Personal New Year Message
John McArdle writes:
As always – it is with great difficulty that I begin to write this message. Difficult because of the unrelenting onslaught of attacks on disabled peoples’ welfare, human rights and dignity continue unabated under this jackboot of The Cabinet of Millionaires – and their so-called ‘Liberal Democrat’ collaborators.
A glass of Vichy, ice and a slice, old boy?
We have achieved much this year. We have unrelentingly exposed the lies and propaganda of the coalition in almost every are of welfare reform. Anybody who does not now recognize that fact must be in a coma of some kind. We have won the argument. Yet nothing changes.
We have exposed them in all media – except for the gutter Tory press – and even they seem to be falling down as hundreds of their readers post their disapproval of their lies and propaganda surrounding wefare ‘reform’ and make them face the facts we all know and see to be true all around us.
Everybody knows that the ConDems, and the “Independent” ‘Reviewer’ (or is it ‘Reviser’?) Professor Harrington are so shameless as to actually recommend that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy should be subject to continual Work Capability Assessments.
Everybody knows that disability benefits to children are to be slashed in half.
They all know what’s going on.
Nothing changes because we fail to appreciate that we are in the fight for our lives.
Nothing changes because we must realise that we are in a power struggle and that power concedes nothing without a demand.
The ‘heads of agreement’ deal agreed by Dave Prentis is an act of capitulation.
It is to the grassroots Union membership and all others who are being sold out that I wish to address this New Year message.
Do not, I beg you, wash your hands of the struggle and refuse to fight together with us!
Black Triangle has from the very outset sought to join forces with our allies in the Trade Union Movement (The STUC and the TUC) and has been active in national campaigns such as Right to Work and Coalition of Resistance and we have made common cause with many others across civil society.
We recognize the need for unity in the face of this onslaught against ordinary people- in other words anybody that is not rich. This includes the vast majority of people living in theUKtoday.
We know that our struggle to defend the human rights and dignity of disabled people is doomed without the unity we call upon you – the grassroots of the union movement to defend.
As someone said this year:
“The strength of a political movement is not measured by the force with which it rises up but rather by the unity with which it defends its members who are under sustained attack”.
We, Black Triangle with our sister organization Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and our solid allies from Inclusion Scotland and the Glasgow Disability Alliance among many, many, others marched together with you on March 26th in London and on J30 and N30.
Our support and solidarity with you has been constant, persistent and unwavering.
People with the entire range of impairments, for whom a trip to the local shops presents a formidable barrier, marched with you at the forefront of our joint campaign of resistance.
We have risen up with an almighty force in 2011.
But this is not the measure of who we are as a movement.
The true measure, as already stated, is the UNITY with which we draw together to defend our members who are under sustained attack.
Who are our members who are under attack?
They are, first and foremost, our disabled members.
Disabled workers who are your colleagues, friends and comrades in the workplace whose pensions and livelihood are in jeopardy – and those disabled workers who are unable to work.
Unable to work either as a direct result of their impairments or as a result of the blatant discrimination and barriers to work and full inclusion that Neoliberal politics and economics does absolutely nothing to dismantle and everything to erect.
Secondly – they are our children.
Not only our members’ disabled children who will see their benefits slashed in half and who face a bleak and uncertain future of poverty and hatred fostered by a Tory press that screams “SCROUNGER!” every time it prints the words ‘disability’ ‘asylum seeker’ or ‘unemployed’.
They include ONE MILLION young people denied a future and a hope by this criminal proxy government of high finance and the City.
Yet we have seen this all before in our recent modern past.
After the war we built the welfare state with the cry of “No return to the 1930’s”.
We must defend it now as never before.
And we should all do well to recognize what is happening and resolve to put a stop to it before more of us are killed. Not by gas this time – but by scapegoating which permits an environment of abuse and neglect of disabled people and abuse of ‘public sector workers’ with their ‘Gold-Plated Pensions’ to thrive.
The way forward for the Trade Union Movement and our Civil Resistance in 2011
On November 30th this year, marching for Black Triangle with well over 10,000 comrades from across the Trade Union Movement in Edinburgh, I was lucky enough to see Ron Bickerstaff, former General Secretary of Unison speak.
Please pause to watch his speech here: Will DAVE PRENTIS please take special note
My appeal to you is not to give up.
Do not go quietly into the dark night.
Lift up your light for all the world to see.
If I may be permitted to quote from Rabbi Hillel the Elder, someone who inspires me greatly, without being preachy:
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
And If I am only for myself, then who am I?
And if not NOW, WHEN?”
Please remember – as we prepare together for our next General Strike – we strike not just for our own narrow self-interest but for all humanity.
Especially ‘Humanity in Disability’
Solidarity and Unity with you all for 2012!
Never Give Up. Never Give In.
The night is always darkest before the light of dawn. Together we will bring light into the dawn of 2012!
WE CAN AND WE MUST WIN – BRING THIS GOVERNMENT DOWN!
31st December 2011
In Memory of Paul Reekie R.I.P.
Disclaimer: I have been asked to contribute this along with other members by our campaign media co-ordinator as an individual member of Black Triangle. My views do not necessarily reflect the official position of our campaign – but may approximate them quite strongly!