G.A. Minutes 11-5-19

G.A. Minutes 11-5-19

When the first two Occupiers arrive at Coney Island this evening they find staff guys who they haven’t met before working behind the counter. However, this is not a problem; these new guys have been informed about the Occupiers and friends and their regular Tuesday evening gatherings. For some unknown reason, the new staff knows these first arrivals are a part of the Tuesday evening crew. The workers are friendly and welcoming.

The female Occupier comments to the servers, “We’re not expecting to have many people joining us tonight. There are a lot of other things going on right now”. Among the things going on this Tuesday are the big Anonymous Million Mask March down in The Cities and a citywide election for City Council and School Board seats. The two Occupiers have shown up a little earlier than usual because they have come from voting. One Occupier opines to the other, “Even though voting went really quickly for us, I noticed that a lot more people than usual in our precinct had cast their ballots. I guess folks feel more inclined to vote given the state of government affairs since He Who Shall Not Be Named took the helm”.

The other Occupier agrees, “Yeah, that could be true; I just wish there were better candidates to vote for. With the exception of Mike Mayou for City Council-at-large, all the other candidates range from boring to absolutely despicable and evil”. The first Occupier states, “For real, the other three candidates for City Council-at-large are some serious 1% worshipers. It’s scary because, seeing as there are two Council seats open, you know at least one of them will win a seat. Our City Council never was really progressive but I’m afraid it will be worse after this election. I know we’re really gonna miss having Em Westerlund as the Councilor for our district”.

The other Occupier responds, “Bummer. I’m really sorry that the city official had to quit his campaign; he would have easily filled Em’s shoes. He didn’t have much choice though after WPR illegally fired him from his radio show. They said it was because he had declared himself to be a candidate for District 3 City Council but they coulda just told him that a popular radio host, according to his contract, was forbidden from running for public office. He coulda made his choice then; it’s pretty obvious that they just wanted to get rid of his show. Even though the show had higher ratings across the state than anything else they had on the air. The city official’s radio show wasn’t even a flaming revolutionary one; he just dealt with a lot of issues that didn’t get any attention from the major media clones”. The first Occupier adds, “NPR and the rest became a lot more conservative when Bush Jr. was president and it hasn’t gotten back to normal since then”.

Magically and as if on cue, the city official rolls in and asks, “Where is everybody?” An Occupier explains, “Well, some are down at the Million Mask March in the Cities, a few are at Mike Mayou’s post election gathering and the rest are in hiding or something. Meetings at Coney Island aren’t anywhere near as exciting as the ones at our fire circle, you know”. The other Occupier concurs, “True, but it looks like this is gonna have to make due until spring. This evening is a little warmer at thirty degrees than it has been lately but even then it’s only comfortable if one is walking or just outside for ten minutes or so”.

The city officials asks, “So what’s the latest on the fire situation anyway?” The Occupier who accepted the original citation, last May, answers, “Well, you know that my citation from the City was dismissed and then I received a threatening letter from the Acting Fire Marshal. The last fire circle we held was around the second week in October and the cops and fire department showed up and put it out. A few days later I received a notice of an official Administrative Citation being filed and a demand that I pay a $200 fine for starting an “illegal fire”. I filed an official letter to contest the citation and now I’m waiting for a notice about a hearing to be held, supposedly in early December. Our attorney friend has agreed to represent me at the hearing”. The other Occupier contributes, “Of course you know, none of this crap really has anything to do with any fire. It’s really about MN Power and the people who work in their building next to Peoples Plaza. They are scandalized when they look down from their high windows and see neighborhood regular and street people sitting in a circle or standing around outside of it. They observe these folks sharing food, talking and laughing while watching the little kids draw chalk pictures on the worn out brick floor and the older ones skateboarding and such.

The folks who work in the MN Power building appear to live on another planet; they’re horrified by the sight of poor people congregating in plain sight and acting like they belong there. Especially in a place where tourists and rich Duluthians can see them. So some people who work for MN Power are putting pressure on the cops and the fire department to do something to make us disappear. They don’t care where we go; they just want to cage us some place where no one else will see us. The first Occupier responds, “Yabut, you know what? Tough shit! Our fire conforms to all their fire codes and ordinances and according to the US Constitution and all that, we have the same right to make use of public space as rich peeps do”.

The city official changes the subject saying. “You know, I just don’t know what’s wrong with me; I couldn’t bring myself to go and vote in this election. I just didn’t think that any of the candidates were worth voting for”.An Occupier emphasizes, “Man, you’re still grieving. It’s only been about a week since Xavier Bell died; his sudden death, at such a young age, was a tremendous shock to the whole community. He was one of your best friends! It will take a long time, if ever, to recover from such a loss; it’s no wonder you don’t feel any enthusiasm for anything right now. There’s nothing wrong with you”.

The city official sighs, “I think I’m still in shock”. Another Occupier agrees, “ ‘X’ did so much good for this community; he was a role model for all the youngbloods and parents who came in contact with him. Yet, with all that he accomplished, he never just sat back and took it easy. He was always looking for more grassroots ways to improve upon what he did. I don’t imagine there will be anyone who can fill his shoes”. The city official remarks, “Well, he left behind a very competent wife and five grown, well raised children who are all committed to continuing his legacy. I think X’s organization will live on; it’s just that we all really miss the man”.

The female Occupier tells the others, “I went to a way cool art opening and discussion last night at the Zeitgeist. The art show was created by Terry Moses; she’s an art professor at UMD who specializes in silkscreen and related mediums. She’s also the main secretary or record keeper for our local NAACP chapter. The subject matter of her current show is the contrast between the way an African American woman and a Caucasian woman experience the same situations. I found the artwork of Terry Moses to be technically first class as well as deeply moving. The discussion featured the artists, Ms Moses, Carla Hamilton and Kym Young. The attendees were around 95% female with the black girls talking and the white girls (hopefully) listening. I’d guess the main takeaway from the discussion was, forget all the stupid and erroneous stereotypes; African American woman want to be seen as the unique, individual, autonomous beings that they truly are”. She laughs and opines, “I think that sounds pretty reasonable to me”. The city official comments, “I wasn’t able to make it to the opening but I’ll be down to see Terry’s work asap”.

The other big item of news this week is that the Anon/Water Protector couple’s baby has been born. Everything went well and mom and dad were blessed with a nine pound, healthy, little boy. The Occupiers have seen Mr Baby who is named after his father but will be called by his “Indian name”. The couple and the three little girls are currently “cocooning” with the newborn bundle of joy. We all wish them well and hope to see them soon.

We see the staff guys are starting to clean up; it’s a bit early but there have been almost no customers this evening. We think we should give them a break and let them go home. As we are packing up one of the Occupiers imparts, “I’m not sure how our next Tuesday meeting will work; I know I have to be at the Planning Commission meeting at 5pm that evening and I think we’re also gonna be called on to speak before the City Council concerning the fact that Essentia is building their new high-rise health center and that they’ve purchased some low income apartments near the building site. They’re planning on demolishing the low income housing and turning the space into another parking lot. WTF? Anyway, I don’t know yet if that topic is scheduled to be addressed next Tuesday or not. I’ll let you all know as soon as I find out”.

So we might be back at Coney Island next Tuesday or we might not. Time will tell.