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Disabled People Against Cuts: 7 days of action to reclaim our futures!

Join this year’s week of action to protest against austerity, fight for our rights and celebrate disabled people.

Our rights are being stripped away day by day, by the neo-liberal policies being imposed on us all by the Condems, leaving us without much hope for our futures - or our children's.  

But we have been here before. Our history is littered with examples of how our community has come together when under attack to fight - and win.

From the NLBDP (National League of Blind and Disabled People) in the late 1900's, through UPIAS (Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation) and onto DAN (Direct Action Network), and now DPAC and other campaigns, we have fought our corner over three centuries.

And those fights have brought victories, the Independent Living Movement, our DPOs (Disabled Peoples Organisations) and the Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act (1970) represent significant victories, brought about by mobilizing in our communities around common cause - and having the will and determination to see our demands met. We have consistently united in anger and celebration.

This Autumn, we are asking our community to come together in anger, and celebration, again. And to unite around our demands.

Disabled people will be launching 'Reclaiming Our Futures'- a manifesto by and for disabled people setting out our vision of how the resources, structures and institutions of our society can be re-designed to empower disabled people to take part in our lives on our terms.

It will be a  vision we can take forward in our communities, workplaces and lives.

In the buildup to the manifesto launch, DPAC is announcing ‘Reclaiming Our Futures’, a week of action to protest against the targeting of disabled people by austerity measures, to fight for our rights for inclusion and independence as equal citizens and to celebrate disabled people. 

From 29th August - 4th September DPAC and other campaigns will offer a range of activities you can get involved in. These events will bring together our anger at what is happening now, and celebrate our victories won, both in the past and to come.  

The list below is only half the story. We want YOU, your DPO, your campaign group, your community, your friends; to put on events and get involved too.

Can’t get to our exhibition? - then put on your own. Can’t get to our direct action? - then do your own. Barbeques, debates, quiz nights, family days, picnics - whatever! ACT - in celebration or in anger! (PS don't forget to let us know what you're doing).

Thursday 29th August - YOU launch our week of action. A range of resources will be available for your use as we ask all supporters to start our week of action with an online blitz.

You will be the ones creating the buzz and the hype sending letters and twitter messages to targets of your choice ranging from MPs to disability charities to the media. We will be producing twibbons and mimes but make and circulate your own. If you haven't got a Social Media account (such as Facebook & Twitter) set one up now, link to DPAC and let’s create a cyber wave. #ReclaimFutures.  

Friday 30th August - Local Protests Last year, during the ATOS Games, over 30 local actions took place around the country. This year we want to top that.

You get to choose the target of your choice. You could take the Reclaiming Our Futures manifesto to present at your local MP’s constituency office, protest outside against segregated education, or show solidarity at your local Remploy site (for those few factories in their last weeks of operation). Alternatively, you might want to lobby your local Council on the Bedroom Tax and cuts to local services. Oh, and by the way ATOS offices are still around too…. Remember to let us know what you are doing so we can promote your actions. We will be producing local action resource packs but any materials you develop please send us copies to share with other protests.

Saturday 31st - Disability Art & Protest Exhibition: An exhibition of the work of disabled artists and collectives, highlighting their role and impact in the disability movement through the decades will take place over the weekend (venue TBC but will be Central London) with a cabaret event on Saturday night featuring performances by disabled and non-disabled acts.

The exhibition and gig will be live-streamed.  If you would like to nominate an artist, collective and/or piece of work please let us know (including any links) and we will try to get them involved.  

Sunday 1st September - The Social Model In the 21st Century - Why is it still relevant? As government and the private sector increasingly use a so-called ‘modern understanding of disability’ to redefine who is and who isn’t disabled, it is more important than ever that we defend and promote the social model. This isn’t helped when the social model is not fully supported within our movement. This event will be a chance to hear from a range of speakers and to discuss why the social model is still relevant today to our lives and our futures and to map out what we need to do to fight for it. The event will be live-streamed with the opportunity for people to participate in the discussion virtually.  

Monday 2nd September - Direct Action: Despite the huge efforts of thousands of disabled people throughout the country, it is increasingly difficult to find spaces where lies, inaccuracies and mis-use of statistics can be challenged.

DPAC recently released a study into how the DWP uses all of these to vilify and demonise disabled people. But why is this down to us? People should be presented with both sides of the story and this isn't happening. Disabled people are having to find ways to make sure our truths will be heard. Watch this space...

Tuesday 3rd September - ‘I Dare’ day: A day of online action to reinforce that we want Rights not Charity and a society where we are able to operate on our own terms as disabled people. Dare to ask for Rights not Charity. Dare to be an activist. Dare to ask more of 'our' organisations. We aren't asking for Care, we want Power: Power to write the script for our own lives, and not to be written out or written off by others. A range of actions and captions will be available for you to capture in an image and circulate online.

Wednesday 4th September - Freedom Drive: A final-day march and rally at Parliament. Four themed 'blocks' will meet at four Government departments, central to the lives of disabled people.

After handing over our demands, blocks will then move towards Parliament to meet-up for a final rally. Following the march there will be a lobby (TBC) of Parliament to formally launch the manifesto and present our demands to our elected representatives.

WE WANT EVERYBODY TO JOIN US ON THIS MARCH. There will be accessible transport from a variety of towns and cities throughout the country (details to follow). There is some funding available but we will need your co-operation and patience to make this work for everybody, so please bear with us.   

This week of action is yours. Please take part at whatever level suits you - BUT MAKE SURE YOU TAKE PART. Share our events, resources and actions as far and wide as you can.

If we don't do something now, future governments on all sides are planning to continue these attacks. Our very identity as disabled people and our place in society is at risk. Don't let them take away our rights and all that our movement has fought for and achieved over the years.  

Reclaim Our Futures, together. See DPAC for more and for updates.


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