OccupyMpls Journal> Terry Burke and Polly Kellogg

November 17, 2011

Suzan and I leafletted Nicollet with a Xerox of the front page of the WAMM newsletter, the article about the prison industrial complex. (We added the note that the article was continued on worldwidewamm.org).

 The highest percentage of people ever took the flyer — a lot of the corporate types were inside — people could see us ahead of time because there weren’t many people on the street.  Over 80% took the flyer!  (100% at some bus stops.)

 We tried the skyway and didn’t get as good a reception so we went back outside. Seventh Street where a lot of African Americans are waiting for the bus was excellent. We talked with several people about the prison system, some former prisoners. Several people said they would come to the Speak Out! (Saturday, November 19, 10 a.m. at Sabathani Center on 38th St. a few blocks west of Portland Ave. in South Minneapolis.)

At the Hennepin County Government Center, Polly had a flyer for county workers about coming to the 5 pm rally to protest the cuts.  The administration people who have given us permission in the past to leaflet said today that it wasn’t allowed.  We asked to see the statute – they went to print it – and it said leafletting WAS PERMITTED on the street level floor!  So we did.

 Then the sheriff’s deputies said we couldn’t. We told them that we had seen the statutes and it was permitted.  We also told them that we were opposed to privatizing sheriff’s deputies as they had tried to do in Foley.  So for a short while we had six deputies telling us it was forbidden until the administration people came out and said it was permitted!

 As Polly noted, this is a victory for the Occupy people. We now know we can all leaflet inside the Government Center!

 It was an excellent, interesting day!!!

Terry Burke

After Terry and I ran out of leaflets, I got a couple of sweet occupiers to stand in the Government Center lobby with signs tied around their necks announcing the 5 pm protest to cuts in public services, yet another way to expand First Amendment rights against the bureaucracy.

The Plaza rally was large again tonight, about 150. (There were over 300 Monday night.) There was a whole cluster of WAMM women I’d never met before that gathered while we waited for the march from the 10th Ave. Bridge. Some of us went into the Government Center to warm up and use the toilet. (One porta-potty has been restored, but it was out of paper.)

There were 250 people all over 10th Ave. Bridge, and 11 did civil disobedience to protest lack of funds for infrastructure. (I wish I’d gotten over there because the day 35W bridge collapsed I realized there was so much national media, that we should be out there protesting. I made a sign “Tax Cuts Cause Collapse” and wandered around the bridge, wishing for a protest. I ended up at WAMM’s Lake St. protest instead.)

By 6 p.m. the marchers hadn’t arrived, so they decided to start the rally and I got up to speak. I was warming up by reading the signs in the crowd when I spotted the marchers coming over 4th Ave. It’s always thrilling to see these noisy marches enter the Plaza at night with flags flying. I feel transported to some other country. A country with a tradition of night-time protests in the town plaza. There’s a rapid paradigm shift happening in the USA.

At 7 p.m. I went to a meeting of people who want to support the OccupyMN who discussed having a conference about future directions for it. At first it felt good to be sitting in a warm room talking over snacks, but I soon got restless from too much abstract talking and my back hurt from two hours of sitting.

I hurried home to make squash and hot tea to take to the Plaza for those camping out. I love the scene, and there’s time to chat. One camper said I was his hero cuz I told him that we camped all winter at the MN Women’s Camp. A camper’s dad said he sleeps out in a tent all winter cuz he likes to. Another man from the U of MN was very well versed in winter survival, solar cookers, etc.

There was discussion of getting a couple RV’s to sleep in. ”Ask WAMM if they know of anyone who has RV’s we could use.” It’s a good idea.  One group of occupiers is raising money for a school bus, which is going to Portland, OR to pick up some protesters but will be back in MN soon. They’ll take out the benches and sleep in it on 4th Ave. and plug meters during the day. There’s an 80% chance of snow Sat. eve, so the plans are getting serious.

At 11 p.m. the woman who makes the fuzzy hats for the campers came by with 20 neckwarmers with labels saying Occupy Mpls. and People Before Profits, Need Not Greed. They posed for a group picture before going to “bed”.

It was a very rich day!

Polly Kellogg

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