First report from Louise Whittle @HarpyMarx, many thanks for letting us repost.
I attended the DPAC first conference yesterday. Here are some pictures and video to give a flavour of the day. Workshops were held to discuss the priorities for DPAC work and this will be written up put on the website. My favourite demand was, “Get rid of capitalism” as it makes people ill. Too true!
There were speakers, I just about caught the end of Mike Higgins talk (I was late to conference). John McArdle’s (Black Triangle) talk I videoed. I enjoyed Mik Scarlet’s talk about the challenges ahead, lots of humour added and especially his anecdote about a certain presenter of a certain dance show parking his Rolls Royce in a disabled only space and claiming he had every right to park there as he’s a “star”…….
Finally, John McDonnell MP was the final speaker (I videoed his talk too). Overall, the day was about, for me, hearing about the experiences of disabled people being constantly demonised and vilified by this government and previously, NL. Individuals spoke about their terrible experiences at the hands of Atos and the dreaded assessments. As one speaker correctly said, “If you have a pulse you are fit for work as far as Atos is concerned”.
There were discussion about demands and the way forward. One area is dispelling the lies and myths circulated by the ConDems and Ed Miliband aided and abetted by a media who is only too happy print to reiterate the rubbish. Example, Panorama has a programme coming up about benefit scoungers.
John McDonnell is correct when he said we need to make alliances and work together in challenging and fighting against the lies about disabled people but also uniting with others makes up stronger.
Finally, I would like to say thanks and solidarity to committed activist Eleanor Lisney, who I first saw at a Women Against the Cuts at an International Women’s Day event, and met her in cyberspace via Twitter when I came across DPAC. She is standing down from DPAC National Steering Committee.
A protest group which occupied a government building said that disabled people were being labelled as “scroungers” during the cuts to public services.
The 16-strong group entered the public advice centre at an HM Revenue and Customs building in Glasgow and held up placards, shouting “No to the rich”.
Protesters gathered in George Square in the city centre before walking to the HMRC offices in Cochrane Street.
Peter Lockhart, 51, from Cowdenbeath in Fife, said:
“Disabled people are really suffering under this government. The disability allowance has been abolished.
“There are also all of these stories calling us scroungers. We are being used as scapegoats.
“The big corporations and the really wealthy are not paying their fair portion in taxes.
“They are putting their money in offshore accounts and tax havens. If the government went after them that would tackle the deficit.”
Mr Lockhart has been using a wheelchair since a car accident ten years ago. Around four people also stood outside the entrance to the building.
Protesters ended their occupation after around 40 minutes when police arrived and spoke with them.
John McArdle, from the Black Triangle anti-defamation campaign in defence of disability rights and who also joined the demonstration, said:
“Disabled people have been used as scapegoats in the mass media and labelled as workshy and scroungers. That is based on no empirical facts.
“We believe that these cuts are ideological. We reject the false narrative of there is no alternative.
“Disabled people are having their homecare cut, are being left without care to sit in their own excrement. They have fundamental human rights.”
Mr McArdle said the cuts breach the human rights of disabled people under the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“We are protesting about a £120bn tax gap owed by corporations and private individuals.
“Why should disabled people suffer for a crisis that was caused by systemic flaws in the financial system?”
More info at STV
This is an urgent call for ACTION in solidarity from the Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).
From tomorrow until Wednesday ATOS Origin ‘Healthcare’ Ltd. – the notorious organisation that is involved in disability denial as sub-contractors of the unjust “Work Capability Assessment” on behalf of the DWP will be having a stall at the Royal College of Nursing exhibition in Liverpool.
ATOS are about to re-assess 1.25 million sick and disabled citizens and this will result in hundreds of thousands of people being denied their incapacity benefits. 40% of appeals to Tribunal are accepted without representation, 70% among those who are represented.
We disabled people of Britain are staring into a precipice. We are about to fall into it. Many will not live to come through the other side of it as they will die of neglect and suicide. THIS IS NOT HYPERBOLE.
The grassroots disabled people’s protest movement in Liverpool has yet to take shape. For this reason we are appealing to you, and through you UK UNCUT Liverpool (following your magnificent direct action against BBC Merseyside) and all other people of goodwill who are active on Merseyside, to take direct action against these savages who are perpetrators of the most despicable and greatest injustices in Britain today.
Please contact us immediately for any further details and to let us know if you will help:
John McArdle Tel. 0777 831 6875