|OCAP Funding Appeal|
2002 placed huge strains on OCAP's resources. We had to fight to defend dozens of members and supporters in the courts in the face of intensified (and unsuccessful) efforts to criminalize and destroy our organization.
It has never been our intention, however, to let them divert us from the struggle we are engaged in and, this last year saw our fight back taken to new levels. Every day, we opposed evictions, challenged the denial of social benefits, resisted deportations and fought back against other abuses thrown at people in the war on the poor. We also took the fight for housing to a new level with the months' long "Pope Squat" that shook up the Tories and pointed the way forward for the upcoming year.
As we go into 2003, we face some very major challenges. Three of our members, Stefan Pilipa, John Clarke and Gaetan Heroux face a three month Jury Trial that starts in January. They have been singled out as 'leaders' of a 'planned riot' on June 15, 2000 at the Ontario Legislature. Prison terms of up to five years are hanging over them. (We know these OCAP members are not guilty because June 15 was a police riot and the cops don't take their orders from us). We will approach this trial not just as a legal battle but as a political campaign and will mobilize to defeat this latest round in the criminalization of resistance.
During this next year, we intend to deepen our work in poor neighbourhoods and to organize struggles for housing that will be on a much bigger scale than that of the Pope Squat. Coast to coast housing takeovers are being worked for with OCAP spearheading a major mobilization in Toronto.
We are moving forward with all these struggles with a bank account that is down to next to nothing. Now, we know that we are going to have to carry on our work with resources that are but a tiny fraction of what the other side spends on trying to silence us but, if you could help us keep the phone hooked up and the rent paid, that would be nice. We urgently need a round of financial support to take us into the New Year. Please rush any and all donations to:
517 College Street, unit 234,
Make checks and money orders out to: Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
If you would like to receive an OCAP calendar (cost $12 with postage) please let us know this when you write and be sure to include a return address.
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