Deeds Not Words: support the Atos/DWP hunger striker

It is one hundred years to the day since Emily Davison, one of those pesky activists who wouldn’t just put up with their lot, stepped out in front of the king’s horse Emily_Davisonin the name of Votes for Women. She died four days later but her act of courage was not in vain, as it was a moment that shocked the nation and was a watershed in the struggle for women’s suffrage.

She was no stranger to activism, having been jailed on nine occasions and force-fed 49 times, so it is entirely fitting that her gravestone bears the legend, “Deeds not Words”.

Here in 2013, the clock seems to be running backwards as the welfare state that our ancestors fought – and paid – for is being dismantled and food banks have sprung up to fill the gap. And, as if to remind us exactly why our ancestors fought so hard for the welfare state instead of relying on the whims of charities, one food bank is already refusing to help the ‘undeserving poor’, such as people who have had their benefits sanctioned.

It’s against this background of “Deeds not Words” that the apparentrolph media blackout on George Rolph, who has been on hunger strike for 14 days since having his disability benefits denied by the DWP, is particularly shameful. The latest insult is that his Facebook page has been taken down, apparently without explanation.

At the time of writing, the lead story on the BBC is “Queen marks Coronation anniversary” while George’s courageous struggle, which could result in a slow and horrible death, doesn’t even merit the briefest of mentions. The same goes for all the other mainstream media, which are far more interested in recycling celebrities’ Twitter posts and calling it ‘news’.

In George’s own words:

“We all know about the growing disconnect in this country between those who claim to lead us and the people they want to lead. We have all seen the ever more intrusive nature of government poking into our daily lives. Right now you are on cameras that are watching you closely. Give them a wave and a cheer. We have witnessed the awful corruption going on, both here in the UK, and in the EU.
We have sat and gasped as politicians have openly led us into illegal wars in other lands. All of these things and much more than I have mentioned here leave us feeling soiled as a people. As if we have been dragged unwillingly in some perverts private party. It feels like our land is not our land any more. It has been stolen from us and we are just drones who keep it all ticking over so others can benefit from your labours, while you get fed in drips and drabs, the little bits that fall from the table. We watch as the London Mayor and other politicians take our money to build huge expensive projects, so they can strut around looking proud and having massive ego trips in front of the cameras.
Yet, in the midst of this financial splurging, we see the same people hammering the poorest and most vulnerable people in the land. Energy prices are zooming through the roof. That drives all prices up. Yet, at the same time, benefits for the poor are either cut or done away with. A new bedroom tax is imposed which is making people homeless or causing massive problems for people who have to find the money in the face of shrinking income. Make no mistake. This is not accidental. The politicians know EXACTLY what they are doing and they are following a script, the details of which they have hidden from us, but which they are feeding to us a little at a time. Did you notice, for example, that just before the new welfare reforms for the sick and disabled were announced, the media had a propaganda blitz on people faking sickness to scrounge dole money? It is called social psychology and you and I are the targets of it.
When those reforms came in I went happily to the ATOS assessment interviews, because I had nothing to hide. I was sick. I was not scrounging anything. I needed help, that is all. Three times I passed. Three times I answered the same questions the same way and passed unfit to work. On the forth time, despite the questions and answers being the same, they took all of my benefits away. Someone, to meet a target set by government, decided to ignore the other three assessment reports and single me out for another kind of treatment. The imposition of total poverty! I knew what was coming to me then, but I was too shocked to think about it.
No money to pay rent. No money to pay gas or electricity bills. No money to pay council tax demands. No money to pay the phone bill. No money to buy clothes. No money to buy food. I was facing bailiffs, eviction, hunger and homelessness at 60 years of age. I knew I would not live long on the streets. I knew they were condemning me to certain death. I only had two things left. My dignity and my fighting spirit. I decided to fight back! I decided I would not just tug my forelock and accept my fate as I backed away from my “masters” in government. I decided I did not like the idea of being their serf! I decided to use what they had planned for me, against them.
If they wanted me dead OK. I would die, but I would do it exposing them for what they are, and I would do it for all the other sick and disabled people they had already driven to suicide, despair or were about to hurt. I went on hunger strike. I went on Facebook and I began to yell the place down. People began to come and see what all the noise was about. At first a few. Then more. Then more. Then more. I have told them NOT to copy me but to fight with me. I have told them the same truth I am going to tell you now. THIS LAND DOES NOT BELONG TO THE POLITICIANS AND NEITHER DO YOUR LIVES. THIS LAND IS YOURS AND YOUR LIVES ARE YOURS TOO. NO ONE OWNS YOU. NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO ABUSE AND MANIPULATE YOU THROUGH SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY OR ECONOMIC TERRORISM.
There is however an even deeper truth and it is simply this: YOU, ARE WHERE THE REAL POWER LIES and if you will stand together as one, you can make those politicians that are hurting and killing our people in the name of ideology or profit, back into the public servants they really are. STAND TALL. STAND PROUD. STAND STRONG. You do not need to be violent. You only need to be united. Tell these corrupted, ruthless and vile politicians that you DEMAND your country back. You DEMAND that they take care of our weakest. You DEMAND they withdraw their poverty creating taxes. I am willing to give my life to help those who cannot help themselves.
Not because I am special. Or a hero. Or because I want to be famous, but because I have a heart that bleeds for them and I cannot bear what these vermin in Westminster and beyond are doing to our nation. WE MUST STOP ATOS AND WE MUST DO IT FAST. Don’t let them fool you. You do not need to gain power. YOU ARE THE POWER UNDER GOD IN THIS LAND. WILL YOU HELP ME TO FIGHT FOR YOU BY FIGHTING BESIDE ME? God bless you all. Look me up on Facebook and lets get to work.”

Please share George’s story with your friends, both in real life and on social media. It is literally a matter of life and death. It may upset the sort of ‘friends’ who only want you to post pictures of your cat and what you had for dinner, but surely this one is worth it?

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Let’s sack Iain Duncan Smith

It looks like DWP Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith may be surplus to requirements. Someone has programmed an IDS-o-Matic bot to perform the same functions as him, for a fraction of the cost of his £135,000 salary (plus expenses and generous taxpayer-funded pension).

Its output is uncannily like the real thing:

“Dispossess the mentally ill with a plethora of cuts, then give bankers another bailout.”
“Crucify legal aid lawyers with traumatic assessments and send their relatives to the workhouse.”
“Execute council estate riff-raff during a zombie apocalypse, then give more tax cuts to the rich.”

Or does the DWP already use an android to generate sociopathic policies that Maggie Thatcher would have secretly pleasured herself with but never dared to make public?  Perhaps not, I suspect that an android would be too compassionate to survive in that regime.

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Another one bites the dust!

Sue Ryder, the hospice charity, has released a statement saying that it is making a “phased withdrawal” from mandatory workfare schemes. This follows several days of pressure from the public via Facebook, Twitter and email to tell this hitherto well-regarded charity that people who give up their time for them are only volunteers if they do so of their own free will.

The tone of the statement, and previous ones, is somewhat passive-aggressive and paints the charity as a victim.  In the light of this, we need to keep an eye on this “phased withdrawal”, but this nonetheless remains an important victory.

The message to all corporations and charities hoping to take advantage of an army of enforced labour is clear: IF YOU EXPLOIT US, WE WILL SHUT YOU DOWN!

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IDS throws his teddy out of the pram again

The charming Iain Duncan Smith gets cross once again with an interviewer who fails to appreciate his sheer brilliance or marvel at the magnificence of the workfare scheme. Thank you, Mr James O’Brien of London’s LBC, for standing your ground and refusing to be fobbed off by our beloved Work and Pensions Secretary. Enjoy the full interview here.

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Groundhog Day

So it’s nearly two years since I last posted on here. That’s not exactly in the spirit of “Blog Early, Blog Often”, is it? In a nutshell, I went back into full-time work for a while but the work dried up and here I am, back on the luxurious Job Seekers Allowance. And, as I wasn’t back in full-time work for long enough, it also means that I’m still on the “Work Programme” in their eyes, so expect to see more posts at a slightly more prolific rate than once in two years!

And although workfare has suffered quite a few knocks in that time, the ever-popular Iain Duncan Smith insists that his gift of free labour to corporations will continue, even if pesky judges tell him it is illegal. That’s not going to stop me, says Mr Charisma, who has already put down some “emergency regulations” to amend the legislation and has convinced himself that this is the end of it.

To add to the Groundhog Day feeling, I have received a letter from the DWP, asserting that “nothing has changed”, while carefully avoiding mention of the court defeat that has led to them making this declaration in the first place! 😀

Now I’m not a lawyer but it does strike me that tabling “emergency regulations” just so that he can avoid having the issue debated in the Commons looks like a blatant abuse of parliamentary process. There is scope for a judicial review right there, surely?

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Poverty pimps arrested on suspicion of fraud

It just gets better and better, doesn’t it? Four people connected with leading poverty pimps A4e have been arrested on suspicion of fraud, according to breaking news on the BBC. With Tesco back-pedalling and others dropping out entirely, the whole workfare scam is starting to implode. Every little helps. 🙂

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Tesco backlash: every little helps!

Tesco directors choked on their power breakfasts this morning after seeing the full scale of anger on Facebook and Twitter. News of what is happening with workfare has finally hit home with the general public. Let this be a lesson to all the other corporate welfare queens and poverty pimps!

 

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