This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit disabilityarts.online.

Disability Arts Online

Why we need a NEW Disabled People's Resistance Movement / 16 May 2012

Disabled people being cut down

Disabled people being cut down

Zoom in to this image and read text description

Why we need a NEW 'Disabled People's Resistance Movement' by Bob Williams-Findley.

"We have campaign groups like Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and Black Triangle (BT), and I'm aware of the effort that is going into what disabled people are doing right now, but I believe we need to have a visible "resistance movement" which brings all the strands together in a 'Rock Against Racism' style approach.

"This doesn't need to be organised in the traditional Disabled People's Organisations style; our central drive has to be to gather support for disabled people in face of the savage attacks that are falling upon us.

"This 'movement' needs to be militant, visible, and extremely challenging - I agree with linking with UK Uncut and employing direct action methods to get our message across - we also need to use other media and alternative forms of protest too. Working with non-disabled people will be essential.

"Duncan Smith has demonstrated that the Government has a 'kill or exploit' policy which is creeping nearer and nearer to the Nazis' T4 programme. Our lives ARE at risk; it's no longer about being excluded or marginalised and offered inadequate services - the fact IDS used the word "fester" transforms the landscape - people with impairments are now viewed as "a sickness" - the same type of landscape the Nazis created for the Jews and other 'unacceptable groups'.

"No doubt he'll claim he used "fester" to mean 'left without support', but we know that this is bollocks because the Government like all of those before them maintain our social oppression. The mask has slipped, finally the ruling elite reveal their resentment and contempt for the "ABNORMAL, CRIPPLES and FREAKS" who have been burdensome due to the Welfare State. The knives are out; they ARE out to get us!

"We MUST mount a resistance, fighting cuts and oppressive policies, is not enough in relation to this ideological onslaught - it is a State run 'hate campaign' and more and more disabled people will die.

"I'm not going over the top or being alarmist, this is a measured political analysis of our current situation. Me simply putting out a "call to arms" will achieve nothing in itself; what is required is for disabled people, especially activists, to come together to shape our destiny - unless there is a genuine effort made to build a resistance movement, many of us will not have a future."

Bob Williams-Findley is well known within the disabled people's movement both as an academic and an activist. Please leave your responses to Bob's article within the comments section of this blog. Thankyou.

Keywords: benefit cuts,cartoons,cuts to services,direct action network (dan),disability history,disability pride,disabled people's movement,disabled people's protest,disabled peoples movement,disabled peoples protest,disabled vote,discrimination,empowerment,history of disabled people,identity,invisible disabled people,nazi party atrocities towards disabled people,participation,politics,the big society,useless eaters,user led organisations,young disabled people

Comments

Philhow

/
3 August 2012

and the one man that has my vote Paul Smith.

atos victims Group gets my vote.

Paul Smith (ATOS Victims Group) - via Crippen\'s cartoon blog

/
23 June 2012

I agree with the article, for too long people have been too polite, too nice, cosying up to Politicians etc.

I’m critisized for my stance on the Paralympic Games, I will NOT give it any support so long as Atos are involved, any person who supports the games is, as far as I’m concerned, not really aware of what’s happening or more likely too bloody nieve?

I have also found that many people are unwilling to work together, some groups are very clique, like the article states, unless we can get together and fight this government united we may not have a bloody future… Great article…

Anita Bellows - via Crippen\'s Cartoon blog

/
9 June 2012

This new movement if it get started, needs to get non disabled people on board. It is happening but not fast enough. Disabled people can organise themselves and they have been doing quite well until now but this is not enough. It is not a disabled issue, it is an everybody and cross-party/people issue.

Sian Healey - via Crippen\'s Cartoon blog

/
9 June 2012

The only supporters that the disabled have are those who care for them - not the paid HCA's but those who give up THEIR lives to help us exist in ours, my carer - otherwise known as my fiancee - and I will support and help in any way we can, we're in Teesside in the north-east of england, I'm still waiting to have an appeal for DLA (16 months and one adjournment later (because they didn't have a piece of paper they wanted - but hadn't bothered to apply for) and my tory MP has been extremely unhelpful) so travel is difficult but any on-line stuff we're happy to undertake if it helps to get this fixed (although i have to say, my hopes are not high that we'll get anywhere - we don't have the bbc and national newspapers in our pockets)

Rebecca Devitt via Crippen\'s WordPress blog

/
23 May 2012

I whole heartedly agree - disabled and supporters (are there any?) have to become far more militant. Many hard working activists are too polite. Sadly despite their extreme hard work, self sacrifice, research and intelligent writing, it just isn't having any impact. We are not just up against the ignorance/hatred of the general public, Government and the media but, horror of horrors, the charities who should represent and fight for those with disabilities. Attending a demonstration is very difficult for those with many kinds of disability, just getting to a venue a mental/physical and financial nightmare. The cuts are already reducing the ability of many to act independently. Indeed, the cuts have been a very effective way of neutralising a fight back by those with disabilities and their carers.

The imminent loss of DLA and change to PIP which thousands will not qualify for. The shocking speed with which all this has gone through means that far too many have been too slow to realise how serious it all is. No services, no benefits and no housing. Reduced to a terrifying existence without care, leaving many unable to eat, wash, get out of bed or to leave accommodation. How many will become terrified, starving, prisoners of one room. No wonder there have been suicides.

Personally, I am facing homelessness possibly within weeks. Son has double hemiplegia, movement disorder and partially paralyzed throat. Need access to kitchen to make his special food stuff up, but threatened with bed and breakfast, we just can't cope in b&b.

Frightened and angry in equal measure. For everyone needing care and support, we must fight and we must:

RESIST TO SURVIVE

Dave Lupton

/
23 May 2012

Thanks for the follow-up Bob. I'm encouraging all of my network to spread the word and hopefully they are all doing likewise. Let's keep the pot simmering, and as Bob says, look at what we have in about a months time. I think the problem before is that we lacked a leader. Someone with the experience and respect to make it work. I'm not sure if Bob is putting himself forward in this role, but if he is, I for one will be 100% behind him.

Bob Williams-Findlay

/
22 May 2012

Calling for a "new" Movement isn't that original and a number of discussions have taken place over the last decade but to no avail.

I'm not going to go into great detail here, however, what prompted my decision to put the wheels in motion was the savage nature of the Government and the feeble response from the disability charities and the DPOs who still arrogantly pretend to represent the "Movement" despite abandoning key aspects of disability politics many years ago.

Unlike the founders of UPIAS and BOCDP we haven't the need to begin from scatch, but there are nevertheless important lessons to be learnt if we are going to avoid making similar mistakes to those that preceed us. Time isn't on our side, our oppressors are already setting about us, therefore, there's a need for a realistic appraisal of what we can achive in the short to medium term without losing sight of the long term objective which is the emancipation of ALL disabled people.

Many of the barriers to disabled people's self-organisation are no different now to what they were in the 1970s, but it is equally true we have a history of struggle behind us, experience of solidarity and betrayal; disabled people with a myriad of skills and abilities to put to use.

One thing I'm known for is my plain speaking, so I don't intend to hoodwink anyone. I can't promise success nor am I sure that those who will be at the start of the journey will be there at the end. I've commitment to our struggle, but like so many of us I've an equal commitment to my family and we are facing personal hardship because of Government policies. I will do what I can and I don't believe we can expect anymore from anyone else.

Dave is right, disabled people are no different to our non disabled counterparts, our track record on 'unity in action' isn't great. However disablity politics is no different to mainstream politics in the sense that we don't all necessary share the same outlook, have the same values or represent the same interests. There will be differences, conflicts and fallings out, but the strength of any "Movement" is in its ability to conduct itself with openness and dignity.

We are in the early stages of developing a new social movement and just like UPIAS and BCODP our immediate priority is to consider the issues that unite us, but also the potential issues that might divide. I have suggested elsewhere that over the next four weeks people spread the word among disabled people and our allies as well as giving some consideration to possible core values for this new Movement.

richard downes

/
21 May 2012

just to report on the consequences of being perceived as putting it on. My mate K went for his WCA. The stress got to him and he had a major epileptic fit. He was out cold for two hours and the manager told the staff he was putting it on.

I was much amused by this and told K "brilliant, well done you". K didn't think it funny at all. but he's glad he got off and can now get back to his life. i should say i was not laughing at K but at the perversity of a system that does this to people, that maligns them, disbelieves them and leaves them to struggle and even risks death.

However before righting the wrongs of the system perhaps we need to right the wrongs that exist amongst ourselves. hence the idea behind Cuddle day which might need a better name. See it here: http://detrich.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/join-the-idea-behind-cuddle-day/

Merry Cross

/
19 May 2012

This suggestion is not only necessary, it's urgent. And we have to do it in the most unified way possible. What do you all think about wearing armbands with the black triangle symbol, with the triangle pointing upwards? 1. It symbolises solidarity between those of us with so called physical or sensory impairments and those with so called mental health impairments, since it was the latter who were forced to wear these by the Nazis. 2. It demonstrates the parallels between the two governments and their vicious actions and 3 it is a symbol that actually doesn't exclude anyone. 4. I understand that with the point upwards, it symbolises hope and that's what we all need to share with each other.

It seems to me that we need to be INFORMING the public, since they have been victims of MISinformation by the govt. I've been going out on the streets armed with leaflets (you could pm me or Linda Burnip for one) and just talking to people. It works! Anyone want to join me next Saturday doing this in Reading?!

Beverley

/
19 May 2012

Yes, we need to go national, hit local papers at the same time, contact carers centres to spread the word. We have to find a way to inform the numerous amount of people that haven't got a clue about what is going on. Maybe door to door campaigning, which would have to be done by people without mobility problems, unless of course they had a scooter.

Adam Lotun

/
19 May 2012

As has been mentioned already, a united disabled people's organisation/pressure movement is long overdue and something that has long been the dream of many, but for one reason or another has never quiet materialised.

There always seems to be a split between the recognised charities, dpo's and other groups and those of the more militant and direct action groups like DPAC and Black Triangle.

In my humble opinion, there needs to be a meeting of the minds of the heads of such groups, organisations etc, much like there has already been between DPAC & Black Triangle, so that a unified front can be presented by way of press releases and responses to stories etc that try to demonise the UK Disabled Community, but it is not just the activists groups that need to have this meeting of minds, there needs to be a movement from the staid ruts and those old bureaucratic dinosaur entrenchments of the usual suspects of charities, dpo's and groups that are the "recognised" vehicles of the UK Disabled Community.

I have long argued that the direct actions of activists groups have been understood by the 'usual suspect' but there has been a lack of show of open support by them for such actions.

We all know that the 'usual suspects' are all compromised by the acceptance of the "King's Shilling", but that does not mean that they have to stand by and allow such actions be taken against the UK Disabled Community as has happened over the past 2 years.

Maybe if they were no longer able to hide behind that 'Charitable Status' and admit that they were in effect fully functioning businesses with the sole purpose of turning over the highest profit margins, then maybe their true voices could be heard, rather than the silence and inaction for those that they purport to represent through their membership and ethos.

YES the time is right for such an organisation to become a reality and there are an number of people who would be prepared to stand and be part of such an organisation, however it needs to be started by someone, someone who is an academic and who holds respect within the establishments, then and only then can we begin to have a true voice of the UK Disabled Community, working for us all and not for the next round of possible funding or be looking to be involved in policy making so that they will be invited to tender for new contracts.

ENOUGH SELF-SERVING ATTITUDES AND A RETURN TO THE TRUE MEANING OF DPO's - THAT THEY ARE THERE TO REPRESENT AND WORK FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE GROUPS THAT THEY WERE SET UP TO REPRESENT IN THE FIRST INSTANCE...

I WOULD BE HAPPY TO BE PART OF THIS ORGANISATION AND WOULD BE WILLING TO BE WORKING AT THE FOREFRONT TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

Adam Lotun.

Arty Farty

/
18 May 2012

So Bob. Are you up for organising something national? I know a lot of us will be up for it. We just need someone to focus it all for us. :-)

Adrianne

/
17 May 2012

I agree that we have to be organised and upfront. The Tories have made no secret that they are in favour of attacking easy targets. We have to make them know that we are NOT an easy target anymore.

Colin [ED]

/
16 May 2012

We are at the thin end of the wedge. There is an ever growing and ever alarming insistence from the media especially, that living with an impairment or an illness is just 'putting it on'. The stories about the injustice that is happening are not aired in the media.

jane lauppen

/
16 May 2012

I would agree with all written before hand.The term disabled for me means family and friends and people I may not even know who have an illness,a congenital disability.Anything in fact that necessitates a safety net in order to survive and have quality of life worth living.

Team work with this ethos is needed for it to work.Acceptance of any kind of "defect"mental or physical long or short term as being the identifying and significant factor which enables a massive movement to identify with each other as having a common purpose and needs even though these will all vary immensely.No comparing degrees of incapacity which is understandably a trap people in distress can easily fall into but this can then cause the in fighting unfortunately.

The uniting theme may be that our families,friends and people we may or may not know have a condition which requires a support system.

Possibly a deep understanding of how each individual's suffering is unique and no amount of comparison can contradict that statement.None of us can experience another's situation,even those who have the same illness will not have the same feelings and experiences about it.

I am stressing this because I consider that if this was a theme acceptable to all it would allow a monumental freeing up of mental energies to focus on a new movement united for all the sick,ill, dying and dsabled.All are human beings who need help.

Lynn Harrison

/
16 May 2012

I agree with Dave, Bob, Dolly and Richard. Mental health survivors are actually becoming increasingly 'ill'. In the Mental Health and the Wider Disability Movement Group, which has over 100 members and has both a campaigning, information sharing and support focus, we have seen people being driven to desperation and suicide on an almost daily basis. This has mainly been as a consequence of the welfare reforms as people are increasingly finding themselves with all of the benefits they depend on stopped after an Atos assessment, with no explanation of how to appeal, how long this will take, how they will survive in the meantime, waiting for forms to reapply for benefits, having to apply for crisis loans (typically people receiving these are being pressurised to 'get their benefits sorted out' by other DWP workers and are only being offered around £18 or even less to survive on for an indefinite period). Also, people are finding that support they had received from mental health services is being changed, withdrawn, made difficult to get and is often unhelpful. Plus, with many advocacy groups having disappeared, or being restricted in terms of who they can support and the kind of issues they can support with. It's no wonder so many are reaching crisis point but then if this is out of hours, there is often no one to turn to other than online friends who may be many miles away.

I am thankful that we haven't lost a member yet but it has come very close on a number of occasions.

People with mental health diagnoses are not mad but many of us with long term and sometimes acute conditions are bloody angry!

L Ni

/
16 May 2012

About time! I want to do more than shout at the TV or getting angry when reading a paper. I no longer want to feel people judging me in the supermarket, when they have never met me. MP no use. Get a clear message that the public can understand, but don't spend years thinking about it! Time the tide was turned.

Dave Lupton

/
16 May 2012

The idea of a movement of disabled people, coming together to fight against the present government and its determination to eradicate disabled people from society is a fantastic idea.

However, disabled people working together under a common cause does not have a good track record. It was only a short while ago that a group calling itself Disability Pride tried to get itself off the ground through Facebook. Unfortunately some of the people who joined had very different understandings of disability and were not prepared to accept any other view but their own. Some of the exchanges that took place were extremely discriminatory, despite all participants being disabled people. Some people with other agendas also stuck their penny-worth in and the group soon became fragmented and I believe closed down.

Another example is the recent resignation from the board of the UK Council of Disabled People by several high profile disabled people. Their reasons for resigning are no doubt justified, but this is just another example of disabled people being unable to work together.

Until we all stop fighting our own corners, and start to accept our differences and work together as disabled people then I don't see how we can present a strong enough front to challenge the Tories and their program effectively.

Sue

/
16 May 2012

I agree totally, I've been saying all along it is a hate campaign, driven by government soundbites to the media.

We need to join together and indeed become far more proactive. It is the only way to get our voices heard and changes made to the welfare reforms, the other choice is to give in and die.

richard downes

/
16 May 2012

i agree that its not enough to be anti policy and anti cuts. We need to be clear what we are for. Until this is agreed there will be nothing to unite over, nothing to fight for. I know that Bob has discussed this previously. I wonder if there has been any agreement.

Dolly Sen

/
16 May 2012

I agree with you Dave, you are not alarmist, anyone who understands disability historically, especially under the nazi regime can see sickening parallels. I am all for alternative approaches to what's available currently, something I can really get my teeth into, something with a bit more imagination and spirit. Thank you for this piece.