G.A. Minutes 1-26-17
We’re back at Coney Island tonight after an absence of over 3 weeks. It’s also Thursday instead of Tuesday. We’ve been incredibly busy so this is the best we can do right now. We may be switching our meetings to Thursdays for a while in order to accommodate some other obligations.
There was a January Thaw that lasted at least 2 weeks. We can’t remember any previous year when it lasted that long. It appears to be over now. The temperature is in the low 20s with occasional gusts of wind; skies are cloudy. It feels cold after experiencing the long thaw but we can hang. We all have homes; if we were homeless it would be a different story.
The kind of bumbling non hipster is working alone this evening. He’s pleasantly surprised to see us. There are a few other customers and he seems to be holding his own. He appears to just be the sort of person that isn’t really good at multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is an important skill when attempting to run a café.
We haven’t been able to meet on Tuesdays because we’ve been meeting with a group of community folks on the Fond du Lac Reservation. They’re strategizing for the battle with Enbridge and Line 3. We are being their good allies.
We’re also assisting in the final push for the Homeless Bill of Rights Ordinance. Things will be coming to a head soon. There’s been some pushback from a few of the government agencies that originally said they were on board. We assume these agencies have received complaints, maybe even threats, from well-heeled citizens of Duluth who have absolutely no idea what life is like for our homeless ones.
An Occupier asks, “Does anybody know what is going on out at Standing Rock right now? I’m getting conflicting information”. Another Occupier answers, “Me too. I received notice that the majority of the S.R. tribal council had voted to take down all the camps and have everyone who doesn’t live in the area go home. I received another notice that was a call out to all able bodied, strong persons who are totally into non-violence to come out to the camps right away. It said they were going to be needed to help stand up to the increased violence that would be coming down now that Trump is running his stupid mouth and calling for the world to be set on fire.
“It’s a good thing our friend the main CHUM worker will be going out to the camps this weekend. He’ll be able to clue us in when he gets back. Also, I’m planning on talking with our friend from All Nations soon. She’s still going out every other weekend so will know some things”.
An Occupier who didn’t live in Duluth until a few years ago asks, “Was the camp that you had behind the Old Kozy like the S.R. camps?” We all laugh. Another Occupier responds, “Oh no, it was very different. Most of the homeless people living there were addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. That synthetic weed stuff was still being sold out of The Last Place On Earth and many were smoking it. The schizophrenic building manager kept shutting off our access to water and we didn’t have enough Occupiers who were able to actually live in the camp. It was completely nuts! Still, we had a lot of fun and learned a lot too”.
An Occupier exclaims, “Did you see that Trump has ordered the EPA to not issue any regulations that have not been pre-approved by a government official who is directly accountable to him?!?” Another Occupier replies, “Yeah, but I’m pleased to see that many scientists and other workers in government agencies are defying Trump and refusing to follow his edicts. I suppose most of them will be fired but I don’t imagine there are enough qualified people to take the fired workers places. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out”.
Someone says, “We may have to change some of our strategies. It’s a whole new ballgame with Trump thinking he’s in charge. We’re going to be fighting just to keep the gains we’ve already made”. Someone else reports, “We attended a strategy planning session with Loaves N Fishes last weekend. We talked about a lot of things but the main one I remember was that we’re going to need to deliberately reach out to people who don’t frequent our usual radical political circles. We’ll need to really listen to what they have to say. I’ve already noticed that a lot of people who don’t usually do political things have become all fired up in a good way since the inauguration”.
An Occupier expresses a desire to hold an anti-Enbridge demonstration in Superior WI again. Another Occupier suggests, “Hold that thought. I think the Indigenous folks will want to do that in the not too distant future”.
An Occupier comments, “I hear Trump talking his ying yang about how cops are being disrespected and oppressed. He says he’s going to give them theequipment that they need and no one will disrespect cops anymore. Since when do cops need more equipment?”
Another opines, “I’m not so sure that all cops are Trump supporters. You know, a lot of revolutions have started when things got so ridiculous that the cops and/or military refused to take orders from the 1% any longer. I think that’s another wait and see how things play out situation. In the meantime, be extra careful during rallies and stuff”.
Somebody remarks, “Trump is really bad but I wonder if things may have been even worse if Hillary had been given the presidency. Trump is out in the open while Clinton is very secretive and we know she’s also up to no good”.
The city official arrives. He has shaved his head and all his facial hair too. The hairless look suits him well. He tells us that since he’s changed his look, people are more willing to sit next to him on the bus. Unknown women hit on him. He says, “I’m liking it but I know that it’s wrong to judge a person by the way they look”. We all have stories to tell about being treated one way when we were dressed in our regular clothes and another way when we wore business attire.
An Occupier states, “I see they’re trying to repeal ObamaCare too. It wasn’t real good but at least it was a start. I’m thinking the real reason for their repealing it is because they want to make sure that nothing good goes down in history with an African American man’s name on it. They say they’re going to replace it. I wonder how they plan to do it”.
Another Occupier tells us, “I was listening to Paul Ryan yak last night. He says they’re gonna use the Public Option. Someone asks, “What’s that?” and she continues, “They’re going to take away the pre-existing conditions exemption. Insurance companies won’t have to insure people with pre-existing conditions so the Public Option just means that the government will pay for the healthcare for those conditions”.
The first Occupier says, “Oh, brilliant! So insurance companies can continue making loads of profits for doing nothing and the taxpayer can foot the bill for everyone who needs real healthcare. I don’t think even Trump supporters are gonna go for that”.
The non-hipster staff guy needs to go out for a smoke break. There are very few customers; it appears he is leaving us in charge. That’s o.k. Some of us are smokers so we know about the urge. Hopefully no one will come in while he’s gone. If they do, one of us will have to go and stand next to the cash register and smooze until he gets back. We should be able to figure out how to pour a cup of coffee or a glass of water. Fortunately no one comes in and when the non-hipster dude returns, everything is the same as it ever was.
We get a visit from some of the Anonymous kids. They’ve been protesting out at People’s Plaza. They’ve been doing so every night since the inauguration. We offer to buy them coffee.
An Anonymous guy who is a friend of ours says, “We just got stopped by the cops again. They stop us every night; they don’t like the masks. They didn’t ask for our IDs tonight though; they’re getting to know us all. They’re always real nice to us. I suppose if we were people of color, they wouldn’t treat us as good.
“Some people we know are talking about reviving the Black Bloc. They want to wear Black Bloc clothes and carry the flag but say they won’t do violence. I don’t know what to think. Tonight one of my friends wanted to burn sage while we protested. I told him, ‘If you do that, you won’t be able to hold up your Fuck Trump sign’. He chose the sign over the sage”.
An Occupier tells him, “If one dresses as Black Bloc, everyone else is going to expect them to be violent. The cops will go after them right away. When Occupy first started, there were young ones who dressed Black Bloc. They were really mouthy but it seems they were just playing a game. The first time they were seriously confronted by the police they changed their tune. They left and went back to getting drunk and hanging out in the bars”.
Another Occupier adds, “Spiritual power is a very real thing. It may be the thing that saves the planet. On just a practical level though, we will never have enough weapons to take over the weapons that The Man has. It’s stupid to even try”.
The staff dude is sweeping the floor. Time for us to leave. It looks like we’ll be playing things by ear for a while but after briefly conferring we think we’ll be able to meet back here next Thursday.