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


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




Facilitation: Blake

Stack: Bridgette

GA in City hall basement by DPD- 4pm


‘Matt- talked to police about getting belongings back. Was told that we need to make individual appointments and have photo ID with to reclaim belongings that were confiscated.

Discussion on donations and communal property- how are we to get items back at do not have one personal owner?

‘Alan- took direct action and went to desk to ask about his personal belongings that were taken.

Group motioned to follow Alan and address our questions directly

Sgt. Laura Marquardt addressed the GA and handed out the following letter.


Nov 23, 20011

To: occupy Duluth participants

On 11/22/11, at approximately 0620 hrs, all items found in the Civic Center by the Duluth Police Department that were removed and stored. The items in our possession have no owner information. By City Ordinance all property in possession of the Duluth Police Department that is not claimed within 30 days will be destroyed or auctioned. If you are the owner of any property left in the Civic Center on the above mentioned date please arrange to pick up your property prior to the disposal date of Dec 22, 2011. In order to release any property, you will need to bring photo identification such as a drivers license, passport or military identification and a detailed written description of and item or items you believe we may have.

Please contact the following people to schedule a pick up day and time.

Jen Mangan Property/Evidence Technician 730-5444

Erik Isackson Property/Evidence Technician 730 5443

Tony Rich Information Technician 730 5483


Thank you

Sgt. Laura Marquardt- 730 5501

Duluth Police Department

Crimes Scene Unit



-Confiscated items were labeled as found, abandoned property and addressed as such under city ordinance.


‘Marquardt- there are no ordinances to address communal property, a detailed description of the items must be given by the owners


‘Lara-These said items WERE DONATED and have no ONE owner- also- a detailed description of all of the blankets is not a feasible demand. It should need no further description other than “a pile of blankets”. Furthermore- should we not be able to get the communal blankets and property back we would like to make sure that rather than “disposing” of the property- it be given to the homeless community that could really use them this winter.

‘Marquardt- will talk to her superiors about how to address the communal belongings and will be in contact with Lara Simpson 393 8470 in regards to developments and future negotiations.

-Partial VIDEO of conversation with Marquardt will be up soon-

GA reconvened back in vestibule of City Hall basement

Temp check on 5 min break and reconvening outside at the Duluth Autonomous District (civic cntr lawn)


‘Vern- how are we going about addressing the ways the DPD went about confiscating our belongings?

‘Justin- we need to stop talking to their people and working through their channels. We need to go above and beyond their attorneys and channels to figure out our own legal channels to address this issue.

‘Vern- Who would be willing to look into legal aid and specifically the ACLU?

‘Jesse- I am already on contacting the ACLU and waited until today’s meeting with the DPD to move forward with contacting them- so as to have more information to present them with.

Proposal: contact the ACLU ASAP requesting legal advise and aid regarding our matters with the ACLU


Motion to move to next agenda item:


‘Tyler- “office” space on Lake Ave. and Superior St.- above The Electric Fetus has been offered to Occupy Duluth by a willing citizen willing to cover the lease and rent. Should be in the works for December 1st, 2011.

Proposal: Tyler will contact the Gentleman willing to donate the space tomorrow and jump on getting the lease signed.


*Clarification: Moving forward with the signing of lease before Wednesdays GA is an autonomous action on Tyler’s behalf to get the ball rolling. Further discussion on the parameters and function of our donated space will be added to Wednesdays GA agenda.

Motion to move to next open agenda topic.


‘Justin- expressed concern with facilitation and consensus process. It is important to make sure that we are all being listened to adequately and given the opportunity to speak without .

‘Nadia- I was at occupy Minneapolis and would like to say that in comparison to larger area GAs Duluth flows well.

‘Lara- most of the issues we are discussing can be rectified with refining the art of facilitation and exsibiting patience with one another

-Hand signals should be addressed to the stack keeper and not used as a way to undermine or cut off the person speaking

‘Nadia- a sign with images and descriptions of their usage would be helpful

‘Lara- I have been saying since the first damn GA we ever had that I would make exactly what Nadia just suggested. I, as a member of Facilitation working group will make sure to follow through with this by no later than Saturday of this week. Pamphlets and web postings will also be in existence soon. I would also like to hold a facilitation tech in to prepare people for Dec.4-9th when a core group of occupiers will be in DC. I will host this before the 4th and announce more details at tomorrow’s GA @430pm in the Wells Fargo skywalk entrance.

Temp Check on moving to next agenda topic


‘Vern- can we talk about the Dec 6th action at Kitchi Gammi Club in response to the Polly Met Lunch event

‘Jesse- has been in contact with Nathan Ness in regards to  this event.

-A teach in on cohesive messaging and staying on point has also been suggested by Nathan.

Proposal: Jesse will get in contact with Nathan this evening and solidify details further to bring back a more complete plan to Wednesdays GA


Temp check on moving to next topic


‘Kindly gentleman with a nice hat and facial hair- I have personally posted fliers/info in the men’s bathroom at the mall and encourage others to do similar things in like places anywhere!

‘Nadia- we did that at the zombie black Friday rally at the mall- security followed us around and took them down.

-AWESOME idea 🙂

Temp check on next topic


‘Nadia- just got back from OccupyMN and wanted to address a few agenda items of interest from the GA in last night.

-99 tents for the 99%, this Wednesday

-Temp check on solidarity action on Wednesday

-NO PASS- due to our climate here with the city and DPD more tents would be very distracting to our cause here and short notice.

-Port action, November 12th

-Proposal to possibly do something here in the twin ports area on this date, Nadia will look into devising a proposal for Wednesday’s GA to discuss deeper


-Motion to CLOSE assembly


Closing reminder that there will be a GA tomorrow at 4:30 in the Wells Fargo skywalk entrance, and Wednesdays GA will be held at 7pm at the civic center.

GA Minutes 11-25-11

November 25, 2011

Big Ass Circle in the DECC

General Assembly

Facilitation staff/ approved by GA:

Jonathan- minutes

Facilitator: Jonathan

Co-facilitation: ? everyone?


Friday GA locations

Outside bus stop @ 11 am, door 8.

`Matt_- Does our phone tree exists? Can it be online?

`I feel it would be too open to post everyone’s number online. We can look at emails.

Future GA locations

`Matt – Do we have something to depend on as far as location?

`Jonathan- No, but it is open to discussion today and Saturday.

Retrieval of our personal affects from the 5-0.

Monday GA @ Police Station in hopes they relinquish our belongings and donations. Time determination tabled to Saturdays GA

Henry Banks

ACLU – searching for local contact

`Richard will follow up.

Megan will return with info from ACLU/MnclU

`Matt-Police served no paperwork regarding confiscation of personal effects.

`Jesse – prolific moments of our week.

`Jesse- Anishinabe ceremony and smudging that followed.

`Richard- Morning after they took down our camp I saw Jesse curled on the ground.

`Cathy- This moment right now I think. We are warm, I can see you all without hats and scarves, sometimes for the first time.

Direct Action

Police Station on Monday for GA time tba

Working on getting our belongings back from the police.

Melanie Ford is interested in our case-further clarification needed

Proposal: Teach in on how to be prepared for tense moments with the police. Civil Disobedience, and How to Be Prepared.


Motion to close


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 –

`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, 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.


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.


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


`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.


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 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.
  • Support 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.   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

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.


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.

Gordon Ramsay: 218-730-5020

Don Ness: 218-730-5230


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 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:


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  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: 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.  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



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:  (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:



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






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,, 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:



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