GA minuets 11-23-11

November 23, 2011

Place of little Passage or Civic Center

General Assembly

Facilitation staff/ approved by GA:

Jonathan- minutes

Facilitator: Nadia

Co-facilitation: Jesse and Lara

Stack: Bridget

 

Run through of proposed agenda items

Lara: Proposal: Follow stated agenda and then open floor to additional agenda items

Jesse: Proposal amendment: Let the GA decided if we run through individual proposals and announcements before proceeding with said agenda.

Temperature check on amended proposal- HOT

Dennis: Proposal: Can we start a sub group committed to national action and movements?

Passed with consensus

`Brent supports the national connection

`Dennis needs a better way to connect

`Cathy – occupytogether.com

`Lara – Individual and group expeditions to other occupations is a great way to reach out to the national movement. Great way to network face to face.

~Small group will meet after GA to start planning, strong support

Moved to next discussion point through temp check: HOT

`Brent – Addressing Facebook and his activity. “I feel like responding with harsh word to a group of people on fb. What should I do?”

`Malory- 99% is a lot of people. We need to include.

`Dennis- We don’t have much control over fb. “People are shitting in the punch bowl.”

`Robert-“Don’t feed the trolls.”

Point of Info-Jesse- Just a reminder that we are all facilitators and are encouraged to respond.

`Rajeev- What is the point of fb?

`Lara-Information, message, and was started with maybe a little too much rash excitement.

`Malory-Fan base page gives more freedom to dictate what goes on.

`Jesse-“burn facebook”

~Many twinkles

Proposal: 2 pages, 1 will be intended for updates and the like www.facebook.com/occupytwinports, 2 will be more for conversation, and will be a new page connected to occupytwinports.

PASSED by consensus

Next agenda item- consensus to move forward

Indoor GAs

`Every single day and at different times.

`Scott-2-3x a week

`Malory-Discussion 3 days, official GA other 3 days

`Jesse-“I like you all so let’s spend time together in a place where people don’t like us.” That is kinda the point.

`Lara- Having one everyday encourages people to stay involved in this time of transition where we lack a gathering space

Point of Process: Where can we go?

Proposal: Wednesday @ 7pm & Saturday @ 2pm GA- keep these times but discuss alternate indoor locations

Temp check: HOT

Proposal: Saturdays GA be held at the Wells Fargo skywalk @ 2pm

PASSED by consensus

 

Proposal: For other GA’s (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sun)- we can decide the location of the following days meeting during the then current GA. Until we come up with concrete ideas of viable alternative in-door spaces.

PASSED

Proposal: collect ideas for indoor GA spaces and address them at this Saturday’s GA @ Wells Fargo

Temp check to table: HOT

Proposal: Thursdays GA be held after (@4pm) DECC Thanksgiving dinner, in the DECC skywalk

Temp check: HOT

GA THANKSGIVING DAY – 4pm near the “Big Ass Circle” straight down from the downtown skywalk or enter the Lakeside Harbor Convention Center doors and walk up the staircase.  Listen for “Mike Check” and other tomfoolery.

Meet 11am @ the DECC to volunteer in 99% T-shirt or mindset.

Temp check on moving forward with agenda: HOT

Community Space Project

`Lara-We have our eyes on a space, it is something we cannot speak of at this time, due to the tentative and sensitive nature of the location. We will discuss this much more openly when things have been solidified.

`Jonathan-The place needs lots of love before it will be functional. We need volunteers to keep the locale under the wraps and do some cleaning up of the space and its contents. There will be sign up info available soon.

`Jay-I think we should talk to Tony (Keuhn-ah) and Zeppa as space options

Consensus reached to continue with further agenda points.

Treasury – $ is in Mallory’s bank account and it could be collected on taxes/send up red flags to the IRS.

~$500

Proposal: Can we put the $ in with Veterans for peace or AIWC?

Not PASSED

`Jesse- “It’s a box to put our $ in. That’s all.”

`Nadia- We-pay account possibilities

`Vern-Checks need to be writable to occupy Duluth

Proposal: Look into $ being held in either account.

PASSED in consensus

Foreclosure: Working on a date for teach-in with Brett Thiele & Mayra Gomez

Saturday December 3rd – community outreach @ Noon, Public Library.  This will be a space to meet and hear the stories of people being foreclosed upon.

*Sandwiches were promised at this event for the families.

Rally/Teach-ins

Forum on Sunday @ Unitarian Church (9am.) between UMD and Scholastica

Consensus to continue with final formal agenda point

Direct Action

Thanksgiving –

10 am – London Rd Perkins / Meeting for Move2Amend group starting in Duluth, with Nathan Ness.

11 am. – Meet to volunteer at the Decc until 4 pm

4 pm – GA around “Big Ass Circle”

Black Friday

Flyers would be great to hand out- some may be made available on our webpage’s for printing- if you make some please contact communications via fbook or the occupyduluth.org site

Camping in front of retail stores promoting Occupy from tents while building community in lines for consumerist bs.

Zombie march in the mall @ 9 am / Meet outside Yonkers just before 9am Friday morning

Tabled direct actions:

Make out not War- Feb 14th

Port plug- more research

Anti-Christmas and/or revolution caroling

Motion to close meeting- temp check- HOT

General Assembly 11-22-11

General Assembly 11-22-11

 

Facilitating: Tyler Nord, Tiffany Lee, Nadia Labyad

Taking minutes: John

Location: Skywalk in front of the Wells Fargo Building

Summary of Proposals Passed, Key Announcements, and To Do’s Agreed Upon

 

1)   Agreed to make a list of goals for Robert Lillegard’s interview.

2)   We agreed to keep tomorrow’s GA at the Civic Center lawn at 7pm.

3)   Support an indigenous rights solidarity march with members of the Native community starting at 11:45 at Bentlyville and marching to the civic center for a discussion.

4)   We agreed to a vigil tonight at 12am to show defiance. That were are not going away, and we will not give up so easily.

5)   Gathering some volunteers on Thanksgiving to volunteer at the DECC free community thanksgiving dinner.

6)   Pass out flyers with information as to why you should boycott Black Friday.

 

To Do

  • An indigenous rights solidarity march with the Native community TOMORROW starting at 11:45 at Bentlyville and marching to the civic center for a discussion.
  • Connect with Vern Simula or use the Budgeteer about connecting with a family who’s home is being foreclosed and attempt to help.
  • GA tomorrow at the civic center lawn at 7pm

 

Direct Action

 

A)   A list of goals from the group for Robert Lillegard’s interview.

  • Fight foreclosures, homelessness and lack of jobs (all three are connected.)
  • Cost and quality of education and, student loan forgiveness.
  • End Corporate Personhood and support Move to Amends’ bill to do so. http://movetoamend.org/
  • Support Protect Our Manoomin http://occupyduluth.org/2011/10/protect-our-manoomin/
  • Uphold the validity and importance of the Constitution.
  • Oppose pointless wars in other countries that only serve the interests of corporations and the politicians that they own.

B)   Collect signatures to help support Move to Amend. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B9G1X7hhDo1MY2I1NzgxZjItZDg1Yy00NTY5LWE0ZTMtMzQzZTc1NTgyMWRk&hl=en_US   We can print these off and canvas neighborhoods.

C)   Volunteer (while wearing Occupy Duluth shirts, thank you Aaron) at the community thanksgiving dinner at the DECC. Sign up will be on the website www.occupyduluth.org

D)   Pass out flyers to those waiting in line on black Friday as to why they should not participate.  It was decided that these should be gentle to the shoppers and hard on the corporations. For example that they have pushed the start time earlier every year so employees can’t spend time with families because it’s mandatory that they work.

ATTENTION!!

As of 6:02 this morning the Duluth Police Department came in and took our structure down around from around us. They waited until then for multiple reasons; They did not want to have to arrest anybody and tried to “please and thank you” their way through the whole process. They knew that it would be hard to rally people at that time when some are already at work and most others are on their way too work.
PLEASE TELL GORDON RAMSAY AND DON NESS WHAT YOU THINK OF THESE UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND COWARDLY ACTIONS!!!

Gordon Ramsay: 218-730-5020 GRAMSAY@duluthmn.gov

Don Ness: 218-730-5230 dness@duluthmn.gov

 

Also, please come to the GA today at 4:30pm in the skywalk in front of Wells Fargo!!

11-19-11 General Assembly Minutes

Occupy Duluth General Assembly

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Location: People’s Power Plaza, Superior and Lake, 2:00 pm

Facilitator:  Jesse

Stack: Lara

Minutes: Diane

 

Summary of Proposals Passed, Key Announcements, and To Do’s Agreed Upon

 

1. We agreed to pursue a permit with the city, subject to staying within our goals and mission.

 

2. We agreed to hold a General Assembly at 10:00 am so the police can join us, and we can all discuss together, and the General Assembly can make decisions immediately based on our discussion with the police.

 

3. We agreed to hold future General Assemblies (beyond Monday) indoors.

 

4. We agreed to hold a General Assembly on Tuesday, November 22, at 4:30 pm in the Skywalk outside Wells Fargo.

 

 

 

To Do’s

  • Blake will keep people posted on developments with the permit: on both Facebook docs and the www.occupyduluth.org website
  • People are to bring flyers and signs for the General Assembly on Tuesday in the Skywalk. Diane to supply copies of the list of Credit Unions within a 50 mile radius of Duluth
  • Add to calendar of events: Every Wednesday from 5-6pm, Solidarity Picket for Wisconsin Public Workers, on the corner of Belknap and Hammond Ave, in front of the Douglas County Courthouse, Superior.
  • Add to calendar of events: Tuesday, November 22, Bret Thiele, former leader with Amnesty International, will be speaking on Housing Rights and Reclamations. Time: 7:00 pm. Place: Dorothy Day house, 1712 Jefferson St.
  • We are all to think of inspirational quotes or very short stories we can share at the beginning of our General Assemblies

 

 

Encampment Discussion

Jesse: He met with Eric Rish Friday afternoon, regarding the permit process to help us be legal during the encampment. But because the person who files the permits was not there, the police said the permit was “a moot point”.  There will now be an inspection meeting at 10:00 am on Monday.  In order to speed things along, we agreed to have a General Assembly at 10:00 am also. In this way, if decisions need to be made, we can make them immediately.

 

After much discussion among the General Assembly, we agreed to pursue obtaining a permit, as long as it is clear we are here to exercise the rights we have under the Constitution.

 

The City Planning Working Group (more members always wanted) will meet and work on this. Blake will post the progress and information we receive to both Facebook and the Occupy Duluth website: www.occupyduluth.org

 

It was noted that in the past, the city has on occasion waived the insurance requirement.

 

Other City Planning Issues: We will no longer have a kitchen, so will need hot food already prepared. There is a sign up sheet at DAD/MOM.

 

Point of Interest: There has been criticism of the group that both sides are accusing each other of lack of communication, and that the police have a hard time finding the leader of the group to talk to.  Response: Justin stated that we are not followers. We are all leaders.

Diane responded with a reminder to everyone that the General Assembly is the only forum where we speak for Occupy Duluth, unless some assignment has been specifically delegated. No individual, no one who posts on Facebook, speaks for Occupy Duluth. That is why the General Assemblies are so important, and why minutes of the General Assemblies are so important.  Imagine how efficient and clear the dialogue could be if the police chief and the mayor would show up at the occasional General Assembly. We could all hear from them directly. They would know whenever a temperature check was called, exactly where Occupy Duluth stands on any issue. No confusion. No lack of communication. If people want clear communication from Occupy Duluth, they must get it from the General Assembly.

 

Direct Action

  • Diane: wanted to let the Assembly know that action is being taken on the issue of foreclosures. Occupy Duluth members are researching and reaching out to people whose homes have been foreclosed. One woman came forward and told her foreclosure story to the public present at Thursday’s International Day of Action. In addition, Peter Greenlee, a bankruptcy attorney, visited us on Thursday and presented a 15-minute statement on what is happening with foreclosures and bankruptcy, and how good, hardworking people are being hurt by the banking system. He has given us his statement, Diane videotaped him, and we are waiting approval to make the video public. He also answered questions about the issue.

 

  • Joel: Related to this action is that on Tuesday, November 22, Bret Thiele, former leader in Amnesty International, will be speaking on Housing Rights and Reclamations. Time: 7:00 pm. Place: Dorothy Day house, 1712 Jefferson

 

  • Riley Hanick is drafting a statement from Occupy Duluth on the foreclosure issue.  The draft is posted on the bulletin board in the DAD/MOM living room.  If you would like to have input on this, please contact Riley Hanick or Diane Emerson at DianeEmerson@Yahoo.com  and one of us will send the draft out to you.

 

  • Adam is working on the recall of Governor Walker, and handed out flyers about the solidarity pickets for Wisconsin Public Workers. These are held every Wednesday from 5-6pm, on the corner of Belknap and Hammond Ave, in front of the Douglas County Courthouse, Superior. Contact e-mail: wainosunrise@yahoo.com Occupy Duluth will include these in our Calendar.

 

  • Adam is also working with the Northland Anti-War Coalition, which is holding anti-war pickets every Friday, from 5pm to 6pm at the Minnesota Power Plaza.  www.northlandantiwar.blogspot.com  Occupy Duluth will include these in our Calendar.

 

  • Justin Anderson is working on gathering our Occupy stories. Write up your story, in a few words, and hold it in front of you while someone takes your photo. Then send it to Justin at gibsonman113@yahoo.com

 

 

What Occupy Is All About: Justin Hamilton reported a great find: something everyone can share with people who ask what this occupy movement is all about. George Carlin on Bankers. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeLLR3LWtv4  (DE note: for some reason I have been unable to find George Carlin in his banking video where the sound is decent.)

And his favorite quote: “The American Dream – the only way you can believe in it is to be asleep. Wake up.”  He suggests those of you who have smartphones have this link on standby so you can show the video whenever someone asks you about Occupy.

 

Future General Assemblies: We agreed to hold our future General Assembly meetings indoors, after Monday.  We will begin on Tuesday, November 22, with an indoor General Assembly outside Wells Fargo, in the SkyWalk.  Time: 4:30pm, so people can join in after work. Come with flyers and signs, and be ready to walk to other locations in the SkyWalk to continue the meeting.  Jesse also suggested that we bring inspirational tidbits, quotes or short stories to share at the beginning of our General Assemblies.

 

Next GA meeting: Monday, November 21, 10:00 am, DAD/MOM

 

 

 

 

11-16-11 General Assembly Minutes

 

Occupy Duluth General Assembly

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Location: Duluth Autonomous District, Civic Center,   7:00 pm

Facilitators; Tyler

Stack: Lara

Minutes: Diane

 

Summary of Proposals Passed, Key Announcements, and To Do’s Agreed Upon

 

1. We received a statement from the police department, unsigned, which states what must be done by midnight Sunday or the encampment will be removed, and people will be arrested. The statement has been scanned and is posted separately.

 

2. We agreed to hold a facilitated discussion on Constitutional Rights and the Occupy Movement for the Public at 7:00 pm on Thursday, November 17, specifically inviting Mayor Don Ness and Chief of Police Gordon Ramsay

 

3. We agreed to contact Mayor Don Ness and Chief of Police Gordon Ramsay to sit down this week and discuss a counterproposal from Occupy Duluth, which will be drafted tonight after the General Assembly.

 

4. We agreed to investigate empty commercial offices on Superior Street to see if any of the owners would be kind enough to offer space to us for teach-ins and meetings and a visible base for the winter.

 

5. We agreed to obtain legal advice for Occupy Duluth as soon as possible

 

 

To Do’s

  • Jay will call to set up the meeting with the Mayor and Police Chief, with Joel and Tamara if possible
  • Draft the proposal for the city
  • Everyone with contacts of owners of Superior St buildings will start making inquiries for us
  • Supporters should call the mayors office and police chief in support of Occupy Duluth
  • Everyone with attorney contacts will start making inquiries with them for support
  • People who will be regularly at the encampment will arrange to be trained in the operation and maintenance of the solar system, which will be delivered Thursday or Friday, minimum 3-4 people. See Vern for details on timing
  • Diane to videotape and post the presentation on foreclosure and bankruptcy by Peter Greenlee
  • Show up at camp Thursday and Friday to take down tents, organize extra equipment, and return it to owners or move to storage.
  • Add Dec 1 to calendar of events: Occupy UMD hosting “What is Occupy?” Free pizza and music, 7pm start. Link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-UMD/301241356560454

 

 

Encampment Discussion

Tyler:  30% of the people of Duluth live below the poverty line.  He is seeing no concern for the safety of homeless people of Duluth, yet so much concern about the safety of the people in the Occupy Duluth encampment.

 

Allen: Next week there will be a meeting with the American Indian Commission – Red Lake, and there will be a teach-in here at Occupy Duluth.

 

Sharla Gardner: Sharla made inquiries to clarify the situation. She spoke to Police Chief Gordon Ramsay who felt he was making good progress with Joel and Tamara, but was frustrated with what he was reading in the newspapers.  The message from the Police Chief was “Do not believe everything you read in the papers. If you haven’t heard it from Joel, Tamara, or the Chief of Police, it isn’t happening.” And the message to the media is “If you haven’t heard it from the Police Chief, you haven’t heard it.”

 

Sharla confirmed her support of Occupy Duluth: “Your message is important.  You are speaking for all of us.”

 

The mayor and the police chief are getting calls every day complaining about Occupy Duluth. Supporters of Occupy Duluth can call too, and share their support.

 

We discussed and approved having a meeting with the Mayor, Police Chief, and if possible Sharla Gardner, our representative for this area to clarify the situation of the encampment.  Jay Benson will set up this meeting. In addition, we discussed and approved creating a counter proposal to the Police statement. Volunteers signed up to work on this after the General Assembly.

 

We also discussed and confirmed that a facilitated discussion on Constitutional Rights and the Occupy Movement would be held for the Public at 7:00 pm on Thursday, November 17, specifically inviting Mayor Don Ness and Chief of Police Gordon Ramsay. Jay will do the inviting on behalf of Occupy Duluth.

 

Occupy Assembly Recap

Every week on Tuesday evenings at 9pm there is a separate assembly for the people who are living at the encampment. We recapped the most recent OA.

 

The group discussed who would be willing to get arrested

The OA worked out how to get down to one tent, and the process of making that happen.

They decided on an Occcupiers Schedule and a Food donation schedule.

 

Open Discussion on Encampment

Lara: Reminded the group that the United States Constitution overrides local ordinances, and this is something we should talk about when the meeting is set up with representatives of the city.

 

Aaron: Encampments are a tactic, and it is time to move into a new phase.  It has been a burden to maintain this encampment. The tactic of encampment has opened up a lot of eyes on this movement. But what kinds of numbers has it brought in to work locally? It is not a terrible idea to change our direction of focus. We need to be conscious of that.

 

Jennifer: This space has done a huge amount for he movement.  Because I am here most days all day, I have talked to hundreds of people who have never heard of Occupy Wall Street. It is time for something different. Now it is time to DO what we say we want.

 

Jesse: This encampment has brought in a lot of people. And it serves more purposes than just bringing in people. It is an illustration to society where people take space for public well-being. By being here, by being forcibly removed, we force the police to demonstrate their violence against peaceful demonstrators. We force them to demonstrate who their bosses really are.

 

Aaron: He advocates that our camp become smaller in our efforts, and direct action becomes our main priority.

 

Direct Response: It is useful to have a hub still here

 

Tyler: the cops will arrest us, if we don’t comply with their statement.

 

Ryan: Even getting a permit is appropriate, in many cases. He gave the Rainbow Coalition as an example. Bureaucracy is there to protect us as well.

 

Lou: Sounds like they are concerned about our safety.

 

Point of Interest; We should find an attorney. An Attorney can file an injunction, and buy us time.  Could also file a restraining order. We should get legal advice on the rebuttal proposal. Lara mentioned her father. Another suggestion was Greg Gilbert.

 

Ryan: note that the statement from the police is an unsigned document.

 

GA passed an agreement to get legal involvement as soon as possible.

 

People were asked to come by 8am on Thursday to start taking down tents, organizing the extra equipment in preparation for moving it off site, returning it to its owners, etc.

Friday 9am people will come and finalize the moving of this extra equipment off site.

 

Other Open Discussion Topics:

 

Superior Street Properties: Diane mentioned Jennifer’s work in identifying about 20 empty properties on Superior Street. The owner of one of these might be willing to offer the space to us through the winter for visibility, teach-ins, and a public meeting space.

 

Winter City of the North Parade: Friday, November 18

 

After much discussion, we agreed that anyone who is handing out flyers must walk on the sidewalk, and not on the street in the parade. We are walking with the Union. We do not have our own space in the parade. Because of this, it is important that we do not cause problems for the union, especially since they have not been in the parade in many years.

 

Solar Electrical system: Vern reported this will be delivered Thursday or Friday. We need 3-4 people to be trained in the operation and maintenance of the system.

 

Allen: review the particulars of tomorrow, the International Day of Action

 

 

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

 

 

11:00    Peter Greenlee: Attorney specializing in bankruptcy and foreclosure, will be speaking and answering questions in the DAD/MOM living room. Diane will take a video of his talk, for people who cannot be there.

 

11:30 am: Rally at Depot, 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.

 

Pot Luck Lunch at Encampment

 

12:45 pm: speaker on Protect our Manoomin

 

Nathan Ness will speak

A family undergoing foreclosure may speak

Music by Partrick McKinnon and others

Wild Rice/Polymet discussion

Internet Issues/Censorship

7pm:  Fire Spinners

Discussion on eviction

A booth where people write their stories and have a photo of them.

 

 

OCCUPY UMD event:  Jeff Pollari announced an event to be held 7pm on December 1. Free pizza/music, and the theme is “What is Occupy?”.   Event details will be on the Occupy UMD Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-UMD/301241356560454

 

 

Next meeting: Saturday, November 19, 2:00 pm, People’s Power Plaza

 

 

Facilitated Discussion Hand Signals!!

This is a clip of an explanation of the hand signals that we use during General Assemblies and any facilitated conversations.

Why hand signals and facilitated conversation you ask? Facilitated conversation works especially well when having a discussion involving a large group of people or really any conversation where more than 2 people are involved. It allows every person to express their opinions equally. So instead of only the most confidant and loudest people deciding the direction of a conversation or discussion, even the quietest and most reluctant to speak can still make their thoughts and feelings known.Enjoy!

 

Lara explains our hand signals

 

Occupiers rebuttal to DPD statment issued 11.16.11

Occupy Duluth would like to first sate that we stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and the movements in cities across the globe.  It should however, be expressly stated that we are NOT a political or social organization, nor are we aiming to trump any other movement or cause. This is a movement FOR and BY the people.  The people are not “camping”. Rather, this is an encampment of citizens assembling to petition our redress of grievances. We would like to ask; where are the people able to assemble to petition our government when no adequate space has been provided for us? It should also be noted that there is no curfew on our Constitution. 

 We would like to remind the DPD and City of Duluth officials about the conversation that went on in the Occupy Duluth living room on 11.07.11. This is when and where the concerns addressed in the statement presented to the 99% during our General Assembly on 11.16.11 were already discussed. The occupiers are well aware of and addressing these stated concerns, taking it upon ourselves in full self awareness – outside of your suggestions – to implement our own plans to address our safety as well as the well-being of our community and its land.  

 We would like to remind our officials that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and therefore overrides local ordinances and laws. We will not easily comply with obtaining a permit to assemble. We will adamantly stand by the fact that we have the inalienable constitutional right to do exactly what we are doing here. If a permit is to be something that we must obtain, we will need to meet with the City of Duluth to clearly define and discuss the ramifications of said permit. We will NOT pay you for this permit if it is to be acquired. You have been appointed and paid for, by the people to serve and protect their rights. We implore you to keep this in the forefront of your minds when addressing your concerns and misguided demands.

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.