Tag Archives: paralympics

More Spent on Bombs and War than Disability Benefits: The True Legacy of the Paralympic Games

Given that it is simply common fucking sense, it should go without saying that in any society a certain number of people will be disabled and some will be unwell.

Some people will be so unwell they are unable to work at all whilst others will be hugely disadvantaged in the employment market.  The same applies to disabled people.  No matter how much fake healing takes place in Atos assessment offices, no amount of DWP miracles are going to facilitate wheelchair users working as scaffolders or people with visual impairments driving buses.

Wheelchairs cost money, as do carers, specialised transport, and other equipment – all of which is vital for disabled people to be able to function in society, whether in work or not.

This leaves society with a decision to make.  We can either spend that money, or let disabled people, or those who are unwell, die of hunger, neglect or suicide.  Since most of us are likely to experience disability or severe ill health at some point in our all too terminal lives, then it is perhaps in our own self interest that we spend the money.

The only exception to this is the very rich who have the resources to support themselves should they become unable to work due to illness or disability.  This represents a tiny percentage of the population, probably less than 5%.  Unfortunately these bastards are in charge.

Luckily there are lots more of us than them.  Something they are all too aware of no matter how much they pretend otherwise.  The rich have been murdered in their beds more than once in history after all.

This leaves an uneasy stalemate in the class war, which in the UK is known as the Welfare State.

The Welfare State is good value for almost all of us, but it is bad news for the rich.  The rich get most of their money from the work we do.  The less they pay us, the more money for them.  Therefore the rich need to increase the social and economic penalties for people who are unemployed, disabled or unwell.  This will increase competition for jobs, which means they can pay us less.  As well as this, the creation of a huge market in health, disability or income protection insurance is good news for the rich.  The main reason the rich object to the Welfare State is that they see it as an obstacle to making even more money out of us.

It is therefore in the interests of the rich to dismantle and privatise as much of the Welfare State as possible, and that is what is taking place now.  To stop themselves being murdered in their beds however, the rich need to convince us it’s a good idea.  Because the cost of the Welfare State is socialised – meaning we all pay even though it only really exists to stop the rich getting murdered in their beds – the rich can use this against us.  They can tell us that welfare spending is out of control.  That benefit claimants are scroungers or frauds.  That anyone can work if they just pull their finger out, even people without fingers.

This kind of of propaganda has now reached grotesque levels.  Whilst employers (the rich or aspiring rich) regularly report in surveys that they wouldn’t employ someone with, for example, a severe disability or mental health condition, they still demand that those people work.  If you can tweet you can work said one rich MP and former employer, as if there are thousands of tweeting jobs available to disabled people.

Welfare spending is not out of control.  The UK does not spend more on sickness, unemployment or disability benefits than other economically comparable countries.  Unemployment and disability benefit rates are miserly and often barely meet the cost of living.  The UK spends more on defence than it spends in total on out of work benefits whilst coppers cost more than the total spend on Job Seekers Allowance.

It is peculiar that whilst the rich constantly strive to remind us of the importance of competition or the wonders of the free market and privatisation, only the most swivel eyed cranks believe it would be a good idea to privatise the police or the army.  Coincidentally these are the two institutions the rich are likely to depend on for protection should things get fruity.

The rich never say that defence spending is out of control, even though it costs almost twice as much annually as the amount spent on working age disabled claimants.  This spending is not just about the rich hoping to prevent themselves being murdered in their beds one day.  They own or invest in the arms companies after all.

The truth is that whilst the rich don’t like the Welfare State they love unemployment.  Full employment would be  disaster for the rich, meaning wage demands would soar.  If those demands were not met then the workers might start getting ideas about taking over the workplace themselves.  This would never do for the rich.  That might mean they wouldn’t be rich anymore.

Every cut  to disability, sickness or unemployment benefits is another step forward in the drive to dismantle the Welfare State.  Yet the rich know they are playing a dangerous game. They are gambling their very lives on the belief that working class people are so divided, alienated and beaten down by relentless capitalism and media bombardment that we will not rise up against them.  But just in case, they would far rather spend our money on bombs, bullets and prisons than disability, sickness or unemployment benefits.

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Cameron Uses Paralympics to Push More Disability Denial

David Cameron yesterday used the Paralympics Opening Ceremony as an opportunity to spout crass propaganda for the toff Government’s ruthless disability benefit cutting regime.

Speaking to Channel 4, Cameron said:  “It’s about the inspiration and it will change people’s minds and that’s what matters. It’ll teach people about what they can do, rather than what they can’t do.”

This is the exact same line that has been used to strip benefits from hundreds of thousands of disabled people.  Here’s a DWP spokesperson saying the same thing in the Daily Express to justify the Work Capability Assessment, the brutal computer based tests used to declare sick and disabled people fit for work:  “We’re overhauling the whole system of incapacity benefits to place the emphasis on what work people can do, not what they can’t”

This line as been trotted out time and time again by Ministers and DWP officials as justification for the brutal new benefit eligibility tests that have tragically driven an increasing number of people to suicide.  Those with serious disabilities or illnesses, including those undergoing chemotherapy, have all been stripped of sickness or disability benefits on the basis that there might, possibly be a job they could somehow do.  As one Tory MP, Nadine Dorris put it, “if you  can tweet you can work”.

It seems that even at the opening of the Paralympic Games Cameron can’t resist trying to crowbar some subtle benefit bashing into the proceedings.

Spotted by the ever vigilant Black Triangle Campaign

Join today’s online day of action against Atos, the company making hundreds of millions from carrying out these assessments:  http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/08/dpac-atos-armchair-games-30th-august-the-truth-is-revolutionary/

Above pic found at: http://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/remember-atos-kills.html

Vigil for Atos Victims – DPAC Action – Weds 29th August

Disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters will be holding a vigil and remembrance event for those who have died due to the actions of Paralympic sponsor Atos.  The event will take place outside the company’s UK Head Office in Triton Square, Euston on Wednesday August 29th, the same day as the opening of the Paralympic Games. Meet 3.45pm for 4pm start.

Atos are responsible for carrying out the Government’s notorious Work Capability Assessment, a relentless health and disability assessment regime which has been used to slash vital benefits from hundred of thousands of sick and disabled people.

Tragically several people have committed suicide due to the endless, stressful assessments and the threat of poverty and destitution they bring.  An  investigation by the Daily Mirror found that 32 people a week die after being declared ‘fit for work’ by the company, whilst Channel 4′s Dispatches recently exposed the system as ‘toxic’ in the words of Atos’ own staff.

Campaigners will gather in the square at 3.30pm and will deliver a coffin full of messages from victims of Atos to the front door of the company’s headquarters.  A memorial service will then take place, involving a reading of the names of those who have died due to the company’s actions.  Some of the messages will be attached to black balloons and released and members of the congregation will speak of their own experiences at the hands of Atos.

All are welcome to attend and are asked to wear black if possible.

This event takes place during the National Week of Action Against Atos called by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), to coincide with the London Paralympic Games.

Events are scheduled to take place in towns and cities around around the UK and in London disabled people and supporters will be back at Triton Square on Friday 31st August for the Closing Atos Ceremony.

The Atos Games Begin – “We Are Coming For You Atos” Warn Disabled People

A well attended ceremony took place yesterday evening outside City Hall, London  to make the opening of the Atos Games.

Disabled people and supporters held speeches and a mock medal ceremony to launch the Week of Action Against Atos timed to coincide with the Paralympic Games.

Atos are paid £100 million a year to carry out the brutal and demeaning Work Capability Assessments on behalf of the Government.  This short computer based health assessment has led to tens of thousands of sick and disabled people being stripped of vital benefits.

Atos have recently won the contract to assess all those claiming Disability Living Allowance, a process which has the stated aim of removing financial support from a fifth of disabled people.  Astonishingly Atos are also sponsors of the Olympics Games.

At the mock ceremony last night, Paralympic Gold medal winner, Tara Flood was stripped of her medals as she was declared no longer disabled by Atos assessors.  Speakers from Disabled People Against Cuts and Transport For All, who both helped organise the event, spoke of their experiences at the hands of the company and their fury at Atos attempting to gain positive publicity on the back of the Paralympic Games.

Those assembled were warned that Paralympian Athletes will also soon face assessment by the company who have shown no mercy to even those with life threatening conditions.  A recent investigation found that 32 people a week die after being judged ‘fit for work’ by the company.

Atos were warned that we are coming for them – in the Courts, in Parliament, in the Courts and most importantly on the streets.

Protests will take place around the UK outside Atos offices today as part of the Week of Action.  A Mass Die In will take place in Cardiff on Wednesday whilst a Memorial Service will be held outside their London Headquarters on the same day.

Thursday will see a day of online and telephone action and on Friday DPAC will link up with UK Uncut for a spectacular Closing Atos Ceremony.

For full details of events this week visit: http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/08/latest-information-on-atos-games-week/

Protests Planned in Over 20 Towns and Cities as Part of the Atos Games

Over 20 towns and cities will be holding protests aimed at disability denying poverty pimps Atos.  Timed to coincide with the Paralympic Games, of which Atos shamefully are a sponsor, disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters are holding a series of protests around the UK.

The Atos Games will be formally opened tomorrow (Monday 27th August), near City Hall in Central London by Disabled People Against Cuts.  Meet outside City Hall at 5.30pm, more details at: http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/08/atos-games-opening-ceremony-monday-august-27th/

Then on Tuesday actions and protests will take place around the country targeting Atos, the company which has been happy to profit from Government contracts designed to strip disability and sickness benefits from hundreds of thousands of people.  The full list of actions announced so far is below.

On Wednesday 29th August a Memorial Service will be held in Triton Square outside the company’s London HQ.  Meet at Triton Square, London, at 3:30pm.

Thursday 30th August will see a day of action online and on the phone – Phone jam! Let’s flood Atos with calls, and generate a Twitter-storm they can’t ignore.

Finally on Friday 31st August Disabled People Against Cuts will be teaming up with UK Uncut for ‘an audacious, daring and disruptive action’.  Head to Atos HQ,  Triton Square, London at 12.45pm,  More info at: http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/blog/the-closing-atos-ceremony

List of other actions and events around the UK:

Birmingham – Tuesday 28th, 13:00 – protest at Five Ways House. Islington Row. Edgbaston. Birmingham. B15 1SL

Bournemouth – Tuesday 28th, 12:05 – protest at ATOS Centre, 1st floor Tamarisk House, c/o Job Centre Plus, 1, Cotlands Road, BH1 3BG (assemble outside the JobCentre Plus building)

Bristol – Thursday 30th August, 15:00 – picket/protest outside ATOS offices, Government Buildings, Flowers Hill, Bristol, BS4 6LA .

Cardiff – Wednesday 29th August,17:00 – mass ‘die-in’ to commemorate lives lost. Aneuren Bevan Statue, Queen Street

Derby – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – protest outside ATOS office. More details from Derby Mental Health Action Group mhactiongroup[at]yahoo.co.uk

Edinburgh – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – protest outside ATOS offices, 44 York Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3JW

Exeter – Tuesday 28th, 12:30 – protest outside ATOS office Killerton Road, Park Five, Harrier Way EX2 7HU (with Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance)

Hull – Tuesday 28th, 11:00 – demonstration outside the ATOS medical assessment centre on Stanley Street, Spring Bank, Hull, HU3 1JP

Lancaster – Tuesday 28th, 13:00 – protest at Mitre House, Church Street, Lancaster LA1 1EQ. In conjunction with Lancaster and Morecambe against the Cuts ; local Trades Union congress; occupy Lancaster UK; and led by local disabled people

Leeds – Tuesday 28th, 13:00 – Meet in City Square, LS1 2ES. Bring banners. We will have leaflets.

Liverpool – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – demonstration outside ATOS offices, Mann Island, Port of Liverpool building, L3 1LT

London – Monday 27th, 17:30 – meet at City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA. Opening ceremony and medal awards
and
Wednesday 29th, 15:30 – Meet near Starbucks/Pret-a-Manger on Triton Square, Regents Place, London NW1 3HG – Delivery of a coffin with messages to ATOS and a memorial of their victims, many of whom have have died.
and
Friday 31st, 12:45 – Grand Finale with UK Uncut. Direct action and protest at ATOS HQ, 4 Triton Square, Regents Place, London NW1 3HG

Manchester – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – protest outside ATOS Manchester, Albert Bridge House Bridge Street, Manchester M60 9DA

Medway – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – Atos Medical Assessment Centre in Batchelor St Chatham ME4 4BJ (just off the High St next to the Jolly Caulkers) – Medway Against the Cuts are organising a picket/protest.

Newcastle – Tuesday 28th, 13:00 – protest outside ATOS offices Arden House, Regent Centre, Regent Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE3 3LZ (opposite Gosforth library).

Northampton – Tuesday 28th, 11:00 – demonstration at ATOS offices, Gladstone Road, Dallington, Northampton, NN5 7QA

Plymouth – Tuesday 28th, 11:00 – demonstration at ATOS offices, Argosy House (next to McDonald’s) , Marsh Mills, Plympton, Plymouth, PL6 8LS
For lifts from the City Centre and Mutley, please contact PCU at: plymouthclaimantsunion[at]yahoo.co.uk

Reading – Tuesday 28th, 11:30 – Eaton Place (off the Oxford Rd), Reading, RG1 7LP. Join us there for solidarity, songs and fun, fun fun. Bring banners with appropriate messages. Banners and leaflets will be available (can also be downloaded and printed) for distribution to curious and info-hungry passers-by. Songsheets will be provided for the tunefully inclined.

Sheffield – Tuesday 28th, 12:30 – demonstration at Hartshead Square, S1 2FD

Southampton – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – meet at Queens Park, Southampton SO14 3BQ.

Stroud – Wednesday 29th, 12:00 – Flyering the public about ATOS – meet outside Stroud JobCentre, Unicorn House, Cornhill Shopping Centre (Union Street), GL5 2JT.
and
Saturday 1st September, 11:00 – Stroud High St (near the Post Box).

Swansea – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – static protest outside Grove House, Grove Place, Swansea SA1 5DF . (This is a big building across the road from the police station).

ATOS games week of action – Protests Planned in 10 Locations Around UK So Far

Join The Atos Games!
On your marks, get set…
for a week of Paralympic fun and games against Atos!

From Monday 27th to Friday 31st of August, join Disabled People Against Cuts for The Atos Games – five days of action against a company that’s sponsoring the Paralympics but wrecking disabled people’s lives.

We are calling on disabled people, disabled activists, families, colleagues, friends and supporters to come together and fight back against Atos’s attacks. Atos represents as dangerous an opponent as any government, law or barrier the disability movement has faced in its long history. It’s not just welfare, but our very identity and our place within society that is under attack.

And we are asking the whole of the anti-cuts movement to join us in our opposition to the company most responsible for driving through the government’s brutal cuts agenda. Let’s make it Games over for Atos!

Latest info from around the UK:

Plymouth:   11am – Tuesday 28th August

Argosy House, Marsh Mills (next to McDonald’s)

For lifts from the City Centre and Mutley, please contact PCU at:  plymouthclaimantsunion@yahoo.co.uk

Manchester:   Noon – Tuesday 28th August

ATOS, Manchester, Albert Bridge House

Protest outside the offices of ATOS Healthcare, the company profiting from sick and disabled people’s misery: https://www.facebook.com/events/408151362575794/

Birmingham: 1pm – Tuesday 28th August

Islington Row, Five Ways House, Five Ways:  https://www.facebook.com/events/334907739929304/

Sheffield: 12.30pm – Tuesday 28th August

Hartshead Square, Sheffield – UKUncut Sheffield have joined forces with Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC)to make sure it’s Games over for Atos during the Paralympics: http://www.facebook.com/events/196007200530031/

Bournemouth: 12.05pm – Tuesday 28th August

ATOS Healthcare WCA Assessment Centre, 1st floor Tamarisk House, c/o Job Centre Plus, 1, Cotlands Road, BH1 3BG:  https://www.facebook.com/events/427050914002653/

Northampton: 11.30am – Tuesday 28th August

Disabled People will be demonstrating at the offices of Atos in Gladstone Road Northampton on Tuesday 28 August from 11:30 to 1:30 and are calling on the whole of the anti-cuts movement to join them.

Liverpool:  Noon – Tuesday 28th August

Mann Island Lower Ground Floor, Port of Liverpool Buildings, Liverpool, L3 1LT: https://www.facebook.com/events/211880045607754/

Swansea:  Noon – Tuesday 28th August

A static protest outside of the Swansea ATOS
assessment centre from 12:00 to 1:00 at Grove House, Grove Place,
Swansea. (This is a big building across the road from the police
station):  https://www.facebook.com/events/515813221766234/

Cardiff:  4.00pm – Tuesday 29th August

Atos KIlls- mass die in to commerate lives lost.  29th August at 16:00 at Aneuren Bevan Statue, Queen Street, see DPAC Caerdydd-Cardiff: https://www.facebook.com/#!/bronwen.caerdydd

London:  12.45pm – Friday 31 August

UK Uncut and DPAC will be shutting down Atos’ London HQ for the Closing ATOS Ceremony. Meet in Triton Square at 12:45pm for direct action and creative protest, with plenty of surprises: https://www.facebook.com/events/217652368360892/

Other actions currently being planned:

Join in The Atos Games however you can – online, on the phone, or on the streets!

·         Monday 27th: We’ll hold a spoof Paralympic awards ceremony, hopefully with some very special guests…

·         Tuesday 28th: Pay a visit to your local Atos office – and maybe even take your protest inside!

·         Wednesday 29th: A coffin full of your messages about Atos will be delivered to its doorstep.

·         Thursday 30th: Phone jam! Let’s flood Atos with calls, and generate a Twitter-storm they can’t ignore!

Please tweet, share, blog, spread the word.

Organise locally – contact DPAC to be added to the list of events around the UK: mail@dpac.uk.net

For latest updates visit: http://www.dpac.uk.net/

Five Days of Action Against Atos – 27th to 31st of August

From Disabled People Against Cuts

Join The Atos Games!

On your marks, get set…
for a week of Paralympic fun and games against Atos!

From Monday 27th to Friday 31st of August, join Disabled People Against Cuts for The Atos Games – five days of action against a company that’s sponsoring the Paralympics but wrecking disabled people’s lives.

We are calling on disabled people, disabled activists, families, colleagues, friends and supporters to come together and fight back against Atos’s attacks. Atos represents as dangerous an opponent as any government, law or barrier the disability movement has faced in its long history. It’s not just welfare, but our very identity and our place within society that is under attack.

And we are asking the whole of the anti-cuts movement to join us in our opposition to the company most responsible for driving through the government’s brutal cuts agenda. Let’s make it Games over for Atos!

We’re not against the Paralympics or the people taking part in it. We’re highlighting the hypocrisy of Atos, a company that soon may be taking disability benefits from the people winning medals for Team GB.

Ever since George Osborne announced he was slashing £18 billion from the welfare budget, the government has paid Atos £100 million a year to test 11,000sick and disabled people every week, then decide whether they’re ‘fit for work’.

Atos uses an inhumane computer programme to do the testing, and trains its staff to push people off benefits. The government has admitted the tests are flawed, and the British Medical Association wants them to end immediately.

But Atos continues to devastate people’s lives. Many have committed suicide because of its testing programme, and over 1,000 people have died of their illnesses soon after being found ‘fit for work’.

We won’t let them get away with murder, so join in The Atos Games however you can – online, on the phone, or on the streets!

·         Monday 27th: A coffin full of your messages about Atos will be delivered to its doorstep.
·         Tuesday 28th: Pay a visit to your local Atos office – and maybe even take your protest inside!
·         Wednesday 29th: We’ll hold a spoof Paralympic awards ceremony, hopefully with some very special guests…
·         Thursday 30th: Phone jam! Let’s flood Atos with calls, and generate a Twitter-storm they can’t ignore!
·         Then on Friday 31st, join us in London where we’re teaming up with UK Uncut for the Grand Finale – an audacious, daring and disruptive action. Last time we shut down Oxford Circus, this time we will be performing miracles…!

Please blog, tweet, share, spread the word!