December 17, 2011

Notes from the December 17, 2011 Occupy Duluth General Assembly
Attendance: 21 people (including a woman from Occupy Port Wing – yay!)
Facilitator: Joel K
Note Taker: Adam R
1. Relationship With the Labor Movement: At our last General Assembly we wrote a brief statement saying that we hope that we can continue to work with the Duluth labor movement on issues where we have agreement, despite their statement disassociating themselves from us due to our disagreement over the Polymet mine.  The Labor World newspaper has been sent out statement, but the next issue doesn’t come out until Jan. 11.
2. Occupy UMD: A successful event was held at the Univ. of MN-Duluth this past Thursday.  Several speakers from Occupy Duluth spoke to an audience of a few dozen people.  A lot of folks filtered through the event, which was held at the Kirby Student Lounge, during the course of the evening.  Kudos to Occupy UMD!
3. County Board Meeting in Ely: The St. Louis County Board is considering passing a resolution in support of non-ferrous mining.  We had a lot of people at a public hearing at the County Courthouse in Duluth this past Tuesday.  This NEXT Tuesday there is going to be another hearing in Ely.  The hearing starts at 9:30am and will run most of the day.  A couple of car caravans will be going to this from Duluth.  One is headed up at Anna C. and will be leaving Duluth between 6 and 6:30am. You can contact her at annagcook [at], but please do so at least 36 hours before the event.  Another one is being organized by Jesse P and Vern S.  You can contact Vern at (218) 591-5722 or Jesse at jp0260245 [at]  It was also suggested that folks bring some signs, so that if there are any breaks during the hearing a picket can be held outside the Courthouse.
4. Duluth Planning Commission: The Duluth Planning Commission is considering some re-zoning proposals for downtown Duluth.  There is some friction between some of the business interests and community activists over maintaining both a working and a living environment downtown.  There is going to be a Planning Commission meeting in January to discuss the matter.  For more info, or to get involved, contact Henry B at (218) 213-1256.
5. Home Foreclosures: The Foreclosure Working Group, which has renamed itself “Project Save Our Homes”, outlined its updated plan for how to hopefully save the homes of two women in the Twin Ports facing foreclosure.  One of the women, “AnnaJoe”, is facing a sheriff’s sale on Jan. 19.  Starting immediately we will be launching a petition drive to save her home.  Between now and Jan. 5 we plan on collecting as many signatures as possible, and then send them, along with a letter from our attorney, to the holder of her mortgage.  There is some hope that the holder of her mortgage may be amenable to re-negotiating the terms of her mortgage, so we’re hoping with a show of community support, we can make that a reality.  Folks interested in petitioning in her neighborhood should gather at 1pm on Sunday (Dec. 18) at the bike shop at the corner of 7th Ave. E. & 8th St.  If you want a petition emailed to you to circulate, email Donna H at howard.donna.e [at]
The group is also planning on holding a broadly endorsed community teach-in on foreclosures tentatively scheduled for Feb. 2 that will be titled “SAVE OUR HOMES: Stopping Foreclosures in the Northland”.  It’ll consist of a panel of people facing foreclosure, as well as legal and activist voices.  A working group is working on nailing down the details.  To help with getting endorsement, lining up speakers, logistics, publicity, etc. contact Adam R at wainosunrise [at]
The next meeting of Project Save Our Homes will be on Jan. 5 at 7pm at the UCC Peace Church.
6. Internet & Facebook:  It was reported that Occupy Duluth’s facebook pages keep getting hacked into, and the content on them erased.  After a wide ranging discussion on what to do about this it was decided to create two facebook groups – one that only a select few administrators can post notices to, and another that would be a private discussion group that only people known to the group could join.  It was also decided to encourage Dennis L to develop a proposal for a new website.  In the meantime, folks are urged to look for announcements on the Occupy Twin Ports facebook fan page and the website.
7. Camp Phone: The group voted to give Jesse P. $50 to cover another month for the group’s camp phone.
8. Homeless Survey: Loaves & Fishes and CHUM are planning on doing a teach-in in the first week of January, after which they want teams to go out and try to locate homeless people who are sleeping outside.  The goal is to get a sense of how many people are sleeping outside this winter, and to try to help them.  More info will be announced on this project in the future.  For more info contact Joel K at duluthcatholicworker [at]
9. Next Meeting: Our next General Assembly will be on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7pm at the Duluth City Hall (with a back-up location being the skywalk where it meets the DECC if the City Hall proves unavailable).  Folks are urged to come up with ideas for future meeting venues to be discussed at this next meeting.
-Occupy Duluth’s petty cash has been transferred from Drake to Scot B.
-Tyler N announced that he will be looking at some possible office space for the group on Monday, and will have more to report at the next meeting.
-Jesse P announced that the “storage space” is on the verge of being ready to be opened up.  Contact him if you can help fix it up and get it ready.
– Jennifer C announced her wish to jump start doing food service again, and to perhaps set up a food truck or cart that could be used to provide free food to folks in the community.  She’d like there to be a team to work on this; if you’re interested you can contact her at JLC3892 [at]
-Justin A announced that there will be an animal rights group starting up at UMD next semester.  He also asked for and received reimbursement for printing costs associated with last week’s Occupy UMD event.


Essential Labor Body/Polymet:
Adam: Central Labor Body passed a statement to disassociate themselves from the
occupy Duluth. Labor is a crucial ally for foreclosure events. We should send a
statement that acknowledges the disagreement on the issue. “Occupy the high ground.”
Jay expresses a sad octopus regarding the organized statement, Jesse agrees. He believes
this is what got us in trouble in the first place. In, there was a blog
Tyler: CEO in the Central Labor body Daniel O’Neill says we are lacking rigid
Jennifer: Statements are there so the man. can play with our words.
Lara: After seeing the way the Labor works, she disagrees with the statement.
Adam: it’s fine if we don’t issue a statement, just a three-sentence response saying “we
agree to disagree, let’s still be friends?” Gives a position for someone to report on, so
we can have a voice within the Labor publications/papers.
Justin H: All this information is coming from online media. This is
all generated from a misconception; we were against Polymet, not the whole mining
Jennifer: It sucks, but politics are politics.
Lara: agrees with the concrete statement that can be published, but advocates face-to-face
discussions and relations.
Temperature: A short statement: agree to disagree statement, let’s move on and support
the topics we agree upon.
Passed, yet one sad octopus is Jay.
Group: Adam, deadline for the Labor paper? He doesn’t know.
Jay: Eventually they will see our support,
Jesse: I would rather demonstrate with my actions than be caught up in a statement
drafted by someone else.
Adam/ Guy/Tyler: this can be a good marketing opportunity. People will see our website
at the bottom of page.
Justin: Someone could write whatever he or she wants, if we don’t have something nice
to say.
Cathy: should be real interesting, Dan is a personal friend. She’s gunna check that out.
Justin H: Let’s take the high ground, we’ve got nothing but love.
It is what it is and we’re still here.
Adam: He can’t promise coverage, but they will most likely be sympathetic. This isn’t
against mining. We can write letters-to-the editors about Polymet, maybe they’ll
publish it.
Tyler: The editor wanted to give us, over the course of six months, the entire $ for a year.
Jesse: avoid statements that include “occupy.”
Tyler: the Labor can quote the Occupy’s General Assembly of this date.
Jesse: Let’s move away from the word occupy, perhaps general assembly or we: group
Guy: Journalist tends to shorten things.

Jennifer: The General Assemble of this date.
Adam: I can tell them that the wording is very specific.
Adam: let’s not slam the door.

Temperature check: on the statement: Unanimous octopi.

Ely, MN:
Jay: County Board Meeting this Tuesday @ 9 a.m., this weeks meeting was shelved.
Polymet seemed frustrated during the last meeting, so we might have got them. We are
trying to educate some people up there about what is going on. They’re being tactically
bastards, thus far.
Guy: This was recorded on public access media; we could find it and put it online.
Adam: He swears there is another occupy in Ely. Is there someone trying to make a
website of all the occupations in MN?
Cathy: There is just a list.
Justin: Morse Town Hall in Ely, MN. Nathan is not the supervisor in Ely. It’s not an Ely
issue, but a county issue.
Girl: BWCAW blogs don’t want “us” there, it seems like the people
Tyler: let’s wait and then sign-in, we let them have their two-cents and we also get to
Jennifer: Car-pool for people who want to go?
Justin H: I have a vehicle, but I don’t have gas money it would take $60. I only intend to
provide a vessel.
Lara offers her car $40. Tyler and Jonathan are down to take her car.
Jesse: We should dip into the funds to pay for this trip?

Temperature check: We should dip into the funds to pay for this trip? YES.

Jennifer: should we leave at six-thirty? (It’s a two-hour drive) I’ve got friends that we can
stay with on Monday night. She’ll talk with the buddies.
Tyler: let’s move people to the other car. Six people plan to occupy the board meeting.
Jennifer: let’s move this car-pool discussion to facebook.
Cathy donated $20 for gas
Jesse: do we have access to the funds?
Drake: treasurer’s got the moolah.
Justin: we can move this discussion to the Saturday G.A.

Temperature Check on moving on? YES.
Jesse: contact other occupations for solidarity in Van Couver and other areas where
Polymet is based.

PREPOSAL: The G.A. Saturday @ 2p.m. in Wells Fargo Skyway
Temperature check: on one-o-clock: agreed!
PREPOSAL: The G.A. Saturday @ 1 p.m. in Wells Fargo Skyway

Temperature check: on a G.A. everyday?

Jesse: Anniversary on the 17th (we started in Sept.) people should be aware, Pickett.
Allan talked about doing stuff concerning storage this Saturday.
Justin: will there be a space to occupy (preface the arrest) for my friends who are
planning on visiting.

Tyler: Allan’s people are based out of the cities and they can provide bail money.
Lara: Pickett all day, ‘veryday.

Meeting tomorrow at seven. Updates?
Adam: Dana and Vern have divided up the names on the foreclosure list to get some
people. We now have two women, one from Superior and one from Duluth. World
traveling human rights advocates had a working group earlier this week, “ways of
formulating the issues and tactics” 20 people were there, everyone but two, signed up
on a list. List was cut in half: one to work directly with these women and the other
for the event coming up. We want to support and have a public campaign. We should
introduce the issues to the media, tent encampment on their yards (check with the
neighbors) afterwards we would announce a big, open event on this issue. We would
like much endorsement so it might become a news worthy event. Next step: petition
drive to demand that the banks don’t foreclose. We want immediate pressure on the
bank when we have this publicity. We need more people. The lawyers say we’ve got a
Next meeting: tomorrow @ 7p.m. Peace Church. Show up and look for us. Justin and
Jennifer have joined the email list.
Noel: there are more than two women; the encampment is just one idea.
Adam: the encampment will be in February. We were just meeting after the G.A.’s, but
the times will be posted on Facebook. All contact information is on facebook.
Tyler: we should keep the foreclosure projects secretive.
Noel: both of the women want this to be public.

Temperature check: Moving on? Unanimous octopi.

University of Minnesota Duluth Occupy:
Justin: There is an event tomorrow night at six (‘til ten) at the Kirby Student Lounge.
There will be presentation/materials answering what are Occupy and the Solidarity
movement. Talk about the issue and get people involved. He and Jeff have been tabling
this week. Open-mic: anything musically related to Occupy. He wants a normal forum/
soapbox for about an hour. A demo G.A.: hand-signals, facilitation, etc…
Tyler: Lara, Noel, Allan
Noel: There is a Foreclosure work group at seven tomorrow, so I can’t go.
Lara: Facilitation, Wall Street and D.C. experience
Jay: Polymet
Cathy: maybe the students won’t be interested in Polymet (yes they will).
Justin requests a general positive feel during the presentations; let’s try to avoid conflict.
This event is registered. Dragons are like the bouncers and we got them. The future still

holds “Dance, dance, revolution.”
Jay: we could have dance marathon.
Justin: This is to get people’s awareness so we can host a big event in the springs.

Temperature check: moving on?
Let’s go.

Space Planning:
Jonathan: where shall we occupy?
Jesse: I think the police’s budget is wasted, because of the New Year’s drunken madness.
I think we should occupy the shit out of something; the Civic Center.
Jennifer: Does Occupy have a plan for New Years?
Justin H: I have 15 really big stinky blankets and five sleeping bags. Do you want them
Jesse: We could occupy the strip club (big with the art and music culture)

Temperature check: can we shelf this for another time, when people have suggestions?

Jesse: we need a place for New Years, we should lock shit down this time.
Jennifer: let’s create an Oregon train around the civic center, or make a blockade on a
street and have a two-hour dance party on the street (move the cars when the cops show
up and continue to party).
Justin: Does anyone have any thoughts on the subject of people barricading themselves in
a building?
Cathy: it makes sense for this time in the year.
Lara: Let’s move this idea of New Years occupation to Saturday’s G.A. Let’s have parks
and places in our minds so we can relocate once they bust us. Create a running list.
Debb Holman knows where those spots might be.

Temperature check: shelf this? Yes.

Tyler: PROPSAL: Let’s read notes from prior meeting. Agreed.
We need to get more focused,

Tyler: Who cares about the Facebook page, how Dan did it should be discovered (He
has texts as evidence against Dan), but we have We’re fine. He’s been in
Contact with Jacob Sullivan, he found Dan on a gaming forum.
Justin: my vibe from Jacob is positive, he is a positive member of the group, and he
should have a position within the group. Like moderating the FB group.
Cathy: this was handled quite well; we would have lost half the group back in the ‘60s
and the maturity level impressed her and with also the peace keeping that occurred.
Justin: Occupy St. Cloud, which is starting up, is having issues with keeping the peace.
We should help. Send ‘em a letter or something.

Justin H: should we moderate it or abandon it?
Lara: we’ll keep the Facebook presence and have a meeting with administration. I’ll have
something figured out by Saturday.

Warm and Full Food Drive:
Justin H: Interfaith Outreach Program based in Wayzata, MN. Food shelves want
food. Let’s start a Gluten free food shelf. It will bring peace to many people. He has
contacted the Salvation Army and, fuck ‘em, they are given rotten food to the poor (he
speaks from personal experience). He’s talking with the student government at the CSS
and he needs our help. People who have put support on it are waiting. Joel is going to
be the best resource and he realizes that.
Lara: we should form a concrete work group to get meetings going. Let’s get some actual
meeting times outside of the G.A. The group can come up with a plan and then brig it
to the G.A.
Jesse: this process will become clearer after we establish a mysterious space on Saturday.
Justin H: I need help with food, as well. Bridget said she could help.

Camp Stuff:
Lara: update there’s an appointment scheduled for pick-up between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on
the 28th and she’s in need of a truck.
We have volunteers for transportation.

Jesse: Noon on Friday (16th) there will be caroling (rewritten holiday songs) outside
of Karvock’s office, it’s the civic center federal building. It’s Allan’s thing. More
information will be provided on Facebook.
Justin H: We need to work through the shtuff. It needs to be us versus them ”. We need to broaden our horizons.

Robert DesJarlait of P.O.M.

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

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

GA 12-10-11

10 December 2011
Occupy Duluth General Assembly
Hell’s Cargo (Wells Fargo) skywalk
General Membership: 22 present.
Facilitator: Tyler
Stack: Blake
Notes: Richard (sorry if I get any names wrong….feel free to correct. I’m still learning who is who.)
The general assembly convened at about 2:30 pm.
Tyler read the text of the US Constitution 1st Amendment, which bears repeating here:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Tyler also read from a Starhawk guide to conducting meetings. Some roles discussed were Facilitators, Stack, Note taker, Scribes, timekeepers, Dragons, and Empath (aka Vibe Checker).
Scott proposed a ten minute limit on discussion topics, which was met by a consensus of happy twinkling Octopi.
There was a discussion of possible actions in solidarity with the West Coast close the ports movement.
Justin H. announced that he is spearheading a drive to collect food to support a pantry at the Vinland Church. He offered to let Occupy participate. Jay spoke in favor of an Occupy soup kitchen or of running our own pantry. Curly brown hair woman mentioned Ruby’s Pantry, which often runs out of food.
Tyler noted that the ten minute limit was up.
Jay asked for five more minutes, which was met with happy fingers.
Justin H. went on that we need to change the perception in the media that Occupy is only about camping on public property, and feeding people would raise awareness that Occupy is more than that.
Robert asked for a vote.
Jay said it could be as simple as collecting money and passing it out in $15.00 vouchers.
Dean said what we need is a freezer, since much of the food from Ruby’s pantry is frozen and they do not have enough freezer space.
Donna said leftover food at Ruby’s is distributed for a $5.00 donation.
Robert proposed that the discussion be continued in a working group.
Scott suggested asking for food donations on the website.
Tyler called for a report from the D.C. contingent (AKA “the cool kids.”)
Bridgette, Mike, Nadia, Jay, Lara, Jesse, Blake, and others (….sorry about names again) who went on the trip reported their experiences. Occupy actions went on alongside Union actions. The contact was mostly good, even though the union is organized top down, not bottom up like Occupy. Some of the Union members did not seem to understand what Occupy intended. Union route marshalls tried to keep the marchers off the streets, but eventually the protesters occupied K Street at four intersections, effectively shutting the lobbyists down for at least five hours.
Occupy members in DC have formed two camps, one run on the mall by the Veterans for Peace, the other camp run by Occupy members at McPherson park. Allen has posted many video clips from the action on the Occupy facebook page. Otherwise coverage by local media was sparse. Our cool kids estimated 150 to 300 people were at each camp. Mcpherson tried to set up a pre-fab house in the park, but they were met by tear gas and heavy demolition equipment. Hotel rooms were offered by the organizers, but our contingent stayed at the camps where they felt they would be more effective. Scott said he was most impressed by the way people from all over the country stood arm in arm against cops and even police mounted on giant Clydesdale horses. Jesse said it was good for the Union and Occupy members to mingle for a while, but then someone yelled that cops were coming, at which the Union members formed up and marched away, leaving Occupy to defend themselves.
Some of our cool kids did take advantage of hotel rooms on the third night, where they were able to get some rest, get clean, change socks, and then back to action. Jay said this is a good example for the future, and shows the need for cooperative planning if the Unions and Occupy are to work together. Jay spoke of the new friends he made from Occupy Rochester. Lara said she brought back good feelings about the way actions were taken on with gusto and no fear. Jesse said he was impressed by the bannering of the capitol. Scott said the solidarity with people from other states, other cultural groups and other economic conditions was inspiring, very powerful. Bridgette said she went with the group that approached Boenner’s office. Of course the good rep would not meet with them. Bridgette was hyped on the chance to lead call and response chants and mic checks outside Boenner’s locked offices.
Tyler called a temperature check on moving on to the next agenda topic, foreclosure. Happy happy


3 December 2011
Occupy Duluth General Assembly
Minnesota Power Plaza, Duluth MN
General Membership: 24 present.
Facilitator: Tyler
Stack: Lara
Notes: Richard (sorry if I get any names wrong….feel free to correct. I’m still learning who is who.)
The general assembly started at about 2:20 pm.
Nathan spoke about the upcoming December 6th action at The Gitchigami Club. Expect 50 to 100 demonstrators from Save Our Mahnomen, and 30 from Occupy.
Verne sent a mass email inviting his contacts to be at The Gitch, and asked the assembly to mass email their contacts and encourage them to join in. Entrance to the event is a $45.00 ticket so most of the action will be outside.
Nathan asked for an Occupier with video equipment to attend and record the event.
Lara reviewed the use of hand signs. Point of interest: the hand signal technique is not new. Google Delphi system.
Justin (UMD) said there is an event being planned for Thursday 15 December at UMD in Kirby lounge. Other groups are encouraged to participate. The lounge holds about 80, and there are wings that can open if there are more. The event may include a revolutionary dance competition. Justin also commented that he has been surprised by how many students have no idea what Occupy is about, and many have never even heard of it. So this event will be a chance to open some eyes and ears. Dick asked if MPIRG is in. Justin said people from MPIRG have been invited.
Tyler passed along information about the National Emergency Employment Defense Act, in which Dennis Kucinich offers concrete plans to create jobs and eliminate the deficit. He said the Act would make the Fed a part of the US Treasury. The Fed recently issued 7.7 trillion dollars in paper money to keep banks afloat. Much of it went to the biggest corporate banks, which continue to foreclose homes all across America.
Justin (2) said American media is not giving coverage to occupy movements in Europe. Few Americans know there is an ongoing general strike in Greece. In Italy, a man who was head of Goldman Sacs has been appointed to replace Silvio Berlusconi, the media magnate who ruled Italy for decades. Goldman Sacs is a multinational financial institution which was deeply involved in the crash of our economy, and other ex-Goldman Sacs executives have been appointed to replace elected leaders in Europe and elsewhere. Tim Geitner was a Goldman Sacks executive. Goldman Sacks now appears in position to become the Tyrant of the western world.
Kathy said that there is also a news blackout on the revolution in Iceland, where the people have nationalized the banks and are refusing to pay debts which were created by private institutions in Europe. The chief bankers have fled the country, where the courts would like to have some meaningful conversations with them about why their profits are their own, while their losses are laid on the public.
There was a discussion about the proposed storage site. Several locations are still being considered. One site offers two months of paid rent. Several occupiers spoke about the danger of being co-opted. It was suggested that we need more of a community center than an office. Jay proposed that before any contract is signed, the terms of agreement should be discussed by the General Membership at an assembly.
Tyler said accepting the lease will be an autonomous action by individual community and assembly members. The Occupy movement will not be a signatory. Lara pointed out that the autonomous action was discussed and approved at a previous G.A. Justin commented that we shouldn’t get fixated on one site, multiple sites would be better. Kathy asked if utilities are included or separate.
Nathan said there is a sign making party at Pineapple Arts on Monday December 5th from 10am until 2 pm and again from 4pm until 6pm. Requested that members bring supplies, poster board, markers etc. Some supplies will be available.
Dan pointed out that there is no way listed for the community to contribute funds on the website.
Jesse emphasized that Monday’s sign workshops will also be the place to organize the Tuesday action at the Gitch. He also noted that Nathan is very good at organizing and we should listen to him and heed his advice. The action against Polymet and parent company Glenco is not a minor side fight. This is the real thing. Glenco, with a $100,000,000,000 (one hundred billion) budget is well-known in the activist community for manufacturing famine and profiting from Human suffering and environmental destruction. Pineapple Arts is located at 124 W. 1st Street.
Justin (2) suggested that Occupy should engage in activities such as a food drive to benefit local people. Twinkles. Justin (UMD) said he would like to attend the Gitch action on Tuesday as the Lorax (Dr. Seuss: The Lorax speaks for the Trees).
Verne said he would not be able to attend the Monday Pineapple Arts workshops. He wants to know what the basic message is. Nathan said Polymet is working to ease water quality standards, which will make it even more profitable for them to destroy our streams, lakes, and rivers.
There was a five minute break. The meeting resumed with a question….is any money from the national Occupy Wall Street movement going to support local groups, with rent for example. Lara said there is some money going to city groups, but she does not have any details. Jay commented that the funds could go to more needy groups. Here we have a supportive community to meet our needs. Lara said she is not worried, it has been easy to raise funds locally.
Verne said he had a new topic. Jesse said Pineapple Arts activities are still on the agenda. Drake said the space could be used to make snail mail efforts to raise funds. Tyler commented that we want to support the U.S. Post Office, which is under pressure from privateers. Drake went on listing reasons to rent space. Get more people involved, contact point for people who want to support the movement, workshop area, place for visiting speakers to organize their presentations.
Lara asked for a temperature check on moving to the next topic. Twinkles.
Verne asked for more members to help with the foreclosure group. A person who is being foreclosed in Superior has said we can camp out on their lawn. He said we should concentrate our activities on action points, like the Sheriff’s Foreclosure sale. Nathan asked about the timetable on the Superior foreclosure. He said people would have more time for it after the D.C. trip. There is a foreclosure teach-in on Thursday at the Friend’s Meeting House.
Dick asked how soon we may be in the new storage space. Tyler said probably January 1st.
Lara said she has a communication from DPD Sgt. Farquhar, which says our Momdad camp property will be released to our common ownership on 28 December. She said she will need people with trucks to help move.
There was discussion of funds needed to support member’s daily needs. Donations were quickly and generously offered by the membership, along with hugs and other signs of emotional and physical support. Jesse commented that we have been trained to argue and insult and undercut others, but we have not been taught to communicate. We need to listen to ideas and not just say no. Those who are silent must be encouraged to speak. We are not here to slam each other down, but to learn to recognize everyone’s right to speak openly and know they will not be called names or unfairly suppressed. This is what the process we use, the hand signs and meeting format, are intended to cultivate. We should all work on knowing and using the signals and the meeting procedure.
Lara said that many of the core group are leaving on a trip to Washington D.C. She said meeting notes can be emailed to her or to Tiffany, or posted as a comment on the website,
Verne said there will be a foreclosure meeting following the General Assembly. Lara said she needs exact dates of events for posting on the calendar. Lara proposed that the core group will get on the space question after the D.C. trip. She asked when the next G.A. meeting will be. Adam suggested we next meet on Wednesday, and Verne suggested the skywalk location. Justin (UMD) said Occupy UMD will meet on Wednesday at five, and we are welcome to meet with them. Jesse said he thought the stay-at-home members should meet once or twice while the cool kids are gone gallivanting to DC. Adam said the core group should meet daily.
The Occupy UMD group meets at the Kirby bus hub on Wednesday at five. Adam proposed Occupy Duluth meet with them. Lara called a temperature check and the happy twinkly occupies outnumbered the sad occupies, so the meeting will be held Wednesday at five at the Kirby bus hub on UMD campus. Lara said facilitation will also meet after today’s assembly. She then said we need to pay more attention to passer-bys and to opportune joiners. Someone should greet them, explain why we are meeting and what the hand signs are used for. They could be given flyers about the movement.
Lara talked about the hand signals and meeting process. There was some discussion about the use of mIc check.
Drake said he is now handling day to day finance while Mallory is away.
Meeting agreed to adjourn at about 4:30pm.

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