July 28, 2020
Today, tenants from Parkdale Organize and People’s Defence held a press conference in front of Mayor John Tory’s Condo in Toronto. This was to address the evictions that low-income tenants are to face come August. Bill 184, a recently passed law, will lead to mass evictions, and a significant increase in Toronto’s homeless population.
Despite this fact, and multiple requests from affected tenants, John Tory has stood firm on his decision not to use his emergency powers.
As a result, two community groups - Parkdale Organize and People’s Defence - have declared war on Toronto Mayor John Tory, and any landlord that chooses to evict tenants come August 1.
Parkdale Organize and People’s Defence are willing to stand between the Sheriff and any tenant facing eviction. This is through their support of the creation of tenant networks in different buildings across Toronto. By organizing tenants, and informing them of their rights, these organizations essentially train tenants to push back against shady landlords.
Parkdale Organize History of Rent Strikes
Parkdale Organize has a history of successful direct actions against landlords. In 2017, it launched a successful rent strike, which set the example for the rest of the city. The rent strike succeeded because it involved 100s of leaseholders in multiple MetCap buildings. As a result of the rent strike, the tenants received:
A substantial reduction in the above guideline rent increases at each buildingSource: http://parkdaleorganize.ca/2017/08/03/parkdale-rent-strike-ends-in-victory/
A program of additional rent relief for tenants in financial hardship
A program of maintenance and repair work in each building
In 2018, Parkdale Organize launched another successful rent strike against a building on King Street West in Toronto. This succeeded in getting the landlord to drop that rent increase.
Parkdale Organize has enjoyed increased membership since then, and has continue to develop its offensive capabilities. It has grown in its ability to swiftly attack and intimidate bad landlords and corrupt city officials.
Tactics like this show that Parkdale Organize is a force to be reckoned with, and won’t take anything off the table when it comes to seeking justice for victimized tenants.
People’s Defence Toronto
People’s Defence Toronto is a lesser known group. According to its Facebook page, it appears to be similar to Parkdale Organize.
Organization of poor and working people in the GTA fighting to build political power for our class block by block, building by building, through mutual aid projects and campaigns of collective struggle against our exploiters & oppressors.Source: https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesDefenceTO/
People’s Defence Toronto helped organize the protest at the Mayor’s condo on July 7, 2020. Which ended up with the Mayor calling the police on protesters. Some of them ended up getting wounded by police.
Surprisingly, both the Mayor and the mainstream media have remained silent on today’s events.
However, considering the track record of Parkdale Organize, and its growing public support, any effort to mass evict tenants in Toronto will likely be met with serious blowback. Unlike anything the city or landlords have seen before.
Mayor Tory must carefully weigh his options when dealing with these 2 groups, lest this turn this into an all out battle.
Article by: Mark Slapinski
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