Crippen hears about the revival of direct action

I don’t know. I take a week off in order to move house and what happens … the peasants are revolting, that’s what happens. And not before time!

It’s taken Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) to revive the tradition of direct action onto the streets and to confront this government about its callous and inhuman treatment against disabled people, or as this government no doubt refer to us … the peasants!   

DPAC, along with other disabled activists is hoping its #AudioRiot protest in central London will help highlight concerns about a series of “devastating” changes to social security, including imminent cuts to universal credit.

They are encouraging disabled activists and non-disabled allies to bring drums, whistles, cymbals, bells, klaxons, loudspeakers – as well as their own ear protectors – and anything else that might help to make noise as they protest about the government’s social security policies.

The protest, which will gather outside King’s Cross station at 11.30am on Tuesday 28 September, will also highlight the government’s refusal to offer recipients of so-called legacy benefits – including disabled people receiving employment and support allowance (ESA) – the same £20-a-week increase given to those on universal credit during the pandemic. DPAC has stressed however, that the action will not be targeted at King’s Cross station.

Andy Greene, a member of DPAC’s national steering group, told Disability News Service (DNS) he believed there was a lot of pent-up energy among disabled activists who have not been able to take to the streets for more than 18 months.

He said: “People want an opportunity to come out and have the harm that has been done acknowledged.”

He said the government had made decisions during the pandemic that had led to the deaths of countless disabled people and had “got away with murder” because of the months of lockdown.

Disabled people had paid for the government’s decisions with their lives, he said, and there had been very little critical response to that, both from within parliament and outside it.

“There is no accountability. Nobody is holding anybody to account.”

The action will be the first time disabled people has taken to the streets since the start of the pandemic, and it will take COVID-19 protective measures for those activists taking part.

Greene said: “We understand that not everybody will be comfortable going back onto the streets and coming to London for direct action, which is why we will also have online actions, and we are calling for local actions as well.”

On Saturday 25 September, three days before the central London action, DPAC will be calling on members and allies to create an #AudioRiot in their local areas.

And on the day of the London protest, the high court will be hearing a judicial review being brought by two disabled ESA recipients who believe the government breached the European Convention on Human Rights by increasing the standard allowance of universal credit by £20-a-week, but not increasing the rate for 1.9 million ESA recipients by the same amount.

A vigil to support those taking the judicial review will take place outside the Royal Courts of Justice, between 9.15am and 10am on 28 September.

Read more about the action in Disability News Service.

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software.

A large crowd of disabled protesters are picketing outside of King’s Cross station. They are holding several large yellow placards that, when held together show an unhappy face emoji along with the words ‘DPAC Protest’ in black print. Other placards show one with the DPAC logo and another with the words ‘disabled people are dying due to Tory cuts!’. There is also another large red placard with a skull and crossed bones symbol and the words ‘more Tory cuts means many more deaths!’ Some of the protesters are holding musical instruments including drums and cymbals and are making a loud noise. Two people are entering the station and are glancing across at the protest. One of them, a woman, is saying to her male companion: “Strange – I don’t recall hearing about this on the BBC?!”

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