Time for ALL Survivors of the Hostile Environment to come Together

I’m not the first to say this, Leon  , has both blogged and tweeted as have others and I want to reiterate an belief I’ve written about before

I believe it is now time we multiple survivors of the ‘Hostile Environment, created and managed by those in power, came together. The  racist and discriminatory treatment of the people in the #Windrush generation has appalled so many, and I truly get it. 

We disabled people have spent the past eight fighting to survive as our lifelines have been slashed away and we have lost thousands of our community already as a result. But the discrimination, which I believe it is continues, just as it will for anyone considered unwelcome by the elite.

We who feel this way are no longer alone Kenan Malik in the Observer today considers how the working classes have been used by obscure the racism of the elite; Barbara Ellen raises the points of how the powers are continually abusing homeless people, and in a slightly older post Dt Frances Ryan links the Cuts and Austerity to those with low/no incomes face similar discrimination. These are by no means the only groups striving in this Hostile Environment, spare a thought for Refugees, those trafficked in modern slavery, Rape and Abuse survivors, EU Citizens, the groups are mind blowing.

I am sick of being kicked, threatened, intimidated and abused by the Discriminatory Policies and Actions of the Elite and if you feel the same, then what are the options? We come together to make the Statement of Enough heard , we continue surviving until we can no longer do so or we become as the German citizens did under the far Right; the Choice is Ours to make.

So again I ask is it not time or ALL of subjected to the prejudices of those in , and those who really hold the power came together to say ENOUGH, Change Must Come and it Must be For the benefit of us ALL.

The hows and means are for a later discussion firstly we must decide Together WE Can

 

From Leon (as above)

We should start using those two words (Hostile Environment) in all communications with the DWP whether that be over the phone, in the Job Centre or indeed its contractors who are contracted to create it

All you have to say is ” I feel discriminated with all this hostility”

#LetsTalkAbout Race; A white perspective on Challenging Rising Racism

Two articles in The Guardian caught my eye this week, the first considers a rush by Ofsted to tackle extremism in education as being “symptomatic of a political frenzy born of hatred“; the second is the editorial identifying “an overlooked report shows that employers trying to fill low-paid jobs draw migrants to the UK“.

Both of these posts allude to the current establishment revealing their true attitudes and apparently, despite the numerous changes to Law over of the past 50 or so years, the Elite along with I suggest many others, still hold Racist beliefs. Whilst this may not in itself seem shocking, I’d go so far to suggest it could with some work by us all, prove positive!

On the surface, this claim from a white woman may well seem plain wrong but please bear with me. I’ve argued for years that it’s so much easier to positively challenge sexist (and later ableist) attitudes and behaviour when they’re overt, rather than when ‘hidden’ under a façade of politically correct language and I suggest this might be the same for dealing with racism. Personally I much prefer to demonstrate how prejudicial attitudes are founded in mythology by use of facts and evidence, but this requires the challenger to hold the data and the holder of the prejudices to ‘own’ them, namely to say what they think and when such notions are however subtly obscured, this is much harder.

From my professional experience I understand that often people, of all self defined Races, find it hard to positively challenge Racism, for reasons  which are as variable as the people themselves. The classic argument for why people hold onto prejudice is usually summarised as being  ‘fear’ of the unknown, which has given rise to the raft of educational projects around difference, sharing experiences and stereotyping; but after half a Century of such, surely its time to acknowledge these soft approaches have only made the slightest impact.

The UK urgently needs a new way to talk about Race,  its now obvious the way of the recent past way, a refusal to acknowledge and discuss anything other than positive examples of so called cohesion has failed. The reality is Racism, along with all other prejudicial sentiments, not only exists but is thriving, and I believe this has gone some way to enable the rise in support for Right Wing Politics once again becoming mainstream, albeit wrapped up in UKIP.

The fundamental beliefs of segregation, obedience, and a natural order are not compatible with the world today, fortunately too many of us have been educated beyond the ideals of the local Lord and Squire; yet it is that world we are nonchalantly strolling backwards towards. We allow the Government to remove our freedom to education, movement, health and even a home, via electing those who would deny us such unless we have enough fiscal worth, and all the while blaming the worlds ills on immigration?

Perhaps I’m Naive, but I can’t accept this return to ignorance, feudalism and life by lottery of birth is what people really want; but if I’m correct then those of us opposing such must step up and accept, we have a large role to play.  Racism as we’re seeing above only occurs when the perpetrators feel safe, and they believe they have an audience to support them. It is our responsibility to let them know they are wrong.

For this reason, the fact that the aftermath of Operation Trojan Horse may as Zoe Williams suggests become this Governments Section 28 moment, offers opportunities for real challenges to Racism. Taking this a step further “the saga of the Hungarian sandwich-makers” and the totally hypocritical stance of Government, on of the scandal of business owners actively recruiting migrant low paid workers, is another argument that demonstrates how the establishment thinks about Race.

Both the articles indicate how Race and indeed all isms, are still thriving among those in Power.  Whilst this is illegal, immoral and downright unacceptable, the fact this perspective is once again becoming  open, offers us an excellent opportunity to unreservedly challenge these prejudices, preventing yet more Discrimination. Unless we really desire a return to the ‘good’ old days, we with any privilege left must use it and challenge this Racism as the vile bigotry it is.

Thanks to MHealth Extremist @wildwalkerwoman for editing xxx

 

 

 

 

Together We ‘Minorities’ CAN beat the Uphill Struggle for Equality

A new report from the uni of Sheffield has found Welfare reform reinforces growing class prejudice reminiscent of Victorian era –

” many people now attribute unemployment and poverty to the failings of individuals, rather than to structural weaknesses in the British economy and entrenched socio-economic inequalities. Worryingly, negative views around welfare were also extended to the physically disabled and mentally ill. The research therefore suggests that, in the aftermath of the recession, there has been a decline in empathy and understanding for some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups in our society

Today the Guardian have turned over comment is free to black contributors, this is fantastic and exactly what we need more of as according to FleetStreetFox  “it’s 2014 and we’re speaking about foreigners in much the same way we did 100 years ago, with just as much nastiness, stupidity and flawed logic“. Other reports have arrived at similar conclusions, both the British Social Attitude survey and the Archbishop of Canterbury have shared concerns about the rise in racism. As a white woman I can’t speak on what this means in everyday day, but I empathise from the perspective of being disabled; I also accept it is my responsibility to challenge any racist attitudes wherever I find them.

I can’t help thinking this decline in empathy and understanding has something to do with the lack of challenge from the Country’s’ leaders towards prejudice, instead the current Political discussion is full of ‘blame culture’. When comments such as “we’re like under siege’ from ‘huge numbers’ of migrants“,  “some” disabled people are “not worth the full wage”, “Women ‘to blame’ for being raped” or  ‘people getting really good benefits are going to charity food banks; not only go with out challenge but are also regularly justified by skewed statistics pulled from the ether, we as a nation, are  in trouble.

The ease with which we can find comments like the above, and blogs and posts from people experiencing not only an increase in prejudice, but also discrimination, is terrifying;  further it is hard evidence of the reality of life in Britain for many of us from the ‘minority’ sectors of society. Continuing to to accept our problems are the fault of other minority group members, and, or choosing to believe the bigoted hype of the elite ran main stream media, can only result in the continuing collapse of the society we’ve grown up with. Acknowledging our own prejudices and electing to view them from the other side  is the way we individually fight back.

The really crazy thing about this, is we the ‘minorities’ actually  form a ‘majority’, and the only thing holding us back, are our individual fears of difference and of change. As a long time community activist I believe in people, not in a notion that all people are good, but in the belief we are better when we come together. As a collective sharing our strengths, skills knowledge and experiences we individually grow more powerful; but together we become formidable and through utilising the diversity, we can create change.

It is only by using our collective strengths we can challenge the structural weaknesses and demand the changes to the existing socio-economic inequalities that encourages prejudice to grow, thus ensuring our children and grandchildren benefit from a fairer and more equal society.

Together We Are STARS shining in the  dark and fighting against the Capitalist Light Pollution

 

 

In Memory of My Pop a WWI Soldier, who Fought for Honesty and Freedom

As a child of the Sixties I absorbed the new ‘freedoms’  of that era like a sponge; I watched the development of  the sexual revolution which, to me was everyday women finding a voice, previously before only accessible to the middle class and above.  I read about the Civil Rights movement, and became sickened by the Racial prejudice and discrimination; particularly as I was friends with many children whose families had come to the UK as refugees from Uganda. These struggles instilled me with a personal power, no longer did I have to defer to my ‘betters’, I could and should, question and challenge my elders.

Having said this, my strongest influence at home at this time was my granddad (Pop), he was born in 1899 and lied about his age to serve his country in WW,  only for him to be the victim of a rogue grenade. This resulted in him spending his life in and out of hospital undergoing surgery after surgery, as the countless pieces of shrapnel he carried in him moved towards his vital organs. I adored him, but he was a man of his time born when Victoria was still Queen, and we had endless discussions about right and wrong. I like to think he really heard me when I argued for Equality, but maybe he indulged me as his only grandchild, either way he listened, and even when we disagreed he never shot me down, he taught me to debate and for this, and everything else he was to me, I adored him .

With today being the Centenary of  WWI, these memories of my pop are more emotive than ever, his desire for honesty was I believe, born from his experience of soldiering, he was sold a story of  ‘Britain needing him’  how he was fighting for freedom and this would be “The War to end All wars”; in return he was damaged, physically and emotionally. He never spoke to me (or any other family members) about his experience, but we lived with its effects.  Today I’m convinced he would have been diagnosed with PTSD, he certainly suffered from brain damage, being blown up does that, and this revealed itself in his occasional outbursts of rage. However, despite the pain he lived with for the next 70 years, he always demanded Truth; whether this be because he lived with the fact he suffered as a result of the Lies sold by the ruling classes I can’t say, but knowing him I can’t help but think this is so.

These experiences laid the blueprint for who I am today, I remain committed to Equality, I fail to understand how prejudice and discrimination are anything but destructive, and I believe wholeheartedly in Truth. In this week as I especially remember Pop, I read that  Lord Freud  has been proven to have Lied AGAIN,  joining Mark Hoban, Esther McVey and Mike Penning  to become the Fourth DWP Minster to have Made the SAME LIE – Impact Assessment are Impossible.

This default position of Lying when proven incorrect is unacceptable, the reality is the Lies Politicians spew out today, are resulting in pain as those told 100 years did; and albeit in much lesser numbers, people are still Dying  as a result of the Policies they Lie about.

I can’t help but think it must be common knowledge that Politicians Lie, they’ve been doing it for at least a Century now, and maybe this is the reason people don’t feel the need to demand it should End and End Now?

I can’t and won’t accept this, to do so would not only dishonour my Pop, but I would feel  in collusion with these Lying Ministers, and this I will not do. For these reasons and because I feel if We don’t scrutinise this unelected Government No one will; I continue to urge you all to please share our petition demanding TRUTH from Parliament; the House of Commons has responded to the Recommendations of the Select by basically informing us the DWP is doing a great job!

If you share my belief , this response is yet another example of Government Spin – please Sign, Share and talk to everyone about the NEED for The TRUTH Campaign.

 

#NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

Government Policies are Bad for our Health – Time for Challenge #NowPetition

The latest group to be hard hit by Government Policies are women employees, Female workers hit hardest by Austerity Agenda & associated Cuts, this won’t be a surprise to anyone not fortunate to earn enough; but for most of us, this is another example of how Government Policies are penalising the majority of people – simply because they are not rich.

The past four years are strewn with evidence demonstrating precisely how, outcomes of Government Reforms have been detrimental to the general public; Welfare Reform has brought about WorkfareBenefit CapBedroom TaxPIP, and  changes to ESA, JSA sanctions  & Tax Credits, to cite a few of the programmes. All of the above, have been criticised by numerous independent groups, charities, think tanks and across social media, as not only being prejudicial but as being incongruous. Similar criticism applies to Policies in Justice Reform, the Home Office, the Health ServiceTax & Revenue etc. Further we’ve been subjected to a series of inconsistencies from various Minsters & MPs across Parliament, from expense claims to downright untruths; and this behaviour in the main goes unchallenged, or worse is defended.

These Policies and Programmes have had a negative effect on  disabled people, older people, black & minority ethnic people, low paid people, jobless people, children and women, and  the articles used in the above links, are merely examples of the plethora of  evidence available. This leads me to one conclusion; current Government Policies, particularly when based upon such questionable, data are damaging the health and well-being of the majority of people in the UK.

It is for this reason we are challenging Parliament to STOP the SPIN, we want Government to ensure  their Laws and Policies, are fair and based upon Fact; further we are  dissatisfied with Political attempts at psychological coercion, with MPs persistently misusing statistics to justify prejudicial Polices.

For these reasons we believe the TRUTH Campaign will positively challenge Government; and as people afflicted by the current raft of unjust Policies, we demand change.

If you, your family, friends, colleagues etc are negatively affected by any Government Policies – Join the TRUTH Campaign – sign our petition, join our Time For Truth Thunderclap, tweet #NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP, share on Social Media; and Spread the word Government Policies are Bad for our Health

 

Let’s Talk – Challenging Oppression through Honesty

When was the last time you actually engaged in dialogue – I don’t mean chatting I’m referring to a real debate, a discussion that involved sharing opinions without fear of offending?

It’s very difficult to challenge oppression when you don’t have the words to say what you mean, or are concerned with upsetting the very person(s) you’re talking with, and about. Recently I found myself  (as a disabled white woman) having a discussion about prejudice with what I would usually refer to as a Black man and a mixed-race woman;  I became very aware that whilst I was comfortable using derogatory words to describe disabled people, I was struggling to find the correct language to articulate my thoughts on race/racism, my fear of offending was a barrier to the conversation.

Another reason for my concern was I had met these people for the first time only that morning meaning I could not judge a likely reaction, I decided the only way to overcome my problem was to own it and so I admitted my fear; both the others immediately shared similar views, and we quickly agreed, unless we open topics around the ‘isms’ and begin to talk about things in regular words these barriers grow. We continued, with each of us talking openly about how we dealt with these problems and discussing what do you do when someone else decides what you can say?  We each had experienced discriminatory behaviour but generally it was implicit, rarely did people use language we could openly challenge; instead prejudicial attitudes were now subtle and insidious, making it difficult, it not impossible to challenge.

The three of us all voiced how we had found it easier to address issues of race, gender, disability etc when someone had used language that was openly prejudicial, how although it was deeply unpleasant to be called ‘Spag’ or ‘Nigger’ those and similar words allowed us to respond immediately, calling for the rationale behind the abuse and opening up a dialogue; whereas we all found it far more difficult to do this when the prejudice was clandestine.

Prejudice being a natural fear of the unknown exists in all of us, and unfortunately during times of  recession it re-emerges and grows, maybe as a default position to make ourselves feel better?This statement I’m sure will cause most people to shudder and perhaps deny it but the associated rise in discrimination through hate crime makes it impossible it ignore.

Owen Jones entered this debate yesterday in The Observer discussing how the overt racism of UKIP is met with outrage on Twitter claiming ” it is relatively easy to take a stand against overt racism; only outright bigots will quibble with you” and this is true;  the real problem comes when the more adept bigots ‘hide’  behind pernicious announcements, that disguise very real prejudice.

Even a cursory examination of language used by the Government to justify Austerity is full of such pernicious testimony, the focus on ‘scrounging’  ‘lazy’  ‘cheating’  promoted through much of the mainstream media, has engendered a distrust against the most vulnerable groups in society.

This distrust has in my opinion, supported the recorded increase in prejudice against most minority groups, and aside from such aforementioned ‘outrage on Twitter’ it is difficult to find any real dialogue around growth in prejudice and discrimination. For many years I’ve witnessed national and local organisations refusing to debate this issue, using claims of diversity and cohesion, to purport a lack of prejudice on any count; usually without any recognition of the paradoxic in this statement, the simple denial of  racism, sexism, ableism or any other form of prejudice, actually perpetuates it.

I’m not suggesting that engaging in conversation will prevent anyone determined to cause harm to desist but…unless we’re prepared to participate  in an honest exchange  of views, with regard for feelings, but also willing for our own opinions to be challenged; this situation will continue to grow. Jones in the article above recognises,  failure to do anything more than Tweet our indignation is dangerous “if we are just patting ourselves on our backs as a means of self-congratulation, flaunting our credentials as decent human beings and failing to tackle the more subtle, pernicious forms of racism that scar our society.”

Jones ends the article stating ” when minority voices speak out and demand change, all of us – whatever our backgrounds – should listen, and act“; I agree and on order to listen we need to one thing thing – Let’s Talk.