Olympia Port Militarization (PMR) held a meeting this Sunday, March 2nd at the Olympia Free School, 610 Columbia St., Olympia. The meeting was scheduled for 4:30pm. I am going to leave any comments of mine till later and for now try to stick to the reporting part of this. During the meeting I refrained from making any comments or involving myself in the discussions.
I arrived at approximately 4:20pm. Two people were standing outside the Free School waiting for the person with the key. We were let in by a person next door to the Free School. The meeting started at 4:40pm with a facilitator talking with the participants and developing an agenda. Apparently there was no agenda prior to the meeting. Introductions were made. I introduced myself by name and stated that I was going to do an article for OlyBlog. I have always felt that if you are going to record or interview for publication, ethics require that the person(s) be told that. So everyone there knew that I was taking notes and would be reporting on this meeting. One person raised a question on whether they wanted reporting done on their meeting. This was discussed and the members decided to allow it. There were eleven members present.
A number of announcements were made for other “community” or “progressive” events. Drew Hendricks spoke of a presentation he will give concerning the INS and plans for the removal of illegal aliens, at 6:00pm on March 5th, Seminar 2 Bldg, room A1107, Evergreen College. Alison Bodine, who was recently banned from entry into Canada for two years, requested a speaker from Oly PMR for an event in Seattle. Drew Hendricks volunteered to speak at this event.
Drew Hendricks reported that they would be receiving a large amount of documents from the Olympia Police Department concerning the activities last November at the Port of Olympia. He also said the cost for that materials would be about $90. He also stated that Olympia Police had made a decision that if people were using children as “shields” and there was likelihood that pepper-spray or tear gas would be used, then those children would be “kidnapped” (that word choice was Drew Hendrick’s) and parents/guardians would be arrested. Most people there expressed dismay that the police would take that action.
There was discussion on “outreach” methods and also a Regional meeting. Fund-raising was also discussed. There was a discussion on keeping a separation between funds for legal defense and operating funds but there did not seem to have been a final decision on this. A hat was passed around for “operating funds”. One interesting item was that if people donate $25 or more, then they will get a gas mask. It was stated that PMR had received a donation of 40 gas masks.
The Oakland Longshoreman’s union, the ILWU, has passed a resolution for a “stop work action” for the 1st of May. There was discussion on trying to get local longshoremen to do this also. Bert Whitlock stated that “The Olympia ILWU local is largely unappreciative of Oly PMR”. Several people there recounted how, last November, the local longshoremen were insulted by the protesters. Several people then said “that wasn’t PMR”.
At the end of the meeting there was an “Anti-Oppression Session”. There was a question “Did anyone feel oppressed at this meeting?” No one spoke up saying that they were oppressed. There was also a moment of humor when a moment of silence was offered in the hope that I would “leave the dark side”. Everyone got a good laugh out of that. The next meeting will be at 4:30pm on March 16th. Meeting was adjourned at 6:15pm but most of the people hung around. I think to discuss stuff that they didn’t want me to hear.