Our reformist friends at the Toronto Star will, superficially, investigate any social evil, but will never go any deeper; in short they are OK as far as they go, but it isn't far enough.
On July 8, they ran an article by their staff reporter, Emily Mathieu, on what a crime it is to be homeless. It focused on the plight of one such person, Thomas Gardner, 42, who panhandles in the McCowan Road and Highway 401 area in Toronto's east end. In his backpack is a wad of tickets from police officers, because of his violations of Ontario's Safe Streets Act, which came into force 20 years ago and designed to prevent people asking for change.
In the last 5 years Toronto police have issued nearly 31,000 Safe Street tickets, which would amount to $1,550,100. Gardner himself owes $6,500 which he never fought in court and never expect to pays. To quote, ''We are panhandling for $20, $30, to get something to eat and they hand you $200 worth of tickets.''
This is a throwback, or should I say throwup, to 16th century England when the emerging capitalist class forced the peasants off the commonly owned land and then passed vagrancy laws.
This shows that no matter how technology advances things don't change much under capitalism. I'll let Mr. Gardner have the last word: ''The only crime we committed was being homeless.''
Yours for Socialism,
SPC contributing members