[Hpn] UPDATE ON THE OCCUPATION AT 1510 KING STREET WEST, TORONTO, SOLIDARITY STILL NEEDED

wtinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Sat, 27 Jul 2002 23:05:43 -0400


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      From: Stephen Watson
      Greetings,

      PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY

      Yesterday, I sent out an urgent appeal for solidarity to CAW and =
other=20
      union, community and social activists calling for our physical =
presence at=20
      the OCAP "Pope Squat" occupation at 1510 King Street West in =
Toronto. The=20
      occupation is organized by OCAP to demand of the city and the =
province that=20
      the site itself, the site of mass evictions last year, be turned =
into=20
      social housing. The occupation is raising other demands which =
address the=20
      homelessness crisis. The demands are to build 2000 affordable, =
social=20
      housing units a year in Toronto, restore rent controls, enforce =
orders to=20
      repair substandard and unsafe housing stock, hike the minimum wage =
to $10=20
      an hour, restore cuts to social assistance, and stop economic =
evictions.

      The message I sent yesterday, Friday, and Day 2 of the occupation, =
said=20
      that the Toronto police were massing their riot squad at about =
4:45 pm.=20
      This was NOT a false alarm. A large body of police did, in fact, =
appear.=20
      However, it turns out that the police were using the pretext of a =
search=20
      for a weapon to enter the building and search people there. =
Obviously there=20
      was no weapon at the site. The occupation is well run and managed =
and no=20
      weapons or illegal drugs are allowed by the democratic =
self-management of=20
      the occupation. It's safe to say this police action was a =
propaganda=20
      exercise in intimidation.

      Having said that, the fact remains that the following is still =
true:

      Solidarity is urgently needed everyday of the occupation and =
beyond. Union=20
      and community activists should visit the site at 1510 King Street =
West=20
      between Jameson and Roncesvalles in Parkdale. Depending on which =
direction=20
      you are coming from, use the Jameson or Dunn exits off the =
Gardiner and=20
      proceed north to King Street. Then go west on King. Finding a =
parking spot=20
      is not all that difficult.

      In particular, the CAW president is urging our leadership and =
activists to=20
      come down and join in the many political and cultural activities =
at the=20
      site as well as just to show your solidarity by being visibly =
there. Below=20
      I have copied in the list of activities at the site over the next =
few days.

      CAW President Buzz Hargrove has received a complete report on the =
brilliant=20
      strategic and tactical victory in peaceful, civil disobedience =
addressing a=20
      serious social crisis this occupation represents. Buzz is looking =
for an=20
      opportunity to visit the site in person as soon as possible. =
Depending on=20
      his schedule and availability, he will take part in a press =
conference next=20
      week in support of the occupation. He urges as many CAW activists =
as=20
      possible to come down to the occupation. Our presence adds to the =
safety of=20
      the people maintaining the building. You will find a group of =
people who=20
      are co-operative, friendly, festive, inspired, and getting things =
done.

      The CAW and CUPE flags are flying from the site and more union =
flags will=20
      appear as the occupation progresses.

      Weeks ago the Toronto Area Director Munir Khalid wrote Police =
Chief Fantino=20
      and Mayor Lastman and all the members of the city council and =
police=20
      services board to urge that the police not interfere with the =
occupation,=20
      to recognize the occupation as a political act, not a criminal =
matter,=20
      which must be answered by the elected politicians with serious =
negotiations.

      CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan has written a letter with a =
similar message=20
      to Fantino.

      Naturally, we in the CAW and brothers and sisters in CUPE would =
like to=20
      think that our messages carry decisive weight and there's no doubt =
we sent=20
      a strong message but the fact is that the Mayor is in a real =
political=20
      crisis now and it is primarily because he would be very hard =
pressed to=20
      find any real, justifiable pretext for calling on the police force =
to evict=20
      the occupation. The last reported owner is a numbered company =
which has=20
      been declared defunct for failing to even file reports. The =
company has=20
      thousands of dollars in outstanding, unpaid property taxes. =
Ordered repairs=20
      were never done. It was the site of brutal, unjust evictions the =
community=20
      protested at the time. Read Thomas Walcom's report in the Toronto =
Star=20
      today for more details. Clearly, the city has no moral and likely =
no legal=20
      justification for any heavy-handed action against present =
occupants.

      All this makes a very strong case for the city to find a =
negotiated=20
      solution to convert building to social housing as OCAP is =
proposing.

      OCAP has asked for a meeting with the Mayor on Monday, July 29, at =
12 noon.=20
      The delegation will consist of many community leaders. Serious =
proposals on=20
      conversion of the site to social housing will be presented. The =
mayor=20
      should see the opportunity here for a victory for the whole =
community, a=20
      victory for peaceful negotiation, and lasting tribute to the =
Pope's visit.

      Nevertheless, hate, especially class hatred of the poor, is still =
a=20
      powerful force in the world and may yet overcome good sense in =
this=20
      situation and so we cannot be so naive as to think the danger of a =
violent=20
      police intervention has disappeared.

      A union cannot advise its members to interfere with a police =
operation, but=20
      there is a moral imperative to show our peaceful, firm resolve to =
denounce=20
      repression.

      As soon as rentable port-a-potties become available again -- =
another major=20
      event in the city had them all snatched up -- one will be ordered =
for the=20
      site and the cost will be covered by the CAW.

      Solidarity,

      Steve Watson, CAW staff

      OCAP's Events Calendar for the Pope Squat.
      *********************************************
      SUMMER STREET FESTIVAL - Saturday, July 27, 12:00 noon - night
      Solidarity Sunday - Sunday, July 28, all day
      UNION ACTIVISTS' FORUM ON WORKERS ISSUES 12 NOON TO 4 PM, SUNDAY, =
JULY 28
      Radical Garage Sale - Monday, July 29, 12noon - 6pm
      Performance by Ron Hawkins - Tuesday, July 30, 7:00pm
      Video by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis - Tuesday, July 30, 9:00pm
      Radical Reading Night - Wednesday, July 31, 7:00pm











      .=20
            =20
    =20

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      <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
      <DIV id=3DIncrediOriginalMessage><B>From:</B></I> <A=20
      href=3D"mailto:watsons@caw.ca">Stephen Watson</A></DIV>
      <DIV id=3Dreceivestrings>
      <DIV dir=3Dltr style=3D"FONT-SIZE: 11pt" =
<i>Greetings,<BR><BR>PLEASE CIRCULATE=20
      WIDELY<BR><BR>Yesterday, I sent out an urgent appeal for =
solidarity to CAW=20
      and other <BR>union, community and social activists calling for =
our=20
      physical presence at <BR>the OCAP "Pope Squat" occupation at 1510 =
King=20
      Street West in Toronto. The <BR>occupation is organized by OCAP to =
demand=20
      of the city and the province that <BR>the site itself, the site of =
mass=20
      evictions last year, be turned into <BR>social housing. The =
occupation is=20
      raising other demands which address the <BR>homelessness crisis. =
The=20
      demands are to build 2000 affordable, social <BR>housing units a =
year in=20
      Toronto, restore rent controls, enforce orders to <BR>repair =
substandard=20
      and unsafe housing stock, hike the minimum wage to $10 <BR>an =
hour,=20
      restore cuts to social assistance, and stop economic =
evictions.<BR><BR>The=20
      message I sent yesterday, Friday, and Day 2 of the occupation, =
said=20
      <BR>that the Toronto police were massing their riot squad at about =
4:45=20
      pm. <BR>This was NOT a false alarm. A large body of police did, in =
fact,=20
      appear. <BR>However, it turns out that the police were using the =
pretext=20
      of a search <BR>for a weapon to enter the building and search =
people=20
      there. Obviously there <BR>was no weapon at the site. The =
occupation is=20
      well run and managed and no <BR>weapons or illegal drugs are =
allowed by=20
      the democratic self-management of <BR>the occupation. It's safe to =
say=20
      this police action was a propaganda <BR>exercise in=20
      intimidation.<BR><BR>Having said that, the fact remains that the =
following=20
      is still true:<BR><BR>Solidarity is urgently needed everyday of =
the=20
      occupation and beyond. Union <BR>and community activists should =
visit the=20
      site at 1510 King Street West <BR>between Jameson and Roncesvalles =
in=20
      Parkdale. Depending on which direction <BR>you are coming from, =
use the=20
      Jameson or Dunn exits off the Gardiner and <BR>proceed north to =
King=20
      Street. Then go west on King. Finding a parking spot <BR>is not =
all that=20
      difficult.<BR><BR>In particular, the CAW president is urging our=20
      leadership and activists to <BR>come down and join in the many =
political=20
      and cultural activities at the <BR>site as well as just to show =
your=20
      solidarity by being visibly there. Below <BR>I have copied in the =
list of=20
      activities at the site over the next few days.<BR><BR>CAW =
President Buzz=20
      Hargrove has received a complete report on the brilliant =
<BR>strategic and=20
      tactical victory in peaceful, civil disobedience addressing a =
<BR>serious=20
      social crisis this occupation represents. Buzz is looking for an=20
      <BR>opportunity to visit the site in person as soon as possible. =
Depending=20
      on <BR>his schedule and availability, he will take part in a press =

      conference next <BR>week in support of the occupation. He urges as =
many=20
      CAW activists as <BR>possible to come down to the occupation. Our =
presence=20
      adds to the safety of <BR>the people maintaining the building. You =
will=20
      find a group of people who <BR>are co-operative, friendly, =
festive,=20
      inspired, and getting things done.<BR><BR>The CAW and CUPE flags =
are=20
      flying from the site and more union flags will <BR>appear as the=20
      occupation progresses.<BR><BR>Weeks ago the Toronto Area Director =
Munir=20
      Khalid wrote Police Chief Fantino <BR>and Mayor Lastman and all =
the=20
      members of the city council and police <BR>services board to urge =
that the=20
      police not interfere with the occupation, <BR>to recognize the =
occupation=20
      as a political act, not a criminal matter, <BR>which must be =
answered by=20
      the elected politicians with serious negotiations.<BR><BR>CUPE =
Ontario=20
      President Sid Ryan has written a letter with a similar message =
<BR>to=20
      Fantino.<BR><BR>Naturally, we in the CAW and brothers and sisters =
in CUPE=20
      would like to <BR>think that our messages carry decisive weight =
and=20
      there's no doubt we sent <BR>a strong message but the fact is that =
the=20
      Mayor is in a real political <BR>crisis now and it is primarily =
because he=20
      would be very hard pressed to <BR>find any real, justifiable =
pretext for=20
      calling on the police force to evict <BR>the occupation. The last =
reported=20
      owner is a numbered company which has <BR>been declared defunct =
for=20
      failing to even file reports. The company has <BR>thousands of =
dollars in=20
      outstanding, unpaid property taxes. Ordered repairs <BR>were never =
done.=20
      It was the site of brutal, unjust evictions the community =
<BR>protested at=20
      the time. Read Thomas Walcom's report in the Toronto Star =
<BR>today for=20
      more details. Clearly, the city has no moral and likely no legal=20
      <BR>justification for any heavy-handed action against present=20
      occupants.<BR><BR>All this makes a very strong case for the city =
to find a=20
      negotiated <BR>solution to convert building to social housing as =
OCAP is=20
      proposing.<BR><BR>OCAP has asked for a meeting with the Mayor on =
Monday,=20
      July 29, at 12 noon. <BR>The delegation will consist of many =
community=20
      leaders. Serious proposals on <BR>conversion of the site to social =
housing=20
      will be presented. The mayor <BR>should see the opportunity here =
for a=20
      victory for the whole community, a <BR>victory for peaceful =
negotiation,=20
      and lasting tribute to the Pope's visit.<BR><BR>Nevertheless, =
hate,=20
      especially class hatred of the poor, is still a <BR>powerful force =
in the=20
      world and may yet overcome good sense in this <BR>situation and so =
we=20
      cannot be so naive as to think the danger of a violent <BR>police=20
      intervention has disappeared.<BR><BR>A union cannot advise its =
members to=20
      interfere with a police operation, but <BR>there is a moral =
imperative to=20
      show our peaceful, firm resolve to denounce =
<BR>repression.<BR><BR>As soon=20
      as rentable port-a-potties become available again -- another major =

      <BR>event in the city had them all snatched up -- one will be =
ordered for=20
      the <BR>site and the cost will be covered by the=20
      CAW.<BR><BR>Solidarity,<BR><BR>Steve Watson, CAW =
staff<BR><BR>OCAP's=20
      Events Calendar for the Pope=20
      Squat.<BR>*********************************************<BR>SUMMER =
STREET=20
      FESTIVAL - Saturday, July 27, 12:00 noon - night<BR>Solidarity =
Sunday -=20
      Sunday, July 28, all day<BR>UNION ACTIVISTS' FORUM ON WORKERS =
ISSUES 12=20
      NOON TO 4 PM, SUNDAY, JULY 28<BR>Radical Garage Sale - Monday, =
July 29,=20
      12noon - 6pm<BR>Performance by Ron Hawkins - Tuesday, July 30,=20
      7:00pm<BR>Video by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis - Tuesday, July 30,=20
      9:00pm<BR>Radical Reading Night - Wednesday, July 31,=20
      =
7:00pm<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>.</DIV></DIV></TD><=
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