Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Public meeting: Migration Ethnicity & the aftermath of the referendum

September 30, 2016

migration-ethnicity-the-aftermath-of-the-referendum-poster

We live in a society created by migration, a land populated by people from many places who arrived over millennia, individuals and communities who came to find a new life, to work or to trade, to flee war and oppression, brought here as servants or as slaves. The flow has never been one way and emigration, whether voluntary or enforced, increased with colonialism. Yet until the turn of the 20th century there were virtually no restrictions on migration or free movement, despite constant wars and conflict, and large numbers of migrant workers, traders and communities from all over the world settled in London and other cities.

This changed with the 1905 Aliens Act (primarily intended to keep out Jews from Eastern Europe fleeing persecution). Restrictions have proliferated ever since,   usually as a reaction to popular fears driven by media scare-mongering, as well as incitement from the political right, and all of it more or less racist. More anti-immigrant legislation has been enacted in the last decade than ever before.  Now with the Brexit vote we are faced with a potential lockdown on free movement of any kind, alongside a rise in hate crime and racial abuse directed not only against EU citizens but anyone who might be seen as ‘foreign’.

Why has this happened?  There is evidence that a rise in rampant nationalism is directly related to social decay, as people become frustrated and angry at being  unable to access a decent life. Over the past decade the rights of ordinary people – employment, housing, healthcare, education, justice, social security – have been increasingly denied with the introduction of ‘austerity’ and the giving of trillions in public money to bail out banks.

Yet we see the blame falling not on feckless bankers but on migrants, benefit  claimants, disabled people and the poor. Nationalism is a useful tool to divide and rule, to misdirect attention from those actually responsible – the millionaires and capitalists who put private greed before public need, who pay low wages and exact high rents, who run the media as well as the government. Is it any surprise that they encourage the rest of us to blame each other?

At the same time, the Brexit vote has highlighted endemic deep-rooted prejudice within our society, and not only in working class communities faced with social meltdown. Racism is institutionalised, fostered by ignorance and narrow education, maintained by a culture of blame and lowest-common-denominator national pride, and inflamed by the media and the right.

How do we stop this? By mass education, by challenging prejudice and lies, by countering abuse and hate-crime at every opportunity, by organising to defend communities and individuals under attack, and most of all by the development of solidarity. Solidarity with workers wherever they come from and with all those  struggling for their rights. We may feel helpless as individuals, like a tiny cog in a vast machine, but brought together we can create change. In the final analysis we all have a common interest, and a common humanity.

Join us in finding out the facts, hearing the experiences of migrants and others, and working together on strategies for the future.

Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/101479910299882/

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NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST ATOS HEALTHCARE

September 21, 2011

Friday 30th September – Churchill Square – 12 noon

Performance of Dick Whittington & His Work Capability Assessment – join in & shout at the computer!
Funeral procession for those who have died because of Atos. Wear black!
Leafleting & picket of Atos Healthcare testing centre in Upper North Street.

WHY TAKE ACTION AGAINST ATOS?

Atos Healthcare, a division of IT giant Atos Origin, is the private provider employed to administer the Work Capability Assessment for the Department of Work & Pensions, testing sick & disabled people who apply for benefit.

In 2005 Atos introduced a computer system to assess claimants’ incapacity to work. Almost immediately concerns were raised about assessments performed using the Logic Integrated Medical Assessment (LIMA) software. Advice agencies such as the CAB complained about the inflexibility & inaccuracy of the tests.

More recently the Harrington Report and the Work and Pensions Select Committee, found the Work Capability Assessment implemented by Atos Healthcare to be mechanistic and Atos’ ‘medical reports’ far too often did not reflect circumstances and discussions that had taken place during the assessments (Harrington Report, pp. 40-41).

A large number of those tested are told they are able to work, but many have the decision overturned on appeal. Yet even those who win their appeals are dragged back within a few months for another test. Small wonder that some have decided to commit suicide rather than continually go through this cat & mouse process. Seriously ill & even dying people have been called for assessment, & the recommendations of family doctors & specialists are apparently ignored.

In addition, twelve doctors working for Atos face being struck off for improper conduct, and other members of Atos’ staff are under investigation over allegations of obscene criticism of benefit claimants.

Over time sick & disabled people & their supporters have grown more militant & more vocal in their condemnations of Atos. In return Atos threatened legal action against the Internet hosting companies of three websites – ‘Carerwatch’, ‘After Atos’ and ‘Atos Register of Shame’, attempting to silence those claimants and their small organisations who have had the courage to speak up.

It’s time for a more human medical assessment & the abolition of Atos’s mechanised methods. Time for the dismissal of Atos and the return to a professional medical service, publicly run, and not for profits!

more information at
https://brightonbenefitscampaign.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/employment-and-support-allowance-a-new-harsher-test/

JOIN US IN THE FIGHT!

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AN OPEN LETTER TO ATOS HEALTHCARE

September 12, 2011

The following letter has been sent to Atos Healthcare. Copies have also been sent to The Guardian, The Independent, The Morning Star, The Times, The Financial Times, Newsweek & the Daily Mail. It is written in response to Atos Healthcare’s misuse of the libel laws in a bid to silence their many many critics, especially those who have spoken openly about their bad experiences of the Work Capability Assessment.

The original post Atos objected to can be found at
http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/atos-mach-frei-atos-origin-team-up-with-gas-chamber-firm/

AN OPEN LETTER TO ATOS HEALTHCARE

Lisa Coleman
General Manager for the DWP Contracts
Atos Healthcare
4 Triton Square
Regent’s Place
London, NW1 3HG

Dear Ms Coleman,

We the undersigned individuals and groups are seriously concerned by the fact that Atos Healthcare, the provider of the Work Capability Assessment for sickness benefits, has threatened legal action against the Internet hosting companies of three websites which circulated letters from sickness benefit claimants – ‘Carerwatch’, ‘After Atos’ and ‘Atos Register of Shame’ (now relaunched as ‘A### the Truth’).

These websites have given members of society who are often isolated and have traditionally found it difficult to take joint action, the chance to come together and share their experiences. We find it unacceptable that a large IT company, which receives £100m per year for their assessment of claimants, has deployed their legal department against individuals or small organisations who dared to circulate people’s comments and concerns about their treatment at Atos’ hands.

As acknowledged by both the recent Harrington Report and the Work and Pensions Select Committee, the Work Capability Assessment implemented by Atos Healthcare was found to be mechanistic and Atos’ ‘medical reports’ far too often did not reflect circumstances and discussions that had taken place during the assessments (Harrington Report, pp. 40-41). In addition, ESA claimants have now been told that twelve doctors working for Atos face being struck off for improper conduct, and other members of Atos’ staff are under investigation over allegations of obscene criticism of benefit claimants.

Atos Healthcare has given assurances that the shortcomings identified by the Harrington Report are being addressed. Yet many claimants are still experiencing the distress of poor and rushed medical assessments based on Atos Healthcare’s computer programme.

Amid growing concern that Atos Healthcare is failing to raise its methods and professionalism to acceptable standards, the company is now attempting to silence those claimants and their small organisations who have had the courage to speak up. At a time when we see that major corporations such as News International are able to use the threat of legal action to hide their wrongdoings, it is important that Atos’ actions are brought to account.

It is also the case that government bodies are unable to sue for libel. Atos’ argument is that they are taking legal action to protect their business reputation, but in this case they are performing the work of the DWP, and receiving public money for doing it.

For these reasons, we ask that Atos withdraw all threats of libel action, that they publicly guarantee that they will not in future use the libel laws to close down criticism of their practices, and that they make a public apology to those individuals and websites which they have tried to silence.

Yours truly

Brighton Benefits Campaign
Brighton & Hove TUC Unemployed Centre
Caroline Lucas MP
Amanda Sebestyen Writer
Paul Smith Atos Victims Group
Holly Smith (President) Brighton and Hove Trades Union Council
Brighton Keep Our NHS Public
Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition
Brighton Disabled People Against Cuts
Ipswich Unemployed Action
Disabled People Against Cuts
False Economy
Southampton United for Pensions and Public Services
National Coalition for Independent Action
Redhill Coalition Against Cuts
Lewes Stop the Cuts
Art Uncut
DLA Help Group
The Broken of Britain
WinVisible (Women With Visible and Invisible Disabilities)
Suffolk Coalition for Public Services
Queer Resistance
Newport Trades Union Council
Cornwall Anti Cuts Alliance
Cornwall Disabled People Against Cuts
Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group

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Al Jazeera reports on Atos Healthcare’s bullying tactics

September 2, 2011
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Brighton – May Day Workers Festival

April 27, 2011

Friday 29 April    NEVER MIND THE WEDDING    Caroline of Brunswick  7.30pm

Folk, Punk, Pop & Poety.   £5/£3.   Proceeds to Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=214005165281841

Saturday 30 April   BRIGHTON MAY DAY:  Mass Street Party & Protest  12 noon 

Brighton Benefits Campaign / Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition meet 11.45am Churchill Square 

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=200471133315559

Sunday 1 May  RECLAIM THE GAME    Manor Road Gym, Bristol Estate 10am

6-a-side May Day Football Tournament. £50 a team in aid of BStCC.  Click here to sign up…

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=134761603257433

Sunday 1 May  INTERNATIONAL WORKERS’ DAY RALLY!  Jubilee Square  5pm

Socialist choir,  bands,  comedy,  speakers,  stalls,  food and drink.   Donations to BStCC welcome.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=192431677466274

Monday 2 May THIRTY YEARS OF THE BRIGHTON & HOVE UNEMPLOYED WORKERS CENTRE Hollingdean Community Centre  1pm

Family day, with music from singer-songwriter Mike Terry, speakers, drink, food and fun.  Donations welcome.

Saturday 7 May  ACCESS IN ARLINGTON RAMBLE 

Organised by Action For Access.  Donations welcome

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=153218378069789

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Lord Fraud to visit Brighton on Wednesday

January 23, 2011

David Freud, welfare adviser under Labour (introduction of ESA, use of private providers, bullying the unemployed) & now working for the Con-Dems (slashing housing benefits, use of private providers, bullying the disabled) is visiting Brighton on Wednesday 26 January. This millionaire merchant banker had to apologise for giving misleading figures on benefit fraud because of complaints from church leaders. His comment on a report that homeless families in London could increase by 5000 because of housing benefit changes was that “people will have to move” and “adjust to where they can afford”.

Freud will be at the Housing Benefit Office in Bartholomew Square at 9.30am. If you would like to tell Freud what you think of his welfare reform advice please come along & give him a warm welcome to our city.

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SHUT DOWN TAX DODGING VODAFONE ROUND 2 – THIS SAT 30th

October 28, 2010

London: Meet 11am Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park. Saturday 30/10.

Invite everyone you know to the facebook event:

THIS SATURDAY WE WILL MEET IN OUR HUNDREDS TO SHUT AS MANY VODAFONE STORES AS POSSIBLE IN CENTRAL LONDON. IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE LONDON, WHY NOT MAKE THIS A NATION WIDE ACTION?

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Protestors shut down Vodaphone shop and occupy Lloyds-TSB branch against the spending cuts!

October 27, 2010

Earlier this year the government waived Vodaphone’s £6bn unpaid tax bill despite claiming this much had to be saved from the welfare bill. Read the full story here:

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/laurie-penny/2010/10/vodafone-police-young-hear#reader-comments

And here’s a link to a blog with more info:

http://ukuncut.wordpress.com

And a branch of Lloyds-TSB in Glasgow was occupied last Saturday by another group of people protesting against the government’s spending cuts:

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2010/10/21/group-campaigning-against-government-cuts-stage-protest-at-glasgow-bank-86908-22649053/

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Three Voices at the Marlborough Theatre

October 16, 2010

Three Voices is an event at the Marlborough Theatre in Brighton showcasing the work of three local playwrights.

Craig Jordan-Baker has very kindly decided to donate his share of the proceeds to Brighton Benefits Campaign,  and to publicise what we do and why.

The plays will be performed on Monday 8th & Tuesday 9th November at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £5 in advance & £6 at the door.

http://www.facebook.com/index.php?#!/event.php?eid=145590812149017

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Brighton Benefits Campaign Picket 8 October

October 3, 2010

Join us in a picket of private providers of the Flexible New Deal.
Friday 8 October – meet outside Brighton Station 10.30am.
(rescheduled from 39 September)