Disabled People at the Peoples’ Coalition 12th February Summary
February 13, 2011
Organised by Disabled People against Cuts (DPAC), Right to Work, Labour Representation Committee
Over 800 people came together on Saturday 12th in London to talk about the cuts and the way forward for the TUC march on the 26th March. Disabled people were there and the stage sported a big DPAC banner in the middle. The day was videoed and the DPAC workshop was also videoed. The report of the day overall will be elsewhere. Here we look at the great turnout by disabled people and celebrate the central place we had in this day.
The morning open floor brought great comments from some disabled participants, including, Richard Rieser, Adrian Whyatt and Sasha Callaghan on the effect of the cuts for disabled people, including the human rights abuses and the closure of poverty pimps ATOS offices across Scotland on the national day of protest against cuts.
The DPAC workshop was held in the afternoon. It was great to see so many people at this with 50 or 60 people, some attendees from as far as Scotland. Speakers on the panel were Richard Rieser, Debbie Jolly, Sue Bott and Kevin Caulfield. The workshop was chaired by Eleanor Lisney. There were many comments and questions at the workshop, these included:
We are being sent back to Victorian times: we should all be involved in local anti-cuts groups, emulate DAN protests, disabled people need to be at front of things and be united
We are incensed by the coverage in newspapers against disabled people
Need to make sure we include Deaf people and those with invisible disabilities, but not impairment based- we cannot go back to arguing about impairments- we must all fight together, must be inclusive
Mental health resistance network couldn’t all get to London today but want to support and be included: facing difficult times being given ‘talking treatment’ but they (the government) concentrate on getting us ‘well’, but they just want to get us into work
Participant remembers Richard speaking at European Social Forum; there are many more people here and comments that Sasha did a brilliant job when speaking this morning about ATOS
We need to come together and find common ground, not just disabled people but across the board. We all need to fully support the campaign and get the trade unions behind this too
There are not many disabled millionaires and certainly none at the convention. This is an attack on working class people. We need to get joint campaigns with all anti-cuts campaigns. Disabled people need to link up, need to unite: Every single local group should make contacts with disability groups in the area
We need to stop people from the Charity sector taking over: Rights not Charity
Issues were raised with the dropping off of people from buses at Wembly for the 26th March TUC London march. Right to Work have sent a statement to Brendan Barber not to drop in Wembley because of access issues and cost of getting to central London for the march. Disabled people need to email too.
John McArdle of Black triangle reminded us of the story of Paul Reekie.
It was noted that sometimes people aren’t getting messages re demos and protests, but also that the police always seem to know where we are going to be.
It was suggested that a boycott of newspapers following the government line and producing rhetoric on disabled people as scroungers are boycotted including the Scottish Mail, Daily Mail and others.
A video of the workshop will be available soon
The afternoon was made up of invited speakers, feedback from the workshops and debate. The highlight of the afternoon was Liz Carr’s speech which received a standing ovation from the audience.
A full list of actions proposed by Disabled People against Cuts and accepted by the Peoples’ Convention
- The protest on 26th March needs to be fully accessible with disabled people involved in the planning. There needs to be representation of disabled people with and without visible impairments on the platform.
- We propose a day of national demonstrations against ATOS.
- We propose a month of action over the month of July to coincide with the second anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention.
- We propose that every local anti-cuts movement has an autonomous disabled people’s sub group.
We propose support for UKDPC’s day of disabled people’s protest proposed for 11th May.(to be confirmed)
We propose that we speak to our colleagues at Unison about how the cuts are being implemented.