There will be a Brighton Benefits Campaign meeting tonight Wednesday 24th June
7pm at Brighton Unemployed Centre in Hollingdean BN1 7BL
Join us in planning new actions and events.
Brighton Benefits Campaign formed in 2010 as a response to the Labour government’s ‘welfare reforms’ which included obligatory workfare for the unemployed, computerised testing of disabled people by Atos, and forcing lone parents of increasingly younger children to sign on, alongside the privatisation of public services, including the NHS and education. Lucrative contracts were given to private providers to bully claimants off benefits.
This assault has intensified and broadened enormously over the last five years, using the financial crisis as the perfect excuse for cuts and outsourcing. To justify their actions and turn us against each other, the millionaires in government and the media demonise one vulnerable group after another – claimants, migrants, lone parents – and the new Tory government are now preparing to target young people and low paid workers.
A decent, public welfare system is in the interest of all of us, whether we are in work or unemployed, frail or able-bodied. Benefit levels are the floor of our wages, and cuts undermine pay and working conditions, health and safety, and the ability to organise. Destroying welfare serves only the richest who never need it, and the bosses, as an army of desperate people are forced to compete for every job.
The attack on welfare is at the heart of a mass assault on all our rights – employment, housing, healthcare, education, social security and justice. The odds against us may seem insurmountable but with solidarity we can fight back.
JOIN THE MASS NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION AGAINST AUSTERITY!
On Saturday 20th June we will be taking part in a massive national demonstration in the heart of the City of London, right on the doorstep of the very people who created the crisis in the first place – the banks and their friends in Westminster.
Join us on the train: meet 9.30am at Brighton Station. Look for the BBC banner!
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SUPPORT THE RADICAL BANK OF BRIGHTON AND HOVE!
The abandoned Barclay’s bank in Preston Circus was occupied after the local anti-cuts demo on June 6th, . In the UK 112,000 people are condemned to live on the streets without shelter, despite 1.5 million disused buildings.
To bring about a society based on sustaining life, not on sustaining the needs of the market, we have to take matters into our own hands. Radical Bank is about empowerment. It is a space to share skills and reshape ideas around gender, equality, self-sufficiency, ecology and direct action. When you strike one of us, you strike all of us.
Barclays have struck back by obtaining a repossession order, so that they can turn out the people who have restored the space and are making use of it as a community resource and shelter for those without homes, and leave it to disintegrate for the next 10 years. This seems incredibly illogical, but of course it is the ruling elite defending their right to private property come hell or high water.
More info at Radical Bank of Brighton and Hove
PLUS SPECIAL READING OF OUR FAMOUS PANTOMIME ‘DICK WHITTINGTON AND HIS WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT, OR THE COMPUTER SAYS NO’ !
A national day of action has been called on Monday 2nd March against Maximus, the private company which is taking over running of the despised Work Capability Assessment for sickness and disability benefits. These crude and callous assessments, introduced by Labour, have been used for years to strip benefits from hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people after a quick computer-based test rules them ‘fit for work’. The evidence of GPs and health care professionals is ignored. Even the terminally ill can be dragged from their deathbeds to be tested.
The last figures released by the DWP in 2012 showed a massive increase in deaths among those who had recently come off disability benefits. A growing number of suicides have been directly linked to the regime of tests and sanctions. Many people have been left destitute and hopeless, because being found ‘fit for work’ just drives people onto the dole queue, with no guarantee of them finding or keeping a job.
To justify their actions, the millionaires in government and the media have tried to denigrate those most in need, in language reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. As a result, disabled people and their families have become targets of abuse and some have even been physically attacked.
American firm Maximus has been involved in forcing people off benefits and into workfare in the UK since they were appointed by Labour to operate the infamous New Deal. Like many private firms paid billions to take over the work of public services, Maximus had a history of complaints including accusations of fraud and theft, bad working practices and failure to deliver to service users.
Now Maximus is taking over the WCA from poverty pimps Atos with a lucrative £500 million contract. They are inheriting the offices and systems and even the medical director of Atos. New clowns, same old circus…
Maximus were the very first private provider Brighton Benefits Campaign picketed in March 2010, and we were involved in the campaign against Atos, which led to that company asking to be released from its contract early. Maximus is boasting they won’t be driven out in the same way. We’ll see about that!
SATURDAY 10TH JANUARY 10AM – 4.30PM
BRIGHTHELM CENTRE NORTH ROAD BRIGHTON BN1 1YD
A citizens’ conversation about democracy, cuts and resistance.
* Why does a crisis of the banking system mean that we have to have our benefits and services cut?
* What gave the Ritzy cinema workers the courage to strike and win a living wage?
* What happened when a group of young single mums refused to accept eviction and rehousing far away from their community in East London?
* How can we stop our NHS being dismantled piece by piece?
Come to Power to the People? to learn about what we’re up against and discuss how to take back our power and make our voices heard, here in Brighton. Whether you’re a busy activist or someone who’s never been political, the day will be inspiring and informative. Drop in any time or stay all day.
* Campaign stalls
* Discussion and skill sharing workshops
* Free lunch
Registering in advance on this Eventbrite page will help the organisers to plan for lunch, arrange sign language and other access arrangements and speed up the registration process on the day: http://brightonpowertothepeople.eventbrite.co.uk/
Brighton Benefits Campaign will be taking part – look out for our stall!
Since the financial crisis of 2008, successive governments have pushed forward increasingly vicious cuts to welfare under the excuse of austerity. Meanwhile they have been busy diverting wealth into the pockets of millionaire corporations, cutting the taxes paid by the wealthy, and permitting outrageous tax avoidance and evasion.
Sick people are denied benefits by cruel tests devised to force even the dying to sign on. People desperate for a job are forced into zero-hour contracts with no rights, or even into unpaid work. A draconian system of sanctions for the jobless has been set up to make us compete for poorly paid jobs and the unemployed can now be asked to sign on every day.
Soon people will be obliged to leave the part-time employment they have had for years, in order to work full time in worse conditions or unsuitable jobs, under the threat of sanctions. Help for those in work has been slashed. Families on low wages go without food or heating to pay their rent due to housing benefit cuts. Many pensioners are faced with choosing between heating and eating, and thousands die each year as a direct result.
Now local councils are doing the government’s dirty work, with savage cuts and privatisation of services. Brighton and Hove City Council is no exception. Unsurprisingly, Labour and Tory alike are happy to impose swingeing cuts on the worst off, and the Greens seem incapable of taking a radical stand. Increasing numbers of households are sliding into poverty, while the services they rely on are slashed and sold off.
The rich have become massively richer, while the numbers of those affected by austerity are soaring. None of us is safe. Ordinary people see their jobs disappear, their pay frozen, their services smashed, and help for those most in need snatched away or made conditional on their working as virtual slaves.
Yet we are told to blame each other for increasing poverty and desperation! Or informed by the unimaginably better off that being poor is due to our personal failings.
The privileged rely on us being desperate and divided. Let us refuse to believe the propaganda which divides us. Let us not divide ourselves, again and again, into tiny single issue campaigns. We need to be united, to see our common interest, and to fight side by side for each other. Enough is Enough!
Enough is Enough! is a new initiative proposed by Brighton Benefits Campaign to bring together all those affected by the assault on the rights of ordinary people over recent years, to take action in solidarity with each other. We are starting with a party for anyone, on benefits or not, who wants to be involved. Join us!