DPAC in Disability Now article:”Cuts kill” drives protest agenda
December 2, 2010
It’s not every day a new protest group takes to the streets, but with disabled people feeling unfairly targeted and hardest hit by Government spending cuts, Eleanor Lisney tells us why it’s once more time for action
Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) has been formed to campaign against the onslaught of coalition Government cuts affecting disabled peoples’ right to live independently.
The co-founders of DPAC organised a leading role for disabled people in the mass rally against the June spending cuts which took place during the Conservative conference in Birmingham.
Our message to politicians is that “cuts kill” and we already know of disabled people who have committed suicide because they were so scared about losing their care and support packages.
There are three elements to our strategy, the first of which is taking to the streets in protest.
Although we staged a DPAC demo in Westminster which took place while the results of the spending review were being announced in Parliament, we feel that the campaign will be far more effective in the long-run if it’s waged in alliance with other grassroots organisations that are also campaigning against the cuts.
As well as joining protests in Birmingham during October and November, we joined a demo in Hyde Park organised by the campaigning network Mad Pride.
Our next big rally is the TUC rally in March 2011 and we are doing all we can to secure funding to cover the access needs of disabled people interested in joining us.
The second element of our strategy is encouraging disabled people to write to their MPs to urge them to support an Early Day Motion, 706, which draws attention to the social exclusion and poverty the spending cuts will exacerbate among disabled people.
We are also using Facebook and Twitter to engage disabled people and have also set up an online protest page for people unable to attend rallies.
It’s still too early to have any idea about how effective our campaign has been so far or what we will achieve and we are still reeling from the savage cuts announced in the spending review. But we are gaining support among disabled people in the UK, several European countries, the U.S. and Malaysia.
If we do not campaign we will be failing those disability activists who fought for the rights we now have and future generations of disabled people. To give up without a fight would be a betrayal.
• Eleanor Lisney is a co-founder of DPAC and was talking to Sunil Peck