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20 Years of Fighting to Win


OCAP logo
OCAP logo

Saturday November 27th, 2010
Cecil Street Community Centre - 58 Cecil Street, Toronto
6:30 pm – 1 am

Sliding scale - $0 to $100

Community Dinner, Re-enactments, Music, the OCAP Awards, Toasts and Roasts.

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 traveled and
celebrate our struggles for the future. We invite everyone to join us on
in this momentous celebration!

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 willfully 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 to
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.

Come and celebrate 20 years of OCAP on November 27th!
Thanks for all your help and support now and in the future.

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty / 416-925-6939

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OCAP (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty)
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