The General Defense Committee (GDC) reflects on their activity in 2018.
The last year has been the most active and successful year for Ottawa GDC Local 6 in a long time, and we owe it to our committed members, and friends. In this article, we’ll take a look back at everything we accomplished in 2018.
Our year started with a successful fundraiser, and hosting of Accountability 101 by Lukayo Estrella. Given the long history failed or suppressed attempts at accountability in non-hierarchical orgs, our members felt this was THE first step the local should take. We received great feedback, and have spent 2018 following the steps laid out in the training.
We participated in the Mayworks festival, helping promote, and co-ordinate events in participation with other orgs. Mayworks hasn’t existed in Ottawa for years and brings much needed working class and revolutionary arts and culture events to Ottawa over the week of May Day.
Community & Workplace Organizing
Our Community & Workplace Organizing video was uploaded as our first training video. With the help of Altanta GDC, we took what is usually a long workshop into a simple 20min video. While not a replacement to the 2 day Organizer Training, the video gives people the basics principles with real world examples that are easy to understand.
March on the CEO
Our friends in Hamilton were facing mass evictions and harassment from CLV Group. In response, our members organized a march on the CEO of CLV Group Mike McGahan at their Ottawa head office to deliver tenant demands. While Mike was too cowardly to face the music, our footage captured the absolute disdain of CLV’s corporate lackeys who scoffed and walked away when asked why a 92 year old woman had been waiting since the winter for her window to be replaced. Rent hike? Wack!
Shut Down WCAI (Toronto)
On Aug 11th, Local 6 members traveled to Toronto to counter a planned rally by known white supremacists and islamophobes WCAI (World Coalition Against Islam). In co-ordination with various orgs and sympathizers, a large campaign against the hate rally was launched including multiple media expose’s on WCAI, large scale infiltration of their “secret” and “closed” facebook groups, and multiple shutdowns of their attempts to raise funds on gofundme. All this led to a massive 500+ counter rally by antifascists where WCAI and their few supporters failed to even show up.
Solidarity Picket at Canada Post Processing Plan
In the dark, cold, wet, and early morning, Local 6 and RCP members joined together to start the first successful solidarity picket at the Canada Post processing plant in Ottawa. Despite constant pressure from management and their police sympathizers, no mail moved past our picket line for 6 hours. While the cold and threat of arrest were daunting, the endless flow of postal workers coming out to shake hands and thank everyone for picketing was more than worth the risk.
Anti-Fascist Defense Fundraiser
Towards the end of year, the RCMP, OPS, and PPS violently suppressed the voices of anti-fascists who demonstrated against the largest far-right paramilitary rally ever seen in Ottawa. Police kicked, swung batons, and arrested anti-fascists with trumped up charges in an effort to criminalize dissent. In response, Local 6 rallied to the support of arrestees with a legal defence fundraiser that quickly met its goal with funds still coming in.
2019 and the Struggles Ahead
While 2018 seemed busy and exhaustive, 2019 is no time to slow down. We’ll keep moving forward with more education, organization, and emancipation for all. You can support our efforts by joining local 6 for as little as $40/year, or by making a purchase in our store.
La lutte continue!