OCAP MASS PANHANDLE OF 'THE PATH':
Christmas is coming round once again, and the merry tunes of cash registers is heard in the land. This once a year celebration of false generosity has too little effect on the 365 days a year life of people who live in poverty in our society. The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) is preparing to make a vivid demonstration of the reality of this poverty and the government assaults against the poor. On Wednesday, December 12th they are organizing a "mass panhandle" in the underground Toronto shopping temple (I mean "mall") called 'The Path'. This is their statement:
The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) is preparing to mobilize homeless people and their supporters to come down into the showpiece underground PATH system for a mass panhandle. We want to make clear why we are carrying out this action and what users of the PATH can expect from us.
Huge cuts to social programs and a desperate lack of affordable housing have fueled a crisis of homelessness in Toronto. Instead of meeting the needs of the homeless, those ion power are looking to drive them out. Hostels have been closed and people forced into the streets to beg. Then police are used to harass and criminalize people trying to survive.
It is the developers, the major merchants and suchlike who press for a policy of sweeping homeless people under the rug. They don't want their money-making to be interrupted by desperate people seeking the basic necessities of life. OCAP is organizing to stand up to this process of harassment. We are bringing homeless people and those who support them to panhandle in the very heart of the commercial showpiece they seek to drive people from.
No doubt, attempts will be made to portray our mass panhandle as something people should feel threatened by. We want to make it clear that our anger at the injustice homeless people face is not directed at ordinary people eating or shopping in the PATH. We will ask you for some change if you wish to give it and we will ask for your support and understanding of the situation facing the homeless.
Our mass panhandle is about people under attack demanding their rights. We hope that you will agree with the stand we are taking and that we will have your support and solidarity when we visit the PATH.
If you or your group want to participate in this action please contact OCAP at 416-925-6939. Check our website frequently for updates including information on finding your way around the PATH system and more ways to get involved.