Category Archives: Events

Events organized or supported by the Duluth Occupiers

really really free market

The Really Really Free Market will be held the last Saturday of every month. The next one will be held at The Paul Robeson Ballroom and Courtyard, March 31st at 11am. Music, food will be provided but we encourage anyone with a skill that they can practice or teach to be a part of this and build community. Ideas include but obviously are not limited to, haircuts, musical instruments, composting, building a grey water system, credit scores, macroeconmics, storytelling, running a trap line, cooking bulk we cetera.

The Paul Robeson Ballroom is located at 132 E 1st St. The entrance is in the alleyway on the downton side of 2nd Ave E, the event runs until 4pm, community watch will be provided and identifiable by their neon vests.

Please read wih wikipedia article on really really free market and seqrch for thefacebook event. Urls to follow whenI’m not on a tablet.

Jubilee!

Happy St. Valentine’s Day! Join us in a celebration of humanity and compasion today at 4:30 in front of our city’s Hall, county’s Courthouse, and federal Building on 1st St. and 5th Ave. west, and end at the People’s Power Plaza, with speakers and refreshments to follow.

Your Chance to save the world: Action against Polymet and Glencore @Kitchi Gammi Club in Solidarity with Protect our Manoomin and Move to Amend

Description

On December 6, the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a lunch featuring Joe Scipioni, President & CEO PolyMet Mining. Scipioni will be speaking on “How PolyMet is Preparing for the Next Generation of Mining.”

Protect Our Manoomin, with co-sponsors Occupy Duluth and Move to Amend and support from several environmental groups, will be present to voice our opposition to Polymet’s proposed extractive resource copper colony that presents a clear and present danger to the environment of northeastern Minnesota.

We invite our supporters and other environmental groups and organizations to please join us on December 6. For updated and ongoing information, visit the Protect Our Manoomin FB page and the Occupy Duluth FB page. Gichi-mii’gwech.

Gashkozin! (Wake Up!), Niibawin! (Stand Up!), Giigidoon! (Speak Up!)- From Protect Our Manoomin Event invitation page on Facebook.

Now that being shared I (Jesse) would like to familiarize people with Glencore a multinational company that is buying up Polymet stock at record pace. Glencore is a company engaging in behaviors that centralize wealth and raise the prices of goods via commodity and speculation trading.  They are an intense example of a growing monopolistic power with too much wealth and influence in the hands of too few people.   The most efficient way I found I can share with people what Glencore is, is by sharing a news article published in May of 2011 which I will do after just sharing a few more things.  Some people are not convinced that the environment is threatened by the mining proposal for the Iron Range made by Polymet, I assure you it is a very dangerous thing to the environment that will impact human life negatively, however that is not the only reason to oppose this mine.  Polymet is now Glencore’s pet,  Glencore generates its billions from playing games with investments that cause famines and other atrocities.  Polymet is Glencore and here is an excellent article about what Glencore is.

Glencore: Profiteering from hunger and chaos
The world’s largest commodities trader is issuing a stock sale, and critics say the firm causes spikes in food prices.
Chris Arsenault Last Modified: 09 May 2011 08:15
Glencore controls more half the global copper market and almost ten per cent of the planet’s wheat trade [Reuters]

The rapid rise in prices for food, fuel and commodities has been disastrous for the world’s poor, including Indonesian market vendor Lia Romi. But it’s a bonanza for multinational trading firms such as Glencore.

While Romi has trouble feeding her family, Glencore – the world’s largest diversified commodities trader – is planning a US$11billion share sale, likely the largest market debut ever seen on the London Stock Exchange.

“The price for our daily food has at least doubled in the past two years,” Lia Romi told Al Jazeera through a translator. “Food costs 100 per cent of my family’s daily income [of about $3]. I have nothing saved and I owe [money] from my [market stall] business.”

While Romi, and millions like her, worry about feeding their families, the initial public offering from the commodity speculating giant will create at least four billionaires, dozens worth more than $100million and several hundred old fashioned millionaires. Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg is set to make more than $9bn from the share sale. And speculating on food prices is an important part of his wealth.

Controlling prices

Valued at about $60billion, Glencore controls 50 per cent of the global copper market, 60 per cent of zinc, 38 per cent in alumina, 28 per cent of thermal coal, 45 per cent of lead and almost 10 per cent of the world’s wheat – according to information the firm disclosed prior to its share sale. It also controls about one quarter of the world market in barley, sunflower and rape seed.

“They are possibly one of very few mining companies that are price makers, rather than price takers,” said Chris Hinde, editorial director ofMining Journal magazine. “They are the stockbrokers of the commodities business [operating] in a fairly secretive world. They are effectively setting the price for some very important commodities,” he told Al Jazeera.

The firm employs about 57,000 people, generated a turnover of $145billion in the past year and has assets worth more than $79billion. Glencore’s media department refused interview requests from Al Jazeera.

Lia Romi has had trouble feeding her family in Indonesia because of high food prices, which some analysts link to speculation [Credit: Oxfam]

Based in Baar, Switzerland, where regulation is minimal, the company’s sprawling interests span Bolivian tin mines, Angolan oil, zinc producers in Kazakhstan, Zambian copper mines and Russian wheat operations.

“Glencore’s vertical integration really is unprecedented,” said Devlin Kuyek, a researcher with GRAIN, a non-profit international organisation working on food security.

“Glencore owns almost 300,000 hectares of farm land and it is one of the largest farm operators in the world. They are engaging in speculation on the grain trade and have immense market power,” he told Al Jazeera.

Global food prices have climbed recently, returning close to their 2008 peak, when bread riots swept parts of the Middle EastAfrica and the Caribbean.

“A disturbing amount of price increases, I fear, is being driven by speculative activity,” Marcus Miller, a professor of international economics at the University of Warwick, told Al Jazeera. “Bets [on future price rises or declines] can become self-fulfilling if you are big enough to affect the market.”

In March 2011, the World Bank’s global food index was 36 per cent above levels from a year earlier, although prices for commodities have dropped in the past few weeks.

Some analysts believe price increases have more to do with a growing global population and rising middle classes, particularly in India and China, who are eating more meat and thus driving up prices for corn and other animal feed.

Duncan Green, the head of research at development organisation Oxfam Great Britain, said international markets for food and other commodities can be compared to the shape of a champagne glass. “There are a lot of people producing, and a lot of people consuming, but there is a pinch point in the middle, controlled by corporations who can walk away with the final value,” he told Al Jazeera. “Many of the world’s poor are -bizarrely – people growing food.”

In 2010, investment bank Goldman Sachs warned of “violent price spikes” in commodities markets, and that prediction has more or less come true.

Knowledge and power

To make money betting on food, metals and energy, Glencore – like other trading houses and hedge funds – relies on one crucial commodity: Information.

“They have offices all over the world and unique access to information about production and distribution,” said food security researcher Kuyek. “When the people who have that information are also the ones speculating, there is grave cause for concern; they can purchase forward contracts when they know prices are going up.”

Trading firms can capitalise on instability in world food markets [EPA]

In August 2010, for example, Russia issued a ban on grain exports, after droughts ravaged crops. On August 3, the head of Glencore’s Russian grain unit encouraged the government to halt exports. The government followed his advice on August 5, causing prices for cereals to rise 15 per cent in two days.

“Days before the export ban went into place, Glencore made huge bets,” said Kuyek. “They had some kind of information there; companies with information are in the best place to capture profits from volatility.” Glencore, for its part, said it also lost money as a result of the ban, because it had to fulfill delivery obligations to clients outside Russia at the new, higher price.

In addition to manipulating food prices – potentially with insider information – the trading giant appears to have broken laws on several continents.

Prosecutors in Belgium charged Glencore employees with criminal conspiracy and corruption, alleging they illicitly sought confidential information on European export subsidies from a public official. The case will be heard in Brussels on May 12.

Shady deals

During Saddam Hussein’s rule in Iraq, and the UN sanctions which accompanied its final years, Glencore made handsome profits marketing embargoed oil. In February 2001, Glencore bought 1million barrels of Iraqi crude oil destined for the US and diverted the black gold to Croatia, where it was sold for a premium of $3million, according to a UN Security Council report.

When the news broke, the Sunday Times newspaper in the UK headlined their investigation “Secretive Swiss trader links City to Iraq oil scam”.

Glencore’s founder and lifelong commodities hustler Marc Rich was dubbed the “face of scandal”, by Vanity Fair magazine. After founding the company in 1974, Rich rose to prominence by pioneering “combat trading” -aggressive deal making in countries facing turmoil.

He traded oil for Ayatollahs when Iran was blacklisted by the US, did business with South Africa’s apartheid government and skirted US trade embargoes on Cuba and Libya to make trades under the motto: Do whatever it takes.

In Lia Romi’s community, people have to choose between sending their kids to school and buying food               [Credit: Oxfam]

“There will always be allegations that they [Glencore] are dealing with some unsavory folks,” said Chris Hinde from Mining Journalmagazine. “But I wouldn’t say that makes them unusual for traders.”

Tony Hayward, the disgraced former BP CEO who presided over the worst oil spill in US history, has been approached by Glencore to become a non-executive director on the board of the company when it becomes public.

While Rich sold the company in 1993, his take-no-prisoners approach to the commodities business lives on in today’s traders and speculators, including the South African CEO Ivan Glasenberg, who gave Rich’s trading empire the name Glencore.

In a January interview with the Financial Times newspaper, his first in 20 years, Rich supported the share sale, although he acknowledged that it is “much more convenient” for a trader not to be a public company as mandatory disclosure and regulatory oversight “limits your activity”.

Perhaps, Glencore is going public to increase its size, allowing it to acquire large competitors, particularly the mining giant Xstrata. “They are so big now, that they cannot get any bigger unless they are listed,” Hinde said, adding that some of the firm’s 800 partners might want to take the company public with the hope of cashing out their millions over the next few years.

Food insecurity

Regardless of the firm’s reasons, institutional investors from the US, East Asia and the Middle East have all committed to buying.

Aabar, the sovereign wealth fund from the United Arab Emirates, controlled by Abu Dhabi’s oil-rich monarchs, is expected to become the largest “cornerstone investor”, pledging to buy about $1billion worth of stock.

“It seems that they are buying a stake to strengthen the UAE’s control over the global grain trade, for their own food security,” said Kuyek. “In the absence of anything meaningful being done at the international level, – except for the same prescriptions of open markets and trade liberalisation.” Food insecure countries in the Gulf, Northeast Asia, Korea and other regions are attempting to gain more direct control over food, as the market economy “can’t guarantee decent prices”, he said.

Back in her hut in Indonesia, on the front lines of the global food crisis, Lia Romi hasn’t been following Glencore’s stock flotation. She is worried about how to feed her three kids.

“I’ve sacrificed several times not to buy books or clothes for my daughter and son, just for our daily food because I have no savings at all,” she said.

As Glencore’s directors prepare to pocket their millions, it’s unlikely that they will bet on Romi’s future, as fluctuations in the global market could push her family over the edge.

“Stability is to be prized,” said Oxfam’s David Green. And that is the last thing Glencore wants, as it’s instability which is most profitable – for those who have the inside knowledge to exploit it.

-End Article-

Know that by protesting Polymet you are not standing in the way of economic development and job creation in a destitute region, by protesting Polymet you are protesting an even larger organization and idea that creates wealth for private interests without working for that wealth they create it  by capitalizing off of disaster through investments, an idea that must be put to the grave lest it put humanity there first.    You are invited to go to Kitchi Gammi Club December 6th 11Am to tell the Ceo of Polymet that destroying sacred wilderness, poisoning the landscape and working with Glencore are unacceptable things to do in the Northland or anywhere for that matter.     Good day

 

 

Eviction Discussion – PRESS RELEASE

WHAT: An Invitation to the entire community of Duluth to assemble for a facilitated discussion on Constitutional Rights and the Occupy Movement

WHEN: Thursday, November 17, 7 PM

WHERE: Duluth Civic Center

CONTACT: Cole Maki, simplephreedom@gmail.com, 218-591-1332

Sponsored by Occupy Duluth

This press release is to serve as a City-Wide Call to Democratic Participation.. a call for ALL Duluthians to gather for a facilitated discussion on constitutionally protected rights and the Occupy Movement.  At 7pm on November 17, Duluthians; of all view points, are asked to gather to discuss questions of First Amendment violations as it relates to the eviction of Occupy encampments across the country. As part of this dialogue, discussion is encouraged about the potential eviction of the Duluth-based Occupy camp, known as MOM/DAD standing for Mass Occupation Movement/Duluth Autonomous District.  –

For those wondering why an urgent city-wide discussion is needed regarding our constitutional rights, here is a segment of a civil rights complaint filed with the Department of Justice on November 10, 2011 in response to the increasing antagonism of police against peaceful protesters

It is our contention, that “we the people” have the right to Occupy public spaces, and to peaceably assemble, as we seek this redress. This symbolic vigil, is an expression of our First Amendment rights..This expression is in the form of constant attendance by voluntary representatives of the people, maintaining this presence 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. This applies to each State and Local government. It is clear to anyone, given the context offered herein: that this first amendment is being violated by state, and local governments, all across the United States of America, in relation to the Occupy Movement.

It has been witnessed that actions of police brutality, meant to intimidate the attendees of these vigils have been perpetrated. There are images arising in the media, and excessive shows of force can be researched by anyone with an internet connection. There has been use of force, non lethal weapons, bulldozers to drive crowds out of places of Occupation and physical contact to peaceful voices of protest. These respective local governments have attempted to dismantle the petitioning of the government, in this symbolic expression of vigilance. The authorities have changed regulations and are invoking curfews, and other obscure regulations in and attempt to force the Occupy movement to disband, or be arrested. These curfew regulations were passed after the First Amendment and herefore are subject to be overridden by the First Amendment.

Whether you agree, disagree or just need more information, please join your community in discussion this Thursday at 7pm.

OCCUPY RM 402

The Cheif Administrator of the City of Duluth, David Montgomery (highest paid city official, under appointment of Don Ness) has made public notice that the city is moving forward with “wrapping up” Occupy Duluth. WE DO NOT ABIDE. period. If he thinks we will quietly walk away and thank him for his “concerns for our saftey”, he has another thing coming. Join us Monday morning at 9am while we occupy Rm 402 of Duluth City Hall. We will be addressed face to face on his concerns- or we will occupy until we get the consideration we deserve.