G.A. Minutes 1-27-15

G.A. Minutes 1-27-15

We’re back at the Amazing Grace Café again. We’ve been off gallivanting for almost three weeks. It feels good to be back.

The café is almost empty; it’s also quiet. We probably won’t have to compete with other conversations in order to hear each other.

An Occupier discovers he still has a bit of cash left a few days before the end of the month. He offers to treat everyone to soup and/or a sandwich. Most take him up on the offer. The Occupiers are in the habit of sharing with each other and with people outside the group as much as possible. We like to practice what we preach.

Someone asks how the flyer for the February 6th Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance NdN Taco Sale is coming along. The Occupier charged with making the first draft says he was hoping to be finished before tonight’s meeting so he could pass it to the Occupier in charge of making the final template. Unfortunately he’s not quite finished so will get it to her by tomorrow.

We briefly go over the information that we think should be on the flyer. The taco sale will be held at the Duluth Indian Center and we joke about how things will go. The Dululth Indian Center doesn’t have the proper electrical wiring to support a refrigerator or a stove so the cooking and storing will need to be improvised.

We’re glad we don’t have to figure all that out. The Native members of INM/NWA are pros at this so we’re not worried, just curious as to how it will be done.

Another Occupier reminds us that we still haven’t done anything about getting the film Occupy Love. The Occupier tasked with getting the download says, “Crap! I completely forgot about that. I’ll do it right away”.

The first Occupier responds, “Do you think you might be able to get it downloaded and ready to go by this Saturday? If you could, then we could view it at my house for our next meeting”.

The tasked Occupier answers, “Oh sure, that shouldn’t be a problem”.

An additional Occupier reports that Howling For Wolves will be sponsoring a Wolf Day At The Capital on Thursday February 5th. HFW will have a bus leaving from Duluth going to St. Paul at 7am on that day. She adds, “I can’t remember where the bus is leaving from but if you go on the HFW Facebook page you will find all the information”. A few Occupiers are interested in possibly going on the bus.

She also reports, “I was talking with a couple of HFW’s people last Saturday at the Native Round Dance we attended at UMD. They were agreeing that NWA and HFW should find more ways of working together. I sent them a copy of the NWA wolf/mining timeline”.
The same Occupier also mentions that she sent a copy of the timeline to a well-known local activist who specializes in pushing the Democratic Party toward radical action. The activist was quite intrigued by the timeline saying she had always suspected the connection but until now was unable to prove it.

The Occupier continues, “The activist says she would like to work with us more often. I invited her to the taco sale and to the next INM/NWA meeting. I know we don’t have any interest in working with the Democratic Party but perhaps the activist will eventually realize the so called two party system is really a one party system that is not going to change. She’s pretty smart so may figure it out’.

“The activist was also intrigued with the information we were able to find out about Senator Amy Klobuchar and the strings she pulled with the Department of the Interior in order to get the wolves removed from the Endangered Species List. She had a gut feeling that Klobuchar was up to something but was unable to find the details”.

The Occupier who created the timeline states, “The information wasn’t really that hard to find but some people are just not hard wired for doing research”.

Another Occupier attended the NAACP held last Sunday and tells us, “There were about 30 people in attendance, more black people than white people. It looks like the old president is going to be able to keep his position for a while longer. He found some obscure rule and used it to disqualify the person who the majority of members elected as the new president. It appeared to me that the bulk of the people at the meeting were supporters of the new president and that they weren’t planning on going away anytime soon’.

“I’d never seen the old president in action but I noticed he seemed to use Robert’s Rules when it was to his advantage to do so and to ignore them when it was to his advantage to not use them. An example is that apparently at the last meeting the members had voted to have an outside audit of the books. It was apparent the old president didn’t want this to happen. He said that an inside audit of the books every year was mandated by the national organization so he wanted to pass a resolution for an inside audit. At the end of his speech he quietly added, ‘If we do an inside audit we won’t need to pay to also do an outside audit’. The members caught on and would have none of it. The old president had to amend his resolution and call for an outside audit if the members felt it was really necessary.

“Many African American young people were in attendance and they said several times that it was of utmost importance that the needs of African American youth be addressed. I agree with them and hope they can hang in there and keep pushing.

“Another cool thing that happened was when the new treasurer, who is also a member of the Clayton Jackson McGhie BOD, was telling everyone about the CJM annual fundraiser at the Northland Country Club.

“People were discussing who was going to sit at the NAACP table at the event. The new treasurer said, ‘Please keep in mind that this is our only fundraiser. People sitting at the tables will be expected to donate at least $100 from their personal funds’.

“A middle aged black man said, ‘Hey, wait a minute. The men up on that wall sure didn’t have $100 to donate. CJM is for everybody!’

“The new treasurer quickly backtracked saying, ‘Oh yes, everyone is welcome…..blah,blah,blah’.

“I couldn’t help but smile and nod my head in agreement. I didn’t say anything during the whole meeting though. I just observed. I knew my place”.

We all get a kick out of the Occupier’s last story.

We notice the staff is quietly closing up shop so we pack up too. We say goodnight to the very pleasant workers and head out into temps in the high 20s with not much wind. Sweet.

So the plan is that if we are able to get the download we will meet next Saturday at the Occupier couple’s house and screen the film. If not, we’ll be back at the Grace.

G.A. Minutes 1-13-15

G.A. Minutes 1-13-15

Tonight is the first time the Occupiers have held an official meeting in this New Year 2015.

The last several weeks have been so busy we haven’t had the time to meet. We’ve attended the Public Utilities Commission hearing on the Sandpiper pipeline, the annual Marxmas Party of Socialist Action and an Ethiopian dinner at Jefferson People’s House.

We think all the events were good uses of our time. The Marxmas Party was tons of fun.

This evening we’ve decided to try something different. We’re at a new little café called Toasty’s up in the neighborhood of what was the old Chester Creek Café.

Toasty’s has opened quite recently. It’s completely empty when we arrive. The lighting is bright but not offensive. The place is small with little wooden tables and plastic chairs; one gets the feeling that everything is yellow even though it’s not.

The café specializes in a wide menu of organic, free range etc. types of grilled cheese sandwiches and various drinks. Several of us place food orders.

As we are getting seated someone says, “So what do you think is really going on with oil prices crashing?”

Nobody has a firm idea.

Someone else answers, “Well a lot of oil has been pumped over the last year or so. It’s possible there’s just too much on the market right now”.

Another speculates, “The recent budget bill passed by Congress has a provision that states something like if the fracking and tar sands industries crash the American taxpayer will be mandated to bail out the big banks and investors again.

Still another responds, “Yeah, I’ve read predictions by several non-mainstream economists saying we can expect another 2008 type economic crash starting at the beginning of 2015.”

The original questioner remarks, “Oh great, just what the common person needs, more insecurity and suffering than they’ve already had. I hope it brings even more people out into the streets”.

An Occupier changes the subject saying “Does anybody know how the hastily arranged anti-Keystone rally went today?”

No one knows so he continues, “I was talking to our friend who organized today’s rally. He told me that he’s been asked to form a Duluth chapter of 350.org. He asked what I thought about it and I said I’d ask everyone at tonight’s meeting”.

Another Occupier responds, “I think it would be a good idea. As far as I can tell, 350 has been the main group taking on Enbridge. I’ve been saying for over a year that we need to get busy here in Duluth and educate the general public on what the Enbridge Alberta Clipper is all about”.

The first Occupier adds, “Yeah, if the Keystone XL is denied and it looks like it might be, they will certainly try to sneak the Clipper on us with as little fanfare as possible’.

“If the Clipper is allowed to proceed it will be as bad, if not worse, than the Keystone. Our sacred Lake Superior, a major remaining supplier of fresh water will be destroyed’.

“I think a lot of local people who are strict environmentalists and some of the Fond du Lac Band people would get on board with a Duluth 350.org chapter. Getting the word out is essential. I’m going to tell him we think he should go for it, o.k.?”

We all say, “O.K.”.

An Occupier asks, “Have you noticed the latest developments within our local NAACP?” Some of us have not so she explains, “Well you know a new president was chosen a few weeks ago and the former president challenged that election. Last Saturday the former president called and held another election. I’m told not all of the NAACP members were invited. At that election the former president was reelected’.

“The new president is refusing to accept the second election. She states she is the official president and will be calling NAACP meetings. Basically, it looks like the younger more progressive members are challenging the older establishment members for the direction of NAACP. One result of this split is that I have absolutely no idea what will be going on for Martin Luther King Day next Monday the 19th.”

Another Occupier says, “I may be old but I’m going to throw my support to the young folks. I think it may be a good idea for us to sit this MLK day out. We should probably just wait for the dust to settle before we publicly come out in support of the new progressives”.

“The African Americans need to get their own house in order before we put our two cents in. I’ll try and contact our friend the government official and see what he suggests”.

Everyone thinks this is a good plan.

One more Occupier reminds us that the next Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance meeting we be held on this upcoming Friday at 1pm.

She also reminds us that we have been invited to spend another evening with an elder at the Cloquet Community Club on Tuesday, January 20th.

As we have been talking, a few people have come in and ordered things. They all took seats at the other end of the room, leaving us undisturbed. In fact, we’ve been so undisturbed we’ve almost forgotten we were in new surroundings.

Now we notice that the workers appear to be closing up. As we get ready to leave, an Occupier asks, “So what do you think of this place? Should we come back?”

Another Occupier replies, “This place is o.k. but I feel more comfortable at the Amazing Grace.” Everyone else thinks so too.

We’ll meet next Saturday at the Amazing Grace.