This morning we witnessed some impassioned debate on the DWP/AtoS Work Capability Assessment by MPs in Westminster Hall.
Labour, MPs John McDonnell and Anne Begg spoke with verve and conviction. It was taken as read that there is a very real crisis ongoing and the many deaths and suicides that have already occurred were remembered and spoken of with considerable anger. We may be breaking through.
John praised the work of Black Triangle and our sister organisation Disabled People Against Cuts and demanded a full investigation into the police assault on DPAC member and protester Patrick Lynch at last Friday’s occupation of the DWP at Our Atos Games Closing Ceremony Day of Action.
Thank you once again John for your steadfast solidarity with our movement for justice and respect for our human rights as disabled people. You embody the soul and conscience of the real labour movement within your party. It is high time your star rose within the party.
We are also moved by the passion and conviction with which Anne Begg spoke.
Perhaps if you were Shadow DWP, Anne, disabled people might have at least a little confidence that the opposition at Westminster was at last moving in the right direction.
That cannot be said at present.
Where were the Labour front bench statements? Is Ed even back from his holidays in Greece yet? Has he met with Sonia Poulton?
We also wish to congratulate and send warm wishes of solidarity to the disabled people in the public gallery who, in defiance of the rule of silence from the public galleries, spoke out forcefully with cries of “shame on you” to that despicable pathological liar and industrial psychopath, Chris Grayling.
When people are dying and being persecuted and injustice becomes law; rebellion is indeed a duty. These are not days in which to abide by the niceties of parliamentary protocol. Silence equals death.
So what has been achieved? What has changed subsequent to today’s debate?
Absolutely nothing of substance, for now.
However, we may be increasing our influence and support among the Labour grassroots and among members of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
The fact that John McDonnell’s EDM on AtoS now has 103 signatories is very encouraging.
These members must now unite to lobby the leadership for a complete change in Party policy in line with us and the BMA.
If your local MP is on that list it would be worth sending them an email requesting that they do this to keep pressure and momentum building up to the point that it becomes irresistible to the Party’s leadership. The time has come for a sea-change in policy. They know it’s right and they must insist upon it. They have an urgent job to do.
For now, it appears that we still have a very long way to go before the Labour Party can be reconciled with, and considered a true friend of, disabled people.
But people, take heart!
The fact that this debate took place at all is a testament to all your hard work as grassroots disabled people in consistently raising all the issues and your persistence and dogged determination in denouncing this evil and iniquitous system until we have been finally been heard. Tom Greatrex stated as much in the debating chamber.
This debate was not prompted by charities who purport to speak for us and act in our best interests all the while allowing themselves to be co-opted by our mortal enemies and thus been hopelessly compromised and discredited almost beyond redemption.
We have always known that the only thing that will change our future is our continued and ongoing work of agitation, education and organisation in uniting civil society behind us.
We have never expected Labour, or any other organisation or body, to come to our rescue on a white horse. We are not gullible and we are savvy enough to recognise that we are the cavalry.
We have known from the beginning that it is imperative that join together to save our ourselves and work together with others who share our ethical stance and our political and humanitarian objectives.
From the very inception of our respective campaigns, DPAC and Black Triangle have seen ourselves as part of the wider anti-cuts, anti-austerity movement in our country.
We have sought and continue to seek out and build out alliances with the professions, trade unions, faith communities and individuals across the entire swathe of our civil society.
We have now established strong bonds of solidarity with all who are under attack.
In this lies our power and strength.
It is a power that has yet to be revealed in all its might, but revealed it will be.
We will never submit to these injustices.
We are the authentic disabled people’s resistance movement and we will carry on building and consolidating our alliances until a virtual ring of steel surrounds sick and/or disabled people.
When we say “You Shall Not Pass!” to this criminal government we are not engaging in mere empty sloganeering.
In the days and months to come we are going to escalate our acts of peaceful resistance and consolidate our collective non-cooperation with the implementation of policies and systems which breach our fundamental human rights as disabled people.
If the ConDems think they hold all the cards, but they have another thing coming.
We have shown some of what we can do already.
We have shown we are able to fight back – and fight back hard at that.
In us, the ConDems have met their match. We are their nemesis. Their Achillies Heel.
The days we live in are dark but our dawn will arrive; may that day come soon.
So Cameron, Osborne, IDS and Grayling:
Go ahead and do your worst: OUR BEST IS YET TO COME!
SOLIDARITY and VICTORY to the ANTI-CUTS MOVEMENT!