G.A. Minutes 10-16-18
It’s really cold tonight at Peoples Plaza; we were not expecting this. The weather people said the temperature would be in the high 30s and it is…. but this wind is definitely a killer! It’s coming from the west/northwest and it’s super strong, taking the air temps down by 20 degrees or so.
To make matters worse, when the first Occupiers drive up on the sidewalk at the Plaza’s edge there are no helpers obviously available. There are a couple of homeless appearing guys hanging out on the east ledge but they’re not making any moves that look like they’re gonna help us. The Food Bringing Occupier comments, “Well, we’re here now and it is what it is; let’s just start slogging away and see what happens”. So she and the Fire Magician begin slogging; at the rate they’re able to slog, setting up will take a long time.
After a while an African American homeless couple stop to help them. The female of the couple apologizes for being slow, she tells us that she’s recently been diagnosed with pneumonia. The male of the couple is seriously busting his butt though; he doesn’t stop until everything is up on the site. Once that’s done they begin to take their leave, saying they’re going off to find a sleeping place. The Occupiers notice that they have only one blanket between them; they’ve recently scored a couple of very good army blankets by way of the city official. The Occupiers give one of them to the homeless couple.
Just as the Food Bringing Occupier puts the final touches on the food table, a large group of Anon/Water Protectors and other Water Protectors arrive. They bring a shit ton of food too; it’s the kind of food that many street folks crave, like pre-packaged cheese burgers, chicken sandwiches and stuff like that. The Water Protectors also bring several big boxes of bananas. As soon as the favorite food goes on the table, the first wave of homeless ones appear and go to town on the preferred eats. They don’t stop until it’s all gone; almost everyone takes a banana too.
The Fire Magician has started the small charcoal grill to be used for keeping the homemade soup warm. Many Water Protectors stand around it, trying to get a bit of a heat source at least. Did I mention that it was cold this evening? The Fire Magician gets to work on getting a fire going in the fire pit; first birch bark is strategically placed, then kindling and finally the logs in a placement that seems to vary from fire to fire then WHOSH!… flames rise up. The Water Protectors quickly move to the real fire and say, “Yes! This is just what we need!” Once they are sufficiently warmed up they move away in order to let the other people get warm.
Another group of fire circle enthusiasts roll up; among them are Chicago Man, the partner of the gay, former street man, a couple of peeps from the Anonymous crew, several Occupiers and The Anarchist. Chicago Man has cut his hair short and naturally curly then dyed it blue. He opines, “I was feeling a little depressed so I thought I’d do something to make myself feel happy”. We think it looks really good. The former street man’s partner declares to one of the Occupiers, “You people inspired me to stop drinking and drugging”. We think, “Not to say that people can’t change and he does appear to be sober tonight but given the problems we had with him and his meth addiction last year, we’re gonna adopt a wait and see attitude with this one”.
An Occupier asks the Occupiers who are responsible for managing our firewood supplies, “So when are we going to go out to the country to get our yearly load of firewood?” The questioned Occupier replies, “Well, we called out there to make an appointment a few days ago. They told us they had received at least three times the amount of orders than they had received in the past. They said that as of right now they were completely out of firewood. They said they are currently working on procuring more and put us on their waiting list. No worries though, we have enough firewood left to see us through next spring”.
The Occupier who likes to report things reports, “Please remember that the trial for our Occupier/Water Protectors and the Water Protector from the southwest will happen this upcoming Friday, October 19th, 9am at the St Louis County Court House. I know I told everyone it was gonna happen on the 10th but I was obviously wrong. I’m not sure where I got the wrong date from; maybe I’m getting that Old-Timers Disease”. We all laugh.
“Also, when we canceled our fire circle last Tuesday so we could attend the Riot Gear Open House Comment Session I was hearing a rumor that the City Council was gonna table the vote on approving or not approving the Duluth Police Department’s request for Riot Gear. I heard that same rumor last Thursday at the last Comment Session. So anyway, I emailed Em Westerlund, the Councilor for my district and she told me that to table the vote or not will be decided by a vote from the whole City Council at the beginning of the next Council meeting on Monday, October 22nd, 7pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall.
“So I guess we’ll just have to show up prepared to speak or whatever and if they table the vote we’ll probably just leave”. An Anon remarks, “I hope they table the vote. The DPD has been really pushy and manipulative throughout this whole process. They want riot gear and they want it NOW!” A Water Protector adds, “Yeah, and why now? It wouldn’t have anything to do with No Line 3 protesters and such would it? Chief Tusken says they would never use the gear for anything like that. He says he hopes they never have an occasion to use it and that it will just sit on shelves until it rots. Yeah right! I think that many cops are victims of arrested development; did you ever give a kid a new toy and then tell him not to play with it? I rest my case”. We all sigh and nod our heads in agreement”.
The Occupiers, Anons and Water Protectors begin a conversation about climate change. They take turns listing all the climate disasters that have taken place in the last ten or so years. Someone exclaims, “I don’t understand why the capitalists can’t see what is right in front of their noses”. Another opines, “I think they are blinded by greed. They just want more and more and more. More money, more stocks, more mansions, more sexual conquests, more whatever. Greed is a very powerful and dangerous force”.
The retired neighborhood man drops by. As usual he’s talking about voting, the upcoming elections and such. We converse with him as best we can but the two parties = one party ying yang is not our strong suit. For those of us who do vote, we know we’ll be voting for Skip Sandman for 8th CD and then for the other most progressive candidates on the ballot. An Occupier confesses, “I don’t even know why I vote anymore but I do”. The retired man finds her statement to be amusing. As usual, when the man takes his leave, he leaves us a generous donation. An Occupier says to another, “I guess we could say he is our Patron?” The other Occupier answers, “Yeah, I think we could; over the years, the majority of the money we’ve had in our treasury has come from him”.
For the most part, the homeless and street people in the circle have been just listening to our conversations while eating and keeping warm by the fire. Yelling Man and his girlfriend are here too; Yelling Man has been nodding off and on. He’s probably tired. We hear some guy across the street loudly cussing up a storm; he’s using every swear word known to mankind. Yelling Man goes to the top of the Plaza stairs and starts yelling at the swearing guy. He hollers, “Why don’t you come over here and say that?!?” The swearing guy screams even louder. An Occupier exclaims, “No, don’t get him to come over here; you go over there!” Yelling Man laughs, “Don’t worry, he has Tourettes Syndrome, I’m just messing with him. He’s not gonna come over here”. Yelling Man is the only one who finds this situation funny.
The chronically homeless man with the deep voice and the girlfriend with PTSD comes up asking for a bowl of our homemade tomato, rice and vegetable soup. An Occupier looks in the pot and sees that it’s almost empty. She tells the man, “There’s not much left and it’s probably cold but I will heat it up for you”. The deep voiced man replies, “That’s o.k., I’ll gladly take it just the way it is”. The Occupier scrapes the bottom of the pot and comes up with enough to fill his bowl; then that’s the end of the soup.
It’s a little before 9pm and most of the homeless ones have gone off to their sleeping places. The rest of us are huddled up close to the glorious warmth of the fire. We figure we’ll sit around and let the fire die down somewhat before packing up and calling it a night but then suddenly, KABLAM!!….. a huge gust of wind blows everything off the food table, sends burning embers flying around the circle and even knocks over a few chairs.
Yikes! Everyone runs around picking up all the stuff that is blowing around the Plaza. An Occupier opines, “I think Mother Earth and Father Sky are hinting that it’s time for us to leave”. We still have enough fire worshipers around to allow us to quickly pack up and then jump into our vehicles.
This time of year we never know if we’ll be able to hold a Tuesday fire circle or not. Everything is up in the air (yeah I know, bad joke). If you don’t find us at Peoples Plaza next Tuesday, we’ll be up at Coney Island on 1st St.