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.

Morning

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

Afternoon

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

A People's ConventionPlease remember to register yourself at the RtW website!

* Disabled people –

at the forefront of resistance Sponsored by Disabled People Against the Cuts

Introductions and welcome:
Eleanor Lisney co founder of DPAC
Eleanor is a campaigner for disability  equality and
works on access and inclusion for disabled people.

About Disabled People against Cuts (DPAC):

Debbie Jolly co founder of DPAC

Debbie is a campaigner for independent living who has worked with universities and organisations ’of’ disabled people at local, national and European levels on disability rights

On the panel

Disability movement/history and what’s at stake with the Conservative led Coalition:

Richard Reiser coordinator for UK Disability History Month.

Richard is an expert disabled international equality trainer, consultant and teacher.
Independent living and the Impact on Independent Living:

Sue Bott Director of the National Centre for Independent Living.

A disabled person with a visual impairment from birth, Sue has been active in the disability movement in the UK for many years
Local Grass Roots Actions against the Cuts

Kevin Caulfield Chair of Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition Against Community Care Cuts (HAFCAC)

Kevin is an active campaigner for all disabled people’s rights to equality and equal citizenship from a social model perspective at a local, regional and national level

We will be in groups to decide on two action points to take forward to the end plenary on how we will fight the cuts and especially in preparation for the 26th March TUC rally.

The venue is Friends Meeting house near Euston Station. You need to book tickets from www.righttowork.org.uk £2 unwaged £5 waged to cover the costs of putting on the conference.

Access of venue – Friends Meeting House is accessible for wheelchair users. Accessible Parking can be found at Euston Station (£25 per day). Frequent buses stop at Euston station.

BSL We have requested for BSL interpreters. We are still looking very hard for BSL interpreters – please let us know asap if you are willing to help!

There is a hearing loop in the hall.

Easy Read worker will be available at workshop.

There is NO access to Screening of ‘Blacklisted’ and workshop hosted by the Blacklist Support Group

Lunch is NOT provided – there is a vegetarian cafe en site at the venue. Eateries and food available at Euston Station including Nandos, Harry Ramsden Fish and Chips, and Marks and Spencers.

For those unable to come, Jon Cheetham (of Bellerose Films) has kindly offered to help video it.

 

Liz Carr

Liz Carr

Disabled comedian and activist Liz Carr will be speaking at the People’s Convention with

Eyewitness from the Egyptian revolution

Diane Abbot MP

Tony Kearns CWU senior deputy General Secretary

Jane Loftus CWU President

Alan Whittaker, president of UCU

Pete Murray, president of NUJ

Jimmy Kelly, Head of UNITE in Ireland

Steve Hart, London and South East regional secretary of Unite

Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC)

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Katy Clark MP

John McDonnell MP

Barbara Pettine of FIOM (Italian metal Workers Federation)

Captain SKA, producer of the hugely popular ‘Liar Liar‘ YouTube hit

Alan Gibbons, children’s author and organiser of the ‘campaign for the book’

Barnaby Raine, School student activist

Mark Bergfeld from the Education Activists Network

Jody McIntyre, the student who was hauled from his wheelchair by the police during the student demo in December

Darren Johnson, Green Party London Assembly Member

Michael Chessum, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts

Kat Craig, vice chair Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Liz Carr

Liz Carr

Disabled comedian and activist Liz Carr will be speaking at the People’s Convention on February 12th.

We are also running a workshop in the afternoon ‘At the Forefront of Resistance’

We would like as many disabled people as possible to come to this to tell us what you think. It starts at 10.30- 5 pm but the afternoon workshop if anyone is unable to come for the whole day should start at 2pm. Please support us.

The venue is Friends Meeting house near Euston Station. You need to book tickets from www.righttowork.org.uk £2 unwaged £5 waged to cover the costs of putting on the conference.

March 26th TUC march and rally, London – meeting Victoria Embankment from 11 am. More details to follow regarding this but please come if you are able to and tell others about this very important date.

DPAC supporters who are able to go would like to carry with us placards and banners with the photographs of anyone who would like their views about  these savage attacks against us all represented.

Please could anyone who would like to be represented in this way send a photograph and if possible short statement to say what they think for attention of Linda Burnip c/o Melanie, Warwickshire and Coventry Council of Disabled People, Room 6, Koco Building, Unit 15, The Arches Industrial Estate, Spon End, Coventry, CV1 3JQ by the end of February

If you are unable to do this please email to mail@dpac.uk.net

DPAC members – Please remember to register yourselves (at the R2W website)  and to let us know if you have access requirements. It is imperative that you give us advance notice in order for us to be able to provide the support. The Friend’s Meeting House is wheelchair accessible. Email us at mail@dpac.uk.net to let us know about access requirements

A People's Conference

Saturday 12 February 2011
@ Friends Meeting House,
Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

This Con-Dem coalition aims to roll back the welfare state, slash our living standards, attack our pensions and to drive up unemployment. We need to respond with protests, direct action and strikes.

At the People’s Convention on Saturday 12 February we want to discuss how we can do just that. We also want to examine alternatives to austerity – where the rich and the corporations pay for a crisis they caused.

Speakers include:

Diane Abbot MP

Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary

Tony Kearns CWU senior deputy General Secretary

Jane Loftus CWU President

Alan Whittaker, president of UCU

Jimmy Kelly, Head of UNITE in Ireland

Steve Hart, London and South East regional secretary of Unite

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Andrej Hunko, Die Linke MP (Germany)

Katy Clark MP

John McDonnell MP

Representative of FIOM (Italian metal Workers Federation)

Captain SKA, producer of the hugely popular ‘Liar Liar‘ YouTube hit

Workshops include:

* Organising claimants against benefit cuts

* Disabled people – at the forefront of resistance Sponsored by Disabled People Against the Cuts

* Students – at the forefront of struggle Sponsored by National Campaign Against Cuts & Fees and Education Activists Network

* How trades councils can build resistance

* Organising a local anti-cuts campaign

* NHS in crisis Sponsored by Keep Our NHS Public

* Housing Emergency Sponsored by Defend Council Housing

* Can the unions stop the ConDems?

* One million climate jobs now

* Organising migrant and precarious workers

* Alternatives to Austerity

* Debate – How can councillors resist the cuts?

More information at the T2W website.