Occupy Duluth General Assembly
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Location: People’s Power Plaza, Superior and Lake, 2pm
Lara shared today’s agenda
Facilitators; Tyler, Lara
Lara reviewed the hand signals for consensus decision-making
Use blocks sparingly and have a proposal to rectify your problems if you do block.
Summary of Proposals Passed , Key Announcements, and To Do’s Agreed Upon
1. We have approval from the city to keep our occupation camp where it is indefinitely, with a review scheduled for March 21, 2012. We agreed to the city’s proposal in principle. We will work on getting changes made to the city ordinances related to camping in public parks as a first step, rather than immediately applying for a permit.
2. We passed a Resolution to Support the work of MN ASAP, http://www.mnasap.org/ .
3. Discussion of Bank Foreclosure issues will take place Monday morning at 9am at DAD/MOM. Volunteers needed to join this working group.
- Diane to put notes from Move to Amend up on the Facebook and Website so people canlook at it and understand it, before we discuss it again at our next GA.
- Diane to get the support letter regarding the grounds to the Police Liason working group.
- Vern will contact his friend to bring in a solar panel system as soon as possible.
1. Facilitation: Lara:
The Facilitation working group has always wanted to have other people join them, and this request is going out once again. The Facilitation Working Group will be doing teach-ins on this, so people who haven’t done it before can feel comfortable facilitating the General Assemblies and other assemblies.
2. Direct Action/Community Outreach
Donna Howard: This past Wednesday, the Direct Action working group met. We will be meeting again to discuss foreclosures and assign research work needed on Monday, November 14, at 9am at DAD/MOM. Volunteers needed.
Tyler: Teach-In: Monday, November 14th, 5:00 pm Duluth Autonomous District (DAD/MOM) Agitation and Organizing 101 Teach in by C Ryan Welles
Tyler: Teach-In on Winterization on Tuesday, Nov 15, 6pm, MOM/DAD. Winterization is a pressing matter. The ground is getting too hard to get stakes into the ground.
Heather Lynn Henkel: There is an Occupy UMD Student Group, which meets every week. This next week it will meet at 5pm Wed, Nov 16, at the UMD Kirby bus hub.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION
Tamara: Nov 17 Rally at Depot, 11:30 am rally and speakers at Northern Lights Express Passenger Rail project. The Northern Lights Express, www.northernlightsexpress.org, could bring in 13,000 jobs. At the rally there will be speakers, then a march to City Hall.
Jesse: Nov 17th: event at MOM/DAD we will have musicians, wish lanterns, speakers, different things going on all day, beginning at 11:00 am
The 17th is an international day of action. There is an opportunity for Actions for any activist organization or union. Push for activism – Get out and do something on the 17th. Let’s get our people out there, let’s get a lot of folks down there.
MN for a fair economy is all announced, and will be there. (Note from Diane: there are now 3 reflective vests with Occupy Duluth on the back and front pocket at DAD/MOM if anyone wishes to go out picking up trash, delivering coffee, etc. Sizes: Medium, Large and Extra Large. Look above your head in the Living Room)
Christmas City of the north parade Friday, November 18
Ed Barkos: It is too late for Occupy Duluth to get their own spot in the Christmas City of the North Parade, but we can be part of the Labor group, if we wish. This is the first time Labor is back in the parade in 20 years.
If we want to be part of the Labor group, bring signs like “We support Occupy Duluth”, and keep things respectful, as it is an event aimed at children.
Line up at 5:30pm, Division Yellow, Unit 11, by Georgia Pacific General Mills Plant. Just tell them you are with Unit 11. The Park will get filled fast. The actual parade begins at 6:20pm. It is a 3 hour parade. No alcohol or drugs, including smoking.
Tyler: There are costumes donated by Allen, if we want some.
Lara Mary: Community Outreach is planning an event on Portland Square on Saturday, November 19th. If you know any one interested in speaking or playing music at the event, contact Lara
Move to Amend:
Vern proposed that we adopt a resolution in support of Move To Amend, www.movetoamend.org There was an event at Peace Church this past Wednesday. David Cobb from Move to Amend spoke on the importance of ending corporate personhood. Many Occupy Duluth supporters were there.
Because not many of the attendees of the GA were at the Move To Amend presentation, Diane offered to write up her notes on the event, and put them on
Facebook and our Website so people canlook at it and understand it.
We agreed to Table this resolution until Wednesday’s General Assembly.
Vern proposed a 2nd resolution: That we officially support MN ASAP: www.mnasap.org This organisation is working to shift federal spending priorities from war to meeting essential needs. Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer spoke on this important effort at the Peace Church event on Wednesday.
Attendees were given a handout on the effort, and we passed a resolution to
support it, and a request for all of us to take the time to sign it individually. A paper was sent around for everyone to sign their support for the work this group is doing.
There were no sad octopi on this temperature check.
Winterizing Donations: We need Firewood, kindling, hay bales and big plastic garbage bags to encase them, and bagged dry leaves. You can bring them to the camp. See also our donations page at www.occupyduluth.org
For donations by check, contact the Northland Antiwar Coalition, www.northlandantiwar.blogspot.com
We need no donations of small tents, or tarp yurts, or foam yurts. The foam releases toxic gases if it burns. Walled canvas tents are allowed, because if they catch on fire, you do not have the issue of toxic gas.
4. Police Liason
Joel: would like to bring some new people into the work. Would like Peacekeeping and the medical team to join in the meetings. Would like it if the people who wish to join the Police Liason group would be consistent in turning up for the meetings, and would like no more than 2 extra people. Tamara would like at least one of the additional people to someone who stays at the camp on a regular basis if possible.
Jonathan would like to help.
Bridget: do we still have a peacekeeping team? Reply: we do still have a core group, but we are working to get everyone who is an occupier savvy to the way to handle things.
Joel: The city has brought a proposal to us to allow us to stay at the civic center indefinitely, with re-evaluation scheduled on March 21, 2012. There are concerns about electricity, safety, care of the grounds, and preferential treatment given to the Occupiers. We are currently violating city ordinances by being there. They have asked that we voluntarily comply with not using city electricity. We have already decided to move the kitchen off site, which helped.
They would prefer that we move into one large canvas tent. Tamara said we would need at least one separate tent for medical (smaller than the current tent), Tyler: advised the Police Liasons to ask for 3 tents: barracks, living room, and medical. The medical tent does not need to be as big.
There are two ways to proceed on the city ordinances issue.
One way: apply for a permit: The city is willing to work with us on the fees, and think of some creative way to put it in the name of an organization
The other way is to apply to get the city council to change the ordinance about camping overnight. Tamara had an opportunity to talk briefly with Sharla Gardner about this possibility. Sharla supports Occupy and will be working on bringing something forward. Tamara welcomes help to get a proposed ordinance crafted.
Joel: There are two ordinances: one is the closing hours for city parks. These can be 10pm or midnight, depending on the park. The other ordinance is about tenting. Tenting is expressly prohibited right now.
Heat source; waiting for an answer from the fire chief, by Monday, on what is acceptable as a heat source for the camp.
The Grounds: There has been no direct ask, but they are concerned about the state of the ground, and what plans we have to repair the grounds.
Point of Interest from Jennifer: Dina from the city stopped by the camp to tell us how nice it looked.
Jesse: We have already proactively started a working group that we have a plan to address the grounds, and we are capable of doing these things. Jesse reminded the group that we have a letter from a former President of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society (me) stating that there has been minimal damage done to the grounds by Occupy Duluth. It includes an offer to help fund repair of the grounds when the camp leaves. This letter will be given to the Police Liason working group.
Lara: electricity – we are planning to get off the grid. There will be a meeting on Sunday, Nov 13, at 3pm on the Kitchen – at least getting the kitchen off the grid. Vern will contact his friend to bring in a solar panel system as soon as possible.
Temperature check approved to work with Sharla Gardner on getting changes made to the ordinances before working on applying for a permit.
Joel: The Police Liason is meeting with the police on Monday: Occupy Duluth agrees in principle with the proposal.
4. City Planning Committee
The issues coming up from the Police Liason report are mostly city planning issues. Tyler noted that if you would like to be in on City Planning, contact Lara.
Tamara: We have labor support.
Duluth Central labor body paid for our loos again. Will do it indefinitely. They passed the hat, $170 was raised for canvas tent, and the union offered the rest needed to buy the tent. We now have one canvas tent and wood stove.
Propane has been donated. But we will buy wood instead.
Medical Team: Everyone wants the medic tent to be accessible and organized. We have again set up the comfort tent. No comfort items will be left in the medic tent except for those items needed for emergencies. The medic tent is for medics only. But the person who has the armband would have the right to enter the tent, in case there is no medic in camp.
Comfort tent: to better control the sleeping bags and blankets people donate for comfort, there will be someone sleeping in the comfort tent who will distribute the items if there are late night arrivals.
Ed Barkos, President of local 2750, AFSCME: We are supportive of Occupy Duluth because you are fighting our (union) fight. It is about basic rights.
Tyler: if you believe in the occupation, be here.
LisaLee Williams and others discussed how LisaLee came to occupy the city park next to Electric Fetus. There was miscommunication based on previous information from the city about us being able to camp on any city park, at the very beginning. What we know now is that situation and offer changed once we selected the Civic Center as our camp. Joel: in the initial dialogue with police, the message was that they could work with us on any city property, but not now.
Tyler thought it would be legal for us to camp in any city park based on the previous information. Tyler has been advocating direct action that has not been approved by the GA, and apologized to LisaLee about the miscommunication. Lara also took responsibility for some of the miscommunication. “When we encouraged you, we assumed you already knew the fact that it was autonomous action.” The miscommunication was compounded by Allen offering a tent for her. LisaLee thought that any communication on Facebook was official from Occupy Duluth.
It was clarified for everyone present in the discussion which followed that all key decisions are made at the General Assembly or the Occupiers Assembly, and that without approval at the General Assembly, there would be no official support from Occupy Duluth to camp in any other place except the current half of the Civic Center. If people choose to take actions not sanctioned at these Assemblies, they are doing it as autonomous beings.
LisaLee: Occupy Duluth originally said there were going to be demonstrations and teach ins at the plaza on Superior and Lake, but she doesn’t see anything going on here. The Civic Centre is half a mile away.
Ed: having more activities on Superior St would be good for better visibility.
POI: We could be in the large park on the community centre on Hillside, for classes.
Lara: Agreed with more direct action in the public. We need to be out. Direct action is at forefront of our agendas. Also, we want to look into indoor spaces for teach-ins.
Jennifer: when we come down to the plaza for our meetings here on Saturdays, space, we want to rally and tell everyone to come join us. Invite everyone to come down.
Vern: thanks and supports us.
Tyler: Mic check of a People’s Apology, and group hug
Next meeting: Wednesday, November 16, 7:00 pm, Civic Center DAD/MOM