G.A. Minutes 2-19-19

G.A. Minutes 2-19-19

We have no complaints about the winter weather this evening, although our lack of whining is relative; for the last couple of weeks we experienced several heavy snow storms, some sleet storms and temperatures well below zero. The snow banks are now so high that one needs to drive far out into the street in order to determine if any cars are coming. Folks who are walking need to walk in the street as gigantic snow piles combined with ice banks cover most of the sidewalks. The City snow plow drivers have been working pretty much 24/7 but every time they get all the streets and roads plowed and start preparations to load and haul off the excess snow, it snows some more and they have to start plowing everything again.

Many of our city’s well-off folks are complaining like crazy about all the snow the plows are forced to push up on their sidewalks and lawns. We know the snow plow workers are doing the best that they can; they have no control over how much snow we’re gonna get before winter is over. If the homeowners want to place blame on something we think they should focus on climate change and the fact that we live in Minnesota.

Tonight the temperature is in the high teens with clear skies and little wind; we can even view the full moon (aka Super Snow Moon). Our Grandmother (Anishinaabe name for the moon in all her stages) is marvelously beautiful. Looking at her and talking to her helps us keep our cool while attempting to cope with our way too long winters.

We expect there will be fewer peeps than usual at this evening’s meeting at Coney Island. Some have family matters to deal with tonight; others are having car troubles. As we push the tables and chairs together our gathering consists of 3 Occupiers, 2 members of the Anonymous crew, a Water Protector, the activist who is an expert researcher, the street woman formerly known as Ms. Fox and the city official.

The Occupier who writes our meeting minutes exclaims, “I can’t believe I haven’t written any minutes for about 3 weeks, I’m kinda embarrassed”. Another Occupier tells her, “With all the stuff we’ve had going on, I don’t see how you could have found the time to do any writing. I mean, over the last 3 weeks we’ve helped with the Anons Operation Safe Winter every Saturday from 2pm-6pm at Peoples Plaza and Gitchigumi Scouts every Sunday meeting up at 4 pm at Peoples Plaza, dividing up in small groups and going out from there, We’ve done a film showing and really good discussion, 2 meetings about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Relatives, a lengthy training session about how to do patrols for MMIW&R, a rally and march for MMIW&R in Superior, WI that had just about as many cops bothering us as there were marchers, we’ve held our regular G.A. Meetings every Tuesday AND you made that gigantic hotdish for the Sobriety Feast. I can’t imagine why you didn’t have time to write”. We all laugh.

An Occupier says to another, “You went to the hearing today in Grand Rapids for the Four Necessity Valve Turners didn’t you?” The other Occupier replies, “Yes I did; there were some very good developments. The judge told them they were entitled to a 12 person jury trial where they could argue the Necessity Defense. They will have to jump through a bunch of hoops beforehand and it will probably be a year or so before they actually go to trial. but still, it’s kind of a victory because so far, the judges in this country rarely accept a Necessity Defense.

An Anon exclaims, “Those Catholic Workers just rock! Their entire lives are dedicated to saving humanity and all the plants and animals. I realize that their methods are somewhat different from ours; a lot of their actions are symbolic and directed at the power of the universe. On the other hand, our actions use a concrete strategy. Whatever….. I really admire Catholic Workers and their level of commitment; I think all of the Valve Turners are Catholic Workers, aren’t they? We don’t know the answer to her question

The first Occupier remarks, “I hope the Valve Turners will be able to get J. McEwen and JT Haines to be their attorneys for the trial. The defense they presented for our Occupiers/Water Protectors a few months ago was just about perfect”. The Occupier/Water Protectors who are present at tonight’s meeting agree with the first Occupier’s analysis about the abilities of their attorneys. Someone reports, “By the way, the next court date for the ‘Black Snake Killers’ is March 25th”.

The city official tells us, “Just so you know, the Duluth Transit Authority has 4 openings for full-time bus drivers right now. One can access the application process on the DTA website or Facebook page. A special type of driving license is required in order to drive a bus but if an applicant meets all the other requirements, the DTA will assist them in acquiring the special license. Tell all your friends, especially persons of color”.

An Occupier reminds us of the Direct Action Training we have been invited to attend on Saturday, March 2nd noon-6pm at the artists co-op. Another Occupier jokes, “Yes please, I believe that I am in need of some Direct Action Training as I am suffering from massive delusions. I still call myself a Democrat; I believe in the Two-Party System”. We all gasp, clutch our hearts and say “Oh no!” An Anon attempts to comfort him saying, “Oh my brother, we all love you and want to help you heal. Please attend the Training; it will set you straight and return you onto the path of righteousness and salvation”. Then we all take a moment to crack up.

We notice the staff guys beginning to clean up so we begin gathering up our dirty dishes and bringing them up to the counter. An Anon prompts, “This upcoming Saturday, February 23rd 2p-5p at Peoples Plaza may be our last #Op Safe Winter action for this year. We normally just do it on all Saturdays in February. I hope you will all attend and help us close out the year. Also, on Sunday, March 3rd, noon-2pm at Peoples Plaza there’s going to be a St. Paul Principles Gathering Breakfast; it’s sponsored by Anti-Colonial Land Defense, Gitchigumi Scouts and many groups from the Twin Cities. For those who don’t already know the St. Paul Principles (he begins reading):

1. Our solidarity will be based on respect for a diversity of tactics and the
plans of other groups.
2. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of
time or space.
3. Any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any
public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.
4. We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance,
infiltration, disruption and violence. we agree not to assist law enforcement
actions against activists and others.

An Occupier asks, “Do they want us to bring our fire?” The Anon replies, “Probably, as it’s sure to be cold out. I’ll check with them and let you know. It’s going to be a potluck so everyone who is able should bring something to contribute to the meal”.

As per usual, the staff guys are cleaning up; we clean up our stuff, pay our bill, leave a generous tip and head out the door. Some of us will stop by an Occupier couple’s place for a little R&R.

We expect to be back at Coney Island next Tuesday.