G.A. Minutes 7-28-12
Tonight’s mtg is short with just a few people in attendance. Other folks have gone to volunteer to help with the Reader Weekly Fest.
The first topic for discussion was the need to get some respite for the Occupiers living in the camp. These folks are on duty 24/7 and are getting tired and burnt out. We will put out a call for other Occupiers, especially elders, to come down and watch the camp more often so the campers can take a break.
It was reported that the U.U. Church is requesting a presentation from Occupy as they are genuinely interested in what is going on. We made initial plans for a presentation sometime around the end of August.
After that, neighbors began strolling in and the evening evolved into quiet discussion.
G.A. Minutes 7-24-12
The weather is more pleasant than it’s been in a long time tonight, a strong breeze and cooler temperature. Our garden is doing well, things are growing like crazy and we’ve even eaten a few of the cucumbers already. We keep it well watered but tonight it looks like there will be actual rain and therefore, a break from watering. Yes!
Tomorrow the camp will have to be reorganized again. So many people want to live here that an upper camp has materialized in front of the parking lot. This is not working too well as a lack of communication is developing between the two camps. It’s difficult when all the autonomous beings are unaware of what is going on with each other. So tomorrow, all tents will be moved down to the lower camp. There is an enormous amount of homeless people. The medical, judicial, educational and just about every other kind of system you can think of have completely abandoned these folks. They have nowhere to be that is safe. To quote an old cliché, “People should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps but first they have to have boots.” Occupys across the country struggle with the dilemma of needing to radically change the entire economic and governmental system while the poorest of the poor cry out to have their most basic needs cared for right now. We will keep on keeping on.
A recent DNT article stated that the Occupier who was attacked by a police officer on MayDay received a sentence of one year of probation. The DNT lies. As previously stated, all charges were dropped. That was probably due to the fact that we had a video of the entire incident.
We will be hosting a showing of the movie “Just Do It” at the Zinema on Thurs. July 26th at 7pm. Suggested donation is $7 but no one will turned away for lack of funds. It’s an excellent movie which has had few showings in the U.S. Hope to see you there.
G.A Minutes 7-21-12
There was no official G.A. tonight. A lot of people attended the Love Your Mother Earth Festival. Only a few Occupiers remained behind to watch over the camp and then, as happens every evening, visitors came in to sit and chat. Conversation included the Unfair Campaign and it’s unintended negative consequences that mainly effect “people of color”, speculation about the effects of the Seaway Hotel situation and various people’s stories about the religious upbringing during their childhood. When it got good and dark, someone from way up the hill sent out a long stream of floating, burning lanterns. Very beautiful. Off to bed around 11pm or so for most people. As always, an evening spent at camp is enjoyable.
G.A. Minutes 7-17-12
Most of the regulars are here tonight, including a couple of folks that have been out of town for awhile. We’re very happy to see them.
We will be showing the movie “Just Do It” at the Zinema at 7pm on July 26th. Suggested donation will be $7.00. Of course, no one will be turned away for lack of funds. We’ll have a discussion period afterwards somewhere in the Zinema complex.
The new Porta-Potty is great. It lasts for the whole week. Now we’re having a problem with garbage service. The Blight Officer (apparently there really is such an office) was by today, complaining that the dumpster was too full. We explained that we personally haul our own garbage to the dump and were told it is illegal to do that. We contacted a friend from city government who will let us know if there really is a law against taking care of your own garbage. We suspect this is just another incidence in the constant stream of unwarranted visits from the City and DPD. Across the country, Occupy is plagued by government harassment.
We think that all in all the camp is doing very well. Things are running smoothly and meaningful relationships are being developed. So where do we go from here?
We discuss legal issues and get reports relating to the legal professionals who have offered their services. Suddenly one of the Occupiers (who is always on the cutting edge of everything) says,” Has anyone seen the movie “Abe Lincoln – The Vampire”?” This cracks everybody up and the Occupier talks about his frustration with the gullibility of the general public and their willingness to believe media lies. Perhaps he will run for office and set everybody straight. More laughter and then he agrees that if he doesn’t win he will become the leader of the Occupy Entertainment Committee. Seeing as we don’t have leaders, this could prove tricky. The comic relief is welcome by all.
One person suggests that we pick a particular group of people to try and organize to be more involved with Occupy. Another reminds us that one should not attempt to organize anyone to do what the organizer wants them to do but only to help that person toward their own self actualization. All agree. Another makes the comment that much of Occupy concerns itself with the injustices committed upon the poorest members of society and “If you want to roll with Occupy you will have to actually touch a homeless person.” The original speaker states that he and many others have found this to be a problem during their lengthy time in the social justice movement. He states that many people want to help the world by giving speeches and donations while still remaining within their somewhat privileged comfort zones. We will need a deeper commitment from those who wish to save our planet and bring true equality and justice to all. He believes he knows a group of caring people who are willing to tackle this problem honestly. We agreed to pursue this further.
Many more people from the neighborhood begin arriving and the evening evolves into music and several small groups engaged in interesting and meaningful conversation.
G.A. Minutes 7-14-12
It was a little difficult having a G.A. tonight as the weather was so hot and humid, formulating thoughts was challenging. We did our best. A band from some sort of religious group had 1st Ave. E. blocked off and was playing so loud that we had to shout at each other in order to be heard. After the group left, one of our regular visitors stopped by to tell us they had walked off and left the Jackson-McGhie area in a huge mess. Perhaps the religious folks felt it was the job of “those people” to clean up the mess. Of course, that’s what will happen. Occupy and our allies always leave any area we have been in better condition than it was when we got there. Just one of the many facts you’ll never hear from the media.
Anyway, a well known homeless person’s advocate stopped by for a visit which led to a discussion about the shocking amount of homeless people we notice in the Duluth area. She told us we are not imagining things, she’s been doing this work for quite a number of years and this is the worst she has ever seen it.
A couple stopped by with a generous non-perishable food donation and some frequent visitors from the alley dug through the coolers to see what there was to eat. One Occupier took the time to give a few people a ride to the top of the hill as they surely would not have been able to make it walking in the heat.
Talk turned to where we will be living when winter comes. Plans are being developed. Bye the way, our Occupier had her disorderly conduct charges dropped provided she doesn’t get into any “trouble” for a year. We wonder how much trouble the cop who attacked her will be able to get into.
After a few hours, most folks say goodnight and go off to soak their feet in the lake. One of the benefits of having less tourists this year is that we can soak our feet in our own lake.
G.A. Minutes 7-10-12
A short mtg tonight as people want to get to bed early. Tomorrow everyone will get up asap and begin the reconfiguration of the camp. More tents are going up and more people are moving in, so we will have to change everything around to accommodate that. The weather is so hot these days that it’s a good idea to get started when the day is most cool.
We also plan for the rally in front of City Hall on Fri. at 1pm. One of our Occupiers was brutally attacked and choked by a member of the DPD at our MayDay event. Her so called crime was to attempt to stand next to another Occupier who was being verbally abused by a large number of Duluth policemen. She was charged with disorderly conduct. Her court date is on Fri. and we will be there to support her.
This type of thing goes on with Occupy all across the country. Apparently the plutocrats don’t like it when Occupy tells the truth.
G.A. Minutes 7-7-12
It’s another hot night at camp but we’re a little more used to it so conversation is flowing. We begin by receiving information that an anti-choice clinic is going to be built soon on the edge of the parking lot which is next door to our Paul Robeson Ballroom. Is it a coincidence that this will be kitty-corner to the Women’s Building? This leads to a discussion of the of many gentrification attempts we see in our Central Hillside neighborhood. We note that our city government doesn’t seem to care too much for providing low income housing but always has a buck to spare when it comes to helping developers build fancy condos for rich folks. Bayside Point comes to mind. They call it progress. We call it classism, racism and corruption.
This leads to a discussion of racism. As our camp is always a mixture of ethnicities, everyone has a story to tell. We are all “those people”. The older folks tell the younger folks how it was before and during the Civil Rights Movement when a multicultural gathering such of ours would have been illegal simply because it was multicultural.
One of the Occupiers picks up a guitar and begins strumming a soft jazz type melody. A regular visitor from the alley begins throwing down his rap, another new alley visitor throws down hers. They alternate, he with his deep voice and story of struggle and confusion. “People before profits” he chants. Her voice is softer, “Worship Buddha , Mohamed, Christ, whoever you choose”. Their raps flow easily back and forth, the guitar player throws in his story of true love. The rest of us are quiet, the air is warm and sensual. Perfect.
G.A. Minutes 7-3-12
It is REALLY hot tonight. Too hot to work, almost too hot to talk. We organize a crew for tomorrow to help the porta-potty guy switch out our current one for one with larger capacity. Seeing as we allow passersby to use it, a larger one is very much needed.
Our movie showing at the Zinema will have to be pushed back to July 26th as the DVD(or whatever) hasn’t arrived yet from Britain.
That’s about all we can handle tonight as climate change is kicking our(and the whole world’s) butt.
G.A. Minutes 6-30-12
A small working G.A. tonight, some people have gone to the Credo TakeDownCravaak party, others to a benefit for a respected local musician. The weather is pretty hot but we have constructed lots of shade areas. We discuss a few camp logistical things, work in the garden, drink homemade lemonade and cook some food. A few of our alley neighbors stop in for a visit, most have been here before. One man looks at one of our signs and says, “People before Profits, ain’t that the truth.” We invite them to share our humble but nutritious meal. After eating, one neighbor leaves and returns with a food donation for the next meal. As the suns sets, a gentle cool breeze kicks up. This has happened every night since the weather has turned hot. We’ll take it as a good omen that what we are doing is a good thing.