The National Disability Union – A Way Forward?

Further to my blog last week on The Desperate Fight Within Disabled Campaigning, my #TRUTH Campaign colleague Debbie Sayers has offered us a forward :

Afternoon folks,

There’s seems to be some confusion, I get the impression that people think Sparticus or the Spartacus network was run by Sue Marsh, that wasn’t and isn’t true, Sue was one of many individuals that worked towards several goals, her main job was media and PR… It was her job to get the work and ideas out there… Which she did very well… The Spartacus network was started by Jane Young as was the Spartacus forum Sue was not involved with the net work other than helping with getting info out such as tweeting and emailing out the Reversing from Recovery Report, or Past Caring etc the Spartacus Network was a collection of individuals that sometimes worked together, it was never an organisation. The network was handed over by Jane to other people working with Sue nearly two years ago, I think Sue involvement would have been much the same at that point as she was very ill, I’m not sure you will have to ask those involved with the network now.

Me and Gail started a new forum to work on the idea of a national organisation… Many years ago we tried to get groups to work together to no avail… After the election I wrote a blog post called one voice by which I meant a collective voice, Gail and I agreed to write an open letter to see if a national group like a union was wanted or viable even… We agreed to send it to people who campaign that we knew… I sent mine to a list of my friends partly from the old Spartacus network days (I wasn’t around for the Responsible Reform Report sadly) and partly from campaigning I have done since leaving over two years ago. I invited Sarah Campbell who wrote the RRR, Kailya Francklin who was involved with RRR, Jayne Linney who I’ve been working with on the truth campaign to get Mr Smith for his use of Statistics and his lies. And a few others that I’ve got to know who campaign in their own right… Gail invited those she knew, DPAC members, BT members, Mo Stewart, Susan Archibald etc, we asked them if they thought it was a good idea some said yes, some said no and refused to be involved. We put the open letter with a list of those who said they thought it was a good idea up on google docs to get a feel for how people felt about it, the response for the most part was good. In the mean time Sarah Campbell came to me and said did you read Sams blog about forming a union, I hadn’t but having read it we all felt he should be involved, a few didn’t like his connections to the new sparticus network, but his desiar to help form this organisation was the most important element so we asked him to be involved, he’s not keen on forums but he was facilitating open chats about the idea and was getting some good ideas together… This is when I found out about Sarah Campbells blog about forming a national organisation that she had written before the election.

 Gail and I, well Gail mostly set up a forum, at that point some people who didn’t want to be involved started spreading stories about how this was a Sue Marsh project saying the ‘Cult of Marsh’ (If there is one I’m not privy to it) had taken over the project, this was a lie everyone involved had been invited by me or Gail because of their expertise, track record or interest… I was told more than once that I should remove the ‘Spartacus element’ if I wanted this to succeed but how do you remove yourself from yourself? I am an ex spartaci, I can’t change that nor would I want to… I’m still very proud to have worked with the author of the Responsable Reform Report, Sarah Campbell, and worked with her and others on the Revising from Recovery Report and Past Careing Report… but does it mean everything I’ve been involved in since or in the future is some how insidiously linked to Sue Marsh? Of course not… She has said herself she’s not involved, she’s not involved in campaigning anymore… You may not like what she’s chosen to do but it has no bearing on this project, she is not involved… I hope she achieves her stated goals with her new job, but it’s nothing to do with me, I’m sure the flack she’s endured for her decision has been awful if my recent experiences have been anything to go by…

The National Disability Organisation, was to be designed by disabled people for disabled people with a voted for steering group to help keep it ticking over, someone has to do the day to day jobs that keep these things going. Even DPAC has a streering group. At this point someone asked if Sue Marsh could join this organisation if and when it became a reality… Some said no, some said if we want an inclusive organisation then yes she is disabled… It all fell apart at that point… Some of the people that used to work in the Spartacus network began to be personally attacked and bullied, Sarah Campbell was so badly treated she has left campaigning, that is tragic, a very clever lady with lots of expertise lost to us… Gail also took a great deal of crap of of folks for being involved… That is why she chose to close the forum she had made and leave the project, she felt that she couldn’t be involved in a project that would start a national organisation that one day might let Sue Marsh be a member… I respect her decision but…

 I think, that not doing something because of a possible future outcome would be sad and seems a bit daft… A million things have to happen before it’s even an issue…

Even though we’ve all had enough abuse… A few of us decided that although we are less inclined to be involved we still want the community to have a place to organise this national group, so I have made a new forum for this to take place. If you are still interested, please come join the new forum by following the link…if your only interested in spreading lies please don’t bother I don’t want to spend hours busting up fights on the forum as admin, if your interested in what you all have to say and or have ideas to share please come along and try to help create this national organisation… Dxxx  http://ndorg.freeforums.net/

Please go and have a look at the forum, and if you feel this is a way you support, or even if you don’t but have some constructive ideas, let us have them….REMEMBER

ONLY TOGETHER CAN WE FIGHT FOR OUR SURVIVAL

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The Desperate Fight Within Disabled Campaigning

This is my first post in a few months, there’s been several reasons for this including an horrendous bout of depression, an operation and masses of work for DEAEP, our new course starts next week. There also been one issue that has taken over what little energy I’ve had left after this; a month ago I was asked if I’d be interested in working on the setting up of a unifying group for disabled people to fight the Government.

Anyone that’s read my blogs is well aware I’m committed to collective working and collaboration, most of my posts end with some form of plea for Unity or Togetherness, so of course I said yes. To my horror, in this very short period of time several of those willing to do the backroom work have been bullied and verbally assaulted by the same people who purport to believe in campaigning and challenging for our rights. So much so, that a number of the individuals willing to use their spare energy have said they can no longer continue; I simply do not understand this!

What the Fuck is going on, when those of us Fighting for our lives under this Tory regime of Austerity and Cuts, are attacked by our peers; isn’t it enough that people are dying through the bullying of JobCentre & other DWP staff, without resorting to this behaviour ourselves?

When #homelessness is soaring and people are being evicted from their homes due to the costs of the #BedroomTax, or the #BenefitCap; when the loss of ESA or PIP, through flawed and biased ‘assessments is causing people to choose to stay warm or fed; what will happen to those on #ILF that lose their Care packages in 3 weeks? Isn’t all of this this enough to make people angry enough to challenge the Government and to work WITH their peers and not attack them?

I totally agree that different opinions are essential for any project to get off the ground, and this means different beliefs being aired and people feeling frustrated their thoughts aren’t being taken into account; I’m aware not everyone feels a unifying organisation is the way forward and that’s fine. I recognise the pressure we are ALL under and realise that sometimes we say things we might not mean, I also acknowledge that on social media, the words we write can often come across as something different to what we actually meant but…this is NOT what happened here; this was selective Bullying. People were reading derogatory comments and joining in, it was made Personal, through targeted attacks on individuals; all who have been involving in online campaigning for the past 4 years at least. If this behaviour had happened on the street and from a group of non-disabled people, many of us would be, (rightly in my book) shouting about Hate Crime; this is how serious I take what has has occurred.

The outcome is not only, have the abused individuals felt the need to leave the unifying group, several have left the world of disability activism completely; and what a loss! All that knowledge and experience held by these individuals, lost from campaigning and no longer available to work on the real Fight.

To close, I want to state some of us are continuing to work on developing a unifying project for disabled people, a group that can challenge the Government with authority; but it is with great sadness that not only will the work be much more difficult without the lost expertise, but that we’ve lost true campaigners to bullying from within.

I hope that those involved in these abusive attacks realise the damage they’ve caused, not only to the individual victims of their abuse but to the disabled movement; remember when our enemies see this behaviour it only serves to further their cause.

ONLY TOGETHER CAN WE FIGHT FOR OUR SURVIVAL