G.A. Minutes 6-26-12

Many people at the G.A. tonight. Several folks from the alley neighborhood are attending for the first time.

The agenda was as follows: 1). Discussion of the need to formulate a drug and alcohol policy similar to the one we had at the Civic Center. We need to make it clear to any visitors that our camp is child friendly so all behavior needs to be appropriate to the needs of children. Our alley neighbors give us very helpful insights into this subject. 2). Discussion of the idea of providing an auxiliary tent for people not living in the camp so they can get a few hours of safe rest when needed. A mtg is scheduled for Wed. at noon to further discuss these 2 topics. 3). The Citizen Review Board currently coming up for a vote by the City Council on July 2nd at 7pm. 4). The need for all to be alert re: the behavior of the DPD in our neighborhood and the need to keep a record of any incidents of harassment towards ourselves and others living in our neighborhood. A mtg is planned for Fri. at 3pm to further discuss issues 3 and 4. 5). We are short on firewood and need donations. A tentative plan is made to go to an Occupier’s woodland cabin and harvest dead wood. 6). An Occupier has written several articles and plans to submit them for publication in local newspapers. A unanimous decision is made that the articles are good and should be published. 7). Another Occupier offers his services as a graphic artist. Perhaps we will create a Zine to be distributed throughout the neighborhood. The mtg is productive but lengthy and we’re tired. Time to get some rest and start another day.

The Last Resort, 201206241356

Two O’clock Saturday the ragged folk gathered at The Last Resort for barbeque and some original and traditional acoustic music from the band known as IROB, Iron Range Outlaw Brigade. By three O’clock there were thirty people here, and through the afternoon many more came and went. At one point the number of people present was over forty.
At about four O’clock food hit the table. There was shish-ka-bob with pork, turkey, fruit and vegetables, and a big bowl of potato salad. People brought bags of chips and there were dipping sauces to share. People mostly brought their own choice of beverage, but there were some soda drinks, a few liberated beers, and water Most of the people present were young, many were homeless, and some had small children with them. There may not have been enough food to satisfy everyone, but everyone who wanted got something. People shared what they had, bread, fruit, beverages, and cigarettes. Stories. Advice. Counseling. Even the comfort of their arms, and laughter.
You might wonder what these ragged folk have to laugh over. It is mostly ironic laughter, aimed at their own condition and lack of possibilities. They laugh at the shelters that have not sheltered them. They laugh at the empty houses, empty apartments and hotels, at roofs under which no one sleeps, at safe places which lock them out. They laugh at the medics who dump them on the street, they laugh at their own helpless outrage. They shouldn’t. No one has more right to be outraged than these dispossessed.
These are some tough people, used to lacking food and shelter. Each night they need to find a place to hide themselves and get some rest. Can you imagine, as the evening does its gathering, the doubt they feel as they consider their scant alternatives? Some of them are obviously shell-shocked from the implosion of the lives they once maintained, and these sit quietly and stare at nothing. Others are ill or wounded or cannot get medications to help them. Some are mentally diminished as well.
Some learn they can get the respect they need by blustering and threatening each other, but despite tension between races, cultures, and personalities, there was no fighting here. When violent madness roars to the skin and prickles back hairs, volunteer helpers appear among them to calm and separate the adversaries. People have plenty to be angry about, but they have no clear oppressor, no path or channel to the real enemy.
As darkness slapped the ground many of the ragged folk wandered off to search out shelter. Someone knew an abandoned house, not far. Some knew of places in the bushes where the police couldn’t see. One had a good place to hide, and he told them that, but he wouldn’t tell them where. After dark, one man came back to the Las Resort. He said he had been kicked out of a local church shelter because he had gone outside to have a cigarette, and he didn’t know there was a rule against that. The staff wouldn’t let him back in the door. Later, rain began again. What kind of world is this?
One where people who have nothing else left to share still care for each other.

The Last Resort

The Last Resort: a draft for member review and comment. This is intended for publication, Monday deadline. Please… post your reactions.

You may wonder why a ragged folk choose to camp in an abandoned courtyard behind a burned out building. Don’t they know the risk? The neighborhood is a habit to desperate people. The buildings are destined for the wrecking ball and bulldozer. The neighbors who still have something to lose are beaten down, and fearful of the next beating. They know where the road they are on is going.

The ragged folk don’t seem to get any of this. They built a campfire in a place where no one has been allowed to warm themselves in recent years. They set up cheap tents and thin plastic rain-sheds, and shared their meager meals, tattered shelters, and even their ragged clothing with passers-by who needed them. They picked up broken glass and the litter of used up furniture and hauled loads to dump. They rented a porta-potty and paid every month to have it emptied. They planted a vegetable garden and lots of flowers.

Here, at least, people who have nowhere else to go can rest a bit.

Funny, how that infuriates people who actually do have places to go. The city has codes and regulations, you know, and those who cannot afford to live by them are welcome to go someplace else.

It is true that Muses often join the fire circle, and there is poetry, philosophy, music and a continuing epic saga of loss and gain, damage and recovery, fallen hopes and Phoenix dreams. When you have no other resources, you make your own entertainment, and the muses like that. When muses join the fire, even poor people know they will live forever. That drives Midnight Blue police gangs and the street boss nuts.

For a while, the ragged people stored their few possessions in an abandoned building next to the courtyard. A neighbor notified the city building safety inspector, and she came to shut them down. She arrived with two Midnight Blues and ordered street boss to board the door. He was eager to comply.
Midnight Blue swelled up and ordered the ragged folk to vacate. But a few rights remain under law. Midnight Blue threatened arrest, but the threats were blown to the wind. More threats followed and were ignored. In the end, Midnight Blue couldn’t legally even issue a citation.

The burned-out building next door is listed by address as condemned, and is posted with notices as is required by law. But the ragged folk’s building is not listed on the condemnation order. Not listed. Not posted. Not condemned.

The ragged folk built a garden on the roof and planted squash and melons there. When the local street boss saw this, he was enraged. He ordered the ragged folk to get their stuff off the roof. They ignored him. They had been ordered not to enter. No one said anything about the roof.

But the local street boss re-fortified the door and removed a fence ragged folk used to access the roof. He twisted screws into the door and spray painted “keep out” in large black pointy letters.

The city has left this neighborhood rot for years. They can’t even make sure poor people have access to a toilet. Who will work to restore neighborhood safety if the city won’t?

The ragged folk came here because they have no place else. The ragged folk clean the alley and plant flowers and vegetables. They feed hungry neighbors and distribute clothing and other good donated items. If the city can’t or won’t help, why don’t they just get their expletive deleted out of the way?

G.A. Minutes 6-19-12

G.A. Minutes 6-19-12

It was really raining tonight but we are a hardy bunch, so proceeded with the mtg. while drinking hot coffee and eating treats under the tarp.

We made our plan to participate in the Occupy National Day of Action re: the foreclosure on the Cruz home in the Cities( if you want full details on things you need to attend the G.A.). Then came the plans for the making of a new tarp and basic redesign of the camp to take place on Thurs. No G.A. this upcoming Sat. as we will be having a potluck/BBQ at the camp from 2pm-6pm. There should even be a band. All are welcome. Bring food if you can. Lastly, we discussed initial plans for a movie night to take place in mid July.

The mtg. was short and sweet. Afterwards we marveled at the intense lightening,thunder and torrential rain. Those that chose to stay dry did so under the tarp, others ran around laughing in the downpour.

G.A. Minutes 6-16-12

G.A. Minutes 6-16-12
Small gathering tonight. It’s raining but we’re warm and dry under the tarp with good hot coffee. We understand there is an Occupy National Day of Action this upcoming Thurs. We need to get all the info so we can participate. We discuss plans for a small neighborhood BBQ next Sat. We adjourn the mtg, the rain stops, we start a fire and a bunch of people show up.

G.A. Minutes 6-12-12

G.A. Minutes 6-12-12
We receive a report that one of Dr. E’s workers is angry because one of the cameras on the roof is broken and he is blaming the Occupiers for this. We have no knowledge of how this could have happened but decide, in order to keep the peace, we will pay for the damaged camera. We will notify Dr. E of this asap. We are committed to maintaining good relationships with all workers and neighbors.
We discuss options for use of a space we have been offered which can be rented out to bands for practice sessions and also possibly used for Occupy benefits. People take on tasks.
We plan to have a BBQ at the camp in a few weeks. We will invite the workers and neighbors to attend. Plans will be finalized at the next G.A.( 6-16-12 6pm at the camp).

G.A. Minutes 6-9-12

G.A. Minutes 6-9-12
We didn’t really have an official G.A. tonight. Ben and Kala were married today and all Occupiers were invited to their after party. It was decided that everyone wanted to attend, so a couple of people agreed to stay behind and watch over the camp while everyone else went over to congratulate Ben and Kala. As it turned out, many people from the neighborhood came by throughout night. Some were frequent visitors and some were visiting for the first time. As usual, there was lots of very interesting conversation. One interesting topic was brought up by a veteran of the first gulf war who visits regularly. He spoke of the conflict which exists in local Native American culture between being anti-war and fighting for peace and the respect given to the culture of the warrior. As with all cultures, there are varying opinions on the subject.
The camp watch went on until very late in the night, a low fire surrounded by fairly thick fog. Sweet. If you weren’t there we hope you at least made the party.

G.A. Minutes 6-5-12

G.A. Minutes 6-5-12
A lot of people at the G.A. tonight. A few were there for the first time. Much political discussion, also discussion of legal issues as we have had a couple of established Duluth attorneys offer their pro bono services to Occupy Duluth. Across the country Occupy has been subjected to police brutality and harassment, unfair treatment by local, state and federal government and lies from the media. Occupy Duluth is no exception. Fortunately, the message of Occupy is so blatantly true that many citizens hear and support the cause. We remain firmly committed to making this world a better place in which to live. We will gladly accept donations of non-perishable food and/or cash at this time. Drop by the camp at any time to donate or just to visit.

G.A. Minutes 6-2-12

G.A. Minutes 6-2-12
A working G.A. on another beautiful night. We reinforced the tarp covering the kitchen area. It’s quite strong now. We also built a teepee. Our permanent campers are increasing. Tonight our youngest Occupier is 6 yrs old and our oldest Occupier is 62. CHUM gave out lots of fresh fruits and vegetables today and someone made the most delicious salad. Lots of good food, a campfire into the night while listening to some of our musicians play. It doesn’t get much better than this. Wish you were there.