This summer we witnessed the City of Toronto escalate its violent campaign to evict encampment residents from parks. During these clearings, over fifty encampment residents and defenders were arrested and received tickets or criminal charges. On Thursday September 16th at 10 AM, speakers and supporters will gather outside of mayor John Tory’s condo (at Bloor & Bedford) to make their demands heard: stop encampment evictions, drop all the charges, and roll out permanent rent-geared-to-income housing for all.
We, Anakbayan Toronto and Canada-Philippines Solidarity Organization – Toronto are encouraging people to attend this event in solidarity with all encampment residents and supporters who were evicted, arrested, charged or subjected to police violence during these clearings. These attacks by the Toronto police against the city’s poorest residents parallel the violence of militarized police raids and evictions against the urban poor in the Philippines. Activists in the Philippines who participate in organized resistance to these evictions are targeted with extreme state repression that includes attacks, arrests and imprisonment, false charges and killings. Just last week on September 9th Kadamay, a mass organization for the urban poor in the Philippines, held a protest outside of the House of Representatives to challenge the Duterte administration’s use of the housing budget for infrastructure related demolition operations instead of housing development and rent subsidies.
The similarities in these struggles are no coincidence. In all societies impacted by capitalism and imperialism, homelessness inherently functions to pressure the rest of the working-classes to produce wealth for the ruling class as replaceable labourers and renters; it is a threat to those who refuse to comply. This cannot be more apparent than during this global pandemic, where “frontline” and “essential” workers across the world are forced to sacrifice their safety to afford rent and avoid eviction. In Toronto a disproportionate percentage of these workers are Filipino migrant workers.
All people, globally, deserve housing and quality of life. We believe in international solidarity between movements of the poor and working masses around the world who resist this system and assert their right to live in dignity. CPSO and Anakbayan Toronto stand in solidarity with encampment residents and defenders and call for all charges to be dropped!