All posts by Diane Emerson

Full time volunteer since Dec 2006. Born in Superior, moved to MN, worked 17 years with HB Fuller Company, got my MBA, and in 1996 walked away from the 6 figure income and all the other perks because I could no longer force my soul to squish inside the corporate box, and I could no longer justify working for a specialty chemical company who sold adhesives to cigarette manufacturers and the military. I traveled, moved to New Zealand, and was an independent business consultant for 10 years, helping entrepreneurs. Now I live a nomadic life of service to the poor. I am volunteering with Loaves and Fishes homeless shelter until Thanksgiving. I am giving free classes in Nonviolent communication and EFT (tapping) every Monday night to the public. Plus I am promoting a Time Bank for Duluth, and community orchards - especially hazelnut trees so people who live in cities can feed themselves more easily. I have kept a blog of my volunteer work and travel:

General Assembly Minutes November 5, 2011

Occupy Duluth General Assembly

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Location: DAD/MOM, 2pm

Facilitators: Lara, Tyler

Stack: Tyler

Notes: Diane

Lara reviewed hand signals. Please keep direct responses to a minimum. We do progressive stack, in order to hear from everyone.

Eviction Next Week:  There was a newscast on Channel 6 Friday night: David Montgomery, Chief Administrative Officer for the city of Duluth announced that they will have a plan next week for moving us.

Discussion: Joel confirmed that no direct orders have been given to police to evict us. Joel has talked to other people in the city, and it was as much news to them as us. He has been given assurances that police will take no action this weekend.  Joel is meeting Monday at 2:30pm with the police chief for Duluth.

Moving us or removing us? We don’t know. None of us saw the newscast. Neither the mayor nor any city representative came to Occupy Duluth before this newscast to share their concerns or discuss this in any way.

Occupy Other Spaces

Scot:  He met today with a representative of Wells Fargo who is on a committee with the mayor to address foreclosed homes. This is one idea for us to consider for the winter: doing community work to build sweat equity – working towards ownership in the house.

Concern was raised about working with Wells Fargo. Allen mentioned that other occupations are working on this idea, and it would be worth exploring. Christine asked if it would be homes with people in them? Empty homes?  We don’t know, but it might be both types of homes: empty homes and ones with people about to be evicted.

Christine asked about the record of Wells Fargo regarding evictions. Donna replied that there were  211 foreclosures last year, from all banks, not just Wells Fargo.  Access to information on foreclosures is easy, Donna reported. Lutheran Social Services is another portal to work on this issue. Donna and Vern and Jesse are key contacts for houses empty due to evictions.

Chad: holding this place (MOM/DAD) is symbolic.  He suggests that we have a call tree, so that we can quickly get enough bodies here for them to be able to do anything.

Tyler proposed that we colonize Cravaackistan; moving over to the other side of the plaza; federal property. We have not been formally asked to stay off that area. Joel:  On the Federal property, the police will move us if they are asked by the Feds.

Jennifer: clarified that our current property is owned by the city, and the property on the other side of the flagpole is federal property.

Tyler: proposed that we address the issues the city has about our safety and the safety of the park. We have experienced winter and arctic campers to advise us so we can stay safe in the winter and we have at least one Master Gardener, and other experienced horticulturists who can advise and repair any damage done to the grass and flowers.

Chad: Advertise that we are doing a teach-in on winter camping, and a potluck, and bring people here. If we do, we want to advertise that we are using food grown locally.

Ryan: so far we have only heard from an appointed official, not an elected official. We should ask our elected officials individually where they stand on the eviction of Occupy Duluth.

Tyler spoke to Don Ness: Ness said that Montgomery has a job to do, if he feels eviction is necessary, that is his job.

David Montgomery is Duluth’s highest paid city official, and reports to mayor Don Ness.

Ed Barkos suggested organizing with other union groups, whether it be AFSCME, etc. If you want to get people here, put out a call to the unions in the call tree. Ed Barkos,  President of local 2750, AFSCME.

Ken: action he is taking on Tuesday noon, Canal Park. Offering to give carriage rides around this circle.

The Occupy Duluth contact list was sent around for people to sign up, if they haven’t already.

Liability: Gauthier, our state rep, was concerned about snow plowing.

Snow Concern: There was a concern expressed that snow plowed up on the tents would cause problems. Blake and Jennifer spoke to the woman from the city who came to discuss it. She said if we just move out tents 5 ft in from the street there would be no problem. She thanked us for how well we were treating the gardens.

Phil: staying here symbolically is a clear part of supporting Occupy Wall Street

Jennifer: agrees with Phil. This space acts as a third space: someplace you stop by in between home and work. We here have a policy that one person wears an armband, to greet people and check on the space. We need this space. We can expand this space. It is a hub.

Eric: come January, it is going to get difficult for us to gather here.

Ryan: that’s why we do this in winter. We will get on national news if we can be here in January.

After considerable additional discussion, two proposals were agreed to by the General Assembly

1. Make some type of presence here, at MOM/DAD.  Winterize it.

2. Look into other options to occupy, including foreclosed homes, tax forfeited properties, and empty city properties downtown.  Report back to the General Assembly.


City Council Presentation on Monday: We want to have a good showing at the city council meeting on Monday. You can have two minutes if you arrive at the beginning of the meeting. It starts at 7pm and it is in city hall 3rd floor


Drafting the response: It was agreed to meet on Sunday at 5pm to work on the response to the city, to be presented at City Hall on Monday.  We will meet again at 5-6 pm on Monday to finalize it, over dinner.

At 6pm Monday there will be a rally, with as many people as we can get, and the statement will be presented to the City Council at their 7pm meeting.


Issues to cover in the response (among others):

  • If they want to remove us because of safety issues, they should address the homeless of Duluth, who are also much more at risk of hypothermia than we are.
  • We have experts on winter camping to advise us.
  • We have experts on horticulture to advise us on repairing any damage done to lawns and flower gardens because of the foot traffic.
  • The snow is not an issue. The tents can be moved back 5 feet from the curb, allowing plenty of space for snow.
  • We want to know exactly which of our elected officials supports Occupy Duluth, and which do not


Jennifer: we want to stay here. I want our communications to be peaceful, positive and constructive.

Here are some of our Occupy Duluth supporters who can assist us to address the concerns raised by David Montgomery:

Richard Harbaugh, 830-0109, arctic survival skills

Ken Lindberg: 218-269-3251, winter camping advice

Jesse: Master Gardener

Diane: former president, Minnesota State Horticultural Society


Someone could set up an office at UMD to draw in more students

Allen: we need more bodies, more donations. Fuel. We will bring propane into the mix. Need cash too.  We will use the forum on the website to list offers of assistance, as well as needs.

Ken Lindberg: 218-269-3251, winter camping advice and horse and buggy transportation.

Cole: do research with other occupy groups. Thank you to those who stay here every night.

Bodies in Camp

Jesse: having been in close quarters we are very confident. We know we can make it work through the winter. We need people here if we are going to do this. How do we get people dedicated to stay here? We have had lots of conversation about cooking and winterizing every night. Next week they are proposing to get us out of here. What is important is getting people here.

Scot: Stay here for a night or two every once in a while

If someone decides to stay, is there a guesthouse?  There are tents with space in them, and we have extra blankets and sleeping bags, if you don’t have your own.  If you want to be sure there is space for you, call Jennifer at 952-237-1705.

Right now is a great time to be camping. The nights are beautiful, and in a winterized tent, very warm.


Calendar: We have a white board in camp so people can sign up for shifts. This is important so we know who will be here.  It needs to be online too. It can also be

used for commitment for a tent.  This would helps with meals, too, if people could sign up for sleeping here. But don’t worry about signing up if you can’t do it in advance. Just come.

Ryan will make sure the sign up gets up on the website,

Jennifer: wants to have a huge amount of people here on Sunday night, potluck, dinner, and discussion.

Jesse: It will be really powerful to have an active group of people here when people come to work on Monday. If anyone can stop by before work, have breakfast here, and be here any time from 7:30 to 8:30, it would be great.

Eric: can get people to donate wall tents.  Add Wall Tents to our wish list.

We have offer from Valerie and Josh Acquard for overnight shelter if needed when it gets cold. 218-703-3308.

Malory also offered her home.

Allen: legal team needed. Who is ready to go to jail? Who is going to represent us?

Allen offered to lead the legal committee.  From experience shared by those present, there does not appear to be any additional charges for being “dead weight” when arrested.

Bridget:  We need a teach-in  on legal issues we might be facing.


Winterization/City Planning:  Ryan is ‘go to’ person for winterization. He is also the go to person for City Planning, which has been rolled into Winterization for now.

Ken: proposes a clean up the garden in the spring committee.  City planning committee would do this. Allen: We have $400 in the bank. Proposed to use $200 of this to buy propane fuel. Passed.

Law team: Allen Richardson, 218- 428-0290  richa514 “at”

Media and Communications: Phil.  We have WiFi for now in camp.

We were contacted by Occupy New York City to make a statement on our behalf. After the GA, we will prepare a statement to send to them. The best place to see Occupy New York read the statement is Global Revolution Livestream,  at 6pm our time.

Occupy Port Wing, Wisconsin: Occupy Together has updates. If you are planning things, please post at Occupy Together. At

Police Liaison: Joel. He would like 1-2 campers to join him in a meeting on Monday with Duluth’s Chief of Police . Joel will contact people directly for this.

Direct Action Working Group: Donna: Question: Is the direct action working group meeting? Would like to have more people on it. Direct action committee will meet after the GA.

Allan: Nathan Ness is suggesting action on Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. Ryan: We want to support local businesses.

MaryAnn: propose that we have another speakout assembly that addresses actions we can take to go out into other areas of the community, where we can reach out to these other members of the 99%. She would like to see more soapboxing, to hear more other voices.  Direct Action/Community Outreach working groups.

Cole: The Occupy Your Mind event has now been moved to the 9th of December.

Summary of Activities and Times

Saturday 6pm: livestream of New York reading support for Occupy Duluth


Sunday: 5pm: discuss statement to City Council

Sunday Night: get as many people sleeping over as possible.


Monday morning: have as many people here to greet workers as possible. Come for breakfast.

Monday : Joel and a couple of occupiers meeting with Police Chief

Monday 5pm: finalize City Council statement over dinner

Monday 6pm: Rally for Occupy Duluth

Monday 7pm: City Council meeting


Tuesday: Ken Lindberg: 218-269-3251,  is taking action on Tuesday noon, at Canal Park. Also offering to give carriage rides around our encampment.

Tuesday: Election Day. If you are not registered, you can have someone to vouch for you so you can vote.


Thursday, November 10.  Next General Assembly. We may pass a hat for donations.

All Week: Let your elected officials know of your support for Occupy Duluth, as well as unelected officials.

David Montgomery
Chief Administrative Officer
402 City Hall, 411 West First St.
Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: (218) 730-5370
Fax: (218) 730-5904


Come to DAD/MOM as much as possible.  Stay overnight if possible. Come for breakfast to greet workers if possible.

Check the calendar at for the latest information.

General Assembly Minutes November 3, 2011

Occupy Duluth General Assembly

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Location: DAD/MOM, 7pm

Facilitator: Lara, Nadia, Tyler

Stack: Nadia

Notes: Diane

Lara reviewed hand signals. Please keep direct responses to a minimum

We agreed to modify the agendas for the General Assemblies. First on the agenda will be the Direct Action/Community Outreach proposals and Events planned for the coming week. After that we will have a quick run through of all the working groups.  After that, there will be an Open Forum or Soapbox for people to bring up other issues and comments.

Members of the media present at the General Assembly were asked to identify themselves: Clint Austin, Photographer with Duluth News Tribune, Mike Creger reporter with Duluth News Tribune, and a reporter from the Superior High School newspaper.

Direct Action/Community Outreach/Proposals/Events for this week

Friday, November 4:

The following event is informational only. It was not brought to the General Assembly for consensus to attend. DFL rally the troops meeting on Friday. Door knocking this weekend. Jackie Halberg is running for the DFL. She supports our encampment and is in city hall.

Saturday, November 5: Connecting the Dots, event put on by Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) 8:30-12 noon, at Clyde Iron Works. Free to get in, free breakfast. Allen Richardson organized a table for us. We are at table 34. Wells Fargo will be at Table 11. We only need one person for our table. Jennifer volunteered to staff our table. People are welcome to stop by and assist Jennifer, or give her a break.

Saturday, November 5 is also Move the Money Day. Move your money from the big banks into credit unions or local banks. We agreed to have a Bank Action Meeting at opening time of the Wells Fargo Bank – Kenwood. Leafletting to educate people why and how they should move their money from the big banks like Wells Fargo into local credit unions.  This direct action event will last until it is time to return to the People’s Plaza for the Saturday General Assembly:

Saturday, November 5:  General Assembly, People’s Plaza, 2pm.

Saturday, November 5:  4:30pm Protest at M & I Bank Superior: M & I bank is closely tied to the Scott Walker campaign. This is why the action is there. This action was not initiated by Occupy Duluth, but we support it.

We can do more than one bank event at the same time if we have enough interested people. The downtown Duluth Wells Fargo is closed on Saturdays, but the other branches are open.

Wednesday, November 9: – 7:00pm – 9:00pm Corporate Personhood Event:

Location: Peace Church, 1111 N. 11th Ave. East. Our General Assembly, normally scheduled for this time, was postponed to Thursday, November 10 so we could attend this event.

Speakers / Performers include: David Cobb, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Jim Northrup, Joel Sipress, and Sharla Gardner. Music by Rachael Kilgour.

Thursday, November 10:  General Assembly: 7pm, DAD/MOM  Re-scheduled from our normal Wednesday.

Thursday, November 10:   6:30-8:30 PM Holiday Inn, Room TBA
Hearing on Post Office closures. Support Postal Workers!

Saturday, November 12: General Assembly 2pm at People’s Plaza

Wednesday, November 16:  General Assembly, 7pm at MOM/DAD

Thursday, November 17:  12 noon: Infrastructure, nationwide people protesting at bridges. Event at the Depot for the Northern Lights Express

Friday, November 18: 7pm-10pm, followed by a dance. Occupy Your Mind event. This is from their Facebook Page:

“Occupy Your Mind is the first in many upcoming educational seminars. Together we stand strong against oppression and corruption, and have the ability to stand up for our rights. We the people, are being oppressed and it’s time to say NO! We need to be educated, and be able to educate others about what we’re standing up for. This meeting will take place from 7pm-10pm.

There will be educational speakers at the seminar from many different backgrounds. Our mission is to arm ourselves and others with knowledge of the very foundation that the Occupy Wall St./Occupy Together movements stand on. We come across people on a daily basis that know only bits and pieces of the message these movements are trying to deliver. We believe the only way to beat the 1% is to be smarter than them! We want to raise awareness across the nation. We want the 99% to KNOW what the movement is about, what happened that got us to this point, and most importantly, what we have to do in order to make some REAL changes.

We are working on getting a panel of educated people to present an overview of our current economic situation in a non-biased, factual lecture form. If you feel you fall into this category, contact John K. Nystrom @ to fill a spot.”
Occupy Duluth will definitely have representation on the discussion panel, though we did not discuss exactly who it would be. This will be discussed at Saturday’s General Assembly.

Saturday, November 19: General Assembly and also International Day of Solidarity – boots on the ground.

Other Direct Action/Community Outreach Ideas:

Zombie March in the skywalk: dress up and move like zombies. Jesse demonstrated. This idea tabled for Saturday’s General Assembly.

Handing out hot drinks to people on the streets: especially at the transit center. This is one great idea anyone can do at any time.  We have in the kitchen a 6 cup coffee thermos volunteers can borrow, and paper cups, and coffee. Anyone can come and fill the thermos, grab some cups and some flyers, and go give out coffee for Occupy Duluth.  For more visibility Diane has ordered 3 reflective vests which will have “Occupy Duluth” on them, if anyone would like to wear them.

Picking up trash along the streets. Again, the reflective vests would be very useful for this community outreach idea. The vests will shortly be available to borrow – from the Living Room.

CHUM Meeting:  Allen Richardson is meeting with Executive Director of CHUM (Churches United in Ministry) tomorrow, Nov 4. CHUM represents 40 some odd churches. He will make it clear we are not absorbing resources which would be going to the truly homeless people, and that we are bringing over extra food people have donated to Occupy Duluth.

University of Wisconsin Superior (UWS) and Minority Groups. Nadia opened a discussion of how we can reach out more to UWS and minority groups. If anyone is out there who could help us initiate this, and bring more people into the Occupy movement, it would be greatly appreciated.  We discussed doing more teach-ins on racial equity.


Sanitation: Allen: Things going well. We intend to go for the long haul.  We decided to save the empty bottles from water to use in a future art  or garden project.

Donations: nothing to report.

Food/Kitchen: we have a separate, under cover kitchen! It will be easier to get awesome meals out. One Rubbermaid box will be designated for morning things. Behind the blanket is a prep area clean of allergens. No peanuts, or gluten bread, etc allowed back there.  This may seem picky to some people, but when the person who makes your food is allergic to gluten, it pays to keep her happy!

Need to schedule someone getting up in the morning to get breakfast going and feed the meters.  Food items we can’t use are going to the Police Dept and CHUM.  (DE note: I wonder how many Occupy movements in the USA are sharing food with their local police departments?)

Facilitation: Lara proposed that we have separate Occupiers meetings. After discussion, we reached consensus that we would have Occupiers meetings once a week, Tuesdays at 9pm. The reasoning was that whether or not people work or go to school, it is the people who sleep here at night who are the occupiers, and they will be home by then.

A Shift Schedule was proposed for the camp, so people could sign up for specific times to be here.  We decided to have both a big white board for sign up at camp, and also a sign up online for people who cannot easily stop in to sign up on the white board. These two sign up methods will be synchronized once a week by the Facilitation or Communication group. The attendees approved this.

Media: Phil. We are not going to address the Police item right now.

Saturday’s GA: Nathan Ness Move to Amend made a suggestion regarding the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. We have heard nothing more from him about this action yet.

If you are approached by media representatives for an interview, have a recording device or a person nearby, so if your statements are edited badly, you have evidence of what you actually said.

Flyers:  So far people have taken it upon themselves to print them. If you want to print something off about an event on our calendar, or something we have previously approved, like the First Communique, go for it.  Or, if you want to print your own opinion on something, you are welcome to do so. But if you want it to say it is from Occupy Duluth, bring it to a General Assembly for approval before you distribute it.

We would like to have a laser printer for the camp. An inkjet printer would be affected by the cold temperatures.

Lara: people could write their own statements, and make a section on the website, to get to know occupiers better. If you would like to share your thoughts and stories in this way, submit them to Lara.

Tim wants flyers for UMD. He could make prototypes and bring to the GA.

Medical: Comfort tent: need more blankets and sleeping bags. If people bring blankets and sleeping bags for Occupy Duluth, they need to be donations, as we cannot promise their return. It is an open camp.

Arts and Family: Nothing to report. May tie his group more into Direct Action. Need to re-form. If you have any interest in the Arts and Family working group, locate Aaron, and make suggestions.


Occupy Milwaukee visit: We had a visitor from Occupy Milwaukee. He reported that they have struggled with the police. He joined with the last Occupy Milwaukee GA on Oct 15. They had heavy police presence and intimidation at their march. No arrests, but several hundred police followed the march of 3000 strong. The march in Chicago, where he attended, also had heavy police presence. The park they were occupying, they were run out. First night after the protest had cops following groups all around Milwaukee. Now Occupy Milwaukee stays at a collectively run place, Garden Park. There is a big ethnic and union presence in the groups. He has been working more with Food Not Bombs, getting food for people who are camping out. They had a good turnout. Our visitor implied we are very fortunate in Duluth not to have police intimidation here.

Yurt update. We had to take it down. The Building Inspector came and said it could be a fire hazard. It should be sandwiched between sheetrock, and if it catches on fire, it emits toxic gases. A wooden removable structure could be used. Things on wheels could be in place for 30 days. We need to investigate the regulations so we can create something that fits within them, but Ryan has no more funding for additional materials.  We would need donations.

If anyone has any ideas, and is willing to contribute any building materials, see Ryan.

Tuesday, November 8 Teach In:  Food, Corporate Agriculture, and the Fair Farm Bill.  7pm at DAD/MOM

Next General Assembly: Saturday, November 5, 2pm, at the People’s Power Plaza, Superior and Lake

Please check the calendar at for the latest information.

General Assembly Minutes October 29, 2011


Occupy Duluth General Assembly

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Location: Superior and Lake Streets, the fountain next to Electric Fetus

2:00 pm

Facilitator: Lara

Stack: Tyler

Notes: Diane

Key Actions since Last GA: Lara

The First Communique was posted  and pushed. It was posted on the website and sent to media contacts. It has also been made into a half sheet flyer. If anyone wants some to hand out, please contact Diane at

 A Day in the Life of an Occupier: Mike Creiger from the Duluth News Tribune is planned to be published on Halloween day. Mike agreed to stay overnight at the occupation to get the full story. He also has offered to donate any overtime pay he gets for the extra hours to the movement. Thanks, Mike!

Donation Jar: The small one was stolen. After some discussion it became clear that this was one of those issues that would best be handled by a working group of people who live at the occupation site- the Occupation Assembly.

On a related note, Jesse was robbed and mugged on Friday night, and in the spirit of nonviolence and direct mediation, will be walking the neighborhood talking to people about it, in an effort to talk to the person who attacked him, rather than report it to police.

A buddy system will be discussed at an Occupation Assembly, and Allen suggested the dojo on the corner for non-violent self defense.

Declaration/Manifesto. The draft of this was handed out at the Oct 26 General Assembly. This will be e-mailed out to members who have shared their e-mails, for comments and input, before posting on the website. If you want to be sure to have input, send your e-mail address to the following e-mails, to be sure you get information as it becomes available: and

Calendar of Events:  Phil, Lara and Tiffany can post items to the website,  including calendar items.

Aaron: A statement of solidarity with the Postal Service will be posted to the website. A draft was handed out at the last General Assembly, and approved for posting at that meeting.

A statement of solidarity and support from labor unions was tabled for future discussion.


Diane suggested that all attendees review the minutes from the previous General Assembly before attending the next one, if at all possible, because discussions and reports from working groups will make much more sense to attendees.

FOOD – Jennifer.  We are continuing with healthful, organic foods as much as possible. The Food working group follows the advice of Hippocrates: “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”

Jennifer reminded the Assembly that food gift certificates are very welcome, so the Food team can purchase the exact ingredients they need to make meals.

There is concern that food donations may be coming to us rather than going to local food shelves. As a result, our energetic Food team is having a Halloween Food Drive – a Trick or Treat So We All Can Eat. The idea is for volunteers to go door to door before the trick or treaters come out, asking for donations of food for the food shelves. Collectors (preferably on bicycles) would pick up the food at the street corners and deliver it to the food shelves.  Here are more details which came in shortly after the GA:

Volunteers needed for:

Collecting food door to door (on foot, bike, skateboard, preferably not in car and in costume)
Picking up food from collectors as they go.
Organizing routes for collectors
Posting fliers at supermarkets
Delivering collected food to food banks.

Collecting should start around 3-4. All ages are encouraged to participate. This can be done by anyone anywhere, going together just might make it that much more fun :)

Please call Jennifer @ 952.237.1705 to volunteer. Or sign up in the living room

The first time Jennifer saw this done hundreds of pounds of food were easily collected in just 2 1/2 hours!! It was the largest one time donation the Brick food shelf had ever gotten.

SANITATION: Allen: We have permission to use the facilities at the Labor Temple. If you want to help empty the camp’s trash and recyclables, bring the bins around to the back of the Labor Temple.  We will need to keep appealing to the Labor Temple for funds to continue the emptying of the portable toilets and funding of electricity.

DONATIONS: Tyler. He wants to ask people for tents so we can expand, and read a communique from Cairo. After discussion, it was determined that we should not yet expand the encampment.

MEDICAL: There is a herbal First Aid workshop Sunday at the Pineapple Arts building. Cold weather herbal remedies will be covered, among other topics.

It was suggested that a separate tent be set up to hold the extra blankets and warm clothes which are being donated, so everyone knows where to go to help someone who comes into camp cold. Details will be worked out at the Occupation Assembly.

TOWN PLANNING: Jennifer. The space at camp has been re-arranged, as proposed at the last General Assembly. Andrew from the Duluth News  Tribune arrived the day of the move and documented it.

We now have a 10ft by 20ft car port next to the living room.  We have received a huge tarp, 36 by 36 paces large. It was proposed and approved that it be used to cover the eating area, with the assistance of a tree.

Diane raised the idea of solar panels rather than our high use of electricity and fossil fuels. Jesse pointed out that solar panels also depend on non-sustainable materials for their creation. Great Northern Solar wishes to help us, but they need a proposal with energy usage need. The assembly agreed that Jennifer would calculate the energy usage needed and Vern would follow up with Great Northern Solar. Also that Jennifer would talk to the design school she attended regarding a small wind turbine for our space.

Bob Monahan has offered the Radisson Pool to occupiers at 6pm Sunday.

There will be an Occupiers Assembly at 7pm Sunday, to discuss issues specifically related to the occupation site.

Winterization: There is a general request for bags of dry leaves to assist with insulating the camp, tents, etc. Bring them in!


Events in the Transistor need to be e-mailed today. Basic information like mealtimes, teach-ins, and assemblies.

Lara is running the calendar of events on the website.


Here are some future events taking place, if we wish to do direct action at them. If nothing else, attend, talk to people, and hand out leaflets like the 1st communique.

Tuesday, November 1: Shane Claiborne event:  CHUM Fall Community Assembly The event will be held from 6:30 to 8 pm in the Mitchell Auditorium at the College of St. Scholastica. Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus.

Wednesday, November 2: Day of the Dead celebration. Our General Assembly will be postponed so we can honor this day

Thursday, November 3:  7pm,  General Assembly, at DAD

Saturday, November 5: Connecting the Dots, event put on by Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) 8:30 -12 noon, at Clyde Iron Works. Free to get in, free breakfast. Also Move the Money Day. Move your money from the big banks into credit unions or local banks.

Wednesday, November 9: – 7:00pm – 9:00pm  Move To Amend with David Cobb. Note:  Our General Assembly will be postponed so we can attend this event.

Location: Peace Church, 1111 N. 11th Ave. East

Speakers / Performers include: David Cobb, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Jim Northrup, Joel Sipress, and Sharla Gardner. Music by Rachael Kilgour.

David Cobb (Keynote Speaker): Spokesperson for Move to Amend, 2004 Green Party presidential candidate, attorney, initiator of the 2004 Ohio Recount.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer: Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas, author of thirteen books, leader of the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP).

Jim Northrup: Renowned Anishinaabe poet / author of numerous books and other publications.

Joel Sipress: Professor of history at the University of Wisconsin Superior and progressive activist.

Sharla Gardner: Member of the Duluth City Council.

 Thursday, November 10:  General Assembly: 7pm, DAD

 Thursday, November 17: Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, Veterans for Peace. This will be a big day for action, focusing on our dilapidated infrastructure. Supporters will be out for the Northern Lights Express. Big Event on infrastructure, probably at the depot, time TBA

Saturday, November 29: International Solidarity Day with Palestinian people

December trip to Washington, DC to participate in the Tent City. Depart on the 5th/6th, return on the 11th/12th. Most of the expenses will be covered by the labor unions. Transportation provided. Need 5 people. See Allen Richardson.

 Other Actions:  Donna, a member of TROU: The Rest of Us, led a discussion about possible actions people attending the General Assembly would like to personally work on. Attendees offered the following suggestions:

  • Banks – the top 4 banks. Focus on repossession of homwe where they can’t find mortgages, and moving money from banks to credit unions.
  • Duluth Port Authority and the Mars Company monopolization of manufacturing jobs in Duluth
  • Clean Water and Lake Superiour.  A Legacy Fund was set up for this but is in danger of some of this fund being transferred to build a stadium in the Twin Cities. Actions could include writing a letter, calling the governor.
  • Movie Nights. One movie suggested is “Tapped”.  This documentary is about bottled water: privatization and health issues.
  • Student Involvement: LSC, UMD, CSS. Teach students what this is all about. Show movies at UMD, other locations. Student organisations are being created, possible connection with SDS, Students for a Democratic Society.
  • Move into a foreclosed home, especially one where the original mortgage has been lost in all the financial paper shuffling.
  • Homelessness and Unemployment: Turn Cravaack’s office into an employment centre, simply by helping unemployed people fill out job applications in his office.
  • March on the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. Nathan Ness suggested this action, and would like to have a conference call with anyone who is interested.

Anybody who wants to set up a direct action at any of these events or others is welcome.



Todd Erickson, delegate for two local labor unions, reported that the International Union is supporting the Occupation. He also reported that on Wednesday of this week, when he was at Occupy Chicago with a union delegation, hundreds of fliers were tossed out of the window of the Board of Trade building onto the occupiers below, denouncing the Occupy movement, and especially against union workers. Tyler read the statement to us, which was unsigned. Lara will post it on the Misc section of the website.

It was reported that AFSME will march with Occupy Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Nathan Ness drove from St. Paul to attend our assembly, and talked about the Move to Amend event being held on Wednesday, November 7. His proposal to move our GA so we could attend was accepted. So instead of November 7, our midweek GA will be held Thursday, November 8.  Because there are hundreds of flyers out circulating among the public which state that our General Assemblies are held every Wednesday, 3-4 people will remain at DAD to discuss the occupation with anyone who shows up on Wednesday.

Next General Assembly: Thursday, November 3, 7pm, at DAD (civic center). Note: this is a departure from our normal Wednesday schedule. The next two weeks the mid-week General Assemblies will be held on Thursdays, instead of Wednesday. Please check the calendar at for the latest information.

General Assembly Minutes October 14, 2011

Occupy Duluth General Assembly

October 14, 2011

Lake Superior Plaza

Committee Reports:

Lara: Facilitation Committee

went through the various communication methods for our meetings, and consensus decision-making. She will make a sign explaining the hand signals for all of us, as well as setting up facilitation teach-ins. We need people fluent in Spanish and English as a Second Language (ESL) to attend these.


Chad: Arts and Family

Asked all of us to invite speakers and musicians, and increase the diversity of the movement. We  have 100 plastic cups with tea lights for candlelight vigils. We have face paints. Feel free to bring more supplies. We are hoping to live stream with Phillonious Monk’s laptop.

Bring any kind of music, as long as it is tasteful for families and children.

Bring rugs so we can have a big space rug. Any size is fine.

Key contacts for this committee:  Bob Monahan and Anton. Or contact Tiffany.


Jay and Ben: Peacekeeping and Mediation and De-escalation

Yellow has been chosen as the color for this committee. Look for yellow armbands and hats.

The strategy is no tolerance of alcohol or drug use

Committee members will be wearing  name tags

There is a strict “No Weapons” policy, but we won’t be asking people to leave their Swiss army penknives at home.

The main goal is to gear up for Halloween, and the people who will be coming through the occupation site that night.


Francois: Food Committee

To begin with, we will have a picnic/potluck mentality for food. So bring what you can, share and pass around with everyone, including visitors to the occupation.  Let the committee know what you can bring.

We need transportation for food, and to involve more people.

Food is so important to a movement like this. We will need to raise money to keep people fed after the first flush of food donations. To assist with this, Lara said that a PayPal account will be set up for donations, and a Finance Committee will be formed.


Mary Ann: Medics Committee

We need all the blankets we can get.

It was suggested by a commenter that we have a sign up sheet for vehicles to be present to take people to the hospital at all times.


Tiffany: Communications

The website is being worked on. The e-mail has been set up:

The communications committee needs contact details for everyone:

Name, e-mail, physical address, phone number(s). All are asked to send/give them to the Communications Committee.


A discussion was held regarding a Mission Statement and Press Release. The media are asking for information. It was suggested that at this point, it is too early for anyone to speak on behalf of Occupy Duluth regarding mission and purpose and objectives. People, when asked by media representatives about our mission and purpose, should respond that we are a complex group, and that each individual is representing her or himself only. “I represent me.”  We will be working on mission statement and press releases, but it may take several weeks to come to consensus on these, when it comes to statements of purpose. It took the New York group a long time, and it will take us a long time, though we can also use what has come out of the Occupy New York group to inform us. The Communications Committee will draft a press release for consideration by the General Assembly.


Kayla: Donations Committee

We may need to use a charity to funnel money through, or we can set up our own credit union account.

Each committee should make a list of needs and send it to

Northland Anti War Coalition has a bank account we can use.


Joel: Police

Police have stated that Superior Plaza can be occupied, as a park, from 6am to midnight only. If, between the hours of midnight to 6am, anyone refuses to leave if asked, they will be arrested.

The police will not enforce the ordinance for no overnight camping at the Civic Center.

There are no open fires allowed on city land. No bonfires. Campstoves are OK. Metal drums set up on top of concrete bricks to get them off the ground might be tolerated as a fire container for warmth.

A biffy is ready to go, and is planned to be delivered to the Civic Centre early Saturday morning.

Proposal: Meet at Superior Plaza at 9am Saturday. Plan to camp at Civic Centre, to begin with. We may move or occupy other public space nearby, as we decide.

After some discussion, this proposal was approved by the General Assembly with no blocks.


Respectfully submitted,

Diane Emerson,

Minutes from the Oct 22 General Assembly

General Assembly Minutes, Oct 22, 2011
2pm-3pm, at People’s Plaza

Moderators: Joel, Lara
Minutes: Diane
Stack: Phil

Lara reviewed the process of consensus decision-making for the newcomers. Here is a link to a YouTube video of her giving these instructions:

Working Group Updates

Media and Communication: Phil.
The website is online, All working group members should go to the website and sign up. Mediators can be given access to edit the site.

Needs: We need a Clear Wire Modem and Wireless Router. If anyone has a lead on getting these, please contact Phil at

We are looking for someone to talk to the media on behalf of Occupy Duluth. If interested in being considered, talk to Phil.

Donations: Tyler
What we need most of all are donations of people’s time. When telling people about Occupy Duluth, if they are supportive of the idea, ask “What have you done to help?” If they need ideas, have them call Tyler at 218-461-2540.

A Community Outreach committee is also being started, to bring in more volunteers.

Donations of Food – Josh. We will not turn down any food donations, but we ask that people donate food with these guidelines in mind:
1. Food as local as possible
2. Organic if possible
3. Whole foods are OK – such as a big bag of carrots or potatoes. We have the ability to cook our own meals.

Food Committee: We have lots of food, and it’s going to be fun!

Medical Committee: We need supplies. The list is on Facebook

Treasury: Malory: We will probably not be able to get nonprofit status, though Occupy Minnesota is working on it. A proposal will be given at Wednesday’s meeting. We can accept cash and checks, as long as checks are made out to Loaves and Fishes, with a note on the check that it is for “Occupy”.

Arts and Family: nothing to report

Facilitation: We need more members to facilitate meetings.

Town Planning (Occupation site): Need more people residing in the town
Need to shift the tents this next week so we don’t kill the grass.

PeaceKeeping: We need more people

1st Public Communique

A draft of Occupy Duluth’s first communique to the public was handed out for all present to read. This is intended to be sent out as a press release. After discussion and a temperature check, it was agreed by consensus to have the team which drafted the document (Aaron, Lara and Jesse), make changes based on the comments of the General Assembly, and send it out as a press release by Monday.

Bianca reported that we need to educate people as to what is going on in society. An Education Working Group will be set up. If interested, people can contact Bianca, or Joel Kilgour. Joel’s phone number is 218-724-2054.

Flags at our Camp
Currently we have 3 flags flying: the corporate flag is the US flag with the stars replaced by corporate logos. The US flag is flying upside down, indicating distress, and there is an Earth flag as well. After discussion, it was agreed by consensus to change the flags to the following:
Top: US flag flying right side up
Next: Corporate flag flying upside down indicating distress
Bottom: Earth flag

It was also agreed to indicate in the upcoming press release that an upside down flag indicates distress.

Open Floor Discussion

Tidiness: Everyone take their dirty dishes to the dirty dishes box. Do not leave them laying around in the living room.

David Cobb from Move To Amend
David is going to be in Duluth on the 9th of November. Here is why Occupy Duluth might be interested in hearing him:
“On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions.” From

Minutes of Oct 26 General Assembly

Occupy Duluth General Assembly
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Location: Duluth Autonomous District/Mass Occupation Movement (Civic Plaza)
7:00 pm

Facilitators: Lara and Tyler

Stack: Alex, Jay

Time: Ben

Notes: Diane

Committee Reports:
SANITATION: the unions have agreed we can take our trash and recycling there

DIRECT ACTION: Alan. An e-mail and phone list has been created. Next we need to decide what direct actions we will take, and how often. Bigger events, which take longer to plan, are preferred.

Here are some future events taking place which we should know about, if we wish to do direct action.

Friday, October 27: Critical Mass Ride. Halloween Theme. Assemble at 5pm at Minnesota Power Plaza. Ride begins at 5:30pm

Saturday, October 29: Kids for the Future, 1-3pm, People’s Power Plaza. The Vote Yes on the Levy Committee. Chalk design is on Friday.
We will be located across the street, at the fountain, for our General Assembly at 2pm. Need new signs, and new slogans.

Tuesday, November 1: Shane Claiborne event: CHUM Fall Community Assembly The event will be held from 6:30 to 8 pm in the Mitchell Auditorium at the College of St. Scholastica. Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus.

Saturday, November 5: Connecting the Dots, event put on by Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) 8:30 -12 noon, at Clyde Iron Works. Free to get in, free breakfast. Also Move the Money Day. Move your money from the big banks into credit unions or local banks.

Thursday, November 17: Minnesotans for a Fair Economy

Saturday, November 29: International Solidarity Day with Palestinian people

Anybody who wants to set up a direct action at any of these events or others is welcome.

Phil will work on getting the calendar available for editing for Occupy Duluth working group leaders

We need video and photos submitted to the website and by working group leaders, please.

There is a phone list in the living room tent. Add your name and contact details to it.

Media representatives are coming to visit our occupation on Thursday, the day we are moving our tents. Mike is coming at 2pm, and Alex from the Duluth News Tribune is doing “ A day in the life of an occupier”. Jesse and Jennifer will be our key spokespeople, and we will ask Alex to come and be an occupier for a day as well. If you want Jesse and Jennifer to speak for you when the media comes to interview them, please let them know your opinions and ideas.

Armband: We discussed the use of the armband for the person in camp who is to keep an eye on things, people visiting, etc. The “go to” person.

Lara followed up on the first communique from Occupy Duluth. The changes proposed at the Oct 23 GA have been made, and the document was made available on her laptop for anyone who wanted to see it one more time before it goes out. The assembly decided to both post it on our website and submit it to media representatives. This is the “Post and Push” strategy.


Attendees at the GA agreed that we would have a block/ban on physical and verbal violence in the camp.

This working group needs more members and some dialogue on whether to accept into camp people who have been drinking heavily.

We are well loved. People are asked to review the wish list on Facebook

Jeannie of the NE Area Labor Council re-affirmed the support of their organization, and asked what we need that they might supply. Responses included:
Scrap plywood for building
Clean-burning kerosene
Assistance by building tradespeople
General camping supplies
Tarps, rope, more tents.

She told us that the group does a monthly Labor Movie Night at the Labor Temple, 21st Ave East and London Road, 6pm, Thursday, October 27.

We are getting too much unhealthy treat food, and the assembly agreed to pass along extra food we do not need to local food banks, rather than store it.

The food/kitchen working group would love to receive more donations of gift cards to grocery stores, so we can buy the necessary makings for our meals, rather than trying to create meals without key ingredients.

Seeds for Success, Randy Hanson, has offered us 100 feet of kale and 100 feet of collard greens. We need volunteer pickers. Let Jennifer know.

There will be training for all people who use the kitchens, and we now have a DO NOT USE table, for allergen free foods only. Our kitchen will as be allergen-free as possible, to help accommodate people with allergies.

CITY PLANNING: Jennifer and team have been working on re-arranging the tents, and after the GA all are invited to finalize the new plan, which will be implemented on Thursday.
Jay mentioned that in other Occupy movements there are two regular meeting groups: a General Assembly and a Occupants Assembly, because there are so many details which need to be addressed and concern only the people who are actually sleeping at the various occupy sites. This may be something we do in the near future.

We will have a place for children to play in our future plans.

Malory has investigated the feasibility of creating a non-profit organization. The group agreed not to pursue this option at this time.
The Northland Anti War Coalition, a not for profit group, has offered for us to use their accounts. We will investigate the possibility of setting up a separate checking account with them.
A small amount of cash will be kept on site for needed purchases.
A donation jar was stolen at our Oct 23 party on the plaza. We need a better system for these donation jars: something harder to walk away with.

Last Saturday’s artists enjoyed the day, and want to do it again. Photos and videos of the event are wanted for the website. Next event will be simpler. Perhaps Occupy Colleges Nov 2. We could use projectors to show videos to the colleges, such as the movie “I am Not Moving”,
Not violent movies.
Jennifer offered her disk burning capabilities.
Possible next event date: November 11, although there will be many events of a spiritual nature taking place on that date: 11/11/11
Suggestions were made to have a guided meditation once a week.
A proposal was discussed to have a movie made which included the violence against the occupiers in Oakland and other cities. It was felt it will help galvanize people into supporting the occupy movement. After much discussion, it was agreed to have a movie put together that would be balanced. It would include the violence against other occupiers, but would also be balanced by information and inspiration. This movie would be shown at the next occupy party event. Parents would be warned that it contains violence in the following ways: by mic check, and also by a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie.


Chad does mushroom hunts, much to the delight of some of the members. Look on the north side of poplar trees.

Community Construction Project: we discussed the creation of a Lean To Greenhouse for Josh and his wife. They offered to bring back to the Occupation everything they grow in it, if we help them build it. We also discussed having a greenhouse here, but it would need to be on wheels.

Construction Committee proposed, with people who have construction background. Women in Construction, Northern Communities Land Trust were both mentioned as possibilities for places to find interested members.

Statement of Solidarity with the Postal Service: Aaron read this statement for the group. It was proposed and accepted that we add this statement to our website and facebook page. Tyler offered to set up a Post Office box for donations to Occupy Duluth, to also help support the Post Office. Jennifer suggested that we print out these statements and mail them using stamps, also in support. We did not make further decisions on it.

Fair Farm Movement: Tyler brought up this topic, which is relevant to the Occupy movement because of the monopolies in the food industry. He encouraged a letter writing campaign to Senator Klobuchar to be a champion on the Senate Floor for the Fair Farm Movement.

Flags: Currently we have a right side up American flag, then an upside down peace flag, and the earth flag. It was mentioned that the upside down peace sign is considered satanic. The peace flag is upside down because our US flag with the corporate logos has disappeared, so we put that flag upside down in its place. Diane has ordered a replacement corporate logo flag.

Forum at Peace Church: Wednesday, November 9, from 7-9 pm. This event includes quite a line-up of interesting speakers and music, but it conflicts directly with our General Assembly. The people will choose. Here is more info on the event:
November 9, 2011 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: Peace Church, 1111 N. 11th Ave. East
Duluth, MN 55805
Speakers / Performers include: David Cobb, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Jim Northrup, Joel Sipress, and Sharla Gardner. Music by Rachael Kilgour.

David Cobb (Keynote Speaker): Spokesperson for Move to Amend, 2004 Green Party presidential candidate, attorney, initiator of the 2004 Ohio Recount.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer: Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas, author of thirteen books, leader of the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP).

Jim Northrup: Renowned Anishinaabe poet / author of numerous books and other publications.

Joel Sipress: Professor of history at the University of Wisconsin Superior and progressive activist.

Sharla Gardner: Member of the Duluth City Council.

Phone: 218.310.7682

NEXT GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Saturday, October 29, 2:00 pm, fountain area (next to The Electric Fetus) accross from People’s Plaza, Lake and Superior. The Plaza has been rented by a student group on 10-29, we will respect their permit and assemble accross the street. Please join us. Everyone has an equal say in our meetings. Come and be heard. Have your suggestions considered by all. Participate in consensus decision-making. No majority votes here!