Jul 172014
 

DPAC have had an odd kind of non-relationship with DRUK. We’ve disagreed about many things. For example, DPAC is for saving ILF, DRUK’s Sue Bott suggests this is something we should probably forget about, and that ‘Whilst the ILF has benefited many disabled people, claims that it has been at the forefront of independent living are a little exaggerated’[1]. This is not the view of ILF users. See their stories, their lives, their experiences  It is amazing that anyone can believe that passing ILF to local authorities who already say that without ring-fenced funding many ILF users will lose support and/or be institutionalised is something we need to accept while we all get together to talk about ‘new visions’.

 

The DRUK conference dedicated to a ‘new vision’ for independent living is also a confusing affair, not only are they embracing Simon Steven’s approach[2] ( He who accused DPAC of murdering disabled people and was dropped from Leonard Cheshire’s sponsor program because of his outright abuse to other disabled people[3]), but one of their advertised partners for this conference are Craegmoor .

 

Craegmoor are part of the Priory Group owned by Avent International which is a US Equity Company- changing times you may say-and you’re right. Maybe that’s what these new visions are about: capitalising on the market, private equity companies taking public money, and disability organisations getting in on the act- maybe neo-liberalism rather than disabled peoples’ rights and equality now make up ‘new visions’ of independent living

 

Craegmoor ‘s target market are those labelled with autism, learning difficulties and mental health issues. They take 85% of their funds from public funds[4]. Craegmoor’s  web site boasts of its residential homes:

We provide understanding and support for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health problems in a variety of settings based on the individual’s abilities and needs. Our nationwide residential care services support people to develop the skills they need to live as independently as possible’.

 

Wait, since when were residential homes part of independent living? Weren’t these the very oppressions that early activists fought to get out of, and current activists (and ILF users) are fighting to stay out of?

 

Their brochure[5] goes further:

Craegmoor is part of the Priory Group of Companies. From education to hospitals, care homes and secure facilities, the Priory Group of Companies offers individually tailored, multidisciplinary treatment programmes for those with complex educational needs or requiring acute, long-term and respite mental healthcare’.

 

Treatment programs? Not sounding very independent living or social model. As well as residential homes, secure ‘hospitals’ and segregated schools. It all sounds very daunting.

 

But there’s much more on the Priory group of companies too which is even less palatable concerning cover-ups and abuse. Until July 2013 Phillip Scott was Chief Executive if the name isnt familiar, he was also the Chief Executive for Southern Cross. Itself a subject of inquiry on institutional abuse and 19 unexplained deaths[6] Craegmor say they transform lives, but in what way?

 

In May 2013 there was Melling Acres, ‘where inspectors reported major concerns about the care and welfare of its seven residents – care plans were poor, with scant information about physical health needs, there were limited activities and a lack of advocacy to enable people to express concerns about their care’. In September 2012 ‘following an anonymous tip, inspectors found residents at risk of abuse in Lammas Lodge, a home for young adults. There were not enough staff and what staff there were, inspectors found, were not properly trained to meet residents’ complex needs. There were six major areas of concern, including care and welfare, medication and safeguarding. The home, which was warned it must improve or face closure, has since been given a clean bill of health by the regulators’. Both homes were registered under Parkcare Homes’ so neither Priory or Craegmoor got the fall-out despite ownership[7].

 

This was not the case in 2012 when concerned relatives hid CCTV cameras in the room of Highbank hospital in Bury Manchester to reveal abuse by staff[8], not so with the Bentley Court home in Wolverhampton suspended by the council for what it called ‘safeguarding issues’ in 2010, a council that stopped sending those with dementia to Bentley Court[9], and not so in 2012 when what was described as the ‘Priory mental hospital’ in Windes on Bennet Lane was closed due to not meeting 10 standards of Government quality and safety including: Patients not being fully protected from the risk of abuse and their privacy, dignity and independence not being respected, staff not receiving necessary training, a lack of systems to assess and monitor the quality of the service provided, care plans did not always cover patients’ needs. There were also reports of patients attempting to escape during supervised visits into Widnes town centre[10].

 

So as said definitely NOT independent living.

 

In 2004 the then CEO of the Priory group Chai Patel said ‘My view is, if there is ever a conflict that involves choosing between care and profit, then we should not be involved in that environment,’[11] Given the examples above it seems profit is the defining factor.

 

It didn’t take long to find this information, it didn’t take long to realise that these are not the partners who should be with any organisation claiming to support independent living, even ‘new visions’. So maybe the question that needs to be asked is what exactly do DRUK support?

 

There are a few clues, in a recent blog piece by DRUK (dated 16th July) mentioning a very good Guardian piece by independent living activist John Evans[12], an ILF user, the last paragraph says: ‘Sue Bott, Director of Policy and Development at Disability Rights UK, has written a new blog which also discusses the role of the ILF but proposes that disabled people should concentrate their campaigning towards achieving a single integrated system that assesses people’s needs and allocates assistance and support based on the outcomes people could achieve in their communities and contribute to society’.

 

John Evans says everything we need to know-we have a vision for independent living and we already have a model forged by international independent living activists. There is nothing wrong with that model. There is no reason to stop fighting for it, abandon it or develop ‘visions’ or hallucinations of lesser systems in which we divide disabled people by perceived contributions to society-all disabled people are of value, all deserve to be supported. It is the ILF model that needs to be built upon and expanded to all-something that promotes real independent living.

 

The fact that a so-called user led organisation is putting forward anything different with the spectra of institutionalisation added to the mix is a tragic condemnation of all that disability activists have ever worked and fought for. We are appalled that DRUK are willing to sacrifice disabled people’s futures in this way and sadly can only assume this is to ensure on-going funding from the government.

follow @dis_ppl_protest for more

If you want to email DRUK you can do so by emailing:  liz.sayce@disabilityrightsuk.org

 

[1] http://disabilityrightsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/we-need-new-vision-for-independent.html

[2] http://disabilityrightsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/we-need-new-vision-for-independent.html

 

[3] http://davidg-flatout.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/inclusion-forgotten-ambition-lost-i.html?spref=tw

[4] http://www.craegmoor.co.uk/library/files/Craegmoor%20Locations%20&%20Services%20Brochure(1).pdf

[5] http://www.craegmoor.co.uk/library/files/Craegmoor%20Locations%20&%20Services%20Brochure(1).pdf

[6] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24581693

[7] http://beastrabban.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/private-eye-on-failure-of-care-at-more-care-hospitals-owned-by-american-private-equity-firms/

 

[8] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2227229/Nurses-quizzed-police-abusing-patient-Priory-Hospital-concerned-family-hid-secret-camera-room.html

 

[9] http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2010/01/15/elderly-will-no-longer-be-sent-to-care-home/

 

[10] http://www.runcornandwidnesweeklynews.co.uk/news/health/failed-priory-mental-hospital-widnes-5875608

 

[11] http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/news/432103/Man-Priory/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH

 

[12] http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/16/independent-living-fund-closure-disabled-people-residential-care

May 042014
 

People who don’t use the spoken word have a great deal to say about communication. People who do use the spoken word have a great deal to learn about communication from people who don’t.

Quiet Riot is a group of young adults who don’t use the spoken word. Quiet Riot had their first meeting four years ago. They meet in Manchester but come from around the UK, with members in Holland and Ireland.
They are:

Paul-Thomas Allen
Judathan Allen
Raphael Allen
Danian Allen (1984-2005)
Heathar Barrett
Nadia Clark
Gareth Donnellon
Thiandi Grooff
Josh Harris
Anthony Kletzander
Maresa MacKeith
Dan Stanton
The communication used by many members of Quiet Riot is known as Facilitated Communication Training (FCT) a strategy introduced into the UK by Marion Stanton, who is currently lead UK Assessor and trainer:

,http://www.candleaac.com/staff.htm

Marion invited Rosemary Crossley, from Australia to meet with families in the UK almost fifteen years ago, who in turn introduced many of the Quiet Riot members to FCT.
http://www.annemcdonaldcentre.org.au
FCT is now used very effectively as a primary means of communication by many people around the UK. Using a key board on which to type, a trusted assistant (facilitator) supports the person to manage their body’s motor movements, which can be impaired as a result of sensory overloads/invasions as well as a wide diversity of other body motor issues.

FCT has fundamentally changed the opportunities for members of Quiet Riot:
” I am a man with no speech. I am a user of the pointing method of communication. I listen well and understand what is said… I am operating a perfectly weird body. I am wonderfully made..”

Raphael Allen
” I’m wondering if using Facilitated Communication will help to understand me better and give me some respect. I wish more people were given the chance to use facilitated communication it is great to be given a voice”

Anthony Kletzander.

“Having no voice is not great but at least I can type good things. Being in good company like kids who talk. Talking with me makes me happy.”

Heathar Barrett

http://www.heatharashley.co.uk/Home.html
“Trust your belief in your child. FC opens doors for those of us whose voices deny us use. People have to listen to our voices in the wilderness of disability. I can do things you elevate your expectation to. Look beneath the surface of appearance and see the qualities that are within”

Josh Harris.
I think FC is such a part of me that its difficult to think of it as an entity in it’s own right. I feel very lucky to have been surrounded by people who respected my communication giving me a limited experience of negativity around FC. I do however know that there are those who dismiss FC, I see this in their faces and reactions. My concerns are for those young disabled people who, for whatever reason, are affected by such situations.

Blake Williamson
Too bad I was seen as dumb of mind as well of mouth. Words offer all the possibilities of fine choices switching from a non-being to educated in the eyes of the world. The route to my intellect is now open”

Paul-Thomas Allen.
” in the end the funny woman from Australia ( Rosemary Crossley) gave direct explanations, we ran away as slow as could be. Facilitation was a map just to find out about going A.W.O.L. I was not seen as a thinker with reason until I used typing. I type to talk differently. It is very good being able to communicate.”

Judathan Allen
” I am aware that you don’t realise how I am able to type. I go to university. Perhaps one day I will have a part on T.V. And you will have the opportunity to read my fan’s praises.”

Danian Allen (1984-2005)
“To be able to express myself as full as possible, without the correct method my answers are limited ” and “To be recognised as intelligent enabling me to live an independent life in my own home ”

http://www.contactcandle.co.uk/about_dan_stanton.htm
Dan Stanton
“(FC ) allows me to communicate ,to have a voice.
Way in which it changed my life
I gave my opinion on my medical treatment
I Am Real
I am Real
Not a malfunctioning person with a confused mind
Just a normal thinking person
Who laughs, complains, shows sadness and happiness.

I am real”

Gareth Donnellon.

Funding, Quiet Riot and the ODI
Quiet Riot campaigned for three years with no funding. Members financed their own attendance at the meetings in Manchester. They were brought together by a commitment, to talk with each other in a safe place, to plan campaigns and enjoy their Right to Communication: a right for every human being. The long term aims of Quiet Riot are to change the ways in which society welcomes and values people who do not use the spoken word.

Quiet Riot has been hosted and given hospitality by Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP), since the first meeting. ACE North, have also provided a venue for larger gatherings, again free of charge.

In our fourth year the The Edge Fund, a creative and democratic funding body, offered funding to Quiet Riot* which is being used to enable Quiet Riot to develop a customised website where they can reach out to local and global connections giving more people an understanding of FCT and an opportunity for the many people around the world who are needlessly denied their voice.

Funding for groups, at the “cutting edge” in societies, like Quiet Riot, is an important political issue. Given that the very existence of Quiet Riot provides a powerful reflection of people who have been failed within their own society. Quiet Riot has emerged despite statutory organisations who have failed to serve their legitimate support requirements.

The name of Quiet Riot appears to be a challenge for some, which was illustrated when Quiet Riot considered making a funding application to Office for Disability Issues (ODI), a government, established body to orchestrate the voice of disabled people in the UK. Quiet Riot was invited to change the name, to one less controversial ! – perhaps F— O– might be more appropriate! We have no funding from any government agency, which allows a freedom to critically question and challenge government and it’s agents, which has to be an essential feature of any campaigning group.

Quiet Riot members now in their twenties and thirties have each had the powerful support from their families, to have their voice heard, often against significant opposition from schooling authorities. An important lesson for schooling services to learn is that labels attached to any individual cannot convey anything of value about an individual. Such labels lead teachers into a cul-de-sac about an individual, requiring a great deal of time trying to find a way out.

Meaningful appreciations of another person’s skills, contributions and qualities will emerge via a mutual and respectful relationship. Such relationships can start with mutually respectful communication. The early schooling experience for many QR members was in segregated settings and very far from respectful :

Segregated Education

“Special education is a cruel solution to educate people like me. I had the label (PMLD ) evil! I asked real people if they are aware of atrocities in school. Ask and ask again was anyone aware how awful it was doing stuff in special school. Emphasise it. The school system was a a vert (lawn) where seeds of alarm flew away. No one sussed what a serious affaire was swept away under the alters of Abraham . I was a walled prisoner in my own world dying slowly. When I returned from school each hour I sat thinking- give me a tool to communicate”

Judathan Allen.
“Special school you think is bad. It is the nondescript way they teach is dull. They only had lots of detritus to share.”

Paul-Thomas Allen.
The health service starts the process of diagnosis and categorisation of disabled people by creating labels that the schooling system uses to segregate and devalue disabled people. Authorities engage in convoluted assessments, measuring and testing the “capacity” of individuals. The disabled person is incidental to this process: it is an institutional response to legitimise prejudice and discrimination against a disabled person.

“I have no sex no gender apparently I only have this alleged affliction. reports and labels are the sum of my parts. There was never a label beyond disabled.i am just punk I am just an allocation of resources.”

Paul Thomas Allen
Institutions continue to segregate and devalue the human being as they have done for many decades.
” I have sorrow in my heart for you not learning the proper inclusion of me.”

Heathar Barrett
Segregation at school age will tend to lead to more segregation in adult life – feeding the “services” that exist for the maintenance and protection of the institution and its processes.

Labels of “deficit” are attached to the individual and reflect the approach of an institution. We need to shift these labels away from the individual to the institution. Therefore, the constant need for institutions to measure and categorise people could be described as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Some Schools, Colleges and Universities have Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) because they have failed to welcome and learn from people they continue to reject and exclude based upon the negative differences the institutions have determined and cultivated. This is particularly true of people who do not use the spoken word for their communication.
“In my pupil days at home I learned children whose bodies operated differently were not welcome really anywhere in the high schools in the myopic time we lived in. I thought then real choice was just for those talking people”

Raphael Allen
“Being alone I feel Dead”

Heathar Barrett
It is soul destroying to continually have your contributions and efforts for participation thwarted by systematic indifference, ignorance and rejection. Such an approach to people is abusive and a total denial of their human rights. There continues to be a disturbing amount of confusion around the language and practice of inclusive education. We cannot give people inclusion, people have to Feel included.
” I invite experts to ask how we feel and our opinions. Autism really offers the world a fine lesson in humanities We require understanding, respect trust and love. In return we test the worlds ability to accept differences that exist between people ”

Josh Harris.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2008/01/16/josh-harris-autism-and-the-ambition-to-become-a-rabbi/#

qr pic 1

We know inclusion is working up and down the country in schools, colleges and universities for people with the diversity of impairments. We know people are included when we change the way we offer support in response to an individual’s particular requirements and when there is a welcome of difference and different voices for people to participate and contribute to the learning environment they are an integral part of.
” I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your accommodating and satisfying subject in question. There was very much calm and confident re-assurance surrounding me when in your real lecture of thought and wisdom. For me acceptance is from within a massive heart. Please have diversity bring you good joy in real life. With very fond and great thoughts for life – To Lesley Groom University Tutor from Heathar Barrett.

Hope and acceptance are a luxury I do enjoy. I feel very immense greatness about the university of my love and life in the making of a good great free future. We are moving forward.

Heathar Barrett.

My School
By

Maresa MacKeith
“Taking The Time”
www.inclusive-solutions.com
http://www.one-for-all.org.uk/

The thought of starting was ecstatic,
I wanted to learn so much.
To me the building was magic,
With life in its crumbling husk.

The thought of being ordinary,
Filled me with a joy I can’t tell.
Still the thought of that building keeps memory,
For me of pure water: a well.
It was because I had ordinary teachers, who recognised that I had skills, that I am where I am now, doing English at university. The special education system did not do that for me; it endlessly measured my incompetence.

Maresa MacKeith

 

However, when a school refuses to change, to welcome and accept different ways of learning, it cannot be overstated just how oppressive it is to be seen as different, when your difference is devalued by the organisation that claims to be a place of learning!
“It should be perpetuated that I have no differences. I just need really cool people to understand my ways. I am in my difference the despoiler of your pattern”

Paul Thomas Allen.

“I’m really tired of being different”

Anthony Kletzander
For people who do not use the spoken word there can be a continual and exhausting struggle to have your voice heard. For many people with the label of autism who use FCT, there can be a massive amount of time and energy required to overcome or manage their bodies’ sensory changes in order to type each and every word.

ice cream
I am finding it very hard to be a free fast user of FC when I am not focused on feeling anxiety free”

Heathar Barrett-
communication board in hand doing ordinary things like buying an ice cream. This does not require a “transition plan” or “a service delivery audit” Or a specialist training programme to create a team of ” Whippy Therapist”

QR fell walking
Heathar using her communication aide on a walk across the moors.
Again no “specialist service” getting in her path.
“I am an individual with my own wants. Sometimes my neurons do screw up and it takes time to fix them.”

Paul Thomas Allen
” being autistic causes sensory problems like bright lights which makes me feel dizzy and they burn my eyes. I also have problems with loud noises. They really scare me and make me feel really nervous”

Anthony Kletzander.
“People inspire me all the time. It’s the easy things I envy like people who are pain free”

Josh Harris

The only way we can get near to understanding what is required for an individual to type whilst having to manage the permutations of sensory invasions, which could relate to all the senses and more within any given learning environment, is by being respectful and responsive to the individual. Having a mutually respectful communication is essential.
As for what we can do to encourage change in Universities, I think there is a wider issue here. If FC is not accepted as a means of communication during examinations, as it was when I did my GCSE’s and A levels, then the next generation of disabled academics are thwarted in accessing university through such academic routes. The universities are poorer places for not having a fair representation of all students in their Halls and of course where we are never seen we are never easily accepted nor understood

Blake Williamson.
Professionals have a responsibility to shift their lack of understanding or toleration of ignorance about different ways of communication and recognise that the denial of a person’s communication is not simply the denial of a learning experience but the consequences can be life threatening.

Anthony Kletzander from independent living to institutionalization

Anthony Kletzander, one of the founder members of Quiet Riot lived independently in Dublin in his own flat, with his own 24hr support. Because people, uninvited came into his life and chose to deny his FC, he was forced into an institution after he had experienced a full life living independently, with his own support staff. Within days he was given antipsychotic medication against his wishes, this resulted in emergency hospital treatment. Anthony’s voice continues to be denied at the institution.
“Tell them to stop giving me medication. I have no choice it makes my head feel strange”

“I would love to be in independent living. It is much better than residential.”

“Really trying to be accepted into society is very difficult and I am really saddened by this”

This is the clip about university. Nua Health Care in Ireland refuse to accept Anthony’s communication. They have also refused his right to independent living. Anthony was hospitalised twice from this institution over a period of three weeks. Anthony’s struggle continues made more difficult by Nua Health Care continuing to deny Anthony’s voice.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/oxh98ewgf54qthq/MVI_0121.MOV

 

qr anthony typing
Anthony Kletzander. Typing with Marion Stanton just half hour after meeting with her. Nua Health Care refused her offer of support.
Fear

A poem
by
Maresa MacKeith

He watches, and you are scared.
Mute and Flalling
If he could talk he would tell.
So you silence him.

 

qr grad pic

Maresa uses facilitated communication on her graduation day at Nottingham Trent University.
People who are prepared to deny a person’s communication when they don’t offer a meaningful alternative are abusing a person’s Human Rights.

It is an abuse of the power and authority of a psychologist or therapist to * deny a person’s means of communication, then have the effrontery to accept, a large fee, to carry out an “assessment” and make judgments and recommendations about the person’s life with whom they insist they cannot communicate!

” I have spent every day since birth when people think my head is bad like my body. Top physicians from all over came to inspect the Allen family, every one of them you imagine a certified genius. They ran me through their tests prosecuting me with steal augers. Pain like real despicable pain. Played with and investigated all facts collated their only conclusion was to find I was guilty. I was dense and better as a doorstop. I inhabited my own head just watching, I had to live the isolated life. I had to wait …. It did not occur to the world I am not retarded and a vicious anger I was cultivating. In my egg I stayed. In my soft manner to wither, it was sometimes insanity”

Paul -Thomas Allen.
I am unable to pronounce what thoughts are in my mind. When I use facilitation I am able to let others know how I feel. This is undoubtedly beneficial for my peace. Past appearances of the disabled are wrong. What people pronounce does not show how clever they are. I think it is because writing allows people to say exactly what they want. People make assumptions

Damian Allen ( 1984-2005)

Quiet Riot, DPAC and challenges powers and practices
Quiet Riot is an organisation that offers a much more powerful future for the person who does not use speech but insists that their voice is heard.
There is also a growing new network of organisations of disabled people in the UK and internationally who are challenging the oppressive practices and asserting the human rights of disabled people. It is co-ordinated by Disabled People against the Cuts (DPAC) This New Democratic and transparent approach is not seeking to justify the participation of disabled people around the UK but fundamentally challenging the powers and practices that seek to prevent their contribution and participation.

Facilitated Communication has enabled members of Quiet Riot to challenge the powers and practices that seek to silence people that do not use the spoken word.

http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/who-we-are/fellows/nadia-clarke.html

Nadia Clarke
Quiet Riot are engaged in subjects like: Biology, English literature, Creative Writing, Poetry, Philosophy, Jewish Religious Studies, Music, Geology, Ethics and Human Rights at Universities around the UK, Ireland and Holland. Thiandi Grooff a member of Quiet Riot and uses FC is in her final year of undergraduate study at a University in Amsterdam. She has been been engaged in a detailed qualitative study into group identity.

This study shows that a safe place for discussions is very important: the participants are welcomed, without threat by opponents who reject their way of communicating or the State, and every effort is made to overcome barriers to speaking. In this study the benefits of the collective identity for the members of the group ( Quiet Riot) were clear: a more powerful personal identity and self-esteem that led to more courage to speak up and to engage in relations and actions outside the group.”
Thiandi Grooff
FCT is used by increasing numbers of people around the world and with whom there is a growing connection via the internet. A powerful collective voice is emerging and demanding their space to be heard. It is a voice to reckoned with

Joe Whittaker April 2014

With many, many thanks to the great guys at Quiet Riot for putting this together and to Joe-DPAC fully support Quiet Riot and FCT.

This piece has been put together for the European Independent Living Day May 5th created by ENIL to celebrate independent living and to highlight the impact of cuts on independent living- we want to add that those who reject FCT also reject independent living –please add your support

For donations and support for Quiet Riot, FCT or any of the issues mentioned in this piece please contact: whittakerjoe5@gmail.com

For those fighting for inclusive education please contact the Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) http://www.allfie.org.uk/

 

Apr 272014
 

Please support Obi and team to continue live-streaming direct actions and events for #dpac, #ukuncut and others. Live-streaming is important for disabled people that cannot always get to events and protests because none of us should be left out of our fight for our rights

It is also important in these times ruled by the right-wing press to get a record of our news and events-its time to fight back and ensure that our voices and protests are heard, recorded, documented and visualised -live-streaming does that- lets support it to continue the  real and uncensored news is seen and heard! Please donate if you can at http://www.gofundme.com/8nzi68

see some of the events live streamed for DPAC

JohnMcDonnell MP Praises DPAC at DPAC conference April 2014

August 5, 2012 Akira: update on ATOS. Paralympics sponsor

August 29, 2012 #ATOS #REMPLOY #ParaOlympics #2012 #Protest by previous gold medal winners

August 31, 2012 #ONN #OLSX covering anti #ATOS #ATOSkills #dpac event at Triton Square, Camden

October 28, 2012 Akira and experiencing Public Transport for a Wheelchair user.

September 3, 2013 DPAC AND BLACK TRIANGLE DIRECT ACTION. BBC PORTLAND PLACE, LONDON

September 5, 2013 DPAC FREEDOM DRIVE.

June 4, 2013 DPAC Bromley Benefit Justice second Meeting

September 26, 2013 10,000 Cuts and Counting

October 5, 2013 SOLIDARITY ACTION WITH UKUNCUT AND DPAC #ROADBLOCKS4JUSTICE

Oct 20, 2013 The DPAC action in Marble Arch . TUC March 2012.

September 28, 2013 DPAC DIRECT ACTION: 10,000 CUTS AND COUNTING. SCRAP ATOS

@Obi_Live
@OccupyNN

https://twitter.com/Obi_Live
https://twitter.com/OccupyTTIP
occupylondon@lists.riseup.net

 

Apr 182014
 

We read with interest the piece in the Independent by Rachel Reeves and Kate Green regarding Labour’s response to the Work Capability Assessment [1]

Labour should realise that disabled people are deeply distrustful of any Labour reform of a Work Capability Assessment system, which Labour introduced in the Welfare Act of 2007 with the stated aim of removing 1 million claimants from the benefit system [3].

Our position has been and will be that the Work Capability Assessment is deeply flawed in its basic concept, not just in terms of the details of its delivery, and inclusion in the workplace for disabled people cannot simply be achieved by a ‘back to work’ test.

manifesto

In the Reclaiming Our Futures, Disabled People’s Manifesto [4], we state that a priority demand from government is that:

A comprehensive and strategic plan of action is developed with disabled people and our organisations to tackle the discrimination and exclusion disabled people face in work and employment including: increasing quality and range of personalised support available to disabled people, strengthening disabled employees rights and tackling employer discrimination and poor practice

Other key demands include that:

Economic productivity must not be the only measure of people’s worth and value, volunteering offers as much value to society as paid employment. While we recognise that volunteering can offer additional skills, it should not be the default option for disabled people because of our exclusion from paid work

There must be policy and media recognition that there will always be disabled people who are unable or too ill to work. These individuals must be supported by a publically funded system. They should not be penalised or demonised as they are currently.

For true inclusion in the workplace for disabled people a wider approach is necessary including but not limited to:

• Will Labour commit to the restoration of Disabled Student’s Allowance,
• Will Labour commit to the restoration of the Independent Living Fund,
• Will Labour commit to the extension of Access to Work (AtW) to include unpaid voluntary positions,
• Will Labour commit to the reversal of the reduction of people who currently receive DLA, but will not receive PIP and also lose their Motability access,
• Will Labour commit to the reinstatement of the requirement for councils to produce equality schemes on employment and access
• Will Labour commit to the provision of accessible transport.
• Will Labour commit to the reinstatement of “day one” protection from unfair dismissal in employment law
• Will Labour commit to the provision of Employment Tribunals enforcing mandatory organisation-wide measures on preventing disability discrimination
• Will Labour commit to the provision that all government contracts, at a national, regional and local level, are only awarded to companies that are fulfilling measurable equality targets for the employment of disabled people

(for further points see reference 2)

These currently are some of the barriers to inclusion in the workplace for disabled people, and they will not be fixed by simply amending the WCA. The issue must be seen within the context of the wider interconnected system of barriers in place. It must be seen in terms of what a large majority of disabled people have already identified as key problems.

In terms of inclusion we also need from Labour, a recognition that for many disabled people to be able to work there has to be a nationally transportable social care system with a guarantee that people would keep the same levels of funding wherever they needed to move to work.

We need recognition that there is an onus on government and employers to fully accept the spirit of the Equality Act 2010 [4] with its requirement to the opening of work opportunity to disabled people. Without this, no “fit for work test” aimed at cutting disability benefits will make any impact whatsoever on the numbers of disabled people who can attain and sustain employment.

We also need from Labour a stronger recognition that there are many disabled people who cannot enter the work place and should not have to live in fear of being pressured into doing so.

There is much that the article leaves out and that leaves us with a number of serious concerns and questions.

While we are not yet prepared to endorse in any way Labour’s new approach to the Work Capability Assessment, we do see the article by Rachel Reeves and Kate Green as a helpful starting point for discussions on the future of inclusion of disabled people, who want and are able to work, in the workplace and we would welcome an opportunity to meet with them and discuss this further. We would like meet with Kate Green and Rachel Reeves to ask the following questions:

1. Will Labour commit to stop spending public money on private
contractors and return any assessments of disabled people back to GPs
with medical evidence taken into account as well as give a commitment to
look at the barriers to work for disabled people who can and want to
work (in line with the social model of disability)?

2. Will Labour commit to a time and date to talk with DPAC, My Legal,
the Mental Health Resistance Network, Black Triangle, Deaf activists,
those with learning difficulties ( with an outreach of ½ a million
disabled people) to listen to the views of the largest network of grass
roots disabled people on the WCA and ESA?

3. If Labour are committed to scrapping the WCA when will Deaf and
disabled people, and those with mental health issues have sight of the
detail of any alternative Labour is proposing?

4. If Labour accepts the harm, devastation and premature deaths that have
been an outcome of the WCA why have they chosen to suspend their
prospective parliamentary candidate for St Austell and Newquay, Deborah
Hopkins for speaking out in public about the harm caused by the WCA.

5. Will Labour address the disproportionate harm that the WCA and
sanctions on ESA and JSA are causing to all disabled people, in
particular those with mental health issues and learning difficulties?

6. We along with many others insisted that a centralised Independent Living Fund
for Scotland be established and it has been done. They have also promised to re-open ILF to new users, with a commitment of additional funds and recognition of its importance to independent living and obligations to article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Why has the Labour
Party not promised to re-establish it south of the border?

Many of the Statements included in this response are taken from the UK Disabled Peoples’ Reclaiming our Futures Manifesto and are endorsed by a UK network of disabled people and Deaf and Disabled Peoples Organisations, including: ALLFIE, Inclusion London, Equal Lives, DPAC, Inclusion Scotland, Disability Wales and the TUC Disabled Workers Committee [2], who between them reach several million disabled voters.
References
1. How Labour would reform the Work Capability Assessment http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/how-labour-would-reform-the-work-capability-assessment-9265479.html
2. The Reclaiming Our Futures, Disabled People’s Manifesto http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/files/library/UK-Disabled-People-s-Manifesto-Reclaiming-Our-Futures.pdf
3. The Green Paper: The new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work. 2006 http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://dwp.gov.uk/docs/a-new-deal-for-welfare-empowering-people-to-work-full-document.pdf
4. Equality Act 2010 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents

 

Apr 072014
 

All nominees will be voted on at the DPAC conference on Saturday 12th April

The current steering group proposes that everyone who has put themselves forward be elected

·         Andy Greene

·         Bob Ellard

·         Ciara Doyle

·         Conan Doyle

·         Debbie Jolly

·         Eleanor Firman

·         Ellen Clifford

·         Linda Burnip

·         Paula Peters

·         Roger Lewis

·         Sabina Lahur

A vote will be taken for members to agree this decision.

Information about all the members who have put themselves forward is below.

Information about the different ways to get involved in the work of DPAC can be found HERE

Andy Greene

I am seeking re-election to the Steering Group.

I’ve been on the SG since the 2011 Conference.

I work freelance, currently for a local DPO in Islington as a Campaign Officer, which enables me to contribute to and promote the work of DPAC. I am not a member of any political party.

I fully support all DPAC principles including rights not charity, and of equal opportunity for all. I believe in DPACs approach to the social model as a real thing to be practised and not just a theory.

I’ve been involved in several DPAC campaigns including fighting welfare reform, the anti-ILF & anti-Remploy closure campaigns. I have been active on a local level in Islington, organising meetings, training & events. I have been involved with DPACs work with the trade union movement including PCS & TUC Disabled Workers Committee.

I have spoken at many regional and national meetings (e.g. TUC DWC Conference, NUS Disabled Students Conference, Boycott Workfare’s Welfare Gathering), and written articles for the website. 

I have worked closely with grassroots activist groups such as UK Uncut, Occupy, Fuel Poverty Action and Reclaim The Power.

I believe disabled people can change the way society is designed and functions by being organised and leading the fight for rights for all. Our history shows us that collective action and taking risks can be effective in this way.

I fully support non-violent Direct Action & peaceful civil disobedience. I would like to see more co-ordinated activities across the country involving local DPACs & others.

 Bob Ellard

I have been working for DPAC doing research and social media work since 2012. During this time I have been able to observe the work the steering group do and have a great deal of admiration for the work done by them.

I believe that as DPAC become more and more successful the steering group workload is only going to increase, and I would like to become a steering group member in order to take on some of this work.

My personal beliefs: 

The current place of disabled people in society is placed in a ‘social ghetto’ where we are seen as Disabled first and People second, if at all.  

I want to live in a society where we are People first, as individuals.

And within that society I want us to be, not disabled people but enabled people. Enabled among other things by full implementation of the UN CRPD, in spirit as well as in word, with all that means in terms of inclusion in all aspects of society.

 I am a Labour Party member and also a member of Unite Community

I support the aims of DPAC.

Ciara Doyle

My name is Ciara, and I would very much like to join the DPAC steering committee and help with the fightback in any way I can.

I have been heavily involved in DPAC in the last couple of years. I have taken part in many direct actions, getting out on the streets and ensuring that we can be seen. I have also spoken on our behalf at a wide range of meetings and campaigns, ensuring that the voice of disabled people is heard. At times, I have also tried to ensure that we get our message across in other ways, writing articles and working to see that publications mention us and our message about disabled people.

I am passionately committed to the social model of disability, and its promotion, and I am also a committed socialist. As chairperson of my local Left Unity branch I help raise our issues on a political stage on an ongoing basis, and as an active trade unionist and rep for my local trade union branch I also work on a daily basis for the rights of disabled people, both as workers and as students.

I am a qualified youth and community worker with more years experience of community organizing than I really want to count! I currently work as a university lecturer working n a department of education where I work in researching, teaching about, and promoting access for students with disabilities, as well as and closely linked to issues of class, race and gender.

For the last few years DPAC has become very central to my life. It is what I think about as I wake in the morning and go to sleep at night – how today can I do something to fight back against this brutal attack on us? I would be delighted if people would vote for me to formally join the steering committee so that I can become as involved as possible on behalf of all disabled people

 

Conan Doyle

Since I joined DPAC in May 2013 I have found it to be an open and supportive community of people who share my beliefs and passions. I feel it is only right that I give something back by offering to share my time and skills with the group in a more official capacity.

In the short time I have been a member, I have been proud to participate in direct actions, but also to contribute to the research and social media communications which help us to get our message across. I am fully committed to the social model of disability, both from an academic perspective, and as a matter of principle.

In terms of more general activism, I have joined anti-fracking protests in Balcombe and London, as well as anti-fascist demonstrations, anti-austerity  and trades union rallies in the City. I am an active member of the South London Peoples’ Assembly.

Having recently attended a 6 day residential training camp on campaigning (www.campaignbootcamp.org) I am keen to put my newly acquired skills to good use within DPAC.

 

Debbie Jolly

I have been involved in critical disability politics and campaigns for over 20 years. I have worked at the local, national and European level for disabled peoples’ rights to independent living. This includes CILs and universities.

Along with Linda, I am a co-founder of DPAC and have spoken and written about the right to independent living in a number of policy areas, also bringing European and University connections to DPAC.

Above all else I want an active critical voice of disabled people to grow from the grassroots to challenge, campaign and protest at the cuts to our dignity and rights; motivating more disabled people to demand change, engage in rights arguments and develop more of our own solutions to our imposed social and economic inequalities. As such, bigger pan disability grass roots organisations led by disabled people and free from any Government ties are crucial in the battle for change- now and in the future.

I am a firm advocate of the social model of disability and will always work from this philosophy. I also believe that we must remember our history as a movement, rather than dismiss it, but that different times require different strategies.

Tasks over the last three years since DPAC began have been varied and have included campaigns, D.As, web, social media, research, DPAC admin, writing, and encouraging and supporting local DPAC groups.

I have no connections with any political parties or groups other than DPAC.

 

Eleanor Firman

I am standing for the DPAC Steering Committee because I believe in the right of everyone to participate fully in society on an equal basis without discrimination and for the past three-four years have been working full time, in voluntary and paid activity as a political campaigner and activist in a number of areas.

My involvement in disability activism is fairly recent – not long after DPAC started and it is through DPAC that my understanding of my own impairments has undergone a steep learning curve. In particular I’ve been following the plans that all the main political parties are considering regarding the future integration of the national health service with social care and mental health systems.

I am committed to the Social Model of Disability and to challenging the way in which this has been cruelly distorted by social policy makers and governments to advance a profiteering agenda at the expense of our health and welfare, our homes – and sadly for some, life itself.

I fear what is happening but the only way I can cope and keep my spirits up is to keep fighting and also learning from others leadership and strength.

Whilst not attending ever demo I was very glad to be able to initiate a Joint Statement by DPAC and Black Triangle objecting to the Labour Party campaign against bedroom tax which promoted workfare sanctions and conditionalities which received over a thousand signatures and was presented in person to Liam Byrne.

I strongly believe I can contribute further to DPAC

1.         Through my experience as a disabled delegate to the UN CEDAW 2013 UK examination (Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) in Geneva with Sisters of Frida disabled women’s cooperative, and also to the European Disability Intergroup forum at the European Parliament (Strasburg).

2.         As a team player willing to listen and learn, as well as take initiative.

3.         Through my organising strengths and skills gained from activism over many years from student politics e.g. as Treasurer of the Students Union for Cambs College of Arts and Technology to various jobs and volunteer roles, e.g. tutor and steering group member of  Haringey Women’s Centre, English as a Second Language Group.

4.         Through my independent research and data banks on policies relating to equalities, housing, taxation and social security.

My main interests are in the Social Model of Disability and also Campaign Actions. I am also interested in the arts and worked as a professional composer until the lack of support and adjustments made it impossible.

I am a committed feminist and socialist and strongly believe a better world is possible if we fight for it.

 

Ellen Clifford

I would like to stand for re-election to the DPAC steering committee. I am passionate about the need for a grassroots campaign led by disabled people to oppose austerity and fight for our communities against the savage attacks taking place.

I have been on the steering group since 2011, initially co-opted and then elected at national conference. Throughout this time I have consistently worked hard and determinedly to develop DPAC and build our campaigns.

Although I work full time on top of the ongoing management of my mental health support needs, I am able to meet the necessary time commitment required of a steering group member. My employment is within London disabled people’s organisations and this provides opportunities to promote DPAC’s work and make wider links.

I am fully committed to all core DPAC principles and values. I consider the defence and promotion of the social model of disability to be a key and important area for us to concentrate our efforts. I fully believe in the principles of equal opportunities and rights not charity. Diversity, access and inclusion are of central importance to everything DPAC does. I have given special attention to making links with and better including people with learning difficulties and the Deaf community in our campaigning.

I am interested in and have been involved in a broad range of areas of DPAC work including:

           Planning and being involved in the co-ordination of:

o          National, regional and local meetings and events

o          Two weeks of action

o          Two national Benefit justice summits

           Speaking and giving presentations and interviews on a regular basis

           Writing articles, web site posts and press releases

           Liaising with the media

           Maintaining links with, setting up and supporting local DPAC groups

           Networking and building solidarity and links with a range of group, campaigns  and unions including the Alliance for Inclusive Education, Unite the Resistance, People’s Assembly, Labour Representation Committee, TUC, PCS union, BFAWU, Unite Against Fascism, Realfare, and many others

           Some involvement in funding applications

I have been centrally involved in both the Independent Living Fund campaign and the benefit justice/anti-bedroom tax campaign. I am also now supporting the Stop the Changes to Access to Work campaign.

DPAC is a vibrant example of campaigning as a collective and as a united front. In order to continue and build on our successes it is essential we have a steering group who are able to work constructively and respectfully as a team. I hope that I have shown over the past few years that I have the skills and qualities to play a positive role within the ongoing responsibilities of the steering group.

I have been a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party since July 2012.

 

Linda Burnip

I am one of the co-founders of DPAC and have been involved from the first march disabled people fought to lead at the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham in 2010.

I am both a disabled person with a hidden and fluctuating impairment and the mother of a young disabled man with high support needs and this has made me aware of how devastating the cumulative impact of these cuts are for disabled people.

I have always been involved in campaigning for social justice and equality in various ways throughout my life and was involved with Disabled People’s Direct Action Network before the emergence of DPAC.

Growing up in the North East means what you see is what you get and I don’t want to be seen as anyone’s saviour as I’m not. Neither do I in any way want to be seen as a figurehead for DPAC which is a much broader and more important movement than any one particular person.

What I am interested in is giving other disabled people the confidence and skills to fight for themselves and to continue with all of the others who give so much time and energy to DPAC to make us a formidable campaign group with many allies. None of this or our respected reputation would have been possible without the input of many people and I am very grateful to everyone who contributes to our fight back in so many different ways. Without you all none of this would have been possible.

As is often the case with any group that grows in size and impact much of my day-to-day activities now involve a massive range of admin. tasks – I usually have 100-200 emails a day to start off with, requests from journalists for help, heart rending emails from disabled people who have been sanctioned and left with no money, no food and no fuel, plus about 50 requests from people to join our facebook group which all need to be checked out to prevent EDL and UKIP supporters joining. (at least as far as possible).

Added to that Debbie and I tend to co-ordinate passing on requests to provide people to be involved in other events, work with our research team to co-ordinate research, prepare briefing papers and other articles, do social media campaigning, go to various meetings, speak at events outside London, deal with finances and fundraising and any other activities that need to be dealt with on a day-to-day basis.

Between us all we’ve made DPAC very financially viable for at least the next 12- 15months.

I am not aligned to any political party and resigned from the Labour Party after they allowed the invasion of Iraq.

 

Paula Peters

My name is Paula Peters, am a disability rights activist living in south London.  Am a member of DPAC, co chair of Bromley/Croydon local DPAC Group, Unite Community Member, Member of Mental Health Resistance Network, Member of Bromley Mental Health Forum (Deaf and disabled people’s organisation), have a seat on the adult services stakeholder committee in Bromley, am a member of Save our Local Hospitals Campaign (NHS Campaigns), and I am also a member of Bromley Trades Council.

 

I am very hardworking and active both locally and nationally, I am one of the members of the admin team for DPAC on the face book group and page, do a lot of research and networking and represent DPAC at various meetings, demonstrations, and conferences.  I work well within the DPAC team and various campaigns and Trades Union movement, and treat everyone with respect, and courtesy and work alongside many activists within dpac and other campaign groups with a wide range of impairments.

I correspond regularly with the dpac team by writing written reports and feed back by e mail from all events, conferences and protests that I represent DPAC at.

I work very closely with the mental health resistance network on the work capability assessment for mental health claimants judicial review, this case has been going for over two years, and assisted and continue to support the MHRN as they launch SolidariTEA a Southwark community activist project that will link all local campaigns together and empower members of the community to get involved in the fight back of resistance against the coalition government.

I believe in the social model of disability, and believe that disabled people should be involved in designing and shaping the services they use both in the community where they live and nationally by lobbying parliamentarians and local councillors in the community, I am one of the co founders of the Community Options Involvement Network, a project that involves mental health survivors with lived experience to be involved in speaking at local meetings with the mental health trust, commissioning services, and other agencies and shaping the services we use so that we can live in the community as independently as possible with equal rights. Community Options now has two involvement projects in Tower Hamlets and in Bromley. I have been involved with the mental health survivor involvement network locally in Bromley for over 20 years. 

I have worked alongside the TSSA and RMT unions and Transport for ALL, on the Hands Off London Transport and Action for Rail Campaigns in the fight for worker’s jobs on the London Underground and Station Staff jobs as well as equal access to the public transport network which is something I feel very strongly about as this is vital for our impendence as disabled people to travel independently and as safely as possible, and its vital that we support and campaign with the transport unions for their fight for jobs as the loss of jobs affect all of us who use the public transport network and puts all of society at risk with the cuts to staff jobs.

I am one of the founder members of the save our local hospital campaign for Bexley Bromley and Greenwich, and lead the Lewisham Hospital March in November 2012.  I believe passionately in the NHS and equal access to services and am a member of my local health watch in Bromley, and work very closely with Keep our NHS Public Campaign and have linked in with various Hospital Campaigns throughout the UK and health watch organisations.

I work across a wide range of campaigns and many have linked into the vital work that DPAC do.  In the past year, I represented DPAC at the Disability Working Group at the TSSA National Conference, Bromley Trades Council, Social Worker’s Action Network, Fuel Poverty Action Group, Lewisham Hospital Campaign and the Campaign for Benefit Justice.

I bought the following affiliations to DPAC:

·         TSSA Union.

·         TSSA SE Metro and London Branch.

·         Bromley Trades Council.

·         Euston Branch of the RMT.

·         Older Feminist Network.

 

I spoke at a Medway anti cuts meeting last March, and empowered local disabled residents to set up the Medway DPAC local group.  I was very humbled to help local disability activists set up their local group and was invited to launch their group in September 2013.  I as co chair of Bromley/Croydon dpac work very closely with the Croydon Dpac group and Bromley and Croydon have often worked together on joint campaigns across the two boroughs, including bedroom tax campaigns and council budget setting meetings and local transport for all campaigns.

 

Roger Lewis

I am standing for re-election to the DPAC Steering Committee.

I have been on the National Steering Committee for almost four years.

During this time I have been an active member of the Committee.

In particular, I have several decades experience working as an activist in the Trade Union movement and I have been able to bring this experience into DPAC’s work with both local trade unions and their national bodies. I have recently lead for DPAC on putting together the Hands Off London Transport, HOLT, campaign to build a public campaign linked to the strike action taken by the RMT and TSSA unions. This work is continuing and I am working to highlight the serious effects the cuts proposals will mean for Disabled People.

I have worked to maintain our links with the National and Local Peoples Assemblies despite the significant difficulties and differences we have had with them. I have spoken on behalf of DPAC at many of the meetings including both National Assemblies.

 

I was central in setting up the National Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation and have been an activist member for DPAC on the National Steering Committee.

I am a member for DPAC on the Unite the Resistance Steering Committee.

I speak to the national and independent press and media on behalf of DPAC, at meetings and demonstrations across the country.

I have been a consistent organiser and participant in many of our Direct Actions.

I have been involved in policy discussions and initiatives such as over broadening support for the Disabled Peoples Manifesto.

Over the last year I have been working with a group of young people, school and college students, who were impressed by DPAC and what we do and invited us to assist them build an organisation of their own. I brought them to our Direct Action at the BBC and last year’s week of action and they joined our protest at the Department of Education. I am continuing to work with them and we are currently exploring how issues around mental health and wellbeing concern them.

I am a dedicated activist and defender of the Social Model of Disability and a Socialist and long standing member of the Socialist Workers Party.

I believe I have a lot to bring to the work we still have to do and would like your support for this nomination to remain on the National Committee.

 

Sabina Lahur

I have been a Disability Activist for many years. I was a member of the National Peoples First Organisation as an active member. I was also involved in my local PF organisation and have spoken on national TV and at meetings including big meetings of over 500 people.

I am currently leading for DPAC in South London, where I live, in building support for the Save Lambeth College Campaign. The college supports many disabled students and I was a student there myself. I speak for the campaign at their meetings and rallies, petition with them and take part in the campaign organising meetings.

I am active in my local Anti Bedroom Tax campaign.

I support DPAC and speak at meetings in London and have also taken part in big national demonstrations like in Manchester where I was there for DPAC.

I would like the opportunity to be a part of DPAC’s National Committee as I believe I have a lot to bring to the work we do and I am a good representative and spokesperson for people with Learning Difficulties.

           

 

 

Apr 072014
 

DPAC_coloured_Logo_2__biggerWe are very much looking forward to seeing everyone who can come to our national conference on Saturday but it is also important that those of you who can’t get there in person are able to take part. There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • Send messages of support and your ideas for what DPAC should focus on over the next year to mail@dpac.uk.net or @dis_ppl_protest.These will be put up on the graffiti wall at the conference and included in the notes from the day.
  • Watch the conference live on:

http://bambuser.com/channel/OccupyLondon and http://bambuser.com/channel/DPAC

  • Live tweet your questions and contributions to @dis_ppl_protest

  Or email: mail@dpac.uk.net

 The program for the day is at DPAC Conference 2014 Saturday 12th April – Conference Programme

Apr 042014
 

We’ve had a great response to bookings for the DPAC conference on Sat 12th April in London, but places are now running out. Please email:  dpacfightback@yahoo.co.uk

with your details, number of places needed and any access needs.

12th April 2014 – 11am until 5pm

London Met University, Tower Building, 166 – 220 Holloway Road, London, N7 8DP

Since we started in October 2010 Disabled People Against Cuts has been at the forefront of the fight against austerity. With Atos on the run, and the bedroom tax on the ropes we are seeing the results of hard campaigning. But there is much more to do to ensure disabled people’s rights to live independently and with an adequate income.


The national conference is a chance for DPAC members to come together, to share experiences and discuss your ideas for moving forwards.


DPAC are working hard to bring to conference a surprise guest, a person who, if anyone has, has been the catalyst for the re-emergence of disability activism in the last few years, someone DPAC has enjoyed a close relationship with from visiting him at home to donating underpants to supporting his select committee appearances.


Workshops will look at: –  Where Now for the Independent Living Fund campaign,  – Developing a Social Model of Distress,  – Winning the Argument,  – Disability, Art and Protest,  – Building a National Network of Disabled People’s Organisations and Direct Action practical skills among others.

 Please note places are limited so priority will be given to DPAC members. For information about joining please contact mail@dpac.uk.net

The venue is wheelchair accessible. BSL and a note taker will be provided. For access information go to: http://www.disabledgo.com/access-guide/islington-council/london-metropolitan-university-tower-building

For access queries including booking parking please contact DPACfightback@yahoo.co.uk
To book places or for more information please contact DPACfightback@yahoo.co.uk

 

 

 

Mar 102014
 

There are many different ways to be involved in the work of DPAC. All are equally valuable. We all have a role to play in campaigning for disabled people’s rights and a fair society, in whatever way we can from taking part in protests to tweeting, from administrative tasks to writing poems, from making banners to conducting research. Every contribution is important, formal or informal. Some ways to get involved are:

 

       Joining as a member. You will receive occasional urgent action and information updates from us and have the right to vote at our general meetings.

 

       Signing up to the website for regular information

 

       updates every time something new is added to our website.

 

       Following DPAC on twitter: @Dis_Ppl_Protest and Facebook or the quieter Facebook page

       Joining or setting up a local group. Local groups need to follow the DPAC constitution. Local activity is really important for raising awareness about the impact of austerity on disabled people and leading the way in the fightback. For a list of local groups see HERE

       Or contact mail@dpac.uk.net

 

       Linking between DPAC and other campaigns and unions, for example Occupy, UK Uncut, the Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation, Reclaim the Power, Fuel Poverty Action, Boycott Workfare, the People’s Assembly, local anti cuts groups, local trades councils and trade unions branches.

 

       Joining or being involved in the running of campaign sub-committees. We currently have sub-committees at different stages of development in the following areas:

o   Atos and the Work Capability Assessment

o   Independent Living Fund

o   Access to Work

o   Reclaiming the Social Model of Disability

o   Disability, Art and Protest

o   Direct action

o   Inclusive Education

o   Communications and social media

o   Research

o   Local groups

o   Working with Disabled People’s Organisations – building a national voice

At the DPAC conference workshops will be held in each of the different campaigns and there will be a chance to sign up if you are not already involved.

       Being on the Steering group. At the conference we need to elect our steering group for the next year. There is more information about this below.

Steering group

One of the roles we have to make sure we run in a way that follows our aims and principles and is accountable to DPAC members is being on the Steering Group.

Being on the Steering Group is a big time commitment and is often a difficult job because there is so much to do.

For this reason in order to stand for nomination to the Steering Group we need people who can sign up to:

·         Minimum of 5 – 10 hours commitment per week

 

·         Corresponding regularly by and checking emails to stay in touch with developments and inputting to the development of DPAC initiatives

 

·         Co-ordinating particular areas of work, involving members widely and working with allies

 

·         Being involved in at least two sub-committees

 

·         Taking responsibility for either co-ordinating or providing an active and supportive link to at least two local groups

 

·         Representing DPAC at meetings, events and conferences sometimes at short notice

 

·         Working collectively and positively within a team of people with contrasting access needs

 

·         Following DPAC principles and values at all times:

o   Social model of disability

o   Rights not Charity

o   Inclusive Education (no ifs no buts)

o   Working within the broad left

o   Equal opportunities and social justice for all regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disability, age, faith, employment status, resident status. No to scapegoating of any kind.

 

It is important we have a diverse steering group covering a range of impairments, equalities strands and areas of the country. We also recognise that due to fluctuating impairments people may need to step back from activity for temporary periods.

The current DPAC constitution sets the number of steering group members at 8 but the current steering group will be putting forward a motion at the conference for members to vote on enlarging the steering group to 12.

All those wanting to put themselves forward for the steering group must be full DPAC members. If you would like to put yourself forward for the DPAC Steering Group please send a 500-700 word statement to mail@dpac.uk.net

 explaining why you would like to be on the Steering Group, how you are able to meet the commitment and any existing political/group affiliations before the 31st March 2014.

This text will be put on the DPAC web site-you do not need to be able to come to the DPAC conference on the 12th of April to be considered for election to the steering group, but we’d appreciate it if you could.

 

We’d like to say a big thank you to the past DPAC steering group for all their work, and invite them to apply again if they wish to

Mar 042014
 

In April George Osborne’s mass workfare scheme will begin.  Unemployed people will be sentenced to 780 hours community work simply for being unable to find a job. Not even lone parents with young children are to be exempt from the scheme which will see so-called charities like Groundwork UK and the Salvation Army paid by the tax payer to force people to work for free.  Part time workers and those currently genuinely volunteering will also face being sent on unpaid work.

Collective action can halt this forced labour scheme in its tracks.  A week of action against workfare has been called beginning on the 29th March.  An escalation in the campaign against unpaid work is vital and there is no better chance than this.  It only takes a few people to get the ball rolling, and protests against organisations using workfare have proved to be effective.  Boycott Workfare can offer support with publicity, leaflets and advice. Please help spread the word about the week of action and let’s make this the strongest stand against people being forced to work for free that has been seen so far.

From Boycott Workfare:

Tens of organisations have already quit workfare. The government will not reveal which organisations are still using it for fear the schemes will collapse. Its contractors complain that they have lost hundreds of placements due to public pressure.

But they’re trying it again with a new scheme – “Community Work Placements” – launching on 1 April 2014 which will force claimants to work for six months without pay. Six months – 780 hours – is more than twice the maximum community service sentence. Workfare does not help people find jobs and being unemployed is not a crime.

This new workfare scheme is part of a raft of draconian measures, misleadingly called “Help to Work”, which are designed to increase sanctions (benefit stoppages) and undermine wages still further.

For the workfare schemes to happen, they need places to send people, but tens of large charities have already quit. Oxfam stated that the schemes were incompatible with its goal of reducing poverty in the UK. Liverpool CVS has condemned the scheme in the strongest possible terms.

Our action can stop companies, charities and councils from exploiting forced unpaid work and make sure this new scheme falls flat on its face. Wherever you are, however you can contribute, take action on 29 March-6 April.

Target the charities:

  • Friendly local charity or Volunteer Service? Invite them to commit not to use forced unpaid work by signing our pledge.
  • Big workfare user like RSPCA, YMCA, Salvation Army, The Conservation Volunteers, British Heart Foundation, Barnardos or Cancer Research? Write to them, organise a demo or encourage people you know not to donate until they stop using workfare!
  • Approach workers in the voluntary sector to ask them to pressure their employer not to participate in the scheme. There are often Union branches for voluntary sector workers you could contact.
  • Visit boycottworkfare.org daily during the week to take part in online action!

Target the councils:

  • Find out if we know about workfare in your local council on this spreadsheet.
  • If so, adapt our press release and expose them in your local paper.
  • Contact local Unison, GMB or Unite branches for council workers and encourage them to pass the motion to challenge workfare and to take it up with the council.
  • Find out if any sympathetic local councillors would take a motion to the council for it to boycott workfare. It has been done!

Support each other to get our rights:

  • Order know your rights leaflets to give out at the job centre or around your local community – email info[at]boycottworkfare.org with how many you would like!
  • Thinking about starting a mutual support group? Invite an existing group to help get it going with a workshop or talk.

Want to target the companies involved in workfare as well?
There are currently call outs to target Peacocks, and Grosvenor Casinos. Or there’s our crowd-sourced list of workfare exploiters to whom you may also like to pay a visit.

For more info visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3353 and follow @boycottworkfare for the latest news.

Please join and share the facebook page for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1548766378680842/

Read about the recent inspiring action by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty against workfare exploiters The Salvation Army.

Reposted with thanks from the Void http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/

 Follow on twitter @johnnyvoid

 

Sep 132013
 

Demands outside the Department of Health

Outside the Department of Health with banner Reclaiming Independent Living Save the ILF

Outside the Department of Health

You can see more photos from the event here from Dave Swinnerton

Outside the Department of Work and Pension (DWP, Caxton House)

Outside the DWP - crowd of people with placards

Outside the DWP

More photos from the event here from Pete Riches

chris photos

 

More photos from the art event and Freedom Drive here from Chris Ball

 

 

 

Sep 062013
 

From  DPAC, Black Triangle and Mental Health Resistance Network action in central London:

So interesting that the Taxpayers’ Alliance got a free, media-wide pass yesterday to bitch again about people on benefits – on the very day that disabled protestors turned out in numbers in central London to demonstrate against the benefit and care cuts that are excluding them from work and from life (let’s not forget, what with all this Tory-Lib Dem-Labour faffing about the joys and rewards and glories of work, that some people can’t work, but still deserve and want to live. Which means they’re entitled to benefits). So. Pity, really, that I didn’t see Matthew Sinclair skulking round Westminster yesterday (I presume he lives in this country, or at least visits it). I may just have walked on over and offered to shove the morning’s various ironies right up his arse (I speak metaphorically, I am sure).

Another time, perhaps. Hopefully, even. In the meantime, here is some video from yesterday’s DPAC, Black Triangle and Mental Health Resistance Network protest in central London. This one is outside the DWP and starts with the line of underpants that people left out the front for Iain Duncan Smith. I gave some thought to leaving IDS the sweaty pair (was a hot day) of knickers I was wearing – on which I would have written that plenty of us (taxpayers all, btw Mr Sinclair) are happy to pay for social security, thanks very much. We certainly would rather pay for social security than for the chance to bankroll Iain Duncan Smith into pissing away whatever’s left of the exchequer on a second pass at Universal Credit.

There was a good turnout at the protest and clever targets, just as the BBC was a clever target on Monday. Yesterday, protestors paid visits to the Department of Health (to make the point again that Hunt has no mandate to cut and sell the NHS and that social care cuts, particularly to vital funds like the Independent Living Fund, will prevent people from participating in exactly the work and independence that the Taxpayers’ Alliance so publicly excites itself over) the Department of Transport (to campaign for the accessible transport which would aid independence in a way that endless government lip-service re: inclusion does not), the Department of Energy and Climate Change to protest about the fuel poverty many must live in while energy companies hoover up unreal profits, and the Department of Education to oppose government attacks on inclusive education. And last, but by absolutely no means least, the Department for Work and Pensions.

A few words on extremism

People carried and wore signs which read “proud to be an extremist”: a reference to the comments Paul Maynard made earlier this year: “Pat’s Petition, We Are Spartacus and other extremist disability groups that do not speak for the overall majority.”

I like to mention this so-called extremism in relation to many of the protests I attend these days. If I say so myself and I do – the things I have to say on this aspect of protest can’t be said often enough. It seems to me that we’re fast reaching a point where a mere objection will be described as extremist: a raised voice, or a sit-down protest (I thought of this when I watched a small group of anti-fracking protestors superglue themselves to the Bell Pottinger building a couple of weeks ago) is somehow translated by the mainstream as galloping insurrection (not that I would mind a bit of that either).

I make a couple of points here. The first is that sitting outside a government department and holding a banner which outlines your objections to service cuts is not extremism. It really isn’t. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It really, really isn’t. Occupying a pavement outside the DWP and stringing up a row of underpants on which you’ve written a few rude words and drawn Iain Duncan Smith’s face (see video below – his face works brilliantly on an arse part) is not extremism. As I said during last month’s anti-fracking protests – gluing yourself to a building and refusing to move in protest at corporate plans to devastate your own planet is not extremism. It’s actually a very logical response to corporate plans to devastate your planet. By comparison, selling a public health service to your private sector mates when you’re in government – now that is extremism. It’s an extreme act. At the very least, it’s grand larceny. Taking public money from people who need public services and can’t get to work, or college and/or through life without those services, and giving that money to private companies – that’s extremism. Blowing big bloody holes in the planet with fracking gear is extremism. Those are actions that are likely to deliver extreme (read dangerous) results.

So.

The second point is that these protestors surely do speak for a majority. They speak for people who object mightily to the government’s cutting and selling of the NHS – see the Save Lewisham Hospital protests over the last year if you want to get a feel for that. They speak for people who are forced to watch as their fuel bills rise and rise as energy company profits grow. They speak for people who believe that social security ought to be a safety net for anyone in need, as opposed to a gravy train for the likes of Serco, Atos and Capita.

The problem is that more people need to hear them speak. This is where one of the major challenges lies. The political class does not want to hear these people and it absolutely does not want anyone else to hear them either. It was no surprise at all on Monday to find the BBC ignoring the protestors who’d shut down the BBC’s very own front entrance in protest at that broadcaster’s appalling “reporting” of benefit cuts, public sector cuts and austerity. No surprise either to find that yesterday, the enormous number of government and press worthies who inhabit the Westminster bubble and literally never leave it managed, somehow, to miss a large procession of people in wheelchairs, carers and supporters protesting in said bubble. A lot of tourists worked out that something was going on and asked questions (“what is happening? Is it a protest?”), but the silence elsewhere was loud.

The day finished with a lobby to deliver a disability manifesto – in, of course, a spectacularly inaccessible parliament committee room. At least half of the people who wanted to attend had to sit outside in the hall in their wheelchairs. That said it all, to be honest – a big bloody Up Yours from the government to everyone.

Reposted from the excellent Kate Belgrave with thanks http://www.katebelgrave.com/2013/09/protests-and-government-extremism/

Sep 052013
 

Video of DPAC protestors outside BBC Portland Place with many thanks to Kate Belgravethegoldengirlk8.

Text:

Protestor: Please understand why we’re doing this
Security officer offscreen: I do. I understand

Protestor: We’re licence payers and they need to do more proper reporting. They need to stop blocking our voices. They’ve got to get our message out. They blocked the NHS protests. Our NHS. Everybody out here uses it and they stopped people from getting the
story out. The people out there need to know what is happening in this country and people are dying.

Get some of your staff out here and see what’s going on, because they could be next.

Protestor 2: The government are churning out proven lies and they’re being caught out over and over again telling lies, Iain Duncan Smith is supposed to be talking to a parliamentary committee for grossly misusing statistics and misrepresenting benefit claimants in this country.

Aug 302013
 

Media links on Paralympic legacy

Penny Pepper @PenPep on BBC London: http://bbc.in/1bx7a3s 
Maria Nash on BBC: can only find links to simpering Paralympians spouting government propaganda

Fabulous ISLINGTON local protest

We were Absolutely Fabulous @rockinpaddy @e_lisney @PenPep @disabilitydiva #DAII #SaveILF @SEPartridge #BecauseWe_R_WorthIt #NastyCut

islington ILF protest

islington ILF protest 2 islington ILF protest 3 islington ILF protest 4 islington ILF protest 5

Aug 292013
 

Last year during the ATOS Games over 30 local actions took place around the UK. They were really important for getting the message to members of the public and raising awareness about what this government is doing to disabled people.

This year you get to choose the target of your choice. You could take the Reclaiming Our Futures manifesto to present at your local MP’s constituency office, spread it through social media, protest on the streets  against segregated education, the proposed ILF closure or show solidarity at your local Remploy site (for those few factories in their last weeks of operation). Alternatively, you might want to lobby your local Council on the Bedroom Tax and cuts to local services/support. Oh, and  as we know  ATOS offices are still around too….

You could decide to hold an arts event or a debate to raise awareness about disabled people’s rights. There are a number of films listed below showing disabled people’s protest or the brilliant work of Katherine Araniello providing a wry insight into prejudice and the social model discussion event on 1st September will be live streamed for virtual particpation.

How you organise your local actions is entirely up to you but there is a set of resources to download below that might be useful to ensure you get as much local publicity as possible and could give you more time to concentrate on building bigger protests.

Thanks to the local groups who have shared these with us and if you have any resources that other actions and campaigns might find useful please do send them in.

We can help promote your actions on the DPAC website to build as much support as possible so send us information that we can publish about when and where local actions are taking place.

 

Resources to download:

– Template press release:  ROF template PR

– Flyer promoting grand finale of the week of action on 4th September: flyer 3

– Letter to send to your MPs inviting them to the lobby in Parliament and  launch of the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto: Dear MP

– Flyer for the lobby and launch: flyer – lobby (3)

– Easy read information about the week of action: DPAC easy read (2)

– Reclaiming Our Futures graphic: graphic

– Films list: Films

– Guide to organising a local action: How to Guide 

–  Easy read ‘Planning a Campaign’ information: campaigns (DPAC)

And of course, back this year by popular demand…. Barbie shows us how to organise a demo….How to do a demo

Don’t forget to make sure your friends, family and fellow campaigners have information about the week of action and armchair activism guide and let us know how you get on.

Together we can reclaim our futures!

Aug 262013
 

Find your local councillors at http://www.writetothem.com/ 

Or at your local council website  -Copy and paste the text below or download Word version from the link-please send any copies of responses to benefitjustice@gmail.com

Dear Councillor (insert name),

 

I am writing as one of your ward constituents to ask you to sign up to the Councillors Against the Bedroom Tax and Benefit Cuts statement and oppose anyone losing their home or being forced to move due to the Bedroom Tax or other unjust benefit cuts, and call on landlords not to evict those pushed into arrears due to these measures: http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/resources/CouncillorsvBedTax2.pdf

 

The bedroom tax or ‘under-occupation penalty’ is unfair and unworkable. Two thirds of those affected by it nationally are disabled and the majority have no-where suitable to move to. Discretionary Housing Payments are a short term solution that create more work for local authorities. A July survey by the Papworth Trust, backed by the National Housing Federation , said nine out of 10 disabled people are cutting back on food or bills to pay the bedroom tax if they are refused a safety-net housing payment. Meanwhile the cost of implementing the bedroom tax costs far more than the savings the government claimed it would make.

 

To add your name to the list of Councillors please contact benefitjustice@gmail.com.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

(include your address)

Download Word version of text here: Dear Councillor-2

 

 

 

Aug 252013
 

Birmingham

http://birminghamagainstthecuts.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/we-will-remember-the-victims-of-austerity-britian-and-oppose-the-dwp-which-broke-their-soul/

 

Saturday September 7th Broad Street job centre 1-2pm and Atos office, Five Ways, 2-3pm

 

Bristol

A gentle conference on the proposed closure of the Independent Living Fund

 

Wednesday 4 September 2013 City Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR

11.15am to 3.30pm

  

Free entrance, refreshments and buffet lunch plus people from local council.

To reserve a place and for more information, please contact:

 

Email:      independencebristol@gmail.com

Text:        07867 690422

 

Canary Wharf

29th August Day of action to make Crossrail fully accessible – Thursday 29th August 2013.

– See more at: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/day-of-action-to-make-crossrail-fully-accessible-thursday-29th-august-2013/#sthash.lqaDkIZ4.dpuf

DPAC Medway Leaflet drop 2PM Fri 30th ATOS 1A Bachelor Street Chatham ME4 4BJ

 

 Islington

www.daii.org

August 29th street party on Islington Green 12-4pm to help organise the fightback against the proposed closure of the Independent Living Fund.

 

Leamington Spa

August 31st noon bedroom tax protest  Town Hall

 

Protests against cuts to NHS and attacks against disabled people outside Chris White’s office
43a Clemens Street, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV31 2DP
 

 

Swansea

 

PROTEST AGAINST ATOS IN SWANSEA!
FIGHT ATTACKS ON DISABLED PEOPLE!
12pm Friday 30th August, outside Swansea Atos centre

https://www.facebook.com/events/181697292010875/

 

Norfolk


http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/08/dpac-norfolk-reclaiming-our-rights-30th-august/

 

Reclaiming our Rights August 30th 12-2.30pm Job Centre Plus, Kiln House, Pottersgate, Norwich, NR2 1BZ

 

 Northampton

Sept 6th http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/08/northampton-6th-sept-11-30-2pm-atos-asessing-the-assessors/

 

Wrexham Tuesday 3rd September : Protest against ATOS and their paymasters DWP by disabled people, claimants and supporters from 12.30 pm onwards outside the Jobcentre/ATOS on the corner at Grosvenor Road. Please bring banners, placards, whistles etc.

 

 

Everywhere:

Twitter event with Liz Crow  using http://inactualfact.org.uk/ for  Monday September 2nd

 

Armchair activism-to come

 

 

Being updated – please let us know what you are doing to add to list: email: mail@dpac.uk.net

 

 

Aug 222013
 

Updated video of the excellent Condemn Love DPAC’s Anti-Atos song -with massive thanks once more to Kevin Robins for all his work on this. See Kevin perform live at Piss on Pity 31st August-part of the DPAC Reclaiming our Futures week of action.

Also watch this space for more news on how to download Condem Love and contribute to DPAC

 

Con-Dem Love!

They’re screwing up my mind , wasting my time
Keeping up the pressure on this heart of mine
They’ve got a real obsession , egos out of hand
Out to make a make a killing from their “welfare” scam.

This is Con-Dem love, Con-Dem love, Con-Dem love ,
Condemn .. … Con-Dem love.

Laid my cards on the table told their GP straight
Depressions biting hard and that’s hard to take
I showed him the scars on my arms where I’d cut
He looked me in the eye and said you’re “working fit”

This is Con-Dem love, Con-Dem love, Con-Dem love
They’re going to show you what they’re made of.

On a circle of emotion on the treadmill again
They took away my social, can’t pay the rent
What can do, so ill, I can’t fight,
I toss and turn I stay awake all night
Darkened thoughts are haunting me
I’m so afraid of this reality

This is Con-Dem love, Con-Dem love, Con-Dem love
They’re going to show you what they’re made of.

Sitting in a corner — with the lights switched off
This no win situation’s lost
Can’t make no plans for you or for me
There’s no reason to go on you see .

This is Con-Dem love, Con-Dem love, Con-Dem love
They’re going to show you what they’re made of.
They’re going to show you what they’re made of

They’re screwing up my mind, wasting my time
Keeping up the pressure on this heart of mine
They’ve got real obsession, egos out of hand
Out to make a make a killing from their “welfare” scam.

They’re screwing up my mind , taking away my life x 3

©  Robins/Clark

If you would like to know more about DPAC or make a contribution to our work please visit our website www.dpac.uk.net or email: mail@dpac.uk.net or twitter: @Dis_PPL_Protest *Special thanks to all including Rob Livingstone and Simon Gomery for some of the excellent artwork contribution on this video.

 

Aug 132013
 

 

 

 

 

DPAC Norfolk, Reclaiming Our Rights

 

 

Fri, 30th August 2013

 

12:30pm – 2pm

at

Jobcentre Plus, Kiln House, Pottergate, Norwich, NR2 1BZ             

 

This is part of the national DPAC week of action, toprotest at organizations that are creating barriers to inclusion for disabled people.

 

 

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this event, please join us if you possibly can, tell as many interested/supportive friends and family to come along too. Let’s unite together in solidarity to leave this Government under no illusion that we will not rest until we get our message across about what we want and expect from them and future Governments.

Aug 132013
 

dpacxx

Reclaiming Our Futures UK

 

Join this year’s week of action to protest against austerity, fight for our rights and celebrate disabled people

 

From 29th August – 4th September DPAC and other campaigns will offer a range of activities you can get involved in. These events will bring together our anger at what is happening now, and celebrate our victories won, both in the past and to come.

 

 

Our rights are being stripped away day by day, by the neo-liberal policies being imposed on us all by the Condems, leaving us without much hope for our futures – or our children’s.

 

We have been here before. Our history is littered with examples of how our community has come together when under attack to fight – and win. From the early campaigns of NLBDP (National League of Blind and Disabled People) through to the founding and manifesto of UPIAS (Union of

 

the Physically Impaired Against Segregation) and on to DAN (Direct Action Network)- Now we have DPAC leading direct action and a host of other key grass root campaigns working towards reclaiming our rights and futures.

 

We have fought our corner over 3 centuries. And those fights have brought victories; the Independent Living Movement, our early CILs (Centres for Independent Living) and early active DPO’s (Disabled Peoples Organisations) and the significant rights for disabled people (which are now under attack). They represent big victories, brought about by mobilizing in our communities around our common cause – and having the will and determination to see our demands met without compromising our rights. We have consistently united in anger and celebration.

  

Download easy read information about the week here:

DPAC easy read (2)

 

DPAC Reclaiming our Futures Action

 

This autumn, we are asking our community to come together in anger, and celebration again – and to unite around our demands

 

We will be launching the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto setting out our vision of how the resources, structures and institutions of our society today can be re-designed to empower disabled people to take part in life on our terms. Disabled people are, and always will be, the experts on our lives and our self-determination. It will be a vision and practical plan that we can take forward in our communities, workplaces and lives to reclaim our futures.

 

In the build up to the manifesto launch, DPAC is leading The ‘Reclaiming Our Futures’, seven days of action to protest against the targeting of disabled people by austerity measures, to fight for our rights for inclusion and independence as equal citizens and to celebrate the value, pride and self determination of disabled people.

 

From 29th August – 4th September DPAC and other campaigns will offer a range of activities you can get involved in. These events will bring together our anger at what is happening now, and celebrate our victories won, both in the past and to come.

 

The plan below is only half the story. We want YOU, your Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation, your campaign group, your community, your friends to put on events and get involved too. Can’t get to our exhibition? – then put on your own. Can’t get to our direct action? – then do your own. Barbecues, debates, quiz nights, family days, picnics – whatever! ACT – in celebration or in anger! (PS don’t forget to let us know what you’re doing).

 

 

Day by Day: 29th August-4th September

 

 

Thursday 29th August – YOU launch our 7 days of action

 

A range of resources will be available for your use as we ask all supporters to start our week of action with an online blitz. You will be the ones creating the buzz and the hype sending letters and twitter messages to targets of your choice ranging from MPs to disability charities to the media. We will be producing twibbons and memes but make and circulate your own. If you haven’t got a Social Media account (such as Facebook & Twitter) set one up now, link to DPAC ( twitter: @Dis_PPL_Protest) and let’s create a cyber wave. #dpacrof

 

The launch will coincide with Transport for All’s Day of Action to make CrossRail accessible: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/day-of-action-to-make-crossrail-fully-accessible-thursday-29th-august-2013/

 

 

 

Friday 30th August – Local Protests

 

Last year during the ATOS Games over 30 local actions took place around the UK Local actions mean you get to choose the target of your choice. You could take the Reclaiming Our Futures manifesto to present at your local MP’s constituency office, spread it through social media, protest on the streets against segregated education, the proposed ILF closure or show solidarity at your local Remploy site (for those few factories in their last weeks of operation). Alternatively, you might want to lobby your local Council on the Bedroom Tax and cuts to local services/support. Oh, and as we know ATOS offices are still around too….we’re sure you have other great ideas to add… Remember to let us know what you are doing so we can promote your actions. We will be producing local action resource packs but any materials you develop please send us copies to share with other protests and online.

 

 

Saturday 31st – Disability, Art & Protest Exhibition and Fundraising Gig

 

An exhibition and sharing of work exploring disability, art and protest followed by a ticketed fundraising gig run in partnership with Madpride and Tottenham Chances. Come during the day and join in our banner making workshop to prepare for the big Freedom Drive on the 4th September. If you would like to nominate an artist, collective and/or piece of work please let us know (including any links) and we will try to get them involved. If you want to do a local, street or online art protest too-this could be the day to do it.

 

Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, London, N17 6QN Times:

 

12 – 7pm Exhibition: disability, art and protest

1 – 3.30pm Banner and placard making workshop

 

4 – 6pm Work Sharing

7.30pm till late Gig

 

 

Sunday 1st September – Reclaiming the Social Model: the social model in the 21st Century

 

Anne Rae: former UPIAS and current chair of the Greater

Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP),

 

Colin Barnes: Professor of Disability Studies at Leeds Centre for Disability Studies

 

 

As government and the private sector increasingly use a so-called ‘modern understanding of disability’ to redefine who is and who isn’t disabled it is more important than ever that we understand, defend and promote the social model of disability. This isn’t helped when the social model is not fully supported within our movement. This event will be a chance to hear from a range of speakers and to discuss why the social model is still relevant today to our lives and our futures and to map out what we need to do to fight for it. The event will be live-streamed with the opportunity for people to participate in the discussion virtually. We will also be promoting a range of resources around the social model.

 

Venue

UNITE House, 128 Theobald’s Road, Holborn, WC1X 8TN

Time: 12.30 – 4.30pm

 

 

Monday 2nd September – Direct Action

 

Despite the huge efforts of thousands of disabled people throughout the country, it is increasingly difficult to find spaces where lies, inaccuracies and mis-use of statistics can be challenged. DPAC recently released a study into how the DWP uses all of these to vilify and demonize disabled people.

 

See more at: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/lies-damn-ids-and-statistics/#sthash.MAk5nTiU.dpuf

 

But why is this down to us? People should be presented with both sides of the story and this isn’t happening. Disabled people are having to find ways to make sure our truths will be heard. Watch this space…

 

 

Tuesday 3rd September – ‘I Dare’ day

 

A day of online action to reinforce that we want ‘Rights not Charity’, and a society where we are able to operate on our own terms as disabled people. Dare to ask for Rights not Charity. Dare to be an activist. Dare to ask more of ‘our’ organisations. We aren’t asking for Care, we want Power: Power to write the script for our own lives, and not to be written out or written off by others. A range of actions and captions will be available for you to capture in an image and circulate online.

 

 

Wednesday 4th September – UK FREEDOM DRIVE

 

A final-day march and events in and around Parliament. Four

 

themed ‘blocks’ will meet at 4 Government departments, central to the lives of disabled people. After handing over our demands, blocks will then move towards Parliament for a lobby where we will formally launch the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto and present our demands to our

 

elected representatives.

 

Choose your ‘block’ and meet at 12.45pm at one of:

 

·        Department for Education to oppose government attacks on inclusive education and a return to segregation (Sanctuary Buildings, 20 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT)

 

·        Department of Energy and Climate Change if you’re angry about the numbers of disabled people living in fuel poverty while the energy companies rake in ever growing profits (3 Whitehall Pl, City of Westminster, SW1A 2AW)

 

·        Department for Transport to challenge inaccessible transport, the opening of new inaccessible stations for Crossrail and proposed cuts to rail staff further reducing customer assistance (Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Rd, London SW1P 4DR)

 

·        Department of Health to defend our NHS and demand our right to levels of social care support enabling choice, control, dignity and independence (Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS)

 

Lobby of Parliament: 5 – 6pm – launch of the UK Disabled People’s

Manifesto

 

WE WANT EVERYBODY TO JOIN US FOR THE FREEDOM DRIVE ideally in person, but also online-this is for everyone everywhere. There will be accessible transport from a variety of towns and cities throughout the country (details to follow) and there is some funding available for transport but we will need your co-operation and patience to make this work for everybody, so please bear with us and note that while DPAC members will be given priority we want to support as many people as we can. If you can’t get there send a photo or your name and you can march with us.

 

This week of action is yours. Please take part at whatever level suits you – BUT MAKE SURE YOU TAKE PART. Share our events, resources and actions as far and wide as you can.

 

 

 

Let’s Reclaim Our Futures, together!

 

 

DPAC web site: www.dpac.uk.net

 

DPAC facebook:

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/DPAC-Disabled-People-Against-Cuts/213545112011414?fref=ts(Open Community group- including allupdates from DPAC)

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DPAC2011/?fref=ts(original open groupDPAC page- faster paced and more opinion driven than community group )

 

DPAC Twitter: @Dis_PPL_Protest 

 

DPAC email: mail@dpac.uk.net

 

 

Remember if you need help with funding to get to London (4th Sept) email us at mail@dpac.uk.net with details. DPAC members will get first priority but we’re hoping to be able to contribute to all that want to come along. If you are unable to come but would like your picture carried send us a photo or message. Please get in touch with any other queries as well and we’ll try to help.

Download this as a PDF Doc: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Reclaiming-Our-Futures-call-out-long-w-logos-v2.pdf

 Download this as a Word Doc: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Reclaiming-Our-Futures-call-out-long-w-logos-v2-1.doc

 

 Reclaiming our Futures is supported by The Edge Fund, Andrew Wainwright Reform Trust, Network for Social Change, Black Triangle, Mental Health resistance network, Wow Petition, Fuel Poverty Action, Occupy London, TUC, UK UNCUT, Boycott Workfare, Right to Work, Just Fair, Unite Disabled Workers, BFAAWU, European Network on Independent Living, Anti-Bedroom Tax and Benefits Justice Federation, and more…..

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