Friday, December 18, 2009

Ah yes, we draw close to the end of the year, and all sorts of groups are making a push for funds. Here's one that you should perhaps pay attention to. OCAP, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, is certainly the most successful "direct action" group on the North American continent-and perhaps in the world if by "direct action" you mean using means that actually have a realistic chance of success and don't depend on petitioning some remote authority by actions that, however "militant", are more for show than anything else. Ah, but that's the subject of a boring political theory post. Here's OCAP's appeal.
OCAP Year End Appeal‏:
As the year comes to an end, poor communities are being hard hit by the impact of economic crisis and 'jobless recovery'. Our office takes calls from people who are facing job loss and the need to apply for social benefits for the first time in their lives. We respond daily to attempts by welfare officialdom to save costs by denying people even the meager entitlements they are supposed to provide.
It is obvious to us that 2010 will be dominated by a concerted drive by governments to force poor and working people to pick up the costs of the recent round of corporate bailouts. When banks need stabilizing, deficits don't matter but, when people need education, health care, housing or income support, they are told such things are unaffordable luxuries. Deep and brutal austerity measures and being prepared. Already, we have seen the Provincial Auditor General setting in motion an attack on people on social assistance and on the vital Special Diet program in particular. We have also seen the Toronto Transit Commission impose a major increase on us and make clear that more will can be expected over the next few years.
OCAP is preparing for big fights in the next year. On November 5, we supported the student day of action with a march through Toronto's financial district that made clear attempts to make the poor pay for the crisis would be fought. We resisted the attack on the Special Diet with a mobilization of hundreds at Metro Hall that was dominated by women from Etobicoke's Somali community. We recently responded to the TTC fare increase with a rally on Queen Street that did not merely protest what was happening but signaled an intention to fight back. Using anti fare increase 'transfers' dozens of us boarded street cars in the first use of a tactic we will develop in the New Year.
2010 is going to see huge attacks and major resistance. We are going into this with only three organizers and a budget of only about $60,000. If we are to respond as we need to, we badly need to increase our resources. We are appealing to supporters to help us with a year end donation. Please mail cheques to OCAP at:
10 Britain Street,
M5A 1R6

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