G.A. Minutes 12-12-17

G.A. Minutes 12-12-17
It’s cold again and it’s snowing too but at least there’s not much wind; that helps. Although the streets and sidewalks are very slippery the Occupiers manage to make it into Coney Island without falling on their asses.
Coney Island is devoid of customers. As we’re peeling off all our layers of clothing, pushing tables together and getting settled, an Occupier asks, “Has anyone heard anything further about Ms. Community Cleanup?” Another Occupier responds, “I heard that they took her out of the ICU and put her into a Hospice Unit”. The first Occupier sighs, “This is all so sad”.
About 3 days ago the main homeless outreach worker informed one of the Occupiers that Ms. Community Cleanup had a heart attack. Apparently, Ms. Cleanup was alone when she was stricken and spent at least 30 minutes without oxygen before she was found and rushed to the hospital. She was in a coma and put on life support; the doctors don’t expect her to live and believe she will die when her body is ready to do so.
It’s not fair; Ms. Cleanup had been doing really well for the last year or so. After years of being homeless and living on the streets she had been getting her life back together. The last time we saw her was last summer at our fire at Peoples Plaza. She told us, “I’m not drinking or smoking synthetic anymore. I just smoke pot and that seems to agree with me better”. We’re not sure how old she is but doubt she is much older than 30. Although she experienced a very difficult childhood and a hard life after that, we knew her to be cheerful and kind hearted. In spite of her ADHD she’s intelligent and clever. Everyone who prays is praying for her recovery. You never know, everyone thought Spiritual Man would surely die after he was so badly stabbed but he pulled through. It’s possible that Ms. Community Cleanup could come back to us also.
A solitary Anon arrives; he tells us that some of the others are out somewhere west of West Duluth. They doubt they will be back in time to make it to our meeting. The Anon also tells us, “I got into sort of an online fight with Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken yesterday”. We say, “Oh really, do tell”. The Anon continues, “Have you heard about the DPD trying to get a grant or something for $125,000 in order to buy more riot gear? It was all over Facebook”. We say, “No we hadn’t heard. Most of us are unable to spend much time on Facebook. What do they need more riot gear for? They already have tons of it”.
The Anon replies, “That’s what I said too. Chief Tusken said they might need it in case the white supremacists attack all us anti-racists and there’s a big riot”. An Occupier exclaims, “WTF? The DPD should be trying to bring the differing groups together. They should be encouraging dialog and negotiations and such, not buying new toys while standing back and waiting for a riot!” The Anon agrees, “Well, because of the huge public outcry, the whole new toy idea has been put on hold, for now anyway”.
An Occupier inquires, “Do you guys remember the Overpass Light Brigade?” Another Occupier responds, “We sure do. It was a lot of fun and a very effective way of messaging when we helped the Northwoods Wolf Alliance hall their lighted signs all over northern Mn”. The first Occupier continues, “Honor the Earth is requesting that we make some OLB light boards for them. Our friend, the Catholic Worker, who goes back and forth to Kurdish areas in the Middle East, is going to help us make them. If you remember, she helped us with the boards we made for the NWA actions too. The boards for HTE will say No Line 3; that’s pretty simple and will be easy to make. We may have everything finished by the end of the week. HTE plans to start using them on the evening of Winter Solstice.
An Anon comments, “What the hell is up with this new tax bill that the House and Senate are trying to ram through Congress before the end of the year? It sounds like they’re trying to give a select group of 1%’ers a shit ton of our taxpayer money and then get rid of the entire small safety net for regular citizens which is all we have left”. An Occupier agrees, “Yup, that’s about right. Their greed and destruction of the earth and her resources has created a situation where the 1% is now cannibalizing the very hand that feeds them. I think we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the capitalist system”.
On a different note, another Occupier exclaims, “I have good news! The City has put up 6 porta-pottys on sites that were chosen by homeless people around Lincoln Park and Central Hillside. The pottys are located at the skate board park underneath the freeway near Midtown Manor, 12th Ave W and W Superior St, the bus parking lot next to the M+H gas station on Superior St, the Main Library Plaza, Central Hillside Community Park and Lake Place Park. I think they finished putting up the pottys today although I haven’t had time to check things out yet”
Someone adds, “That is so cool! We’ll have to get out there and check them out; go in them and make sure everything is functioning properly. How about this? We could tell everyone we know to forgo taking a drive to look at all the beautiful Christmas lights on the rich people’s houses and take a tour of porta pottys instead”. We all groan.
The Occupier with the good news suggests, “Well, the next meeting of the Homeless Persons Bill of Rights Coalition is this upcoming Thursday, 6pm at Dorothy Day House. You could show up and pitch your idea, see how it is received”.
Another Occupier rolls in; he’s spent the last couple of days out at Makwa Line 3 Resistance Camp. He had a wonderful time and tells us, “I met a lot of kind, hardworking and committed people and attended some good workshops. I even learned the basics for doing a lockdown. There are a lot of men in camp but the leadership consists primarily of Indigenous women. Some of the people there had also spent a lot of time at Standing Rock”.
An Occupier asks, “What did their firewood situation look like?” The Occupier returning from the camp informs her, “Oh, they have tons of firewood now. HTE sent an entire semi-truck full of it; there’s now an absolutely gigantic wood pile. I’d say the pile contains at least 20 cords of wood”. The questioning Occupier exclaims, “Hurray! I’ve been trying to look for firewood for them but with all the other stuff I have to do, I haven’t had much luck. I know we need to bring things out there and be of use while we’re there because it’s a working camp. I’ll have to bring things that are easier to find because I’m chomping at the bit to go out there again”.
The Anon reports, “If you guys have any warm clothing or blankets or things like that, we’d be happy to take them off your hands. We’re trying to collect things to give to the many people in need in this community”. An Occupier replies, “I have some really nice things that were left behind by a guy who moved out of my artist co-op. I was gonna take them to the Dom or to CHUM. It would be easier to just give them to you guys as they’re going to end up going to the same people more or less”.
An Occupier opines, “Hey guess what, our friend, the main CHUM staff person told me he believes that the Stylish Native Woman and her partner found an apartment to rent. I was so glad to hear that; I’ve been scoping out the streets looking for them but haven’t seen them”. We all say, “Woo Hoo!”
We don’t think there have been any customers, besides us, during the entire evening. One of the staff guys comes over and tells us, “We’re really glad you guys are here but because we haven’t had any other customers, our boss says we have to close at 8pm”.
No problem; as we are packing up an Occupier states, “Hey, I have a plan. Next Tuesday, at 6:30pm, the students at UWS are going before the Superior City Council to ask the Councilors to pass a resolution denouncing the cuts to classes, majors and minors that the UWS Chancellor is trying to push through. They need bodies to pack the council room; whadaya say we go over there and give our support? We haven’t done anything as a group to help them yet”.
We think that sounds like a good plan. We gather up our stuff, leave some tips and inform the staff that we won’t be here next Tuesday.
The week after that is December 26th, the day after Christmas Day. One of the Occupier couples always has a recreational fire and a dinner that most of the Occupiers and others attend. It sometimes goes rather late so we’ll have to play that next day by ear.
However, “Good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise” we will definitely be back by the beginning of the New Year.

G.A. Minutes 12-5-17

G.A. Minutes 12-5-17
We’re at Coney Island once more. No surprise there; the weather is really cold again. Skies are cloudy with snow forecast for later; the temperature says 14 above but the fierce wind is pushing it much lower. The streets are pretty much empty; only crazy people are out tonight.
The Occupiers and the Anonymous crew arrive simultaneously. We are all bundled up from head to toe but the Anons are also stylin’. A couple of the Occupiers are snazzy dressers but the Anons are professionals. They’re dressed mostly in black over layers of warm clothes; their hoods and gloves are black too. Each has his entire face covered by a different colored Anon mask. Some have capes and carry big flags.
They also have lots of flyers for the No Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline event to be held at Black Bear Casino on Monday December 11th at 10:30am. They’re going to flyer the entire downtown area once they rest and warm up for a bit. We order a carafe of coffee and a bunch of cups as a gesture of solidarity.
An Occupier says to an Anon, “Did you guys go to the Pancakes Not Pipelines event last Saturday?” An Anon answers, “Yeah, we were there early to help with set up and then we went over the bridge to the event at UWS”. The Occupier replies, “Oh, I thought you guys had probably been there. We showed up about an hour into the event, stayed for the entire thing and helped with cleanup. Everything went well; a carload of residents from the Makwa Line 3 Resistance Camp arrived just after we finished watching a really good documentary. Our friend who organized the pancake event was able to give almost $200 to the campers.
“They all got up and introduced themselves; each one of them has years of experience in protecting the water and fighting pipelines. They said they are always in need of firewood. I’ve been trying to find some for them but all the firewood dealers that I know of are out of dry, split and seasoned wood until next spring or summer. One of the Line 3 Water Protectors said they’d be more than happy with 8 foot logs which they are able to prepare themselves. I’ll get to work looking for 8 foot logs right away”.
Another Occupier adds, “The ‘pancakes people’ are having another meeting to plan next steps for supporting Makwa Camp and fighting Enbridge on Friday, December 8th at 11:30am at the same place where the Pancakes Not Pipelines event took place”. Many of the Occupiers plan to attend.
An Occupier asks an Anon, “Do you know that the Justice City Coalition is having a meeting tomorrow, 6pm at the Men As Peacemakers office?” The Anon answers, “We weren’t aware of that but now that we know, I think some of us will attend. We received an invitation to join the coalition a few weeks before the big march happened so we attended the last couple of meetings. The Occupier opines, “I’m excited to learn what the next steps will be in Dismantling the Legacy of Racism and Building a Community of Peace”.
One of the youngest Anons inquires, “Have you guys seen or heard about people in Leech Lake being able to turn on their water faucets, put a lighter to the faucets and see big flames come out of them?” None of us have seen or heard about this supposed phenomena. The Anon continues, “Yeah, I watched a video on Facebook of this girl who said she lived in Leech Lake. She put a lighter to her water faucet and flames came out. I heard that Facebook has since taken her video down and that all news coming out of Leech Lake is being censored”.
An Occupier responds, “Hmm… Leech Lake…. is there any fracking being done around there?” No one knows and she continues, “Flames coming out of one’s water faucets is usually a result of fracking. We know people who are from Leech Lake. If we see them, we’ll have to ask them what’s up”.
The Anons are now properly warmed and coffee’d up. They’re putting all their layers on. One of the Anons suggests, “Should we go down to Bentlyville again tonight?” The oldest Anon tells him, “Bentlyville? Tonight? Did you feel how cold the wind is outside? We’re up here where all the buildings are; the buildings block the wind. Bentlyville is wide open down on the bay. The wind down there will be so strong that it will be hard to even catch your breath. We need to save Bentlyville for another night”. Then off they go.
An Occupier queries, “So what’s going on with the city official? He hasn’t paid us a visit in over a month”. Another Occupier replies, “Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that he now has a very important meeting that he has to attend every Tuesday at Community Action Duluth. I don’t know any of the details but I know it has to do with the very real possibility of creating a not-for-profit charter school that will cater primarily to students of color”.
The first Occupier exclaims, “Oh that would be so cool! I sure hope it all works out; we really need a school like that in our community. I also hope that the official man gets a Tuesday night off soon so he can come to visit us. I miss hearing his point of view”.
The Occupier who reports stuff reports, “As usual, the Homeless Persons Bill of Rights Coalition meeting is on Thursday, 6:30pm at Dorothy Day House. Everyone is welcome”.
An Occupier comments to another, “It looks like the cold, dark days of winter are upon us now. It’s time to try and track down the partner of the Stylish Native Woman. I don’t want him to freeze off any more of his appendages this winter. As a last resort, I’ll let him sleep on my living room couch”.
Another Occupier agrees, “You are so right. We have to make sure that The Partner is taken care of this winter. I’ll go down to CHUM and look for the Stylish Woman; she stays at CHUM once it gets too cold to sleep outside. It’s too bad that they won’t let her partner stay there too. He may be schizophrenic but he’s also a very decent guy”.
It looks like we have another busy week ahead of us. It’s only a little after 8pm but we decide to pack up, go home and rest up for the week ahead of us. Our old bones don’t bounce back as quickly as they used to however, we’re just bursting with life experience and wisdom. In fact, we’re all so damn smart we’re gonna predict that we’ll be back at Coney Island next Tuesday.