The ‘Protest and Survive’ meeting was possibly small in number; I counted 30 in all. We had some good speakers, people representing different age groups and strands of the disability community in Lambeth.
The speakers’ broached subjects ranging from how Tory-led policy on social housing was, and would in the future, discriminating against the poorest, including, of course, disabled people.
Ellen Lebethe spoke of how the cuts were hitting older people. But more importantly, she told us the importance of unity and solidarity.
Roddy Slorich presented his case from the perspective of mental health service users.
A representative of People First Lambeth told of how their funding was cut earlier in the year. She and her ex PFL workmates were finding it very difficult to find work. But, she was still willing to fight.
A motion was moved by Roger Lewis, seconded, and agreed by the meeting to resolve:
- To convene a South London Disabled People Against the Cuts campaigning group and affiliate to the national Disabled People Against the Cuts network.
- To agree to support local trade unions and others taking industrial action on 30th June in defence of their jobs and services, particularly in Education, and to use the day of protest to highlight the effects the government cuts are having on Disabled people generally.
- To hold an event in Windrush Square in Brixton on June 30th alongside Childrens Adventure Play services and others to support the services that have already been cut locally or which are in danger of being cut, including the cut in funding to People First Lambeth, a voluntary group for people with learning difficulties.
- To support similar activities in other boroughs in South London in conjunction with any activities being organised through local anti cuts organisations.
A slightly discordant note was struck towards the end of the meeting when two people criticised the cuts movement for not achieving anything and leaving things too late, a reference to the three poorly attended consultations on Care, TaxiCard, and the Freedom Pass.
However, these criticisms were countered as speakers who followed gave a more positive view of successes such as Birmingham Council being defeated; others spoke of the recently successful marches, the Lambeth Assembly, etc.
As for the SWP, there is at least one member who has been involved with the Lambeth Pan-Disability Forum for quite a while; and, in fairness to him, he has and is keeping party politics out of our work.