G.A. Minutes 1-28-20

G.A. Minutes 1-28-20

We’re back at Coney Island again this Tuesday evening and guess what……it’s still winter. Crap! In this part of the country it always feels like cold, snow and wind chill will go on forever. It kinda does too; in general, we have winter weather for around 6 months and then have to cram spring, summer and fall into the other 6 months.

After enduring the freezing temperatures for 5 months or so, everyone begins asking the question, “Why do we live here?” Fortunately, we can easily answer, “Well, although we have our share of racists, misogynists, xenophobes, homophobes, nimbys and other haters, we also have a large group of all types of progressive folks who are quite active all year long. Most are seriously committed to saving our planet and creating a just society where everyone is able to not just survive but to thrive and be happy too. There are other places in the U.S. that have large groups of peace loving anti-capitalists but they’re mainly in large cities; many of us have lived in large cities in the past and we prefer the less rushed lifestyle and availability of real nature that Duluth has to offer”.

Our small group of the usual suspects roll in, order food, begin to take off their winter gear and choose their seats. The Occupier who sometimes writes the meeting minutes arrives a little later; she’s returning from the monthly meeting of the Citizens Review Board. She’s in a cheerful mood and tells everyone, “It was a pretty good meeting this month; I’m told they’re still working on that complaint that I filed against that cop who gave me a citation for having a legal fire at Peoples Plaza on May Day. As things turned out, the fact that the D.A. tried to bully me into taking a ridiculous plea and then filed criminal charges because I wouldn’t do it was actually to my advantage. Once I had criminal charges filed against me, I was entitled to see all the evidence they had against me. I was able to receive a copy of the police body camera footage that was taken at the Plaza on May 1st. That video was just marvelous; it showed the lead cop doing and saying some things that were illegal but it mainly showed him acting like an absolute idiot. I know that cops seldom face consequences for their actions but this guy acted so stupidly that I know at least one of his bosses will say to him, “What the hell were you thinking?” I hope the dipshit at least gets embarrassed, especially when his bosses watch the part where he gives the entire Plaza crowd a lecture about how the only reason that cops exist is so they can tell regular people when they are doing something wrong”. The recording Occupier turns toward the Anon/Water Protector saying, “Here’s the business card from one of the main cops who deals with all the complaints that people file against the street cops. I told him about what that cop did to you and the kids last Saturday night; he was appalled and asked that you give him a call as soon as you can”. The Anon/W.P. replies, “O.K., thanks; I will call him. I definitely don’t trust cops but I have no problem complaining about the way I and the kids were treated last Saturday”. The Occupier agrees, “I don’t trust cops either but this guy is the only cop trusted by the main CHUM homeless outreach worker. He is rather easy to work with at least”.

Blue is confused and says, “What?!? You were abused by a cop on Saturday? WTF?” The Anon/W.P. responds, “Some of us were hanging out at the Occupier couple’s house last Saturday evening; I had 2 of my girls and the new baby with me. At around 10pm we all took off to our various homes; I packed up the 3 kids and headed down to 1st St where I could easily access the freeway and get back to where we live on the Fond du Lac Reservation. As I was slowly driving down the street there was a cute, young little white girl driving ahead of me while talking on her cell phone. I think she just saw the stop sign out of the corner eye so slammed on her brakes; this caused me to have to slam on my brakes to avoid crashing into the rear end of her car. My bumper just lightly tapped her back bumper, the tiny dents on both our vehicles were barely visible. Then another car containing some African American young people came driving up and they lightly bumped into my rear end. It was all so minor; there was no reason to call the cops but the young girl called them anyway. The African American young peeps just backed up and took off; I don’t blame them, we all know how cops treat young African Americans.

“So when a cop driving an unmarked squad arrives he goes to talk with the young girl and then lets her drive off. Then he comes over to me and starts to ream me a new one. I show him my drivers license, he takes it to his vehicle and tells me that I’m driving on a suspended license. That was not true, I find the appropriate website on my cell phone and show it to him saying, ‘I think your computer report must be out of date’. He goes back to his vehicle then returns saying, ‘It also says that you don’t have insurance’. I respond, ‘This vehicle does have insurance but it’s under the name of the woman who is technically the owner of it. We’ll have to go to another website in order to find that’. The cop throws up his hands and exclaims, ‘I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS! You absolutely cannot drive this vehicle; you’ll have to find someone with a legal drivers license to drive you home’. So there I am, sitting in a car that I’m forbidden to drive, we’re left in the cold at 10:30pm on a main street of the Central Hillside with 3 kids and there’s one other kid who was waiting for me to pick her up back in FDL. I called the Occupier couple and they got out of their Pj’s and came to my rescue”. The Fire Magician adds, “Yeah and we always shut our phone off when we go to sleep; if she had called even 5 minutes later we would not have known she needed help”. Blue is incredulous and blurts out, “What kind of a human being leaves a young mother with 3 kids alone out in the cold, after 10pm, on one of Central Hillside’s more dangerous streets?!?” We all say, “For real”.

The recording Occupier continues, “Oh, one more thing, the working group for the Police Policy on Protective Gear (read Riot Gear) will be presenting their completed work to the general public on Monday, February 3rd , 6pm out at Denfeld H.S. Rumor has it that there will protesters showing up”. We all say, “No! Doya think?”

The Occupier who is a college students rolls in. Once he gets settled he informs us that his classes are back in session. He reports, “I really like my new professor for Environmental Ethics, she’s very different from the other professors; she teaches that the major groups responsible for climate change are the corporations, especially the fossil fuel corporations. The other professors, whose classes I’ve been required to take, all teach that everything will be fine if we just create a few minor reforms and tweak capitalism a bit. Of course, I was always in trouble for disagreeing with them”. We all laugh. Another Occupier inquires, “I wonder which of your professors have been or will be given tenure?” The college dude replies, “That’s a very good question; I’m gonna check it out”

The college Occupier changes the subject saying, “I see another Polymet mine hearing coming up, I’m afraid I’m out of the loop on that one. Does anyone have more details?” A W.P. explains, “Yeah, I’m not an expert on this but I believe the MN Court of Appeals ruled that the MN Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) or the MN Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) or maybe both of them, wrongly issued permits to Polymet concerning dam safety and waste storage; also at issue are Polymet’s financial assurance statement and the question of exactly what role Glencore (Polymet’s parent company) will play in the operation and development of the proposed copper-nickel mine. I know there’s more to the story but that’s the best I can do”. The college student replies, “Well, that’s a lot more information than I had”. Another Occupier adds, “The amount of corruption caused by the greed of the 1% is just mind-boggling. Polymet has never built a copper-nickel or any other mine anywhere, ever, but Glencore is one of the biggest mining companies in the whole world. They are notorious for oppressive working conditions for miners, tax evasion and pollution stemming from their mining sites; Glencore’s CEO is Tony Hayward, you know, the former CEO of British Petroleum, the company responsible for the huge oil spill that practically destroyed the entire Gulf coast about 10 years ago. He was the scumbag who, less than a month after the oil disaster was whining, ‘I want my life back!’ Useless muthafucker! Most of the folks who live or work on the Gulf Coast have not and never will get their lives back”.

An Anon joins in, “Besides, there has never been a copper-nickel mine that didn’t pollute its surrounding area and more. Remember that copper-nickel mine tailings pond spill up in Mount Polley in Canada a couple of years ago? I believe the design for the tailings pond in Mont Polley is the exact same design as the one for the proposed Polymet Mine. A W.P. adds, “I was just reading about Mount Polley the other day; it’s been about 5 years since the spill happened, it hasn’t been completely cleaned up but the Canadian government has still not issued any fines, citations or anything at all. I guess they have a very lax regulatory system”. An Occupier opines, “Kinda like here in the U S of A huh?” We all shake our heads in disgust. Someone finishes our conversation saying, “I’m guessing that Hoyt Lakes, which is where the mine is planned to start, is an hour to an hour and a half drive from Duluth, deep in the heart of “Da Range” and all the mine supporting and prone to violence peeps. I doubt we’d be able to make it up to that area very often but we can lend support to groups like Water Legacy and Save the Boundary Waters”. Most of us already do that.

The college Occupier tells us, “I have one more question; I saw a little blurb about He Who Shall Not Be Named and Netanyahu holding a press conference or something today to announce some sort of Palestinian/Israeli peace deal. Anybody know what that is all about?” Another Occupier responds, “I saw that too; I’m guessing it’s just a diversionary tactic to take the general public’s minds off the fact that HWSNBN has been impeached and that Netanyahu has been indicted on corruption charges. The actual so called peace deal is just a bunch of shit. The Palestinians were not even consulted during the deal creation; it gives the Israelis everything they’d been fighting for over the last 70+ years and it tells the Palestinians they can have a few minor “rights”. I imagine that once the Palestinians and other Arab Muslim countries refuse to have anything to do with the bogus deal, HWSNBN will start bitching about them not really wanting “peace”. We all shake our heads in disgust….again. We’ve been doing a lot of that these past 3 years or so.

Last Saturday was the oldest of the 3 little girls birthday; her Mom had scheduled a big swimming pool party at the Black Bear Casino. Most of us had planned to attend but the poor little girl came down with the flu so Mom had to cancel her party and reschedule it for this upcoming Saturday. There was only one problem; the BD cake could not be rescheduled so the entire family showed up this evening carrying a 2 tiered chocolate cake with blue frosting. This is the kind of problem we can easily handle; we all chow down and now have blue lips, teeth and fingers. We make sure to carve out a few good pieces for the staff guys.

As we are cleaning up our mess and fixin’ to leave the Occupier who likes to announce things announces, “Socialist Pizza will be happening this upcoming Friday, January 31st, 6:30pm at the Womens Building. The next Housing Justice meeting will take place next Monday, February 3rd 6:30pm in the Kids Cafe at the Dom. A W.P. exclaims, “Hey, wait a minute….. the Police Riot Gear meeting and the Housing Justice meeting are both on the same day and time?” The announcing one replies, “Yeah, I’m afraid so, I haven’t figured out which meeting I will be most useful at yet”.

So with everything cleaned up, we settle accounts while waving and smiling at the staff guys; the staff guys wave and smile back to us. They have blue teeth and lips too. We expect to be back at Coney Island next Tuesday.