with their statistics and analysis about the effect police have on poor people and people of color. Just about all of the people who spoke in favor of riot gear where family members of cops; they had no idea what it’s like to be on the receiving end of what cops do. I think the people are more in danger from the cops than the cops are from the people.
“However, who knows what the DPD is gonna do? If they can’t get it now, they may quietly purchase it next year. Government folks are not to be trusted”.
Another Occupier agrees, “It seems to me that what is really happening with all the nation’s and the world’s police forces getting militarized is that the 1% has stolen so much of the land and resources that there’s not a heck of a lot left to steal. In order to steal the little bit that’s left, the 1% is not gonna be able to allow the so called middle classes to maintain the standard of living that they have been used to. The poor will be made even poorer and then almost all the people will take to the streets. The 1% is trying to get the police force prepared to protect them from the masses. It remains to be seen how many cops will actually kill their own people”.
An Occupier adds, “There will be a shit ton of climate refugees too. You know, climate change, also brought to you by the 1%? I do believe though that if enough people can get their heads together and decide to help one another and to live a different way, the violence and doom will be lessened considerably”. We all hope she is right.
A member of one of the Occupier couples proposes, “I think we should quit early and all go over to our house and relax”. Sounds like a plan. We pack up, tip and say goodnight to the staff guys and head out.
Unless we are blessed with a surprise early spring (don’t count on it) we’ll be back at Coney Island next Tuesday.