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General Assembly notes, Tuesday 27 February 2012, 6 pm, Paul Robeson Ballroom

201202281900 PRBR Occupy GA notes Tuesday Feb. 12, 2012, 6:00 pm
Present: Jesse, Adam, Paul, Kathy, DJ, Reese, Lara, Mike, Tyler, Richard (note taker)
Agenda: March 3rd actions, disussion
Foreclosure report, Adam
Critical Mass and Really Really Free Market
Sulfide Mining, Adam
Funding, Reese
Media, Kathy
Lara said there are many actions planned around town for the March 3rd Diversity rally. Some groups are coming in from out of town. Occupy Paul Robeson Ballroom is meeting at 9:30 am at People’s Power Plaza, and will provide free food, warmth, and good vibes to protesters, celebrationists, and passers by. Kathy said she will bring some coffee, orange juice, sweet treats. Supporters are encouraged to bring pot-luck items. Lara said the three main actions she has heard of are the emergency response events to be held at the civic center starting about 10:00 am, our support and de-escalation activity at the Plaza starting at 9:30 am, and a party for those who believe the best response is no response at all, gathering near the lift bridge at 10:00 am. We have heard that a contingent from the Anishinabe first nations is gathering for a peaceful diversity action at the civic center, peacekeepers are coming from the Twin Cities Occupy, and we have heard of some autonomous Black Bloc actions being planned. This event has the range, scope, and front-line adrenaline to be a memorable party. Something for everyone. Tyler said the DPD liason for the day’s events is an officer named Anne. Jesse said there is a pre-action organizing event being held on Friday night at Emerson Coop, with a focus on peacekeeping and de-escalation. Food will be served.
Adam reported for the foreclosure working group. Chris and Chrystal Dunbar are facing a sheriff’s sale at the end of the month. Last Thursday’s meeting in Superior was attended by only a few of the usual Twin Ports Liberal crowd, but was jammed with angry working folks whose homes are being threatened. Chris and Chrystal’s mortgage story is not much different from the millions of others around the nation, even around the world. When the housing market failed, their mortgage was called by USBank on grounds that the security (cash value of the house) was no longer enough to justify the loan. USBank demanded a full cash payment of the remaining mortgage, and refused to re-negotiate the loan, even though Chris and Chrystal were not behind in payments and continued to have sufficient income to cover the payments. Chris and Chrystal even offered to make higher payments on the loan and to pay down the remaining balance as much as possible. USB said no. The sheriff’s sale will be held in the sheriff’s office, and the actual physical eviction from the premises will occur five or six months later. It appears that USB does not back down from this kind of fight unless they are going to be embarrassed in the media. The plan is to pressure USB to renegotiate the mortgage through petitions and protests, which will be organized on a facebook page and website. Attempts will be made to discourage the sheriff from carrying out the sale. There is another meeting to plan to contest the bank’s decision tonight, Thursday March 1st 2012, Superior Public Library, 6 pm.
Reese reported for the Critical Mass bicycle ride that 7 riders in black held an action last Friday at 5:00 pm, starting from the People’s Power Plaza. 7 bike riders in February in Duluth is a pretty good turnout. Critical Mass rides are intended to promote awareness of bicycling, both for riders to understand the laws, and motorists to understand the needs and rights of the bike riders. The next Critical Mass ride will start at People’s Power Plaza at 5:30 pm on March 23rd, the Friday evening before the next Really Really Free Market. Reese is also meeting with a group in West Duluth to promote bike and pedestrian trails and signage.
Reese also reported that this month the Really Really Free Market event will be held at Paul Robeson Ballroom on March 24th. The Really Really Free Market event last weekend was very successful. People started to gather in the courtyard, and there was a crowd of twenty or more waiting for the doors to open. Many people were delighted to carry away some really nice stuff, and quite a few donations of free stuff were accepted. There was food, beverages, and a camp fire in the courtyard. Many free-ranging discussions took place. Occupiers got a chance to meet the neighbors and establish relationships. The Really Really Free Market is not about the exchange of stuff, but the exchange of stuff provides a platform for developing a community. Reese could use some help with setup, and with publicity. He is working with Scat Radio graphics to produce permanent screen print posters. The Paul Robeson Ballroom Occupy will continue to offer a free store every day, with big community events once a month. Usually someone opens the Paul Robeson Ballroom daily from about noon to about 4 pm. Next Really Really Free Market will be Saturday, the 24th day of this month, March, 2012, from 11:00 to 4:00 pm, at the Paul Robeson Ballroom and courtyard. Everyone is welcome.
Adam reported on the autonomous actions of an Occupy supporter, who has been hauled into court for the crime of yelling at bankers. He was sentenced to a year on probation. This brave person then turned their attention to the Sulfide Mining issue, by writing a 3 page resolution calling for an investigation of the environmental issues. The resolution was presented to the Carlton County Central Labor Body, and after consideration they voted to approve it and send it forward to the North East Minnesota Labor Council, where it was voted down. Funding for an organizer at Carlton County Central Labor Body was reduced by fifty percent at the same meeting, a symbolic gesture since the stipend is tiny anyway. The resolution will be reformulated and presented to the public as a letter they can sign and send to union, government or corporate officials.
Reese reported on our funds, which are now pretty thin. Various Occupiers are holding about two hundred dollars of donated funds. Alan told Reese he needs about $80.00 to pay for the portapotty, and other occupiers have dipped into their own funds to buy fuel and heaters to help keep the ballroom warm. Reese said he would like to buy a projector and blackout curtains for the Thursday movie, and the money could be repaid from donations collected on movie night. Tyler said we need to focus on finding a reliable treasurer. Kathy said she would be willing to open a bank account, but is not open to holding large amounts of cash on her person. Reese said first we need a continuous money flow. He said a donation button on the website could help. Tyler said the current website is run by Phil, who has been busy with other projects. Lara pointed out that there is another website option in development.

Lara offered to loan her copy of Inglourious Basterds (2009), a film about Nazies, this coming Thursday night, 7 pm at Paul Robeson Ballroom, sliding scale admissions for donations. Please bring drinks and munchies to share.

Kathy said Eric called Richard and tipped us off to some potential media attention. A reporter from WDIO-10 has asked Eric what is going on in the ballroom. They may want to interview some of our members. Lara offered to take point on this interview, and asked anyone present when a reporter asks questions to refer them to her. Matt said we should have a media group to deal with this kind of thing. It’s been discussed before and while it seems a good idea, no one volunteered their time to participate in yet another working group.
Jesse said he has locked down the facebook Twin Ports page because of a suspicion of Troll incursions.
Mike said he will be taking the open hours at Paul Robeson Ballroom every afternoon for the next week, since Reese is going to be Occupied elsewhere. Mike said people have been hanging out in the backyard every day. Seven were there on Tuesday. We will need to make them familiar with our drug and alcohol policy, which does not permit intoxicants of any kind in Occupied areas.
There being no further business, the assembly adjourned at about 8:30 pm.

GA minutes for Tuesday 21 February

201202211800 Tuesday 21 February 6pm Paul Robeson Ballroom General Assembly minutes
Present: Mike, Reese, Alan, Paul, Lara, Jesse, Carl, Richard, Kathy, Matt.
We sang Happy Birthday for Kathy, out of tune, in several different keys and a variety of rhythms. It sounded truly horrible and Kathy was suitably embarrassed. She is sixty and one this year.

Pauls first time at a GA, He is particularly interested in actions against the white supremracist rally, which has been reported in the Duluth News Tribune as planned to take place on 3 March 2012 at 10am at the civic center. He supports the idea of a pledge drive, funds to be given to YWCA, with pledges by local businesses and organizations to donate some amount of money for every minute that the rally continues. The longer they rally, the more funds are raised for a cause they detest. Jesse noted that we have a working group focusing on this, with a central hillside door knocking campaign to invite everyone to come to a 10 am counter-rally picnic at the People’s Power Plaza at the corner of Lake and Superior, food music cheeky signage and slogun yelling. Speakers will be asked to attend and address the burgeoning crowds. Matt reminded us that the supremracists do not limit their icky-poo-poo-face actions to race. He commented that our focus needs to be on racism, not on the racists themselves.

Jesse said people who do not have bicycles but still want to participate in Friday’s critical mass bike ride can get a loaner bike from The Bike Cave collective/cooperative whatever. They are willing to loan ten or more bikes on the promise to return them in good condition. The Bike Cave is currently located at Loaves and Fishes.

Reese has been remodeling the kitchen. Eric R. and Doug M. have made counter tops and other items available from Bayside Warehouse. Reese asked for help with the project, moving materials and organizing corners. Kathy suggested the plastic enclosure be left in place, used for storage of items that are not for give away at the free market. Someone noted that the RRFM is on a Saturday, and are we going to have Saturday GA as usual? Impossible. So, we agreed to the suggestion that we have a casual gathering around the campfire in the courtyard after the market closes.

Alan reported on finances……Valerie, who was treasurer for Camp M.O.M. D.A.D. (before it was ripped apart and/or wrecked or stolen by a gang of thugs from the city police department) reports that our funds need to find a new home, as Valerie now has more pressing interests. We need to find a new treasurer. And we need to find cash to fund our nefarious fun-making activities. Maybe some of the Camp M.O.M. D.A.D. supporters will help out with donations, even though we have temporarily abandoned the civic center. Our costs now include the restoration of heat, light, and water utilities to Paul Robeson Ballroom (please help if you can).

Scott (could not be here, because of his singing) wanted us to address the upcoming Mayday activities. Occupy has called for a general strike, no work no school no shopping, and several major-city occupy groups have endorsed. People nationwide and in Dululth are rising up to back the general strike. The blogosphere is agog. Jesse suggested plastering the town with wheat paste posters and banner drops. He said we should watch for other groups planning activities, and delegate a member to coordinate. Kathy was concerned because she has a job working to provide health care for low income people, who really have a desperate need to be served. Reese pointed out that it is traditional in general strikes to arrange for people in critical service jobs to continue their good work.

The meeting adjourned at about 7:35 pm.

201202181400 Paul Robeson Ballroom General Assembly 2 pm Saturday February 18th 2012. The assembly began a few minutes after two o’Clock. Present: Sue visiting from Florida, Eli from Occupy Minnesota (Minneapolis), Kathy, Reese Justin, Blake, Mike, Tyler, Jen, Richard. Kathy was scribe and Richard took notes. Group decided to meet informally, so process was conversational rather than formal consensus. Matt and Nadia were late joiners.

Agenda: Bike and Pedestrian trail group (February 21st and February 23rd and forward)
Critical Mass (Friday February 24th)
Really Really Free Market (Saturday February 25th)
White Power hissy-spitty fit (3rd March Civic Center 10:00 am)
Building update
Horse building
Super Hero Funk
Mayday actions
Reese informed us about a bike trail and pedestrian path improvement group which meets in West Duluth on Tuesday and Thursdays at 6:00 pm. The next meetings are on February 21st at City Center West, 5830 Grand Avenue, and February 23rd at Portland Community Center, 4601 McCulloch. Reese said this is a very active group and we should link up with them. He and Tyler are planning to attend one of their next meetings and will recruit for Critical Mass cooperation. Two further meetings are scheduled for Central Hillside Community Center and Kirby, UMD. Call Reese or Tyler for more information.

Reese said he has been in contact with members of the Bike Cave cooperative/collective, and has an offer of the use of fifteen or twenty rebuilt bikes to be available for anyone who wants to ride in the Critical Mass event this Friday, 24th February, 5pm starting at Civic Center and proceeding via routes to be announced to the Paul Robeson Ballroom for food and fun, and then there will be a birthday bash for Ben “Black Block” Butter across the street at The Retro. Critical Mass participants will be passing out half-sheet flyers on the ride, explaining the purpose of the event. Justin offered to look for graphics on the web, and Eli said he has the address of a web site where historic Critical Mass event posters are available for download. Jen asked if there will be costumes, and Eli said costumes will be good for attracting new members. Eli is concerned that Black Block references could be alienating to some potential allies. He asked us to consider the goal of the event.

The Really Really Free Market will be held for the first time at Paul Robeson Ballroom this coming Saturday. Discussion of details included how to handle people who bring trashy stuff and then leave it here. People will be directed to take any of their stuff that is left over home with them. Eli said the RRFM in Winona keeps leftovers and puts them out again the next month. Jen suggested the organizers should screen donations to keep trash out. One of the features discussed is to have warming fires in the courtyard. Jen said her landlord has assured her that he would not mind if a group of people came and gathered firewood in the forest around Jen’s place. Kathy offered use of a truck and trailer to haul the wood. Jen said she would contact the landlord and ask for a specific time. She said it would probably be late afternoon, since she works until 3pm this week.

A group which promotes white supremracist movements around the USA has announced plans for a rally at Duluth Civic Center, March 3rd at 10:00 am. Counter demonstrations are under consideration. Justin described a tactic to approach business, civic, and religious organizations to make pledges to donate some amount of money for each minute that the supremracist rally continues. The longer the supremracist speakers talk, the more money will be donated to a cause white supremracists detest. YWCA was suggested as a likely recipient of the pledge money. This plan has the additional benefit of showing Occupy in our community acting in a peaceful and creative way to frustrate racists. Our members will get to know and be known in the neighborhood by conducting door knock campaigns and local business visits. Tyler called for a working group to meet after the GA.

Blake said we need to get Transistor to update our meeting announcements. We changed our mid-week meetings to Tuesday some months ago, but the announcements still show us meeting on Wednesday. Tyler said he would look into it. He said it would help if as many people as possible sent emails to the respective editors. (ed.: don’t bother transistor any more……they know.)

Richard said puppet making was successful and the giant human heart puppet has seen some street action. Next we will be building a giant mutant corn monster. Please come help on Sunday afternoon, fun times. Contact Richard or Kathy.

Reese said he met with Eric and Doug about free cabinets and counters we can pick up at Bayside Warehouse in Superior. Tyler and Jesse are planning to pick up said furniture on Monday. Tyler commented that Eric and Doug are very supportive of our work, and Eric even suggested we open more of the building to our community center. There is a storefront and apartments on the street level.

Jen told us about a Horse Building Workshop given by Lee Stuart of LISC. She is an organizer with successful experience in The Bronx neighborhood of NYC. Her workshop is full of practical organizing knowledge, and is given in four sessions. Building the horse refers to putting the horse before the cart….that is, to focus on community relationships and building power in the people. She says one big flaw in social movements these days is that there is no plan of what to do when we win. The next session in her current workshop series is Tuesday at 6:00 pm at Central Hillside Community Center. Further workshops will begin next week. Dinner will be served.

Jen then talked about her proposal for a Super Hero funk dance party, and Justin said it would be a great way to get more UMD students involved. Reese suggested it be part of a repeating monthly series of events. He said for example a party was given recently at the Totally Free Space, 215 E. 1st Street, where 70 people arrived. The event was not advertised, but spread rapidly by word of mouth. Many people are eager for events that do not involve drugs and alcohol. Reese said the Retro basement is a huge space and awesome for a party. A hundred to a hundred and fifty people could fit in there.

Eli asked if Duluth does anything for Mayday. Hangdog looks and reluctant answers indicated a high level of frustration and disappointment . No, Duluth does not do anything for Mayday, but probably should. Eli said there is a call to Occupy Mayday nationally. It calls for a general strike, no school, no work. Posters and ‘zines are available online from national groups. Tyler mentioned the NATO G8 summit meeting in Chicago, and he said Occupy Chi has a plan to reoccupy Chicago sometime in April. There has been some talk among our occupiers of sending a delegation to Chicago for one or another or both of these events. Nadia said Occupy Minnesota (Minneapolis) is organizing busses and asking people to sign up. Matt said a good place to find information about these and other actions is at

Tyler mentioned a good film, “Into Eternity” about nuclear waste storage, which is coming to Zeitgeist 7pm Monday. No, the film is coming to Zeitgeist, not the waste itself. Jen added a recommendation for the movie “Thrive”, which will be shown Monday at 1:30pm at Interfaith Community Church, 9th Street and 14th Avenue, with a meal to follow. Information about Thrive can be found on web at

Reese said he has seen some nice projectors selling for around $100.00 on Ebay and Amazon. He said he is in contact with Frost River, which makes backpacks, and they have scrap canvas that could be sewn together to give us blackout curtains for showing films in daylight hours. Frost River also makes outdoor tents to order, which is of interest to our own plan to re-occupy.
There being no further business and because many cigarettes needed to be smoked, the meeting adjourned at 4:41 pm.

Notes of General Assembly at Paul Robeson Ballroom on Saturday 10 February 2012

201202111400 Occupy General Assembly, Paul Robeson Ballroom
Agenda: Save Our Homes foreclosure report.
Ruckus Review
Make Out Not War
Movie Night….totally free space
PBR Open 12-4
Fair Share
Members present: Richard, Scott, Kathy, Tyler, female friend who came with Reese, Reese, Blake, Justin, Ron, Dianne, Matt, Mike

Reese has been attending Save Our Homes meetings, and commented that their meetings are moving very smoothly. Our own meetings seem more casual and less decisive by comparison. Kathy commented that the Save Our Homes meetings are composed of older members who have been in the movement a long time, while Occupy Ballroom is more youthful, but less experienced.

Tyler reported on the Thursday St. Paul Capitol Ruckus action. A large group of demonstrators stood silently as legislators arrived for a session at the capitol. The demonstrators wore replicas of US $100.00 notes taped over their mouths, in protest of the way big money (in the form of “free speech” for corporate personhood) is now allowed to gag the voices of ordinary people by drowning them out in big campaign contributions.

Jesse said the puppet project is developing nicely, but needs more hands. Sunday there will be puppet forming activity at the Arts Coop at 1:00 pm. Call Jesse or Richard if you can volunteer.

The Really Really Free Market is only 2 weeks away, and flyers are ready to go out for posting. Several people took posters, with the idea that they will have them reproduced and distribute them to public bulletin boards. Kathy commented that if we are going to have warming fires in the courtyard, we will need donations of firewood.

Tyler commented that he is showing the movie, Inside Job, at the ballroom tonight. He asked for help setting up for a large group of people. Tyler suggested that Thursday nights be free movie night at the ballroom .Scott suggested a future showing of “I am,” a movie which presents interviews with many well-known activists, including for example Howard Zinn, the author of several excellent books on the real history of the people, not just a narration of leaders and their wars. Dianne suggested showing “Margin Call,” a video about inside workings at Wall Street. She also suggested posting a list for people who have ideas for other films to screen.
Reese volunteered to keep the Ballroom open for funny business every day, seven days a week, from noon to 4pm. He hopes other members will be able to extend those hours. He commented on our need to re-establish utilities. We have space heaters but need to get the steam company to supply heat. We have a connection to electricity but it is only one line and we seriously worry about overloading it. We also need water, which at this time is carried to the ballroom in buckets and jugs. Reese suggested setting up a steam fund for next year’s heating season, allocating perhaps 3% of incoming donations to a fund dedicated to that purpose. Meanwhile some generous members have picked up the tab for the porta-potty, the cellphone, and fuel for the heaters. Reese pointed out that we have been relying on these members, but the burden of payment needs to be shared among our members and our community. In other words, we need to secure additional sources of income.

Reese said he would use the open hours at the Ballroom for cleanup and preparation for the Really Really Free Market, which is now less than two weeks away. Reese said we should also be planning actions in support of Henry Bank’s project to change the zoning ordinance which currently makes it impossible for store owners of small shops downtown to live in the second floor space above their stores. The zoning fight is now about two months away.

The representative who was planned to speak to us about Fair Share did not show up. Tyler filled us in on what Fair Share is and does.

Tyler also read to us from a statement made last November by the Oakland Police Union, asking that Occupy members stand in solidarity with the police department. Since November, there have been violent encounters between Oakland police officers and Occupy protesters. These violent encounters may have been provoked, in part, by Black Block members, a violent anarchist group which has engaged in rock and bottle throwing and destruction of property in close proximity to peaceful Occupy actions. There is speculation that Black Block could be a false flag operation, designed to press peaceful Occupy members into violent encounters with the police. Whatever the Black Block intent, they have given the enemy plenty of opportunities to paint Occupy ugly in the media.

Next GA meeting will be Tuesday 14 February, 7 pm here at the Paul Robeson Ballroom, after the Make Out Not War action, which begins at the Civic Center (in front of City Hall and the Federal and County Courts buildings) at 4:30 pm and will frolic-march to Power Plaza.

The meeting adjourned informally as there were no more topics under discussion.

Occupy Duluth GA Saturday February 7th 2012, Paul Robson Ballroom

201202081010 315 GA Tuesday February 7th 2012 Paul Robeson Ballroom
Present: Nadia, Kathy (Scribe), DJ, Mike, Reese, Jesse, Richard (notes), Matt.
Due to the small and familiar size of the group, we decided to suspend the usual rules of concensus, and proceed with today’s business conversationally.
Thursday trip to St. Paul plan report
Really Really Free Market report
Valentines Make-Out event report
Puppets working group report
Occupy The Hood Solidarity action proposal
Ballroom working group needs and fundraiser
Jesse reprted that the trip to St. Paul would commence with a training and tactics review session at the Labor Temple at 7:30 am. Two passenger vans and two cars will be leaving at 8:00 am, Scott and Allen driving the vans. For more information contact Allen. This action is in support of the SCSIU protest against legislation which would impose Voter ID requirements.
Reese reported on publicity for the RRFM on perfectduluthday and Craigslist. Jesse said an event invitation has been sent to about a thousand Occupy supporters and allies. Flyers are being prepared to poster and leaflet the neighborhood Reese said he will make a sign announcing the event, to be posted on the courtyard wall. Kathy asked about firewood for the campfires, and was reassured that it would be provided. Reese and Jesse agreed it should go on the needs list. Reese suggested people who are still not sure what a Really Really Free Market action is about. He suggested looking it up on Wikipedia, which has a really good article. Events are held world-wide on the last Saturday of every month. Bring good useful items you no longer need or want, choose what you need or want among the items other people bring, and no dumping. If you bring something and no one wants it, take it with you when you leave.
Jesse reported that Make Out Not War actions with puppets and props and street theatre will be playing in traffic at or near the civic center and on the road to the Plaza on the 14th from 4:30 to 6 pm. A fire pit will be provided for comforting cold demonstrators. Allen has agreed to arrange two playful speakers to address the maddening crowds at the plaza. Jesse is hoping someone will provide hot beverages and soup whatnot to comfort the hungry and thirsty demonstrators, who can be expected to need to recover from the frenzied parade activities. Flyers are being prepared.
The meeting was then interrupted by someone pounding on the door, someone evidently ignorant of the secret codes. Jesse went to see who it was. Fortunately it was not the police or homeland security, but a supporter delivering a gift of old newspapers. This person was greeted warmly and thanked enthusiastically, and the newspaper will be mache’d into puppet flesh by the puppet working group.
Nadia suggested a possible opportunity for action in support of the Occupy The Hood protests being planned for late February by Occupy Minneapolis. The plan is for a spoken word and music event at a café or bar, with outreach to communities of color. Watch this space for further details TBA.
Matt suggested we look into the possibility of showing movies at Leaf Ericson park, or alternately, on the wall of our building, to be viewed from the parking lot.
The conversation then turned to Ballroom needs and fundraising. Reese said we need to maintain open hours so people can always find us. He said he can be available between the hours of 12 and 4 pm. He also described a website named Kickstarter which acts as a host for fundraisers. Other sites are also available for the same purpose. There are also alternatives to the Assange treacherous Paypal, something named like “Payme” or “Mypay” or “Billme”, look it up yourself, I’m not your google slave. Some discussion of handling funds ensued. This discussion reflected the usual Occupy disdain for the capitalist economic system, except we still need some stuff…….like heat, light, and water hookups for the Ballroom, money for the camp phone bill, money for the Portapotty, and further projects such as a composting toilet. Reese suggested looking for cheaper telephone service. Several plans were discussed. Matt suggested a signup sheet on the door, where members can volunteer to open the ballroom for funny business. Reese said he can open the ballroom between 12 and 4 a couple days a week. Other members mumbled about their disposable personal discretion hours, and in usual Occupy fashion, it was consensed not to be too controlling in trying to define and then fill every slot, but to let it happen as people volunteer for hours, then try to cover the empty spaces.
Meeting adjourned at about 7:30 pm, but discussions continued as members broke up and reassembled in ad hoc committees for smoke and joke in the courtyard.
Next meeting: Wednesday 12-4 for the puppet working group, contact Richard at 830 0109. Thursday 7:30 am at the Labor Temple for the trip to St.Paul, contact Allen. Next GA is Saturday at 2:00 pm at the Paul Robeson Ballroom.

Occupy Duluth GA Saturday 4 February

201202041415 Saturday 4 February 2012, 2:15 pm Paul Robeson Ballroom  Occupy Duluth general assembly notes

Present: Margie, Tyler, Jesse, Justin, Blake, Jenn, Ellie, Reese, Scott, Ron, Adam, Matt, John, Kathy, Richard.

Agenda: USAgain, Screenprint, RRF Market, Critical Mass, ACTA Feb 11, Banner, Foreclosure Group Report, MOMDAD working group, Valentine’s Day.

Facilitator, Jesse.  Stack, Justin.  Time, Blake.  Notes, Richard.  Scribe: Kathy.

Reese spoke about the presence of green donation boxes around town, and the profit USAgain is making from them….not a non-profit, but resells clothes in Africa.  Proposes action, cautions about aggressive lawsuits against protesters by USAgain.

Reese volunteered to build a screen press to make t-shirts for the Respect Mother Earth Day celebrations.  A local business person has offered to pay expenses, may also make donation to help Ballroom repair utilities.  Homegrown Music Festival may also want us to make t-shirts.  Other groups may follow suit.  Could be a source of income for the building maintenance (M.O.M.D.A.D) working group.

Jesse commented that these proposals may best be treated as autonomous actions.  Temp check was warm for not blocking either action idea.

Reese spoke about the February 25th Really Really Free Market.  People suggested places to put flyers.  Kathy said it would be nice if we had flyers to put.  She asked talented members to make a design or slogun for flyers before leaving the Ballroom.  Adam commented that we can have flyers posted all over UMD campus, one freebie allowed each semester for non-profits.  Tyler volunteered to head up the security team for the market.  He asked potential peacemakers to meet after the GA. 

Jenn asked what other volunteer positions are needed.  She mentioned the need to have food at the Market.  Also someone to insure no one dumps junk on us.  Jesse said we need trucks to haul away the inevitable trash.  Jenn suggested donors be assigned a space which can be tagged to them, and which they will be expected to clean up before leaving.  Tyler suggested two or three yellow band members to hang around and watch for trash.  Jenn said she can head up the potluck, and Kathy said she would make soup.  Jenn suggested a yellow band be stationed at the entrance to explain the trash policy and assign spots.  Have people sign up, fill out application, name and address.  Kathy suggested the Ballroom could donate some of the blankets that came from M.O.M.D.A.D camp.  Jesse said the Ballroom could donate stuff that we have cluttering up our space.  We have new furniture donations and could get rid of some of the old stuff.  Reese said whatever, we need to promote the event NOW.  Jesse said we can talk about it more at the next meeting.

Jesse discussed the Critical Mass event.  He would like to have a potluck at the Ballroom, and a band bash at the retro after the action.  Scott noted that the day of the critical mass is also the day MN ASAP, which has events planned for 7pm.  Jenn said the Critical Mass event is planned to start at five.  Tyler asked if we could send a group representative from the Ballroom, and Scott said we could, but the event is fully scheduled and there will be no floor time available.

Reese suggested the Critical Mass action and the Really Really Free Market both be advertised on the same poster.  Reese said Andrew from the Bike Collective is in support of the Critical Mass event.  Someone suggested contacting the Tall Bikes Clan, Loaves and Fishes, and other coalition groups.  Jenn suggested bike shops.

Reese spoke of ACTA, which is a European version of Sopa and Fifa, which were meant to place controls on the web.  Sopa and Fifa were rejected in the US.  Reese suggested planning a day of action to support our European cohorts day of action on the 11th of February.

Kathy reported that the Banner working group needs consensus on what message the banner will display.   Last meeting some people said we should avoid using Occupy in the main title, but can still have links to websites.  Jesse said the concern is that Occupy could be painted ugly in the media, and we need to be wary of stereotyping.  Scott suggested “Peoples General Assembly”.  Kathy said it could be insulting to some people if we put our banner over the Paul Robeson Ballroom sign.  Tyler said we need to remember Paul. Justin suggested a mural featuring Paul’s profile.

Adam reported to the GA for the Foreclosure Working Group.  There is a core group of about ten, and they have been feeling swamped by all the media publicity.  Plans made before the bank caved have to be reevaluated.  The Wednesday event was more of a victory celebration than teach-in.  The attendees were a cross section of the public, with church members and union members rubbing shoulders with activists.  The working group will meet again on Thursday at 6pm, location to be determined, look on the for the location.  Adam said the Forclosure W.G. now has a telephone, number is also posted on the website.  About two dozen attendees signed up to help out.  One or two people who are being forclosed also asked to be considered as projects. 

Scott described a tactic to occupy bank lobbies by overwhelming them with deposits and withdrawals.

Adam went on to say that the forclosure group is now sending people with forclosure problems to Lutheran Social Services, but that organization is not proactive, and they only send a request to the bank for reconsideration.  When that doesn’t accomplish anything, Occupy will pick up with actions.  However it looks like direct actions may not be needed since attorney Peter Greenlee has been filing bankruptcy claims for people losing their houses, pro-bono, which means the service is at no expense to the client.  Jesse said we need to address the concept of foreclosure itself.  Housing is a human right and no one should ever have to face eviction. Tyler said the housing market should be abolished.  Anyone who agrees is invited to contact Tyler.  Jesse pointed out that the working group is doing a fantastic job, and no actions under consideration are meant in any way to challenge or criticize the working group.

Jesse talked about the M.O.M.D.A.D. working group, which needs to set up a meeting to discuss allocation of space and time resources in the Ballroom.  Justin said he would be willing to open the Ballroom on Thursday and Fridays.  Jesse said he would open the Ballroom on Sunday at noon.  Jesse suggested a signup sheet for hours that members can cover.  Tyler said he would be able to open the Ballroom from 9am to Noon on weekdays. 

Jesse also spoke about a Valentine’s day action, with props, and would involve meeting at civic center and march to the Plaza.  Jesse suggested the slogan “Have a heart, don’t go to Wells Fargo, move your money.”   He said we can make a lot of Valentine days cards with messages to distribute, and have a chant and march parade.  The action is planned for Civic Center to Plaza, 4:30 to 6:00 pm.

Jenn said the cool people are now using twitter, since facebook is vulnerable to hackers.  She suggested we change over, but there were questions from the less-than-tech-savvy. 

The meeting adjourned to the happy happy sunshine in the courtyard at 3:52 pm.

GA Minutes, Jan. 31st 2012

20120201 Occupy GA minutes from Tuesday January 31st 2012 6pm
Present: Jesse, Kathy, Cynthia, Reese, Matt, Lara, Mike N., John, Richard. Bill and Philloneous joined late.
Agenda: Really Really Free Market February 25th
Skywalk access
Banner working group report
Bike Collective and critical mass
Puppets Street Theatre working group report
Respect Mother Earth announcement
Electricity for M.O.M. D.A.D.
Trip to St.Paul on the 9th of February
Reese spoke to us on Really Really Free Market plan for February 25th, from 11:00am to 4:00pm. The idea is that people gather to participate in a gift economy event, like a flea market only without the cash. People bring good things they are willing to donate, and then can select from the things other people brought.
Matt brought up the fact that Skywalk maintenance men have been harassing and escorting poor-looking people to the door. Since the skywalk is built with city funding and permits, all citizens should have equal access. Matt said he found out that the Duluth Downtown Waterfront District is the management agency for the skywalk system. Someone commented that even customers of Pizza Luce have had trouble with low level skywalk employees keeping them from using the restrooms. Kathy said we need to find out what actual written policy is on access, and also contact relevant City employees who may have some control over Janitors who ursurp powers normally reserved to trained and certified Police Officers. The matter was then tabled until further information can be collected, and it was placed on next meeting agenda.
Kathy reported for the banner working group. Justin Anderson is designing the layout and hopes to have some samples ready by Saturday’s GA. Matt commented that if we are going to have website information on the banner, we should make sure it is a website which we can fully control. To do this we need to have our own domain name. Lara said we should all think of phrases we would like to have on a banner and bring suggestions to GA on Saturday. She asked suggestions keep in mind we will want the banner to still represent our group for a good long time.
Jesse said a critical mass bike ride is being planned for every last Friday of the month.
Lara said we should aim to have puppet street theatre actions every week. Richard, John, Jesse, Lara and Kathy said they will have a working group meeting on Thursday February 2nd at 5pm.
Cynthia reported that there is a planning meeting for the Respect Mother Earth day event. The event will be held on July 25th. The immediate goal will be to raise funds, and the Old Man Winter Poetry Slam and fundraising auction will be held on March 16th. For more information, go to the Respect Mother Earth website.
M.O.M. D.A.D. camp II working group discussed utilities for our Occupied building. Richard agreed to call Eric and request a meeting.
Jesse reported for the February 9th Action to protest the Minnesota Voter ID law which is now before the State Legislature. A meeting to plan the action will be held at 6 pm on Monday February 6th.
Lara motioned to adjourn at 8:30. Happy Happy!

Occupy GA minutes, Saturday 28 January 2012

20120127 Momdad Camp II GA minutes 27 January 2012
Agenda: Really really free market
Citizens in Action discussion
Bike Collective
Street Theatre
Public Access to Skywalk
Working Groups
Furniture move

Hand signal review by Tyler. Justin agreed to make an illustration of hand signals for posting on the wall by next Saturday GA.
Reese spoke about the Really Really Free Market idea and about concerns that need to be addressed and tasks that need to be delegated. The event was scheduled and approved for 25 February 2012 from 11 am to 4 pm, to coincide with the national RRFM on the fourth Saturday of the month. Jesse opined that this should become a standard function of Momdad Camp II. He suggests having a week of actions, starting with the first ever Ben Butter Birthday Bike Block on the 24th, a critical mass event, followed by a band bash up in the basement of the Retro Antiques Mall, if it is available. Jesse said he hopes to have the kitchen fully functional by then. Reese gave his ideas for a café counter/ cafeteria style operation.
Richard said the breakout group he attended at the Citizens in Action/ League of Women Voters training session at Copper Top Church was a guide to the process of building up to a social action, from concept to execution. Steve O’Neil presented the format with examples from the ongoing “Save our Homes” movement and from the successful Occupy foreclosure working group action to prevent foreclosure on a Central Hillside residence. Further actions are being planned in Superior.
Tyler, Justin A. and Jesse reported on the Puppet and Street Theatre working group. The puppet action at the courthouse occupation last week was highly successful, and Fun, said Tyler. Jesse said the puppet workshop has been meeting on Wednesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 pm and will continue until Feb. 16 at the West Duluth Institute of Arts. Richard also said he has arranged access to a heated, lighted, large open room with tables, some tools and materials, where we can make our own masks and puppets. Temperature check was warm on having puppet actions every Friday afternoon.
Matt reported that building goons are denying access to the skywalk to persons they feel are undesirable (broke). This is occurring all over the skywalk but especially at the Holiday bus courtyard area and at the so-called Soft Center, areas that were constructed in part at public expense and with considerable cooperation from the city, purportedly in exchange for a permanent public easement to skywalk common areas. Occupy GAs were ordered to leave the skywalk on at least two occasions by these same goons. When refused, the goons contacted city police, who informed the goons that they would not press the force of law on public citizens using a public easement to conduct lawful and orderly business. The goons backed down, after considering that we were about thirty five people, and they only had four goons. Now the goons have started to use their own good judgment in refusing access to the skywalk to “undesirables,” or at least to those who arrive singly on private business. Matt put forward the idea that this situation is ripe for direct action, and was warmly received. Tyler said he would press the city skywalk admins and the downtown council about the actual official policy, if there is any. He will report back Tuesday on his success. The matter was therefore tabled until next GA meeting, Tuesday 6pm at Momdad Camp II.
We then moved on to a discussion of working groups. The Foreclosure working group has been very successful. In past, we have also considered working groups to take care of Momdad Camp II building issues, a facilitation group to work on the structure and process of meetings, a street theatre group to build props and plan guerilla flash theatre events and actions to support other organizations at their protests, demonstrations, and direct actions, a sanitation group to make sure we leave action sites cleaner than we found them, and a kitchen group to provide food and drinks to hungry and thirsty people. Noted that this communal feeding activity has been heavily busted in several public locations across the country. Who knew it could be illegal to offer comfort to those among us who hunger and thirst? Other groups mentioned were the banner group, the scheduling group, and the media group.
Jesse asked that we set a date for the facilitation group meeting, and was given twinkly fingers. The time was set for 6 pm Monday at Momdad Camp II.                                                                                   We agreed to move on to the discussion of Re-Occupy. Tyler has spoken with Matt and Ben from the Minneapolis Occupy, and some dates for a grand-re-occupy even have been suggested. The Ides of March is a target date for actions, and an Occupy Chicago event is being planned for April 8th. A nationwide general strike has been called for May 1st. Later in May, the G8 will be meeting with Nato and actions are being planned to leverage the session. Jay commented that it is never too early to begin planning to go there. Jesse asked the members of the GA to be thinking of and looking for strategies and ideas. Allen commented that there are many vacant properties which could be sites for Occupy in Duluth.
Mike then updated us on his need to find a place to live, and he offered to move in to occupy Momdad Camp II as a permanent resident. Jesse pointed out that it would be great to have Mike around as a night watchman to protect our occupation rights. All agreed. Mike said he has furniture he wants to move to Momdad Camp II and asked for volunteers to help move. Several people offered to help, including one member with a truck.
Allen announced that there is a good calendar of events online at Minnesotans for a Fair Economy website (google it yourself.) February 1st is a Protect Our Homes meeting at Pilgrim Congregational (4th Street and 24th Avenue) at 7:30. Caucuses are on the 7th of February. Allen also told us about an exciting and fun action being planned for the 9th in St. Paul. Allen said it would be a good thing to take the 99% signs door to door, distribute the signs, collect names of people who would support us.

Allen also updated us on the antics of Chip Cravaack, who took his second largest donation of campaign money from Fed Ex, and then after he was elected, he voted on measures to kill the US Post Office, which is of course in competition with Fed Ex. Fed Ex has also been implicated in several notorious tax dodger schemes. Jesse suggested a planning session for Feb. 9th actions, to be held Feb. 6th at 6 pm at Momdad Camp II. Allen also told us about a gathering protest against Walmart for promoting genetically modified corn on their shelves. He shared his vision of an attack led by giant mutated ear-of-corn puppets.
Adam announced an action being planned by the Organizing Apprentice program to be held at Holiday Center during the noon hour on date TBA toward the end of February. Matt informed us of a practical economics class delivered to Chum on how to open accounts and write checks. The class was given by Wells Fargo. The irony is sharp as metastasis.
The next GA will be held at Momdad Camp II Tuesday January 31 at 6pm. Momdad Camp II is located at the Paul Robeson Ballroom, uphill side of 1st Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue East, next to the burned-out but not forgotten grandeur of the old Kozy Bar complex. Entrance is through the rear courtyard.
The meeting adjourned at about 6:00 pm.