Stop the Cuts: Fighting Austerity, from the G20 fence to Ford’s office!

Fighting Austerity, from the G20 fence to Ford’s office! Statement of Support from Toronto Stop the Cuts Network

Stop the Cuts was borne out of a coalition not only opposed to Rob Ford’s agenda of city service cuts, but out of opposition to an agenda of austerity in Toronto and throughout Canada- the same agenda that we resisted over a year ago when the G20 Summit invaded our city. The leaders of 20 of the richest and most powerful countries in the world met in Toronto last year, voting in favour of 20 years of global austerity, of ‘belt-tightening’ and brutal cuts that will only continue to benefit the rich and hurt poor and marginalized communities everywhere. The Stop the Cuts Network sees our work as intrinsically tied to the resistance that took place against the G20 in Toronto. We condemn the targeting of organizers in our community who have fought not only against austerity, as we do, but against injustice everywhere. What is happening in Toronto right now- the cuts to city services, the targeting of public sector workers, the bloated police budget- are all part of the global agenda of austerity, one that we will continue to fight. We call for a stop to the cuts and an expansion of city services! We won’t pay for a crisis the rich created, and we won’t allow them to invest more money into police officers who defend their corrupt system when we fight back!


The force of state repression is hardest felt when they are most threatened by our resistance, as they were during the G20 summit. In June 2010, we fought back. Hundreds were illegally detained and arrested, targeted and criminalized by the state because they fought back. 17 individuals were charged in a G20 “conspiracy” trial and were most ardently targeted by this repression. It is outrageous that choosing to speak out against a state that continuously oppresses communities and prioritizes profits over people, can lead to charges or jail time.  The17 defendants were accused of exactly this, 6  of whom are going to jail.
These 17 individuals have faced arduous hours crafting a plea deal with the understanding that the legal system is used against anyone refusing to co-operate with the state. The charges they faced were baseless  made even more evident through the downgrading of the charges from conspiracy to counseling, through the agreed statement of the facts for those pleading guilty, stating  that it cannot be proven that any of their actions provoked the damage of property that took place during the protests against the G20.
The defendants embarked on a collective decision making process with the knowledge that the legal system was working against all of them, aiming to divide them in their pleas. Because of this collective process six organizers are being sent to jail for what amounts to ‘thought crime,’ but 11 now walk free. We recognize the sacrifice that these 6 people have taken, 3 of whom will be entering the prison system today (November 28th) We will stand strong behind  them while they are behind bars, just as we will stand strong beside them in the streets as we do now with the 11 defendants whose charges were dropped.  For 18 months our brothers and sisters were isolated from their communities, now 6 have been snatched away over the unjust prosecution of the state. Alex Hundert, Mandy Hiscocks, Leah Henderson, Erik Lankin, Peter Hopperton, and Adam Lewis, we are with you even while you are locked away from your families and communities. We are with you across all our movements, we are with you as you make a sacrifice for the benefit of further and ongoing resistance and we thank you for your  courage and willingness to step up against this system of repression at all costs.

We can only expect more repression as we move ahead and continue to resist, against the broader austerity agenda and against the cuts that threaten our city. We are strongest together, united across our struggles. We have continued to organize and demonstrate through this austerity agenda, and we have educated, supported and cared for each other. The Occupy Movement across the world and here in Toronto has organized against corporate greed and capitalism. Stop the Cuts and Torontonians across the city have spoken out against library closures, the loss of affordable childcare, cuts to accessible transit service and more. This fight against austerity is just beginning, and we will be there every step of the way, from the G20 fence to Ford’s office. Let them fear our resolve, our will, and our fight.- we will continue to fight in Toronto and around the world! Prison walls cannot silence us; they cannot hold back our strength!  Stop the Cuts stands in solidarity with the G20 “Conspiracy” defendants, and we continue this, the fight for justice, with them in the streets!

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