Aug 132013
 

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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: https://dpac.uk.net/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: https://dpac.uk.net/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: https://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Reclaiming-Our-Futures-call-out-long-w-logos-v2.pdf

 Download this as a Word Doc: https://dpac.uk.net/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…..

 rof8

Mar 272013
 

Action for Rail – date for your diary and call out for your stories

On Wednesday 24th April the TUC, Disabled People Against Cuts and Transport for All will be holding a lobby of Parliament from 1.30 – 3.30pm followed by a speak out action at King’s Cross station from 4pm to highlight the impact of railway staff cuts on disabled people. The McNulty Review could lead to over 20,000 job losses including rail guards and staff in ticket offices and on station platforms. The lobby and action will give disabled people the chance to speak out about the importance of customer assistance and rail staff for making rail travel accessible, bringing us together with rail staff who want to be able to give good quality assistance but who are held back by cutbacks and restrictions.

We also need your stories and examples of how staff cutbacks will affect you. Please email mail@dpac.uk.net.

If you will be attending the lobby and have access needs please let us know at mail@dpac.uk.net

 

Dec 172011
 

URGENT: Less than ‎48 hours to stop betrayal of the united pensions struggle and fight for our welfare state

On Thursday, 15th December, the TUC’s Public Sector Liaison Group (PSLG) met for the first time since the 30th November public sector strike which DPAC and many of our disabled supporters took part in. Some of us are personally affected by the  disgraceful public sector pensions changes which the coalition government are trying to railroad through. Others quite rightly see this as the only legitimate action trade unions can take to try to defend our welfare state and much needed public services from the Condems.

Reports from some of those attending this meeting, say  Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the TUC, argued that all of the trade unions should sign up to the government’s latest ‘heads of agreement’ on pensions.  This would then allow Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude to announce before Christmas that the dispute has been settled. This was met with outrage by most of the public sector trade unions present.

Not one of the central demands of public sector workers has been met.  All public sector workers are still being told to work longer, pay more and get less.  The teaching unions NUT and NASUWT reported that they had been offered no serious concessions by the government, as did the civil servants’ union PCS, the Fire Brigades Union and representatives of workers in the NHS.

In local government the only concession is to delay the attacks on pensions until 2014, provided that local government unions promise to accept this without a fight when it comes in. Apparently Dave Prentis – General Secretary of Unison – the biggest union in health and local government –  is allegedly arguing for accepting this sell out.  Speaking as a UNISON retired member and in a personal capacity I find this disgraceful.

Now the TUC has recalled the PSLG for 3pm on Monday, 19th December to try and force through acceptance of the Government’s plans. Trade union groups, have called a lobby of this  next TUC meeting from  2 pm at Congress House.

Online petitions have been set up  http://bit.ly/uTV8cR (Socialist party petition) and http://righttowork.org.uk/2011/12/dont-give-up-the-pensions-fight-sign-this-statement/ (Right to Work petition)

Please let anyone who lives in or near London know about this lobby and the on-line petitions.

Aug 052011
 

Disabled lead Protestors at March in Birmingham Oct3

Disabled lead Protestors at March in Birmingham Oct3 2010

DPAC demands the right for disabled people to protest and march with Right to Work as we did last year! Please download, use and return the filled petition

In a deja vu moment the West Midlands police and the home office have again denied people the right to march in Birmingham – this time past the Lib Dem Party conference on Sunday 18th September.

In 2010 the Tories and the West Midlands police prevented Right to Work’s march going past the Tory party conference in the city. Right to Work again initiated this years march but the TUC will act as event organiser and build on the ‘March for the Alternative‘ theme.

Paul Brandon National Secretary of Right to Work said, ” I sat in the meeting with the TUC and was dumbstruck on hearing the news. I can only echo the view in the meeting of the TUC that this represents an outrageous decision. This is a direct attack on the right to protest in a so called free and democratic society. There now needs to be a massive demonstration in Birmingham on the 18th September to reassert working peoples hard won freedoms as we face attacks on pensions, savage cuts to public services and an attack on the NHS to pay for a financial crisis we didn’t create. There is still time for the police and the home office to rethink their decision, and I urge them to do so. ‘

Linda Burnip, of Disabled People Against Cuts, said: “These are our elected politicians and they are accountable to us as voters. It is unacceptable that they can be hidden away from us in this way.”

As in 2010 marchers will be denied access to the part of Broad Street in Birmingham city centre which goes past the conference centre. Police will seal off the area round the conference with fixed barriers

We are asking everybody to sign the following statement:

“For the second year West Midlands Police have confirmed their intention to bar protesters from marching past a major political conference in Birmingham . The police are erecting a “Ring of steel” around the International Convention Centre during the Liberal Democrat Party conference. In 2010 the Con-Dem council and West Midlands police prevented the 7,000 strong Right to Work’s march going past the Tory party conference.

The TUC, which represents millions of trade union members, is now organising the protest, initiated by the Right to Work Campaign, at the Lib-Dem conference on 18 September. On 26th March the TUC organised a peaceful demonstration of over 500,000 through Central London .

West Midlands Police claim restrictions on the right to protest are about the security of conference delegates. Yet no such restrictions are being placed on the similar demonstration Right to Work has initiated and the TUC are now organising at the Tory Party conference in Manchester .
We feel the actions of West Midlands police are a violation of our right to protest peacefully against government policies. Peaceful protest has a central place in any democratic society and people have taken their opposition to government actions to their conferences for decades. The decision of the West Midlands Police takes that right away.

We are concerned that West Midlands Police is attempting to make political decisions about how visible protests against the cuts can be.

We believe that West Midlands Police should permit the demonstrators to march past the Liberal Democrats conference on Sunday 18th September.”

We will be putting the statement on our website asap so that people can sign up.  You can download the attached petition to use in your workplace, college, etc. You can also email mail@dpac.uk.net directly to get your name, organisation, etc added.

Please download, use and return the filled petition to:

West Midlands Right To Work, C/O CWU Office, 46-48 Summer Lane, Birmingham, B19 3TH

Thank you for your support.

Mar 012011
 

It is over twenty years since a group of disabled trade unionist activists met on the outskirts of Walsall in the West Midlands to establish the Trade Union Disability Alliance. As I recall there were five or six unions represented among the delegates; all of whom had been busily working away in their own union branches and disability committees to either put ‘disability equality’ on the agenda or to encourage their unions to work from a social model perspective. TUDA therefore was set up to support disabled people in the workplace and union activists to spread the message through the trade union movement.

It was through the work of TUDA members in MSF and Unison that the TUC passed at its Congress at motion for comprehesive anti-discrimination legislation for disabled people. At the same time they pestered their own union leadership to put pressure on the TUC to set up a Disability Forum and have an annual conference for disabled trade unionists. This was a uphill struggle; whilst not hostile to disabled people, few in the TUC leadership had any understanding of the issues facing people who were a small minority in the workforce and an even smaller number inside the unions.

At lot of water has flown under the bridge since then, most unions now have disability committees and the TUC has finally entrusted disabled people to run their own forum. Nevertheless many disabled people still see the trade union movement as rather paternalistic in its approach to disability equality – often more charity model than social model. It is the same with the TUC which has often been compared to an oil tanker – very slow to turn! The decline of the Disabled People’s Movement had an impact upon TUDA’s membership and their influence in the unions and the TUC.

Turning directionIt was against this backdrop that DPAC feared the worse when little or information was coming out about the access needs of disabled people wanting to attend the TUC 26th March march. Then we were informed coaches were being parked up on the outskirts of London and trains were already being pre-booked. A letter was send by DPAC voicing our concerns to the TUC’s General Secretary and contact was made with others inside the TUC in an attempt to seek clarification. After banging away at the need to include disabled people, DPAC were in contact with an equality officer, then one of the organisers of the March; finally, we were told that the Chair of the TUC’s Disability Forum was making his members’ views known. Slowly, the information DPAC was seeking was released upon a TUC, however we remained concerned about the lack of “inclusivity” with regards to aspects of the organising and said so.

Many of us who have experience of organisations know how defensive they can become if they feel unduly criticised or fail to understand why people remain unhappy with what they are doing. For awhile some within the TUC felt disabled people were complaining just for the sake of it or had not considered how complex a task it is organising such a large event. DPAC from the outset sought to assist rather than simply carp; we want the 26th to be a success and to ensure disabled people can have their voices added to those who will be out of the streets that day. Fortunately, one of the co-founders of DPAC has managed to open up a dialogue with the Chair of the TUC’s Disability Forum which has helped to put things into perspective

After years of campaigning I know change rarely takes place over night and many large insitutions need a great deal of support and encourage in order to “do the right thing”. Living day after day with the impact of social oppression isn’t easy either. Many activists get bruised and brittle, suspecting the worst rather than expecting progress. I believe the last few weeks has asked many questions of both disabled and non-disabled people involved in resisting the cuts. Perhaps if we can learn the lessons from our experiences this will strengthen our ability to take on the real enemy – the Coalition Government!

–Bob Williams-Findlay

Feb 232011
 

This is first published on the Beyond Clicktivism blog by Tim Hardy
protest posterDisabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) are going to take part in the TUC march for the alternative in protest against government cuts. The demonstration is taking place on 26 March 2011 in London.

“Disabled people are facing continuing attacks against their lives, living standards and basic human rights to live independently from almost every conceivable quarter and it is time for us to fight back against these cuts,” they explain.

“These savage spending cuts damage not only our lives, but our public services, and threaten economic recovery. They’re dangerous, unfair and unnecessary.

Disabled people are going to march to tell the government we demand ‘Rights not Charity’ and to show we are not easy victims of their cuts even though they may think we are.”

Follow plans for the day via the facebook event page or via twitter.

Latentexistence has written powerfully of the ways in which people can campaign online. For those who physically cannot make the protest in spite of the TUC access and disability arrangements but would like to make their presence felt, DPAC and Beyond Clicktivism are working together to bring you a way of doing so. Let’s light up a map of the UK online in solidarity with the protesters on 26 March and show our elected representatives quite how many people oppose their unnecessary, ideological reforms.

More details will be announced over the next two weeks so follow either or both sites to keep up to date. Volunteers interested in helping with coding and setting up a website are very welcome. Please get in touch with either myself or DPAC to offer your assistance.

Feb 192011
 

protest poster

To Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) believe it is imperative that disabled and older people are afforded the opportunity to support the TUC ‘March for the Alternative’ demonstration on 26 March in central London. At the latest count it was found that disabled people were facing fourteen separate attacks against our lives and living standards as a result of the Coalition government’s policies. What we are witnessing is our human rights, supposedly guaranteed under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, being violated by regressive and draconian cuts to benefit and care funding. Increasing numbers of disabled people are being driven to contemplate suicide; with others actually going the whole way. Members of our community are living in daily terror that they will become further scapegoated, demonised and subjected to hate crime violence.

Against this backdrop DPAC demand the right to be fully included in this march and rally as our non-disabled peers would take for granted. As it currently stand the initial planning for the March is creating unnecessary disabling barriers which will both exclude and marginalise disabled people’s ability to participate. So far however the TUC have not responded to any requests from us for support for accessible transport to attend the march and now we have been told that the TUC have agreed (for anyone who can access coaches) that the coach dropping off point will be at Wembley or some other outlying part of London.

As I am sure you are aware the London underground system is one of the least accessible in the world, only one wheelchair is allowed on each bus at any one time, and disabled people cannot afford to pay extra travel costs from an outlying suburb to reach the centre of London. To agree to this as a dropping off point will therefore exclude us from exercising our right to protest.

It is possible to park in central London without bringing London to a grinding halt. When 2 million marched against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, coaches were parked all around Hyde Park and there were no major problems with people arriving or departing from this historic demonstration. Further we are certain that there must be at least 500 or more tourist coaches entering London on any day which does not seem to cause any traffic problems at all.

We have also asked TUC to organise with the police for us to have a static protest in central London for those unable to march but so far have had no response regarding this. We were able to do this very successfully with forward planning at the Tory Party conference protest in Birmingham.

Further we would wish to be kept updated with details of where the march will be going so that we can check its accessibility for our members with a range of impairments.

Both disabled Trade Unionists and other disabled people who attended The People’s Convention last Saturday asked conference to support a motion that the TUC march would be fully inclusive to all disabled people and that all of the required reasonable adjustments would be put in place by yourselves to fully include all of us.

We are willing to work with you to ensure that our full inclusion can be achieved and to assist you in any way practicable. We look forward to your response which we will pass onto disabled people.

We are still waiting for a response!

Feb 092011
 

Yesterday I attended an event, ‘Future for Civil Society’ where voluntary sector and trade union speakers warned that the Conservative lead government funding cuts delivered under the heading of the “Big Society” are helping to undermine charitable organisations in the country.

Around 150 representatives from charities and unions were there and at this TUC-organised event in London, with speakers unconvinced that the Big Society is anything other than a farce.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the conference was part of ongoing efforts to build “the widest possible coalition” against the cuts, involving unions, charities, community groups and faith organisations.

He called on people from across Britain to join a “march for the alternative” in London on March 26 “to send a clear message to ministers that they must find another way.”

The event is focused on service providers and third sector organisations with TUC, DPAC, as representative for service users, does not seem to quite fit into the flow of the discussions.

The term ‘ the most vulnerable’ and protecting ‘the most vulnerable’ was touted quite a bit and the question of volunteering – it is not a free resource and needs much support. Cuts in short term may be more expensive in the long run.

A report of the event and feedback from the workshops would be available from the organisers later.

More info about the event at the TUC website