Category Archives: Solidarity

Statements of Support and Solidarity towards the Duluth Occupation

Robert DesJarlait of P.O.M.

This is a clarification regarding solidarity and support between Protect Our Manoomin and Occupy Duluth. Mutual support is directed at environmental concerns regarding non-ferrous mining (also referred to as sulfide mining). Although Protect Our Manoomin is engaged in other areas of the mining controversy, those activities exclude the support of Occupy Duluth.

To further clarify this a bit. Some of the other activities POM has been involved with include being involved with conferences at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in regards to the reissuance of permits for the Keetac and Minntac taconite mines. So, that is an issue that concerns POM and doesn’t involve our mutual support.

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.

Message from Occupy Duluth to the NYC GA

With a population of only 85,000, Duluth, Mn is not exactly the center of the world. Temperatures can get to -40 in the winter. Snowdrifts can get to 10 feet. But we too stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. And with a permanent camp in front of the city hall we are standing strong. Now, our city administrators want to kick us off their land, but in reality it’s OUR land, and we are not leaving. We are the 99% and no temperature can drop low enough to make us give up this protest. So stay strong, think of us, and remember we’re all in this together.

We Need Support!

Reports of Attempt to shut down camp. It would be wise to err on the side of caution. Please report to camp if you can and also flood the non emergency line of PD with support if you can. Together we can hold this place of refuge. This is now my home and the home of many others let us protect it. Police non emergency: 218-727-8770. Emails and calls to other city officials would help as would an ACLU member or other legal support. Bodies at camp are best. ♥

Communiqué in Solidarity with the Occupy Movement from Cairo.

Keep Going and Do Not Stop

Communiqué in Solidarity with the Occupy Movement from Cairo. 24th of October, 2011.

To all those in the United States currently occupying parks, squares and other spaces, your comrades in Cairo are watching you in solidarity. Having received so much advice from you about transitioning to democracy, we thought it’s our turn to pass on some advice.

Indeed, we are now in many ways involved in the same struggle. What most pundits call “The Arab Spring” has its roots in the demonstrations, riots, strikes and occupations taking place all around the world, its foundations lie in years-long struggles by people and popular movements. The moment that we find ourselves in is nothing new, as we in Egypt and others have been fighting against systems of repression, disenfranchisement and the unchecked ravages of global capitalism (yes, we said it, capitalism): a System that has made a world that is dangerous and cruel to its inhabitants. As the interests of government increasingly cater to the interests and comforts of private, transnational capital, our cities and homes have become progressively more abstract and violent places, subject to the casual ravages of the next economic development or urban renewal scheme.

An entire generation across the globe has grown up realizing, rationally and emotionally, that we have no future in the current order of things. Living under structural adjustment policies and the supposed expertise of international organizations like the World Bank and IMF, we watched as our resources, industries and public services were sold off and dismantled as the “free market” pushed an addiction to foreign goods, to foreign food even. The profits and benefits of those freed markets went elsewhere, while Egypt and other countries in the South found their immiseration reinforced by a massive increase in police repression and torture.

The current crisis in America and Western Europe has begun to bring this reality home to you as well: that as things stand we will all work ourselves raw, our backs broken by personal debt and public austerity. Not content with carving out the remnants of the public sphere and the welfare state, capitalism and the austerity-state now even attack the private realm and people’s right to decent dwelling as thousands of foreclosed-upon homeowners find themselves both homeless and indebted to the banks who have forced them on to the streets.

So we stand with you not just in your attempts to bring down the old but to experiment with the new. We are not protesting. Who is there to protest to? What could we ask them for that they could grant? We are occupying. We are reclaiming those same spaces of public practice that have been commodified, privatized and locked into the hands of faceless bureaucracy, real estate portfolios, and police ‘protection’. Hold on to these spaces, nurture them, and let the boundaries of your occupations grow. After all, who built these parks, these plazas, these buildings? Whose labor made them real and livable? Why should it seem so natural that they should be withheld from us, policed and disciplined? Reclaiming these spaces and managing them justly and collectively is proof enough of our legitimacy.

In our own occupations of Tahrir, we encountered people entering the Square every day in tears because it was the first time they had walked through those streets and spaces without being harassed by police; it is not just the ideas that are important, these spaces are fundamental to the possibility of a new world. These are public spaces. Spaces for gathering, leisure, meeting, and interacting – these spaces should be the reason we live in cities. Where the state and the interests of owners have made them inaccessible, exclusive or dangerous, it is up to us to make sure that they are safe, inclusive and just. We have and must continue to open them to anyone that wants to build a better world, particularly for the marginalized, excluded and for those groups who have suffered the worst .

What you do in these spaces is neither as grandiose and abstract nor as quotidian as “real democracy”; the nascent forms of praxis and social engagement being made in the occupations avoid the empty ideals and stale parliamentarianism that the term democracy has come to represent. And so the occupations must continue, because there is no one left to ask for reform. They must continue because we are creating what we can no longer wait for.

But the ideologies of property and propriety will manifest themselves again. Whether through the overt opposition of property owners or municipalities to your encampments or the more subtle attempts to control space through traffic regulations, anti-camping laws or health and safety rules. There is a direct conflict between what we seek to make of our cities and our spaces and what the law and the systems of policing standing behind it would have us do.

We faced such direct and indirect violence, and continue to face it. Those who said that the Egyptian revolution was peaceful did not see the horrors that police visited upon us, nor did they see the resistance and even force that revolutionaries used against the police to defend their tentative occupations and spaces: by the government’s own admission; 99 police stations were put to the torch, thousands of police cars were destroyed, and all of the ruling party’s offices around Egypt were burned down. Barricades were erected, officers were beaten back and pelted with rocks even as they fired tear gas and live ammunition on us. But at the end of the day on the 28th of January they retreated, and we had won our cities.

It is not our desire to participate in violence, but it is even less our desire to lose.

If we do not resist, actively, when they come to take what we have won back, then we will surely lose. Do not confuse the tactics that we used when we shouted “peaceful” with fetishizing nonviolence; if the state had given up immediately we would have been overjoyed, but as they sought to abuse us, beat us, kill us, we knew that there was no other option than to fight back. Had we laid down and allowed ourselves to be arrested, tortured, and martyred to “make a point”, we would be no less bloodied, beaten and dead. Be prepared to defend these things you have occupied, that you are building, because, after everything else has been taken from us, these reclaimed spaces are so very precious.

By way of concluding then, our only real advice to you is to continue, keep going and do not stop. Occupy more, find each other, build larger and larger networks and keep discovering new ways to experiment with social life, consensus, and democracy. Discover new ways to use these spaces, discover new ways to hold on to them and never give them up again. Resist fiercely when you are under attack, but otherwise take pleasure in what you are doing, let it be easy, fun even. We are all watching one another now, and from Cairo we want to say that we are in solidarity with you, and we love you all for what you are doing.

Comrades from Cairo.

Protect Our Manoomin

For the Present Generation to the Seventh Generation

Statement Issued by Protect Our Manoomin to Occupy Duluth General Assembly on Global Day of Occupation October 15, 2011

It is the position of Protect Our Manoomin that because mining is a threat to our culture, our traditions, and our spirituality;

* We oppose mining because of the threat to our manoomin – our wild rice – which is a sacred gift from our Creator;
* We oppose mining because of the threat to our sacred nibi – our water;
* We oppose mining because of the threat to our ecosystem;
* We oppose mining because of the sulfates that will poison our waters and the mercury that will not only poison the water but the air that we breathe.

Therefore:

* We call on Corporate America to end the ecocide of our environment;
* We call on Corporate America to end their resource colonization of our homelands;
* We call on Corporate America to end their genetic engineering of wild rice.
* We call on our state legislators to pass laws that will protect our environment;
* We call on our state legislators to uphold and abide by the current environmental laws that are in place;
* We call on our state legislators to close the door on foreign multinational mining companies who want to rape and plunder our homelands.
* We call on our state legislators and our governor to protect the State Grain of Minnesota – Wild Rice.
* We ask that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency end their collusion with state legislators and the mining industry;
* We ask that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to uphold the Clean Water Act to protect our ceded lands;
* We ask that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to strictly abide by the Wild Rice/Sulfate Water Quality Standard of 10 milligrams per liter of sulfate.
* We ask the Federal government to uphold and abide by our treaties that provide for off-reservation hunting, fishing, and gathering rights on our ceded lands;
* We ask the Federal government to protect our ceded lands from the intrusion of foreign corporate resource colonies that will endanger the rights that we have on those lands.

We offer no compromise because there cannot be a compromise for the well-being of the environment or for the well-being of our people. We offer no compromise for the well-being of the present generation to the Seventh Generation.

Protect Our Manoomin invites all of you to join us to end this corporate greed that threatens our most precious gift – our water. We are born in water, we are made of water, and it is water that sustains us. We cannot afford to stand silent. We must make our voices heard.

We call on Occupy Duluth to take the lead in the Occupy Movement and establish a major goal of fighting against the environmental injustice and environmental discrimination that is at the core of the mining agenda. Duluth is ground-zero for the pollutants released from the Minntac and Keetac taconite mines on the Iron Range. This pollution will continue with Polymet, Twin Metals and the other copper resource colonies that are proposed to be built in our North Country. The toxins from these resource colonies will increase and foul the rivers and streams that flow into the St. Louis River and into Lake Superior. The Kennecott/Rio Tinto resource colony in Aitkin County will foul the waters of Lake Mille Lacs. This assault by foreign extractive corporations affects all of us – Anishinaabe and non-Native alike. If we are to stand against the mining industry, we can only be effective if we stand together. And together we demand environmental justice.

Protect Our Manoomin stands in solidarity with Occupy Duluth to end the corporate mining greed that threatens the well-being of both indigenous peoples and non-indigenous peoples alike.

We ask for all to protect our Mother Earth. Gichi-mii’gwech.

Statement delivered by Veronica Smith, Fond du Lac Ojibwe Nation