OCAP and the Old Neighborhood

Yesterday afternoon I took my bike out for a pedal. I went up around Allen Gardens and looked in at the OCAP protest. It is the usual OCAP thing, which I do not attend anymore. Many of the old hard core were still there, but I have never seen most of the people there. But they are still the same type of people.

I did not see Renouf around anywhere. He complains that they keep attacking him when he shows up. Whenever I used to show up at their nonsense, they would just ignore me. Sometimes I even brought a video camera. Today they did not seem to even recognize me.

It has been ten years now since I was nominally a member of OCAP. However, I had pretty much had it up to here with them since the "Pope Squat" in 2002. In 2003, as part of the hate campaign whipped up against me, Helen Armstrong suddenly became an OCAP member and proceeded to get me drummed out of OCAP on the basis of the libel campaign that was cooked up about me at the time, due to my attempts to "blow the whistle" on FMTA (Federation of Metro Tenants Associations).

I am told that this did an incredible amount of damage to OCAP's credibility with its funders at that time. These old style communist types who had also attended OCAP meetings up to that time quit in disgust and with them went a great deal of monetary and other support.

Maybe the reason they became more circumspect about of me now is that I am not a right wing cracker with a paranoia about everything to the left of Mussolini. I am hard to demonize to their funders and supporters. They finally have some significant unions support again and would want to keep it.

But I have no regard for these idiots at all. They are a bunch of borderline personality disorders who play at being revolutionaries. They are merely acting out their rage at their inability to form any human connection. Maybe when the revolution happens their lives will start to make sense.

It does amuse me that these kinds of baloney heads are starting to get these "love is the movement" tattoos. More like the substitute for love which they are incapable of expressing.

But enough of my reminiscences about old the good old days. To a certain extent, the reactionary idiots have a point that OCAP should not be allowed to do what it is doing. But they are gradually fading away anyhow. This crowd was maybe 200 people. I have been at OCAP organized rallies in the last century where there had to be several thousand people on the street.

All these scum know how to do is get people into trouble to serve their own psychotic needs, while making it harder to carry out legitimate protests. The real answer to OCAP is an alternative, because there is a cause there. We need people who can organize a real campaign to deal with poverty. All we can get out of OCAP is a game of cat and mouse with the police, in order to "test the response".

This is why they are so infuriated with the Toronto police under Blair. He has brains enough to have his troops play it low key. OCAPs heyday was in the Fantino days, the time of "Il Duce" running the police force; a crackpot goon with an obsession about crushing OCAP, which gave them publicity and credibility they did not deserve.

If you are going to do this kind of demonstration, you have to have 1) a specific and reasonable demand 2) someone to address the demand to, and 3) the demand has to be something that is within the power of the addressee to deliver. You also need a small, tight group with no loose cannons and a commitment to do nothing which cannot be legally justified.

I am now have a stack of tweets from Grenouf. It seems he has found a camera from somewhere. He was complaining about how some OCAP ying-yang broke his cell phone so he can't take pictures with it. It says much of the state of his finances that he has to solicit donations to replace it.

I have wondered just what he does for a living. He seems to spend an incredible amount of time chasing public demonstrations. I think soon he will have to end his obsession and seek to enlarge his exchequer.

One of these days I must sit down and explain to Renouf and some of those following him on the net about the history of OCAP, and the real problem of police violence. Also, just what the law is about the right to public assembly and to use public spaces.

I remember when I was a kid, me and my friends taking a tent and camping in the park during the summer. Who decided that this was no longer legal? If it is to prevent homeless people from sleeping in the park, why is it not asked why there are people who have nowhere to sleep?

But I turned my bike away from Allen Gardens and did a pedal around my old neighborhood. Lately I have started looking into what has been going on since I have been gone. It seems lately OCAP has been making trouble along my old street, revising the war on Gentrification in the Downtown East End of Toronto.

I have read some people saying that the battle against gentrification in the area is over, the last few bastions of working class or underclass culture are falling in the area. I do not see that. There is less single room occupancy around, as I see pedaling up and down the leafy lanes. But there is some; places with five mailboxes, a lot of it owned by social agencies.

As I had predicted, destroying much of the single room occupancies in the area did not drive the underclass out of the area. Such were the plans of the idiots in the "residents associations". Low income people cannot live way out in the suburbs, away from transit and the services they need. They absolutely have to be centrally located.

So they just move into the hostels, which have to be expanded for them. There are just as many of them running around that area as there always were. The services for them are mostly still there. This despite all the vicious physical harassment from the police and the legal and political harassment from the "residents associations".

From what I have heard of OCAP rhetoric, there is a move on to do something with Seaton house. The right wing cranks have been howling to have it shut down for a long time. But OCAP often makes a big stink about things that would actually be beneficial to underclass people in the area. Some redevelopment of Seaton, if done right, would be in order.

It has been awhile since I lived around that area, and I am not up to date with the latest issues. But this summer I did a service learning placement at Central Neighborhood House and I have started to get a bit interested. But I have just started looking into George street again.

I have also started hearing about OCAP again, which seemed to have been quiet for awhile. I think Renouf has helped draw my attention to them. But something is going on and I may be able to find time to look into it.

For now, it was getting dark. It is the coolest day so far this fall, and I turned my old bike downhill toward home. There I learned via twitter that Renouf had been out bothering the"OC(R)APs". He got bothered back a bit.

Renouf had some pictures for me of the usual OCAP idiocy. They started trying to put up tents. they set up a fence around themselves. Most of the crowd left and the hard cases were hauled away. No heads busted tonight.

It all sounds much like the "Campout in Allen Gardens" which happened in 2001 I think. Then the cops came in at dawn on the second day and the OCAPers tried to fight them off, forming a defense line against the police line.

Renouf is amazed he got home safely. I got home and wrote this and went to bed. Today I drafted it and I will post it. I will also post it to Renouf's comments section. I wonder how he will react to it?