Wednesday, November 24, 2010
CANADIAN POLITICS ONTARIO:
HAPPY 20TH OCAP:
Speaking of OCAP, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty this happens to be the 20th anniversary of their founding. Here's the notice of their celebration.
OCAP's 20th Anniversary Celebration
Time Saturday at 6:30pm - November 28 at 1:00am
Location Cecil Street Community Centre - 58 Cecil Street, Toronto
Community Dinner, Reenactments, Music, the OCAP Awards, Toasts and Roasts.
Sliding scale - $0 to $100
Twenty years ago in November, the founding conference of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) took place.
On November 27, at the Cecil Street Community Centre (58 Cecil Street), we will be holding a party to remember the long road we’ve travelled and celebrate our struggles for the future.
OCAP has fought its way through two decades in which capitalism has been on the offensive and great problems have emerged in our movements around building and sustaining effective resistance. Along the way, we’ve made some mistakes but made many more victories, friends and high placed enemies. Through all we’ve done, our strength has been in our mobilization of poor communities to fight back and demand their rights.
Over the years, thousands of times, we forced welfare bureaucracies to provide the benefits they tried to hold back. We prevented evictions and deportations, forced cheating employers to pay up and made local authorities repair the public housing units they wilfully neglect.
OCAP acted to challenge the abandonment of the homeless. We opened closed shelters and occupied empty buildings to demand they be made into housing. We resisted the welfare cuts of Mike Harris and challenged their perpetuation by Dalton McGuinty. We were at the forefront of efforts ensure the poor had access to the Special Diet and we helped transform it from a barely known $6 million program to one paying over $200 million a year to poor people around the province.
OCAP fought on a range of fronts and won victories at a time when they were not easy to obtain. However, our greatest gain has been to ensure that the notion of collective resistance has not only been kept alive but has gained ground in the face of the neoliberal drive to destroy past gains and the expectations that were created alongside them.
As we look back with some pride on our history so far, we realize that these first two decades were only a warm up for the bigger fights ahead. This year, Toronto hosted the G20 with its plans for inhuman global austerity. Not by coincidence, as this vile gathering took place, we also saw the largest mass arrests in the history of Canada. The period that is now opening up will be one in which resistance will be at a premium and OCAP has some contributions ahead of it in this regard. Their plans for austerity will not run smoothly. People across the world are going to fight back and we are more than ready to be part of that fight.
Right now, we are rallying poor people across Toronto and beyond to defend their right to the Special Diet and to demand the raising of social assistance rates. We have recently brought on another OCAP organizer from within the Somali Community in Etobicoke to help expand our work there. We have a new person in our office working to increase our ability to deal with the growing abuses of the welfare system as it saves money by denying people and families their right to basic income. We are looking to move into a bigger office at a more visible location to help increase our base in the hard hit downtown east end. All of this means that, as we mark twenty years of fighting back, we need the help of our friends and allies to obtain the resources we need to get bigger and stronger at a time that requires it.
If you can make a contribution, it will be greatly appreciated and, if you can pledge a regular monthly amount that will be even better. See the website at www.ocap.ca to donate.
Come and celebrate 20 years of OCAP on November 27th.
Thanks for all your help and support now and in the future.