Save the Independent Living Fund protest: an activist’s report

On 24 June disability activists went to Parliament. Here one activist explains what happened.

The lobby of ILF on 24-06-15 turned into a demonstration. The ILA PA arrived at 0840, followed by the cab at 0845. This demonstration was no surprise, my revolutionary comrade Andy Greene briefed me beforehand. So we all filed into the central lobby, about thirty of us, all defiant. We got our green cards on which you note MPs down, sometimes they will see you. At a given signal we all hurtled down a corridor. At the end there was a door, directly behind which prime minister’s questions were occurring. We raced down the corridor following our inspirational leader followed by thirty police officers, who were determined to get our chairs out of there. We were shouting “save the ILF” and we just outside the main chamber where there was Prime Ministers Questions. We could not get in the main chamber but the police grabbed my chair and I put my brakes on and dug my heels in the floor. Nonetheless they shoved my chair into the main lobby where we shouted “save the ILF” but my PA was very determined, and was helping a disabled lady. The police dragged him out, so I had to leave with him, he was a foreign national so I was scared he would be deported. After this, disabled people went outside and blocked the road, they went outside Downing Street and protested, but I stayed with my PA.

Disability, oppression and resistance

This is based on the introduction to a discussion on the politics of disability given by Roderick C at a recent Waltham Forest Left Unity meeting.

Like blacks, women and LGBT people, disabled people are a group who routinely suffer discrimination and oppression in society. Although some argue that this is the inevitable result of the physical and mental impairments that we possess, or people’s basic prejudices about disabled people, this article argues that the systematic oppression of disabled people as we know it today has at its root how capitalism developed as a system.

In saying this, we should avoid idealising pre-capitalist society. Although there is undoubtedly some truth in the idea that in such societies, based on rural subsistence production and extended families, disabled members of the family would be cared for and even contribute to production, prejudice was rife in many societies. Martin Luther famously called disabled children “changelings” and argued they should be put to death, and in ancient Greece a child was not regarded as a child for seven days after birth, allowing disabled babies to be killed without moral stigma.

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Disabled People Against Cuts target Iain Duncan Smith

Roderick reports on a protest against Iain Duncan Smith in Chingford.

As part of Disabled People Against Cuts’ “Revenge Tour” targeting government ministers, around 30 activists held an action in Chingford on Saturday afternoon (25 April) targeting Iain Duncan Smith’s constituency office. They included Len Hockey of the Socialist Party who is standing as a TUSC candidate in IDS’ constituency, and a representative of the local Green Party. 

Protesters spent around an hour leafleting the area, getting overall quite a positive response from residents before marching to the constituency office and assembling there to hear speeches. They included a particularly angry speech from an Ipswich activist who stated that personal friends of his had died as a direct consequence of the Tory cuts IDS has been implementing. 

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Election 2015 – Put the candidates on the spot!

This is the leaflet we’ll be using at hustings and on the streets in the run-up to the election on 7 May.

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Leaflet – front & back
Leaflet – inside

Thanks to Fields of Light photography for allowing us to use their picture of our banner.

Emergency Meeting – Waltham Forest Disability Resource Centre

Please come to an Emergency General Meeting:
Disability Resource Centre Under Threat.

Wednesday 18th March, at 7pm.
At Waltham Forest Disability Resource Centre, 90 Crownfield Road, Leytonstone E15 2GB (entrance in Amethyst Road).

DRC is losing its Council funding at the end of March and is now in real danger of closing. We are calling on everyone who cares about the Centre – not just the disabled people who come here, but also family and friends who know how important the Centre is for their loved one – to come to our Emergency General Meeting next Wednesday, to:
• Get up-to-date information about possible closure of the Centre.
• Find out about our campaign to lobby the Council and win public support.
• Find out how family and friends can spread the word about our Campaign and help us attract donations/sponsorship from local people and businesses.
We really need your help.

Please come to our Extraordinary General Meeting on Wednesday 18th March. If you can’t come next Wednesday, but would like to help, please contact us on 020 8534 1589 or reception@wfdrc.org.uk.

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