Fwd: Re: ADAPT-type Protest In UK

Thomas Cagle (nh-adapt@juno.com)
Wed, 31 Dec 1997 09:40:27 -0500

Date:	97-12-27 14:48:57 EST
From:	dan@entertrainers.demon.co.uk (alan holdsworth)
please get this to the press and media and polititicians if you can 
DAN. Also get it to disabled people and their organisations and groups.
help fight back ! 


Following the trail of leaks from the Labour government that it was
about to cut disabled peoples benefits, DAN led the fight back by the
disabled Peoples Movement outside the gates of Downing Street.

The cuts were leaked by senior Labour Party politicians and have caused
fear and dread amongst disabled people in this season of good will. DAN
was forced to shift from its positive, proactive campaign for accessible
public transport to defending disabled people in poverty.

A group of 30 DANNERS and our supporters marched the short distance from
Westminster Abbey to Downing Street with begging bowls, symbolising that
the government threats would bring back this quaint, Victorian industry
for disabled people. On arriving, we blocked the road and the gates to
Downing Street, some of us handcuffing ourselves to the closed gates. At
a given signal we opened our begging bowls, which contained red paint
and commenced to daub the gates and the road with the symbolic blood
Tony Blair is trying to squeeze from us. The police, strangely absent
until now, began to arrive....some on horseback. Meanwhile we were
having an arts therapy class outside the gates painting slogans on the
road and getting jolly messy.
As the paint started to dry the police decided it was safe to arrest us
and they arrested 10 DANNERS who refused to move. 
We were put in solitary cells for 5 hours with no food or drink.
Finally, we were released with a formal warning. We had been warned
...but so had Tony Blair and his advisers.
Disabled people are anything but a soft, safe target in Britain anymore. 


This was also probably the biggest media event in disabled peoples
history. It was covered by every T.V channel, every national newspaper.
It was the lead story in Britain for 24 hours. It also appeared on
N.B.C. in the United States !

The following day, media conscious Tony Blair must have been thinking
how does he get out of the hole hes created ?


1. Consult disabled people including DAN face to face.
We all want reform, we all want to reach out to our sisters and brothers
at the sharp end of poverty, discrimination and vulnerability. We,
disabled people, are the experts, we are the ones who can help you
construct a welfare system that empowers.
We are calling on Tony Blair and the leaders of all political parties to
take up this challenge to meet with DAN and other representatives of the
disabled peoples movement.

2. Stop talking about Cuts. We, disabled people, have a shopping list of
our own which costs money. Accessible public transport, services which
get us to our front door, accessible housing in our communities,
accessible information, real training etc. etc. Any savings in welfare
reform should be redirected into providing the services and
infrastructure which empower us as citizens. We refuse to be, yet again,
the sacrificial lamb for non disabled peoples benefit.
These costs would be one off costs and would not escalate in the same
way that the costs of keeping people dependent would.

3. Stop calling us the needy......Its discrimination stupid !
The only reason that disabled people are in need is the failure of
successive governments to understand or accept the social model of
disability as defined by disabled people. This has resulted in the
continuing discrimination of disabled people in our society.
The major charities have also clouded this issue as it is vital for us,
disabled people to remain needy for them, multi- million pound
organisations ,to survive. 
Attacking poor peoples income is not going to reduce need. It will feed
the causes of crime  create fear and uncertainty amongst the poorest
and most vulnerable members of our communities and, thereby, destabilise
the state.

The above will form part of DANs core demands. We will be discussing
them further and we will be taking further action until these issues are
If you would like to get involved in this campaign or you have finally
realised that nobody but yourself can give you the power the equality
that is your basic human right,  ring DAN now on 0181 889 1361. or write
to us on 0181 889 1361.

Oh yes and send money ....lots of it ..Its going to be a titanic and
expensive struggle.  ......................FREE OUR PEOPLE !

alan holdsworth