We all have our pet hates, things that for some reason have struck a chord, a company, a government policy, fracking, housing, cuts, NHS….etc. What ever we have chosen to support it is one of a hundred and one things we could have chosen to take to task. But they are all symptoms of the same capitalist system. We can pick and choose who and what we want to protest against when the fancy takes us. My mates are protesting against fracking, and others about the housing crisis and the gentrification of our neighbourhoods. The range of injustices is so vast you could go protest hopping everyday and some of us do. So we are all activists…….
Day after day I see members of DPAC (Disabled People Against the Cuts) out there blocking the roads, storming Parliament and Locking on. Day after day I hear of how many disabled people are dying because of the cuts to the benefits and the loss of Independent Living Fund. They are relentless in their struggle for Independence and freedom. You see the difference is if they don’t succeed in their struggle they may well end up back in institutions or even die. My friends don’t have a choice.
When I get ready to go to a demo/action it’s pretty straight forward. I get up have a coffee, squeeze a little toast if I am feeling it, check in with a few people ,make sure I know where I am going, who I am meeting and what time. I pack my bag, some water, maybe a sandwich and bustcards. I make sure my phone is charged, put on my steel toe caps and leave the house to jump on the tube.
When my DPAC friends get ready to go to a demo/action it may take them hours to get ready. The struggle just to participate in an everyday activity such as getting out of bed can take an extraordinary amount of time, to take their drugs, unplug this tube, change this bag, to change their clothes, to prepare themselves to get to an action can take so much time and energy but they do. And there is no just jumping on public transport as very few routes on public transport are viable for disabled people. So before my friends even meet me on the street their struggle to be there is unquantifiable.
When I stand shoulder to shoulder with other protesters against police lines we push and we shove but we stand there and we remain there of our own free will. When DPAC face police lines they get manhandled, they get pushed out the way, they get removed, they do not have the freedom given to us by our abled bodies to remain. They do not have the freedom to resist as we do. I have watched police officers push wheelchairs over, I have been pushed over wheelchairs, I have watched wheelchairs be pushed out of the way. I have seen my friends deprived of the rights of protest and their freedom of movement by the police using their disabilities against them. When DPAC stormed Parliament recently the police deleted all photo’s taken and stopped the press recording the action. When did you ever hear of that ? DPAC scare them and so they should be scared.
This is my issue……If we aren’t standing with those made most vulnerable by cuts (sorry DPAC I know you dislike the word vulnerable) and aiding these people within our society against the fascist state how can we call ourselves activists? Where is the solidarity? Have we become so singular in our objectives that we aren’t willing to support others? If we are not protecting our disabled comrades then really it’s all about self interest. It must be ? Because thousands of disabled people are being cleansed from our society and you can only be bothered to get up when it suits. If this is the case we are fucked !
In solidarity with #DPAC
A Hampstead Mum