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.

DPAC Workshop

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.

Debbie Jolly

4 Responses to “Disabled People at the Peoples’ Coalition 12th February Summary”

  1. magmags3 Says:

    Hello there, sorry I could not attend on Saturday. Work done looks great, and I am so pleased so many attended. I will be going on the 26th March with my family, so look forward to it!

  2. Debbie Jolly Says:

    Hi thats great -look forward to meeting you. For those that cannot get to the 26th March we are asking you to send photos so that your anger can be represented-send to mail@dpac.uk.net
    messages can also be posted on the virtual protest page here

  3. magmags3 Says:

    Anyone interested, Check out the Guardian today – there is a woman with MS talking very movingly about what the end od DLA wld mean for her.

  4. posted on the Right to Work website -by Penny Beschizza

    It was good for me and my Deaf colleague, Pauline Latchem, to be with you for part of the afternoon.
    Sorry we missed the very last part due to the filming; we actually did made good use of the rest of the afternoon discussing promotion of the March towards the Deaf Community.

    We still do assert the need for reasonable ‘inclusive’ thinking by unions of having BSL support funded & booked when the event was organised.
    Many Deaf people we met later on the same day (at a Deaf playwrights’ event in the West End) asked us about the People’s Convention – interest is high within the Deaf Community.

    Us Deaf people have reason to be fed up being the ‘last to know’ or ‘last to participate’ due to ongoing marginalisation of us – we are a lingusitic minority still disabled by ‘mainstream thinking’ who think “access is the only answer”, ignoring the realistic and achievable cost-effective means of parallel ways of both access AND inclusive employment of trained bright Deaf people WITHIN organisations.
    That “parallel concept” applies to all of us at the convention. We were impressed at the broad spectrum of disablity strands represented at the convention – brilliant.

    Finally – could captions be inserted in the videos above, or a link below each video with a transcript of what each speaker said, please? It would help us to promote DPAC more.

    Thanks for organising the day and agreeing to get BSL at the last minute.

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