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(en) Canada, Ottawa, Defiance not Compliance! A publication of Anti-capitalist Community Action (ACA) Issue Jan 2004

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 1 Feb 2005 16:38:38 +0100 (CET)


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A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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What Is ACA? --- Anti-capitalist Community Action (ACA) is an Ottawa-Outaouais-based group focusing on local struggles and
global struggles against capitalism and imperialism. As a revolutionary anti-capitalist group, our goal is to
achieve a decentralized, non-hierarchical, directly democratic, and non-oppressive society. ACA is dedicated
to fighting against all forms of oppression. In the past 3 years we have been involved with numerous actions,
campaigns, and projects. To get involved, you can join any of ACA's workgroups or projects or participate in
our monthly general assemblies.
What has ACA been up to?
* No To Bush Committee/PGA Bloc Ottawa: Members of ACA, along with many other community groups
and individuals, organized and supported 3 days of protest surrounding the recent visit by George W Bush to
Ottawa.

* Angry Grrls: angry girrls is a group of radical women that came out of our frustrations with the exploitation
of our bodies and lives, as well as our dreams of a world free of sexism, patriarchy and all oppression. we
have been involved in putting out a zine, having stitch and bitches/making menstrual pads, and have much
more planned! we will not be told to behave or ask permission for our equality.
* Raise The Rates: Join ACA and other members of your community in organizing for an immediate increase
of 40% to social assistance rates. We are building a local Raise the Rates organization as part of a province-
wide campaign.
* Popular Education: ACA regularly hosts freeskools, talks, and workshops to educate the public and
ourselves about the issues which concern us all.
* Housing Issues: ACA was one of the groups responsible for the squat action at 246 Gilmour Street. We
worked in solidarity with the 2004 tent city protest at Ottawa City Hall.
* Black and Red Flying Squad: We attempt to make links between worker's struggles and other struggles.
We support worker's struggles through picket-line support and direct action.
* Anti-imperialism: As part of the Coalition for Peace in Iraq, ACA drew links between imperialist wars
abroad and the war at home against refugees and the poor.
* ACME: ACA played a role in disrupting the annual CME (Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters) Awards
gala in January 2003. The gala, dubbed 'Serving the Poor Profitably', was more about propping up WTO
sponsored trade agreements and lining corporate pockets than fighting poverty.
Workgroups currently on hiatus include Direct Action Casework Ottawa (DACO), Copwatch, and the Latin-
American Solidarity Workgroup.
How do I contact ACA?
aca@mutulaid.org or www.a-c-a.net
Basis of Unity
ACA has adopted the People's Global Action <http://www.agp.org> hallmarks as our basis of unity:
1. A very clear rejection of capitalism, imperialism and feudalism; all trade agreements, institutions and
governments that promote destructive globalization.
2. We reject all forms and systems of domination and discrimination including, but not limited to, patriarchy,
racism and religious fundamentalism of all creeds. We embrace the full dignity of all human beings.
3. A confrontational attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can have a major impact in such biased
and undemocratic organizations, in which transnational capital is the only real policy-maker;
4. A call to direct action and civil disobedience, support for social movements' struggles, advocating forms of
resistance which maximize respect for life and oppressed peoples' rights, as well as the construction of local
alternatives to global capitalism.
5. An organizational philosophy based on decentralization and autonomy.

1
Table of Contents
Editorial............................................................................................1
Home is an Open Door.................................................................................2
What Crisis????......................................................................................4
Join Raise The Rates and Fight To Win................................................................8
If the Bank Doesn't Get You, Money Mart Will........................................................12

Editorial
Over the last 20 years, the Canadian state has engaged in a very aggressive war
against the poor. This war against the poor is often justified in terms of "getting the
state off our backs", "fiscal responsibility", "efficiency" and all these other
discourses, that justify cutbacks to social programs that will hurt people in poverty.
Perhaps even more disturbing is the common ideologies that people have when
they think of the poor: there is the common belief that people are poor, due to
their individual or cultural characteristics - i.e. people are poor because they are
"lazy". This ideology then justifies government cutbacks, because social programs
are seen as promoting this "laziness" and keeping them "poor". Along similar lines,
governments (especially the Harris/Eves government in Ontario) try to give the
impression that "welfare-fraud" is a common phenomenon (in fact it is very
infrequent-especially in comparison to corporate fraud!) to justify the need to cut
back and tighten the requirements for welfare.
What is lost in all this poor-bashing, is that poverty is not caused by individual or
cultural characteristics, is due to structural features of our economic system.
Poverty serves as an "incentive" to push poor people to accept really poorly paying
jobs. Unemployment helps ensure that people are fearful that they will lose their
jobs, so they don't demand more. And we can extend this structural analysis to
other aspects of poor bashing. In our premiere edition of Defiance Not
Compliance, we have requested material dealing with questions surrounding
poverty
We have received an eclectic mix of material ranging from loan companies like
Money Mart and how they exploit the poor, to the actual experiences of being
poor, to discussions of the actual social struggles that are demanding an end to
poverty and the utterly repugnant maldistribution of wealth that pervades our
society.
On a more positive note, the people who were arrested for squatting a house on
Gilmour Street, were not convicted for protesting poverty and lack of affordable
housing. So they can continue to organize resistance against a system that
impoverishes so many people.

-2-
Home is an Open Door
Is "home" where the heart is? where you hang your hat? or where
you feel most comfortable? Is it the place where you were born?
the land you know so well? the trees, familiar faces and landmarks
that you've become accustomed to? Is "home" our present shelter
from the cold? the place where we choose to live?
Our bodies are home to our souls while awake, and in sleep our
dreams reveal clues to our true home which is, perhaps, here and
now in every breath.
Home is where we are loved, cared for, nourished, nurtured and
treated equally and with respect.
"Homelessness" on the other hand - the modern plague of our land
and cities - is a direct result of the greed involved in land
"ownership" so dearly espoused by capitalists. In these times if
you don't have money (and a lot of it) you are ostracized, looked
down upon, castigated, treated with disrespect and ignored by the
drones who are working so busily and slavishly to secure their own
isolated fortresses - fear being beamed into their houses via
Canwest, FOX and ABC (under the whip of the powerful land and
TV station owners).
How absurd! In every city, town and home there should be
shelters, cabins and guest rooms for nomads. The traveler must
be welcomed, housed, fed and if he or she chooses to stay,
welcomed in the area shelters which are constructed as needed -
always ensuring vacancies in case future needs arise. WE CAN
DO THIS EASILY!!!
Fear, selfishness, greed and lack of trust of course prevent such a
scenario. Where do we learn these negative habits of mind? They
are so deeply ingrained in "our" culture. Most people know that
our Western lifestyle is unsustainable, selfish and just plain
WRONG but too few are willing to change and begin living
responsibly. Too many cannot see beyond the nuclear family and
their own self-interested prejudices. The government controlled


-3-
education system is totally fucked up and this is a major part of the
problem.
But in spite of all this I refuse to be a drone and pay rent to
someone who claims to "own" the land. And after the sunset over
the Pacific (our evolutionary birthplace and original "home") while
the filthy rich in North and West Vancouver and West Point Grey
nurture their greed in nearly empty mansions, I'll make my way
back to the rudely administered Sally Ann on Homer Street -
"secure" in my homelessness for another night.
Ross Victor Hermiston
Salvation Army, Vancouver, BC

-4-
WHAT CRISIS????
by Jane Scharf
In keeping with the commitment the mayor and city council made to help
the homeless protestors, Russell Mawby, Director of Housing sent a
Salvation Army van to pick Luc up on Nov 13 about 10:00 am and bring
him to the Catharine St. Ontario Works office. Russell's administrative
assistant also contacted John Murray, Director of this downtown welfare
office and she told us that John agreed to have someone there to look
after Luc' housing crisis when we arrived.
Luc was one of the homeless action strikers from the tent city this
summer who the mayor agreed to help when he took the camp down by
force. The mayor also informed council at public meeting October that he
did help all the homeless protestors. Luc got absolutely no help and has
been sleeping outside ever since without warm clothes or blankets.
What Luc needed is a drug card to help him get on the methadone
program and help to get of the street because he is ill, under clothed and
psychologically overwhelmed. Luc cannot tolerate the conditions of
shelters because of his physical and psychological condition.
All Luc got from the Catherine St. office was a vicious run around.
We first spoke with the counter clerk Peter on the 2nd floor when we first
arrived who aggressively advised us that we had to leave and call the
main number and make a general application. He would not check and
see if there had been arrangements made to deal with Luc on a crisis
basis.
So we went to he 3rd floor to contact John Murray who was suppose to
have been contacted by Mawby's assistant. The clerk Jamie would not
go and check with John Murray. When I told him John Murray expecting
us he smirked and mockingly told me that John Murray was not in and he
was not going to check to see if we were suppose to be met by anyone.
He also instructed us to go away and call the main social assistance
number and make an application.
So I called Russell Mawby's office again and told her of the abusive
treatment we were receiving. Russell assistant thought it was outrageous
that we were being told to make a general application on the phone for
Luc. She asked to speak to Jamie. He told Russell's assistant

-5-
the same thing. Then he finally agreed to get a supervisor Chris Clark to
deal with us on the 2nd floor. So we went to the second floor and Peter
would not even see if Chris would see us. Instead he gave me a lecture
that we were abusing the system if we did not use the phone-in system.
All this was upsetting Luc and I tremendously. But finally we caved in
and decided to use the call in phone system.
This phone interview took almost an hour on the phone. Luc advised that
he could not tolerate conditions in shelters because of medical and
psychological reasons. She was sympathetic but said she did not think
anything but shelters were going to be offered in Ottawa. This clerk on
the phone line was not from Ottawa. The call was routed out of the city.
At the end of the call a woman clerk at the counter at the welfare office In
Ottawa not sure of her name called Luc over and started to aggressively
question him about who he was and what he was doing there. He tried to
tell her he was doing an application on the phone but she would not
listen and kept demanding answers to her questions and started to
punch his name into the computer.
I had to interrupt the conversation I was having with interviewer on the
phone to go over and intervene to get the counter clerk to stop badgering
Luc with questions. Such upsetting irony because this clerk was present
when we were trying to get Jamie to look into Luc's situation from
Catharine Street instead of the phone interview and he would not even
take his name.
Anyway finally the woman in the interview conversation said she would
try to get a response other than a shelter but she was unsure if she could
do it. She was sympathetic and respectful.
Then at the end of interview we were ushered into Chris Clark's officer
who without interviewing Luc advised that all they could offer is advise to
go to a shelter and or Housing Help.
He was polite in fact the fist polite person from the Catharine Street
office. He said he would get his supervisor Angela Moore to speak to us.
I asked if I could call Russell Mawby while he did that and he said yes. I
called and spoke to Russell who expressed his concern that we had to
use a long phone interview and that we were being told that he could
only go to a shelter.

-6-
When Chris returned and heard me say to Russell that we did not even
get a drug card Chris indicated to me that he did not know about this
request and went out and got a drug card while I spoke to Russell.
Russell said I should tell Angela that this man was part of the deal made
between the mayor and the protestors and to remind her that the others
on the list were placed in hotels and the Y at the outset of the crisis
intervention and that Luc had received any help.
Angela came in and I asked Russell to speak with her. He did and when
they were done we were told that housing was going to be asked to
appeal the decision of the department and we should come back in an
hour.
We left the building and bumped into John Murray on the street coming
into the building. He asked how I was and I told him I was very upset
about how his staff had treated me and Luc and I told him what had been
happening.
When I was telling him this he looked at Luc and said in a belligerent
way, "What's the crisis?"
Luc tried to show him how the bones in his spine where detruding out of
his back and John brushed it off and did not indicate in anyway that he
wanted to understand Luc's crisis.
Anyway we went back to the office in one hour, which was now 3:00 pm,
and we had been there since 10:00 am.

-7-
We were told at this time by Angela in a snippy way that the only thing
that Luc can do is go to a shelter and that Russell Mawby agreed with
this decision. I asked if I could call Russell from the phone as I had
earlier. She said no we need this room for people in crisis. There was
only one other person in the waiting room, and there were at least 15 of
these interview rooms.
So I said I am going to go public with the treatment we received from this
Ontario Works office. Angela said if I go public there will be reprisals for
slander. I said you cannot sue someone for slander if they are speaking
the truth. And she then said how were we abused and I started to tell her
but before I had finished one sentence she said, "this interview is over."
We left the office and called Russell Mawby who said yes he did agree
with the decision they made based on their assessment and the
assessment of the Salvation Army staff who drove Luc to the office.
I told Russell that they did not assessed Luc. The Salvation Army and
the Catherine St staff did not ask Luc any questions about his ability to
stay in shelters.
I told him the interview woman on the phone system did and assessment
and she agreed that he should not go to a shelter.
Russell said no he has to go with their decision.
This is how it was left. Luc is still sleeping on the streets in serious
physical and psychological distress.
And all the homeless protestors are still either still on the street of in
severely inadequate housing leaving them at extreme risk of becoming
homeless again.
-8-
Join Raise The Rates and Fight To Win!
The Raise The Rates campaign kicked off this spring and continues to
demand an immediate increase to social assistance by 40%. Why 40%?
Because the paltry 3% increase implemented by the McGuinty
government comes nowhere near the pre-1995 cuts of 21.7% by the
Harris government. Nor does it cover the ever-rising cost-of-living
increases that Ontario has experienced over the past decade in the
areas of clothing, food, and shelter.
We are fighting to win back all that has been taken from those on welfare
and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) since 1995 when Harris
came to power. No one should have to choose between eating properly
and paying the rent or lie awake at night and wonder how to tell their kids
they can't have the things other families take for granted. The right to
decent income will have to be forced from the McGuinty Government and
we are calling on people all across Ontario to join us in making this a
reality.
Sure the Liberal Government gave a 3% raise in welfare rates in June,
but that's nothing! For a single person on welfare it amounts to a measly
$15.60/month on top of the current $520/month. This is not acceptable!
The campaign is made up of social assistance recipients and concerned
Community members who demand the McGuinty government to finally
do the right thing. People who receive money from Ontario Works,
ODSP, or anyone who wants fair and just treatment for those living in
poverty are encouraged to join the Raise The Rates campaign and fight
to win!
Contact Raise The Rates Ottawa - info@raisetheratesottawa.org or
786-1015.
Go into the streets where the rich dwell. Ask for
work. If they do not give you work, ask for bread. If
they do not give you work or bread, take bread.
Emma Goldman
Emma



-9-
If the Bank Doesn't Get You, Money Mart Will:
Payday Loans - we'll get you coming and going!
Jamie Kneen, November 14 2004
CashMoney®. Money Mart. Fast Cash Advance.
Payday Loans. Cash Til Payday. Cheque cashing.
All very convenient, but it'll cost you!
Money doesn't make the world go 'round, but you'll need money to get a
lot of things in our society. People have come up with a lot of ways to
squeeze money out of other people, even poor people - especially poor
people. So you may stuck on welfare, or you may be able to get a shitty
job, or you may even have a decent job but be trapped by expenses
beyond your control, but you'll have a hard time getting hold of that
money.
Once upon a time it was straight forward. People got paid in cash or in
kind. But then once upon a time people even used cash to buy things at
the store. Even when people were paid by cheque, you could go to the
bank the cheque was drawn on and get cash right away. There was no
such thing as a credit card and no such thing as a payday loan.
Then the banks started eliminating jobs and changing to ATMs and
electronic banking - you can get into your-bank-account almost
anywhere, but if you want to cash a cheque they'll hold it for up to two
weeks, and charge you for every transaction you make. And you can't
even get a bank account unless you've got a permanent address and two
pieces of ID. Not a problem if you're wealthy - if you keep a few thousand
dollars in the bank they won't even charge you service fees; hell, they
might even pay you interest for getting to play with your money. And if
you run short they might even give you a free overdraft if you're a good
customer, while the rest of us would have to pay $30 for a bounced
cheque, or just hope Hydro doesn't cut you off.
It's a classic catch-22. If you don't have money, you don't get any money.
So people are forced to turn to outfits like Money Mart and CashMoney,
and these outfits are popping up like mushrooms. It's a pretty good
business, if you don't worry about the ethics of it.
Money Mart Canada brought in $US 84.8 million in 2004 just for its

-10-
core chain - more than a third of the Money Mart stores in Canada are
franchises, so the only revenue Money Mart reports from them is its
franchise fees. CashMoney has more than 40 outlets across Canada, but
it's a private company so it doesn't have to report revenue publicly.
Money Mart is part of the Dollar Financial Group, along with Loan Mart
and Money Mart Express in the US and Money Shop in the UK. They
have 311 stores in Canada (117 operated by franchisees), 318 in the
US, and 480 in the UK (355 operated by
franchisees). Although they're not growing much in the US, their
Canadian revenue has grown almost 27%% over the last year while the
UK operation has grown almost 25%. In 2004 they collectively processed
over $4 billion in cheques and short term loans.
Dollar Financial claims to simply be offering convenient services the
banks don't to people who need those services. It's partly true, since

-11-
they offer extended hours and a range of services - but if you look at
some of the fees they charge, it's clear they're not doing it out of the
goodness of their hearts. Cheque cashing ranges from 3% of the amount
of the cheque plus a $2 fee, to 8% plus a $10 fee. Short-term loans run
about 10% interest plus service charges. If you roll the loan over, the
charges are compounded, reaching annual percentage rates of almost
500%. And they're not exactly paying union wages to their own
employees either - starting wage is $9 an hour.
How do they get away with this? Well, it's clear that the government isn't
concerned; even the credit card companies get away with charging
interest upwards of 18%. And the people using these services don't have
any options. In the US there have been several investigations and some
loan companies (including Dollar Financial) have been forced to follow
federal regulations and state small loan and usury laws. Allowing clients
to roll over loans at usurious short-term rates has been a big issue, as
has the practice of banks making alliances with short-term lenders to
allow them to get around regulations.
What's the alternative? Obviously an anarchist perspective sees
government regulation as a temporary necessity - though one that needs
a lot of attention - on the road to self-reliance. We could force the banks
to cut their hold times, and at the same time regulate the activities of
Money Mart and its ilk. Employers can afford the minimal inconvenience
and security risk of paying people in cash; most businesses still hold lots
of cash.
But as long as people have shitty jobs and no resources, they need
support. We need to support barter and LETS (Local Exchange Trading
Systems), support re-use initiatives like OPIRG-Carleton's Free Store,
and think about lending cooperatives to support people who can't make
ends meet in the short term, while we set about making sure that
everyone will be able to make ends meet in the long term.
And oh, yes, be aware that every time you use your-bank-card or credit
card, you're not just creating a record of where you've been and what
you've done, but you've contributed money to the banks for the privilege
of being spied on.

-12-
Cradle to the Grave
by Trevor Goodger-Hill
I am an old age pensioner
And finally got my loot;
Wages deferred invested
Until I got the boot.
A paltry sum each month
Allows me to get by
Hidden in a garret
So they can't see me die.
There is a crisis coming
They tell us every day;
The state is almost bankrupt
And can't keep on this way.
Youngsters buckle down,
Your money you must save:
Even if there is no work
It's your cradle -- and your grave.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~
A Poem For The Greedy
By Kirsten Anderberg
For those who drive
For those who shop
For those who drink their lattes
And look the other way when "bums" knock
For those who charge the poor high rents
For those who skim the profit off of others' labor spent
For those who "deserve" to exploit the earth's wealth
And look away when children shiver, crying for help
For those who "deserve" such privileges as these
Your lifestyle with shelter and food is guaranteed
But for those of us who never see the insides
Of your restaurants, houses, shops and cars
In which you reside
For those of us who simply watch with our eyes
As we pass all you shoppers on our bus rides
For you, hundreds of thousands of Rhododendron blooms
$20 a pop, and will be dead very soon
For you, a mantle lined with $300 of ornamental flowers
Tonight under your bridge, a homeless teen cowers.

-13-
late november, sommerset st. corner.
claudia sicondolfo
empty bus stop,
ten to ten,
wet ground,
wet air,
seven minutes.
i see you stumble across the street.
i hope
silently,
you don't break,
by me.
you bring with you
a dirty air.
thick glasses,
crooked teeth,
3rd hand jacket,
violated breath.
you ask me when the bus will come.
five minutes,
i say.
shuffle feet,
bite nails,
look away.
you stare.
i want to bring you home
and make you tea and soup,
give you blankets and a story.
i want to hold you, repair you;
knit you a scarf,
show you godard, and read you cohen.
you would be happy and pure,
and i'd rest securely,
knowing i'm changing the world.
i walk away.
one minute.


-14-
Home in Kingston, Ontario
Ross Victor Hermiston, Vancouver, BC
Home is a kind word, good deed, friendly smile
Homelessness is a diesel truck, spewing exhaust
Home is a bike and a free repair job at YBA*
Homelessness is a 25 cent charge for air outside the "7-11" on Princess
Home is a free bowl of soup at the Sleepless Goat**
Homelessness is "the bitter taste of exploitation" at Starbucks
Home is the wild and varied natural beauty of Block D***, left alone
Homelessness is the Landmark**** (and the "Community" Foundation of
Greater Kingston doing nothing to save Block D and supporting the
Landmark by paying them rent)
Home is the picnic table in front of the Courthouse, north end of City
Park
Homelessness is the Holiday Inn
Home is once around the track at Friendship Park
Homelessness is a cigarette butt in a river
Home is you and me together again, see you soon
Homelessness is goodbye, forever.
*Yellow Bike Action Centre
23 Carlisle St
Kingston, ON
**Sleepless Goat Cafe and Worker's Co-op
Princess Street
Kingston, ON
***A parcel of waterfront land yet to be developed in the Sydenham District
Kingston, ON
****A monstrous waffle concrete "development" by Homestead Land Holdings
beside Block D
Kingston, ON

Pic: Poverty and Homelessness <http://ottawa.indymedia.org/media/2005/01/569.pdf>



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