Speech: Liz Carr for DPAC at the People’s Convention 12th Feb

February 18, 2011

Transcript with many heartfelt thanks to Liz for agreeing to speak for disabled people at the People’s Convention.

Thank you… I can only dream of being on the platform. One day… One day we’ll make it.

Disabled people make up 20 % of the population. That’s a conservative estimate. We are hidden impairments, we are visible, we are old, we are gay, we are lesbian, we are black, we are white, we are all sorts of people, that’s who we are.

But what we are not is… We are not victims. We are not scroungers or frauds. We are not vulnerable or work shy. We are not charity cases or burdens or ‘unsustainables’ or useless eaters.

We are fighters, survivors, leaders, comrades, brothers & sisters in arms, campaigners, citizens and equals.

This, like for many of us, is not a new struggle. Our history is littered with disabled people being scapegoated, demonaised, discriminated against and oppressed. It is also a history of disabled people fighting back against this.

From the League of the Blind who unionized in the 19th Century to fight for their rights, to the war veterans who marched on Whitehall for the jobs and respect they were due, to disabled people fighting to escape residential care in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s forming the Union of Physically Impaired Against Segregation, to those of us in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s who chained ourselves to buses to secure equality in public transport and in law… We have been here before.

However, we are faced with a horrific onslaught of attacks from all directions. The cuts that we’re all talking about today, we encounter those cuts too – whether it’s the increase in VAT, privatization of our basic services, of the NHS, of cuts effecting the public sector – we experience them too as disabled people but on top of that we’re having our benefits whipped from us, we’re being assessed by bastards at ATOS, people in care homes are having the mobility component of their DLA (Disability Living Allowance) removed, we’re being charged for the basic right to have a wee, our Independent Living Fund money that allows us to be independent within the community is being removed in 4 years time, Incapacity Benefit is being scrapped and replaced by the unforgiving ESA (Employment Support Allowance), on top of that there is hate crime, limits to housing benefit, Access to Work, to transport and if we want to challenge it, to Legal Aid too. That’s fucked as well.

Disabled people are living in fear. We are living in poverty. We are going to be living in the Dark Ages where they decide between the deserving and the undeserving poor.

But, we will not let this happen. Because through our history, what we have learnt is that the media, the policy makers and the Government will try to separate us into our different groups. They will try to weaken us. They will try and make us compete against each other for whatever crumbs are on offer, fighting amongst ourselves, individualizing this struggle, dividing us so that they may conquer and change the balance of society in favour of financial capital rather than social capital and equality. That’s what happening. We cannot afford to let this happen.

We are fighting for our lives, for our freedom, for our existence. That’s how important it is to disabled people and for everybody here today. It is about our basic liberty, our basic right to life. We will not be hidden away. We will not be hidden away behind close doors, out of sight out of mind, in our homes or institutions. We will not settle for charity rather than rights. We will not be forgotten. We will not be silenced.

We must mobilise and in doing so not forget those who cannot take to the streets in protest but who can through virtual protesting.

We must politicise. We must educate ourselves and others in what’s happening in our own and wider campaigns.

We have to radicalise. This is about revolution not reformation anymore.

We must unite. As disabled people, as disabled people and allies, as everyone – we must unite.

Together we are stronger.

Thank you.

5 Responses to “Speech: Liz Carr for DPAC at the People’s Convention 12th Feb”

  1. Diana Harrison Says:

    Well done and so excellently put! We are all in this together, YES.

  2. 'An inspired man' Says:

    I have been emailed the ”Speech: Liz Carr for DPAC …….” and have read through it all; am enlightened and pleased that Liz Carr is so passionate for mobilization againt the injustices of the peoples, who have been and will be marginalized to a greater or lesser degree, but who now face further discimination by a government elected in the so-called democracy; that’s another fight for justice. A stand against those polititions, who, it seems, have no social care or concerns, who are oblivious to the suffering they have never experienced at first hand: How many polititions would swap their privileged status to feel the suffering of the blind, disabled, unemployed, single mothers with children, whether dark or pale skinned and of british nationality, who are about to face cutbacks in services, entitled benefits and ever increasing costs of living? – A government is elected to serve the electorate; us, you and me, the odinary people, who xccount for the majority in this land. We all have to unite with a sense of community, if we do not the suffering is only going to increase: If we do nothing about all our sufferings, for the dispossessed society, who are too afraid or trapped with a morgage to make a stand, the governments of this land will continue to allow multi-national corporations, the rich and powerful plutocrats to exploit us and country: Our united voice must be heard, we stand together for a better tomorrow! – If we do not raise our united voice, what ‘society’ will our children inherit? – I’d rather not contemplate the vision, George Orwell was adrift by ten years and should had published ‘1994’ with another edition; ‘2024’. That’s not too far into the future.

    We must unite together and spread the word to all, acquaitances, colleagues, friends and family!

    Last but not least, Liz Carr should be and is an inspiration to us all!

  3. When I read Liz Carr’s speech I felt deeply moved and touched. As a disabled person I know all about the pain and trauma which all face on a daily basis and I know that with unity and support we can make it. I am trully inspired by Liz Carr’s speech, well done.

  4. Maame Oforiwaa Osei-Bonsu Says:

    Well done to Liz Carr for her inspirational speech.

  5. WearyWarrior Says:

    Our hardships could happen to anyone. Our liberty is eroded so far, few see. This speech is the truth & the truth must be shared. xxx

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