Tag Archives: protest

Fuck The Tories – The Fight To Save Social Security Gets Bigger Every Day


Fighting back against the bastards has never been more important, so here’s an updated list of some of the groups taking action against social security reforms.  This list is far from exhaustive – apologies to those I’ve missed – feel free to post up links to any other claimant groups, websites and facebook groups in the comments. There’s more of us than ever now, keep spreading the word and get involved.

This blog will be taking a break until late August.

National Groups

Boycott Workfare – fighting forced labour and unpaid work:  http://www.boycottworkfare.org/ also on facebook and twitter @boycottworkfare

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) – National group who’ve organised many actions in London and elsewhere including blockading Oxford Street and occupying the DWP: http://www.dpac.uk.net/  Join the facebook group or follow them on twitter @Dis_PPL_Protest

DPAC also have a network of local groups – for local contact details visit: http://www.dpac.uk.net/contact-details-for-local-dpac-groups/

Black Triangle Campaign – involved in organising protests throughout Scotland against the Work Capability Assessment and Welfare Reform as well as lobbying and campaigning work: http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/  Also have a facebook page and are on twitter @blacktriangle1

Mental Health Reistance Network – Called the recent protest against the re-location of mental health services in Streatham Jobcentre and have promised more action is to come, on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mental-Health-Resistance-Network/479666938752033

Carer Watch – resisting the constant attacks on Carers, visit their website and follow them on twitter @CarerWatch

UNITE Community Union – the attitude of UNITE’s leadership to claimants has been woeful but there has been some great work achieved by local groups throughout the UK, for more info visit: http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/communitymembership/unitecommunityactivegroups/

Local Groups

Birmingham Against the Cuts – not just benefits related but have organised lots around welfare: http://birminghamagainstthecuts.wordpress.com/

Brighton Benefits Campaign – long running campaign which organises regular actions and protests: http://brightonbenefitscampaign.wordpress.com/

Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty – another long running campaign, lots of info on their website at: http://edinburghagainstpoverty.org.uk/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Edinburgh-Coalition-Against-Poverty/181015481950367

Haringey Solidarity Group – Long running local group, very active against workfare: http://www.haringey.org.uk/

Ipswich Unemployed Action – long running group with a recommended website at: https://intensiveactivity.wordpress.com/

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group – hold weekly meetings, organise protests and regularly picket Jobcentres, more info at: http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/

Leamington Claimants’ Union have a website and seem to be recruiting new members: http://lcu.iopan.co.uk/

London Coalition Against Poverty – long running umbrella group campaigning on a range of issues: http://www.lcap.org.uk/

Norwich Claimants’ UnionOn facebook and more details at: http://www.norwichclaimants.org/

Poor Side of Life – blogging and organising around Ashton Under lyne Jobcentre, details at: https://thepoorsideoflife.wordpress.com/

Winvisible – Women With Visible and Invisible Disabilities – based in Crossroads Women’s Centre, Kentish Town: http://www.winvisible.org/


Benefit Claimants Fightback – facebook group for all claimants and supporters, ask to join at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/116432071735566/

Kate Belgrave – stories from the front line of welfare reforms, on twitter @hangbitch and at: http://www.katebelgrave.com/

Welfare Weekly – comprehensive social security news, on facebook and at http://www.welfareweekly.com/

DWP Examination forum – friendly forum for all those struggling with the WCA and welfare reform: http://www.dwpexamination.org/

Unemployment Movement Forum – forum for all things claimant related: http://unemploymentmovement.com/forum/index

ilegal – fighting to rescue social welfare law: http://ilegal.org.uk/

Refuted – Your rights on sanctions, workfare, mandated activity and more, on twitter @refuted and at: https://wwwrefuteddotorgdotuk.wordpress.com/

Disability News Service – regular news on disability and social security, on twitter @johnpringdns and visit: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/

Disability Defence – Facebook group fighting for disabled people’s rights: http://www.facebook.com/groups/disabilitydefence/

Respect for the Unemployed and Benefit Claimants – long running facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/25024876259/

Other claimant related blogs and websites include Where’s The Benefit, Same Difference, Slutocracy, Joe Halewood, Vox Political, WOW Petition, Jayne Linney, AAV, Crippen  and Keep Volunteering Voluntary – please put a link to yours in the comments.


There are too many groups fighting against social cleansing, gentrification and housing benefit cuts to mention in this post but in London some of the main campaigns are Focus E15, Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth, Streets Kitchen, Radical Housing Network, Action East End, Reclaim Brixton, Reclaim Hackney, Sweets Way Resists and Eviction Resistance.

Other related national groups

Class War – stood candidates at the recent elections including challenging Iain Duncan Smith in his Chingford constituency.  Have consistently supported action by claimants and organised protests against the notorious Poor Doors in East London.  Class War are on facebook and twitter @ClassWar2015

Solidarity Federation – Not specifically a claimant group but have run national campaigns against workfare including forcing Holland & Barrett to stop using unpaid labour – for all details: http://www.solfed.org.uk/

International Workers of the World (IWW) – One big union supporting all workers and claimants.  Have been particularly active against welfare reforms in Liverpool and Scotland.  For local branches and details of how to join visit: https://www.iww.org.uk/

Other national groups which have been involved in action against welfare reform include UK Uncut, Occupy, Anarchist Federation, People’s Assembly and the Right to Work Campaign.

That’s all for a bit folks, enjoy the Summer.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Join me on facebook or follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

1000 Mothers March For Justice: Saturday 29th March


1000 Mothers March For Justice, with families, carers & supporters

11am Saturday 29th March 2014
Assemble at Bruce Castle Park,
Lordship Lane N17 8NU

Move off 11.30 – march down Tottenham High Road to Tottenham Green East, N15 4UR for a PUBLIC SPEAK-OUT

Follow up meeting: Haringey benefit claimants and supporters
11 am – 1 pm Saturday 12th April
North London Community House, 22 Moorefields Rd, N17 6PY


MARCH TO DEMAND living incomes and decent, affordable homes to rent or buy for waged & unwaged.
MARCH TO REJECT bedroom tax, housing benefit caps, unfair taxes, hunger and cold homes – austerity hurts vulnerable people, the rich get richer.

The £500 overall benefit cap forcing families to pay rent out of the income they need for food, utilities, clothes and transport or be evicted and deported away from their extended families and vital support to anywhere in England or Wales; cap rents not benefits.

The bedroom tax hits disabled people who have one or two spare bedrooms. It also hits 50 to 60 year old adults who become unemployed and are expected to survive on £71.70 a week minus £24 pw bedroom tax and £5 pw council tax. People evicted are forced out of London – this is social and ethnic cleansing.

20% of the council tax has added to the misery of residents. Last year Haringey Council started court proceedings against 23,000 households adding £125 court costs and in over 9000 cases bailiffs’ fees, which have already been increased by 42% this year.

Sanctions imposed by jobcentres punish people for little or no reason leaving them penniless for up to three months.

Freezing increases in benefits at 1% a year while prices escalate inflict hunger and cold on thousands of households.

Food banks as an alternative to social security; the three days food does not end hunger for adults or children. Supply food by right, not by charity.

The activities of ATOS inflict poverty on disabled people with inappropriate fitness for work tests carelessly administered.

All African Women’s Group, Barnet Alliance for Public Services, Day-Mer Turkish & Kurdish Community Organisation, UCU at CONEL, Global Women’s Strike, Haringey Alliance for Public Services, Haringey Defend Council Housing, Haringey Federation of Residents Associations, Haringey Green Party, Haringey Housing Action Group, Haringey Solidarity Group, Haringey Trades Council, Haringey UNISON, Holy Cross United Reformed Church, Unite the Union/Community, London Region National Pensioners Convention, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, Socialist Women’s Union, Socialist Workers Party, Somerford Grove Community Centre, St. Paul’s C-of-E Tottenham, WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities), Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike.

Please share, tweet,blog and spread the word!

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Fuel Poverty Protest Nov 26th London

fuel-poverty-picvia Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

Join Fuel Poverty Action, UK Uncut, the Greater London Pensioners’ Association and Disabled People Against Cuts for an outrageous, creative and inclusive protest against fuel poverty deaths on November 26th at 11.30am in Central London. Meeting point – well it’s a secret, for now.

On November 26th, the number of people who died last winter from cold homes will be announced. But we won’t stand for any more unnecessary deaths caused by price-hiking, polluting, profiteering, tax avoiding energy companies. So …join us as we take to the streets in central London to target one of the main energy robbers driving fuel poverty.

As the Big Six energy companies hike up prices we are told the only answer is to put on a jumper, leaving millions of us to choose between heating and eating. While the energy companies spread the lie that ‘green taxes’ are to blame, we know that the real problem is the privatisation of our energy for profit and the skyrocketing cost of dirty fossil fuels.

So bring your kids, neighbours, grandparents, your warmest jumper and your latest energy bill — and come join the fightback for the alternatives: warm, insulated homes and clean, affordable energy. It’s time to bring down the Big Six and put power back in people’s hands.

Meet outside Royal Exchange by Bank Station for short march to destination target.

See you on the streets.

Please tweet, share, spread the word!

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Spoil The Poverty Pimp’s Workfare Dinner Tomorrow!

manchester-welfaretowork-demoShort notice but please spread the word especially if you live in and around Manchester.


Protest outside the Welfare To Work Conference’s Network Dinner at the glitzy Hilton Hotel, Manchester – Tuesday July 9th 7.30pm.

Remind the parasites who paid for the food they are eating!

(and don’t forget the online action tomorrow – tweet using the hashtag #w2w2013)

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Don’t Trust Labour on the Bedroom Tax

bedroom-tax-protestAs April grows ever closer, resistance to the despised Bedroom Tax is spreading across the UK as tenants step up the fight to save their homes.

In Bootle, Merseyside this week, hundreds of people – many of them tenants and claimants who will be hit by the tax – held a furious  demonstration.  Up to 660,000 people face eviction and homelessness due to the changes in the way housing benefits are paid – which will manifest in a weekly tax paid to local authorities or Housing Associations that along with other benefit changes, could see vital support for the very poorest virtually wiped out altogether.

The millionaires in Government have glibly suggested people should downsize if they can’t afford the tax – completely ignoring that there is nowhere to downsize to.

Many claimants will also face having to pay Council Tax for the first time in April, whilst London Boroughs are preparing for mass forced re-locations due to the upcoming Benefit Cap.

Liverpool has shown the way.  A huge turn out is also expected in Glasgow on March 30th for a protest against the tax.

There has also been a day of action organised by Labour Left, a group within the Labour Party.  The same Labour Party that introduced similar measures to the bedroom tax for private tenants when they were in Government.  The same Labour Party who refuse to reject workfare and the Work Capability Assessment, the brutal regime for claiming sickness and disability benefits that they designed.  The same Labour Party that has completely by-passed the successful tenant’s movement in Liverpool and is urging people to gather under their soiled banner instead.

Labour Left was founded by Eoin Clarke and represents a few of the Labour Party members who still call themselves socialists despite being members of a neo-liberal party.  The group have produced a Red Book (pdf)*, which they hope will influence Ed Milliband in an ‘ethical socialist’ direction.  Eoin Clarke edited the book and contributed some interesting proposals for the housing sector.

Clarke correctly points out that the UK needs more houses, and that private sector rents are out of control.  He is also a keen advocate of the Right To Buy schemes that created this problem, stating: “I have no criticisms to make of the main principle of the RTB scheme.”  He even praises Thatcher herself for the initiative: “Right to Buy [RTB] scheme launched by Margaret Thatcher in 1981 was initially a good thing.”

Clarke’s objection to Right To Buy is that not enough homes were built to replace those sold.  To address this he proposes a mass house building scheme, designed to build 1.8 million homes over 18 years.

Whilst this is far too little way too slowly, it is the type of houses Clarke proposes to build which are of most concern.  Clarke wants these houses to be built by a Non Profit co-operative as opposed to local authorities, no doubt similar to the unaccountable Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) that Labour brought in to run many Council Estates.

These new houses are only to be made available to “people who were not eligible to receive housing benefit and who had demonstrated a willingness and ability to pay private rental market prices for the previous 12 months. This scheme would not prejudice any other housing scheme in which the government and social housing sectors participate. It is exclusively for hard working individuals or families who cannot afford to buy their own home.”

These are the only houses Clarke wants to build in a housing strategy that can be roughly summarised as fuck the poor.

Labour Left initially planned 16 protests around the UK to oppose the Bedroom Tax.  This number has now grown and it is unclear whether they are all organised by the Labour Party.  No doubt many claimants and tenants will want to attend even if they are should one happen in their area, which is completely understandable.  With such a crisis about to explode in people’s lives almost anything is better than nothing – and Labour’s voice can be diluted or drowned out at these protests should people choose to show up.

But it will be tenants and claimants who will beat this tax, not fake friends from the Labour Party, Housing Associations or charities.  And we should be wary of any attempt to hijack our suffering for the political opportunism of a party that deserted those with least a long time ago, if it ever really cared at all.

* Clarke’s piece is called “Private renters, the forgotten millions who abandoned Labour” and begins on page 96.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Streets of Lewisham Filled With Protesters Over Hospital Cuts

save-lewishamTens of thousands of people took to the streets of Lewisham today in protest at the decision to close Lewisham Hospital’s A&E, children’s and maternity services.

The huge turn out filled the streets from Lewisham Shopping Centre to Mountsfield Park in Catford well over a mile away.  The demonstration comes ahead of an expected announcement on the closures by Tory dimwit Jeremy Hunt this week.

The passionate and emotional protest drew huge support as people stood outside shops businesses waving flags and cheering, whilst motorists stuck in traffic due to the demonstration honked their horns in encouragement.

Should the brutal cuts to the hospital go ahead then almost a million people will be dependent on just one A&E.  Today’s protest showed the rage locally at the decision, whilst many people travelled from across London in solidarity.

The Tory Government lied that the NHS would be safe in their hands, whilst behind the scenes they planned hospital closures, job losses and privatisation.  More marches are planned and direct action has been announced should Hunt not be an end to the plans this week.  The strength of today’s march shows that the fight to protect the NHS and local hospitals everywhere may be the biggest fight this toff Government has faced to far.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Protest at the Tory Party Conference

I was going to write something about the Labour Conference but it’s just so fucking dull I can barely bring myself to bring it up.  Here’s a plug for the protest outside the Tory Conference on Sunday instead.

From Birmingham Against The Cuts

On Sunday 7th October we’ll be welcoming the tories to Birmingham for their annual conference, with a TUC organised demonstration marching through the town centre to a rally at St Marks Place:

Assemble: Victoria Square at 10.30 and march moves off at 11.00am

The tories are leading the neo-liberal charge to destroy the gains won through class struggle over the past century, with benefit cuts looking to take us back to the victorian age of workhouses and poverty, the NHS being run down in preperation for being flogged off or outsourced to tory donating private health companies, free schools and academies combine with budget cuts to undermine our education system and legal aid cuts remove access to justice for civil cases from any ordinary person.

Austerity is sold as being a solution to the deficit problem, but the deficit is rising as double dip recession it created causes tax income to fall and welfare payments to rise. Alongside the destruction to our economy it destroys our communities and our lives.

The neo-liberal’s answer to this is more cuts of course, and to get rid of employment rights and health and safety legislation, next up will be the minimum wage (already undermined by £2.60/hr apprenticeships and workfare) and more restrictions on trade unions.

From pensions to youth centres, sure start to libraries, forests to street cleaning, the cuts to services affect us all, so if you’re out this weekend and friends are moaning about the government, about the economy or the services they’ve lost, make sure they are coming out on Sunday 7th to march with the rest of us plebs calling for the alternatives to austerity.

Please share, tweet etc and spread the word.

Above pic from West Midlands IWW

Ruin the Lib Dem’s Conference Weekend: Shut Down Workfare in Brighton

For the latest info visit the facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/events/451566338217041/

Saturday 22nd September – Brighton – Noon

The Liberal Democrat conference is being held in Brighton on Saturday 22nd September 2012 – there will be a large demonstration organised by Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition and Brighton Trades Council.

To coincide with this, Brighton Solidarity Federation, Brighton Benefits Campaign and Brighton Uncut are calling for a day of action in Brighton against workfare – instead of ineffectually “having our say” and being ignored by the junior coalition partner, we should physically shut down a high profile coalition policy.

We are aiming to use a diversity of tactics on the day – from static or roving pickets outside shops, to UK Uncut style occupations, to whatever anyone else fancies getting up to.

We will distribute a list of workfare targets and their locations – when the march ends we will head into town and try and shut down as many of them as we can for as long as we can.

Spread the word!

Police Violence Mars Successful Day of Action Against Atos

One wheelchair user suffered a broken shoulder yesterday after police indiscriminately attacked a peaceful protest held by disabled people and supporters outside the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Several hundred people had earlier gathered outside the London headquarters of Paralympic sponsor Atos as part of the week of action against the company.  Atos carry out the Work Capability Assessment, a computer based test which has been used to find hundreds of thousands of disabled and seriously ill people ‘fit for work’.

Tragically several people have committed suicide after Atos and the DWP have connived to cut their benefits, whist many more have had conditions worsened by the endless and traumatic assessment regime.  Astonishingly Atos are also sponsors of the London Paralympic Games.

Whilst speeches and angry chants condemned the company outside their own front  door, other disabled activists had joined up with UK Uncut outside Caxton House in Westminster, the home of the DWP.  Several people gained entrance to the building, with two wheelchairs users locking themselves in the doorway.  A line of people formed in front of the doors with banners effectively closing the building down.

After several minutes of confusion on the part of G4S security staff, scores of police arrived and pushed past the line of people into the building.  As more and more police arrived a tense stand off took place with growing numbers of police both inside and outside the building.

Luckily help was at hand as the demonstration at the Atos HQ ended and over 200 people came to join protesters outside the DWP.  A lively crowd gathered outside the building whilst another line of wheelchair users formed in front of the door.

The police response became increasingly aggressive as groups of officers repeatedly attempted to push through lines of people and clear the space.  At one point police charged out of the building, lashing out at disabled and non disabled protesters like.  This caused several people to be pushed onto the line of wheelchair users, with one man suffering a fractured shoulder as a result, whilst another protester was pushed out of their wheelchair.  When one man objected to this wholly unnecessary use of violence by police he was arrested.

Disabled activists have expressed outrage at this reckless and irresponsible police response which could easily have resulted in far more serious injuries (or even worse).  No thought seemed to be given at all to the large numbers of disabled people, or those with serious health conditions, who were present at the demonstration.  Many in the crowd expressed disbelief at such unnecessary violence at an entirely peaceful occupation of the lobby of a public building.  With the recent acquittal of Simon Harwood, the police officer who killed Ian Tomlinson at the G20 demonstration in 2009, it appears the police have new confidence in using violent tactics to suppress peaceful protest.

As police finally managed to secure the front doors of the DWP, ironically blockading it themselves, the mood eased slightly and people began to make speeches telling of their experience at the hands of Atos and the DWP.  Eventually those protesters remaining inside the building were allowed to leave and emerged to large cheers from the assembled crowd.

Whilst the day was marred by the police’s use of unnecessary force, it was still a great success with the largest demonstration so far outside Atos and a creative, and ultimately hugely successful direct action at the DWP.  Whilst just a few miles away Paralympics were being celebrated, the events taking place in Central London showed the true face of this Government’s attitude towards disabled people.  Paralympians are handed medals for the cameras in front cheering crowds whilst hundreds of thousands of disabled people face benefit cuts and poverty.  Yesterday’s events revealed that those who complain can expect to be violently attacked by state thugs.

Disabled People Against Cuts, who called the protest, have vowed not to be deterred with more actions and protests planned.  Other groups are also mobilising to resist this toff Government’s endless war on those with least. A National Day of Action Against Workfare has been called by Boycott Workfare for next Saturday 8th September.

Paupers’ Picnic at House of Commons – July 17th

From Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)


There will be an alternative Picnic On The Commons on Tuesday 17th July 2012. The aim is to Lobby MP’s in the Central Lobby and then go onto a Paupers Picnic consisting of Bread and Water as a symbolic gesture.

The time to start going into the Central Lobby to see your MP is 2pm onwards, so please give yourselves enough time to go through Security and be guided by House Of Commons Guides to walk you to the Central Lobby. Meet for 1.45pm on College Green opposite Parliament if you want to go in a group.

As Tuesday 17th July is the day that Parliament goes in Recess and all the MP’s rush off for their 2 month paid holidays, by lobbying them we will be keeping them back a bit and maybe  inconvenience them as they must see their constituents if a signed Green Slip is submitted.

Everyone attending will be wanting to lobby their MP on their local disability issues in their constituency or they will be lobbying them in supporting DPAC in their aims of direct action to raise the harm that the Welfare Reform Act has caused many of us in the UK Disabled Community.

After we have seen our MPs, we will invite them to join in with our alternative picnic, so bring along a blanket, food & drink.