General Assembly Minutes October 14, 2011

Occupy Duluth General Assembly

October 14, 2011

Lake Superior Plaza

Committee Reports:

Lara: Facilitation Committee

went through the various communication methods for our meetings, and consensus decision-making. She will make a sign explaining the hand signals for all of us, as well as setting up facilitation teach-ins. We need people fluent in Spanish and English as a Second Language (ESL) to attend these.

 

Chad: Arts and Family

Asked all of us to invite speakers and musicians, and increase the diversity of the movement. We  have 100 plastic cups with tea lights for candlelight vigils. We have face paints. Feel free to bring more supplies. We are hoping to live stream with Phillonious Monk’s laptop.

Bring any kind of music, as long as it is tasteful for families and children.

Bring rugs so we can have a big space rug. Any size is fine.

Key contacts for this committee:  Bob Monahan and Anton. Or contact Tiffany.

 

Jay and Ben: Peacekeeping and Mediation and De-escalation

Yellow has been chosen as the color for this committee. Look for yellow armbands and hats.

The strategy is no tolerance of alcohol or drug use

Committee members will be wearing  name tags

There is a strict “No Weapons” policy, but we won’t be asking people to leave their Swiss army penknives at home.

The main goal is to gear up for Halloween, and the people who will be coming through the occupation site that night.

 

Francois: Food Committee

To begin with, we will have a picnic/potluck mentality for food. So bring what you can, share and pass around with everyone, including visitors to the occupation.  Let the committee know what you can bring.

We need transportation for food, and to involve more people.

Food is so important to a movement like this. We will need to raise money to keep people fed after the first flush of food donations. To assist with this, Lara said that a PayPal account will be set up for donations, and a Finance Committee will be formed.

 

Mary Ann: Medics Committee

We need all the blankets we can get.

It was suggested by a commenter that we have a sign up sheet for vehicles to be present to take people to the hospital at all times.

 

Tiffany: Communications

The website is being worked on. The e-mail has been set up:  occupyduluth@gmail.com

The communications committee needs contact details for everyone:

Name, e-mail, physical address, phone number(s). All are asked to send/give them to the Communications Committee.

 

A discussion was held regarding a Mission Statement and Press Release. The media are asking for information. It was suggested that at this point, it is too early for anyone to speak on behalf of Occupy Duluth regarding mission and purpose and objectives. People, when asked by media representatives about our mission and purpose, should respond that we are a complex group, and that each individual is representing her or himself only. “I represent me.”  We will be working on mission statement and press releases, but it may take several weeks to come to consensus on these, when it comes to statements of purpose. It took the New York group a long time, and it will take us a long time, though we can also use what has come out of the Occupy New York group to inform us. The Communications Committee will draft a press release for consideration by the General Assembly.

 

Kayla: Donations Committee

We may need to use a charity to funnel money through, or we can set up our own credit union account.

Each committee should make a list of needs and send it to occupyduluth@gmail.com

Northland Anti War Coalition has a bank account we can use.

 

Joel: Police

Police have stated that Superior Plaza can be occupied, as a park, from 6am to midnight only. If, between the hours of midnight to 6am, anyone refuses to leave if asked, they will be arrested.

The police will not enforce the ordinance for no overnight camping at the Civic Center.

There are no open fires allowed on city land. No bonfires. Campstoves are OK. Metal drums set up on top of concrete bricks to get them off the ground might be tolerated as a fire container for warmth.

A biffy is ready to go, and is planned to be delivered to the Civic Centre early Saturday morning.

Proposal: Meet at Superior Plaza at 9am Saturday. Plan to camp at Civic Centre, to begin with. We may move or occupy other public space nearby, as we decide.

After some discussion, this proposal was approved by the General Assembly with no blocks.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Diane Emerson, dianeemerson@yahoo.com

Minutes from the Oct 22 General Assembly

General Assembly Minutes, Oct 22, 2011
2pm-3pm, at People’s Plaza

Moderators: Joel, Lara
Minutes: Diane
Stack: Phil

Lara reviewed the process of consensus decision-making for the newcomers. Here is a link to a YouTube video of her giving these instructions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StOw8erHFIo

Working Group Updates

Media and Communication: Phil.
The website is online, www.occupyduluth.org All working group members should go to the website and sign up. Mediators can be given access to edit the site.

Needs: We need a Clear Wire Modem and Wireless Router. If anyone has a lead on getting these, please contact Phil at admin@occupyduluth.org

We are looking for someone to talk to the media on behalf of Occupy Duluth. If interested in being considered, talk to Phil.

Donations: Tyler
What we need most of all are donations of people’s time. When telling people about Occupy Duluth, if they are supportive of the idea, ask “What have you done to help?” If they need ideas, have them call Tyler at 218-461-2540.

A Community Outreach committee is also being started, to bring in more volunteers.

Donations of Food – Josh. We will not turn down any food donations, but we ask that people donate food with these guidelines in mind:
1. Food as local as possible
2. Organic if possible
3. Whole foods are OK – such as a big bag of carrots or potatoes. We have the ability to cook our own meals.

Food Committee: We have lots of food, and it’s going to be fun!

Medical Committee: We need supplies. The list is on Facebook

Treasury: Malory: We will probably not be able to get nonprofit status, though Occupy Minnesota is working on it. A proposal will be given at Wednesday’s meeting. We can accept cash and checks, as long as checks are made out to Loaves and Fishes, with a note on the check that it is for “Occupy”.

Arts and Family: nothing to report

Facilitation: We need more members to facilitate meetings.

Town Planning (Occupation site): Need more people residing in the town
Need to shift the tents this next week so we don’t kill the grass.

PeaceKeeping: We need more people

1st Public Communique

A draft of Occupy Duluth’s first communique to the public was handed out for all present to read. This is intended to be sent out as a press release. After discussion and a temperature check, it was agreed by consensus to have the team which drafted the document (Aaron, Lara and Jesse), make changes based on the comments of the General Assembly, and send it out as a press release by Monday.

Teach-Ins
Bianca reported that we need to educate people as to what is going on in society. An Education Working Group will be set up. If interested, people can contact Bianca, or Joel Kilgour. Joel’s phone number is 218-724-2054.

Flags at our Camp
Currently we have 3 flags flying: the corporate flag is the US flag with the stars replaced by corporate logos. The US flag is flying upside down, indicating distress, and there is an Earth flag as well. After discussion, it was agreed by consensus to change the flags to the following:
Top: US flag flying right side up
Next: Corporate flag flying upside down indicating distress
Bottom: Earth flag

It was also agreed to indicate in the upcoming press release that an upside down flag indicates distress.

Open Floor Discussion

Tidiness: Everyone take their dirty dishes to the dirty dishes box. Do not leave them laying around in the living room.

David Cobb from Move To Amend
David is going to be in Duluth on the 9th of November. Here is why Occupy Duluth might be interested in hearing him:
“On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions.” From www.movetoamend.org

Minutes of Oct 26 General Assembly

Occupy Duluth General Assembly
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Location: Duluth Autonomous District/Mass Occupation Movement (Civic Plaza)
7:00 pm

Facilitators: Lara and Tyler

Stack: Alex, Jay

Time: Ben

Notes: Diane

Committee Reports:
SANITATION: the unions have agreed we can take our trash and recycling there

DIRECT ACTION: Alan. An e-mail and phone list has been created. Next we need to decide what direct actions we will take, and how often. Bigger events, which take longer to plan, are preferred.

Here are some future events taking place which we should know about, if we wish to do direct action.

Friday, October 27: Critical Mass Ride. Halloween Theme. Assemble at 5pm at Minnesota Power Plaza. Ride begins at 5:30pm

Saturday, October 29: Kids for the Future, 1-3pm, People’s Power Plaza. The Vote Yes on the Levy Committee. Chalk design is on Friday.
We will be located across the street, at the fountain, for our General Assembly at 2pm. Need new signs, and new slogans.

Tuesday, November 1: Shane Claiborne event: CHUM Fall Community Assembly The event will be held from 6:30 to 8 pm in the Mitchell Auditorium at the College of St. Scholastica. Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus.

Saturday, November 5: Connecting the Dots, event put on by Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) 8:30 -12 noon, at Clyde Iron Works. Free to get in, free breakfast. Also Move the Money Day. Move your money from the big banks into credit unions or local banks.

Thursday, November 17: Minnesotans for a Fair Economy

Saturday, November 29: International Solidarity Day with Palestinian people

Anybody who wants to set up a direct action at any of these events or others is welcome.

MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION:
Phil will work on getting the calendar available for editing for Occupy Duluth working group leaders

We need video and photos submitted to the website and by working group leaders, please.

There is a phone list in the living room tent. Add your name and contact details to it.

Media representatives are coming to visit our occupation on Thursday, the day we are moving our tents. Mike is coming at 2pm, and Alex from the Duluth News Tribune is doing “ A day in the life of an occupier”. Jesse and Jennifer will be our key spokespeople, and we will ask Alex to come and be an occupier for a day as well. If you want Jesse and Jennifer to speak for you when the media comes to interview them, please let them know your opinions and ideas.

Armband: We discussed the use of the armband for the person in camp who is to keep an eye on things, people visiting, etc. The “go to” person.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH: Lara
Lara followed up on the first communique from Occupy Duluth. The changes proposed at the Oct 23 GA have been made, and the document was made available on her laptop for anyone who wanted to see it one more time before it goes out. The assembly decided to both post it on our website and submit it to media representatives. This is the “Post and Push” strategy.

PEACEMAKING AND PEACEKEEPING WORKING GROUP: Jay Ben, Alex

Attendees at the GA agreed that we would have a block/ban on physical and verbal violence in the camp.

This working group needs more members and some dialogue on whether to accept into camp people who have been drinking heavily.

DONATIONS: Tyler
We are well loved. People are asked to review the wish list on Facebook

Jeannie of the NE Area Labor Council re-affirmed the support of their organization, and asked what we need that they might supply. Responses included:
Scrap plywood for building
Clean-burning kerosene
Assistance by building tradespeople
General camping supplies
Tarps, rope, more tents.

She told us that the group does a monthly Labor Movie Night at the Labor Temple, 21st Ave East and London Road, 6pm, Thursday, October 27.

FOOD/KITCHEN: Jennifer
We are getting too much unhealthy treat food, and the assembly agreed to pass along extra food we do not need to local food banks, rather than store it.

The food/kitchen working group would love to receive more donations of gift cards to grocery stores, so we can buy the necessary makings for our meals, rather than trying to create meals without key ingredients.

Seeds for Success, Randy Hanson, has offered us 100 feet of kale and 100 feet of collard greens. We need volunteer pickers. Let Jennifer know.

There will be training for all people who use the kitchens, and we now have a DO NOT USE table, for allergen free foods only. Our kitchen will as be allergen-free as possible, to help accommodate people with allergies.

CITY PLANNING: Jennifer and team have been working on re-arranging the tents, and after the GA all are invited to finalize the new plan, which will be implemented on Thursday.
Jay mentioned that in other Occupy movements there are two regular meeting groups: a General Assembly and a Occupants Assembly, because there are so many details which need to be addressed and concern only the people who are actually sleeping at the various occupy sites. This may be something we do in the near future.

We will have a place for children to play in our future plans.

FINANCIAL: Malory
Malory has investigated the feasibility of creating a non-profit organization. The group agreed not to pursue this option at this time.
The Northland Anti War Coalition, a not for profit group, has offered for us to use their accounts. We will investigate the possibility of setting up a separate checking account with them.
A small amount of cash will be kept on site for needed purchases.
A donation jar was stolen at our Oct 23 party on the plaza. We need a better system for these donation jars: something harder to walk away with.

ARTS AND FAMILY: Chad
Last Saturday’s artists enjoyed the day, and want to do it again. Photos and videos of the event are wanted for the website. Next event will be simpler. Perhaps Occupy Colleges Nov 2. We could use projectors to show videos to the colleges, such as the movie “I am Not Moving”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGRXCgMdz9A.
Not violent movies.
Jennifer offered her disk burning capabilities.
Possible next event date: November 11, although there will be many events of a spiritual nature taking place on that date: 11/11/11
Suggestions were made to have a guided meditation once a week.
A proposal was discussed to have a movie made which included the violence against the occupiers in Oakland and other cities. It was felt it will help galvanize people into supporting the occupy movement. After much discussion, it was agreed to have a movie put together that would be balanced. It would include the violence against other occupiers, but would also be balanced by information and inspiration. This movie would be shown at the next occupy party event. Parents would be warned that it contains violence in the following ways: by mic check, and also by a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie.

OPEN FLOOR COMMENTS

Chad does mushroom hunts, much to the delight of some of the members. Look on the north side of poplar trees.

Community Construction Project: we discussed the creation of a Lean To Greenhouse for Josh and his wife. They offered to bring back to the Occupation everything they grow in it, if we help them build it. We also discussed having a greenhouse here, but it would need to be on wheels.

Construction Committee proposed, with people who have construction background. Women in Construction, Northern Communities Land Trust were both mentioned as possibilities for places to find interested members.

Statement of Solidarity with the Postal Service: Aaron read this statement for the group. It was proposed and accepted that we add this statement to our website and facebook page. Tyler offered to set up a Post Office box for donations to Occupy Duluth, to also help support the Post Office. Jennifer suggested that we print out these statements and mail them using stamps, also in support. We did not make further decisions on it.

Fair Farm Movement: Tyler brought up this topic, which is relevant to the Occupy movement because of the monopolies in the food industry. He encouraged a letter writing campaign to Senator Klobuchar to be a champion on the Senate Floor for the Fair Farm Movement.

Flags: Currently we have a right side up American flag, then an upside down peace flag, and the earth flag. It was mentioned that the upside down peace sign is considered satanic. The peace flag is upside down because our US flag with the corporate logos has disappeared, so we put that flag upside down in its place. Diane has ordered a replacement corporate logo flag.

Forum at Peace Church: Wednesday, November 9, from 7-9 pm. This event includes quite a line-up of interesting speakers and music, but it conflicts directly with our General Assembly. The people will choose. Here is more info on the event:
Date:
November 9, 2011 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: Peace Church, 1111 N. 11th Ave. East
Duluth, MN 55805
Speakers / Performers include: David Cobb, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Jim Northrup, Joel Sipress, and Sharla Gardner. Music by Rachael Kilgour.

David Cobb (Keynote Speaker): Spokesperson for Move to Amend, 2004 Green Party presidential candidate, attorney, initiator of the 2004 Ohio Recount.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer: Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas, author of thirteen books, leader of the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (MN ASAP).

Jim Northrup: Renowned Anishinaabe poet / author of numerous books and other publications.

Joel Sipress: Professor of history at the University of Wisconsin Superior and progressive activist.

Sharla Gardner: Member of the Duluth City Council.

Email: ness.nathan.j@gmail.com
Phone: 218.310.7682

NEXT GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Saturday, October 29, 2:00 pm, fountain area (next to The Electric Fetus) accross from People’s Plaza, Lake and Superior. The Plaza has been rented by a student group on 10-29, we will respect their permit and assemble accross the street. Please join us. Everyone has an equal say in our meetings. Come and be heard. Have your suggestions considered by all. Participate in consensus decision-making. No majority votes here!

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