Thank you to the 2,682 voters who went to the polls on Monday, October 24 and cast their ballots for the People’s Platform of Kingston. While we are disappointed with the results, we are not discouraged. Our message — that every Kingstonian deserves safe and secure housing, free transit, a healthy environment — resonated with the people we spoke to at bus shelters, long term care homes, rental properties, and all across the city. Our goal was to put forth a platform that centered the well-being of the community and minimized harm for the unhoused and working class of this city. We demanded an end to homelessness, an end to hunger, an end to the ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples. We demanded lifting up the made vulnerable populations in Kingston because we understand that our struggles are connected.
The main tenet of our platform is housing for all. We committed to building rent-geared-to-income housing, to transforming municipal social services and our public housing corporation from an enemy of the people into democratic entities that help the people, and to getting tough on negligent landlords. We showed that these are not pipe dreams, that the money is there, and that all we need is a shift in priorities and the political will.
Unfortunately, political will is hard to muster and that’s understandable. Voting is intimidating and often prohibitive, especially for the unhoused and poor. We saw this in action as our unhoused neighbours were wrongfully turned away from polls for having no ID and residents we talked to had absolute contempt for politicians and the political process. Those in charge complicate this process and repel voters by making them feel like all municipalities can do is fix potholes or collect garbage and recycling. Politics in our society is the art of saying and doing nothing — of convincing the electorate that there is nothing going on. But 2,682 of you thought otherwise. You recognized that we can advance our struggle for a city without homelessness and hunger and for a future of equality and abundance for all. And for that we are eternally grateful and inspired.
Sadly, a long, cold brutal winter is coming and Sir John A. MacDonald’s genocidal, colonial, white-supremacist project continues in our city under the leadership of the third-term Mayor Bryan Paterson and with the support of about 16% of the wealthiest Kingstonians. It is not surprising that this Goliath, with 100 times the election budget that we had, won. Nor should we be surprised that about 20,000 of our neighbours believe that their prosperity depends on the sacrifice of thousands of lives.
We live in a culture of fear, competition, and greed. And many people don’t know that there’s another way. They’ve never seen it. And so the social murder will continue. But so will the resistance.
This election raised the prospect of people’s power in Kingston. Together, we broke through the jargon of the political class, through politics of idleness and platitudes, of careerism and opportunism. Together, we removed the veneer and forced our opponents to face the real issues in our city. And now we have to hold those we elected accountable by educating ourselves about municipal politics, creating concrete and realizable policy alternatives and fighting for them, by winning public debates, and by reinventing the language of politics, so that it is the kind of language that speaks to the people.
We are determined to grow and become a movement that reaches beyond Kingston by building coalitions with groups across Ontario that are also insisting on homes, food, and safety for all. This election was an opportunity to expand our reach and bring people into the fold of this wonderful movement for freedom and equality — a movement that refuses the politics of hate which divides us and recognizes our common enemy: the capitalist class who we are creating wealth for at the expense of our own well-being.
Our work does not end here. We all came together through the Katarokwi (Kingston) Union of Tenants (KUT) where our mandate is to provide direct tenant support, build a local tenants union that grounds our vision of affordable housing for all, expose the outcomes of local, provincial, and national housing initiatives that are ineffective and contribute research and consultation on effective alternatives. We will continue working with KUT to strengthen the community connections made during this campaign, provide material support to those who need it, and prove that there is an alternative to the system we have in place now. And we hope that you will too. To join us, visit www.tenantsunite.com, join our group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/KCUnionofTenants) and like and follow our Facebook page: (https://www.facebook.com/KingstonTenants)
We also invite you to join us this coming Tuesday, November 15th for our monthly Tenant Union Meeting: Topic: KUT General Meeting November
Time: Nov 15, 2022 07:00 PM America/Toronto
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 819 5494 4050
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Long live the struggle for housing, food, safety, for the environment, for equality and justice for all!
Ivan Stoiljkovic & the People’s Platform for Kingston