Who’s talking?

Linda Burnip from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

“We emerged, after the protest at the Tory Party Conference last year, without having planned to set ourselves up. We are a campaigning group against cuts which attack disabled people. We use all sorts of tactics ranging from trying to take legal action against the government to direct actions.”

Lani Parker from Islington Disabled People Against Cuts
“We are basically a Islington based off shoot of DPAC.”

Jim Cranshaw, Oxford Save Our Services
“We set up when the coalition government was elected. At the time in Oxfordshire it didn’t seem that anyone was campaigning against cuts and also that people didn’t seem to realize what effects the cuts would have. We thought they should be angrier and more mobilised. So we started by getting anti-cuts messages out though the media and through movement-building, petitioning and leafleting around our area. The message was that the cuts were unfair and unnecessary and that they would be harmful to people like us. We are a part of an alliance in Oxfordshire so between us we use tactics like protests, a lot of media stuff, direct action, the works.”

Jane Laporte, Haringey Housing Action Group
“We work with people who have particular housing problems. As part of Haringey Solidarity Group and also as the Housing Action Group we are involved in the local borough-wide alliance against the cuts. At the moment we are trying to pull together different groups across the borough: unions, for example PCS and Unison, or groups who work with homeless people to see how we can have a wider campaign about cuts to housing benefit and other welfare benefits. That is very much in its infancy.”

Pragna, Southall Black Sisters
“We are in a slightly different position in the sense that we’ve been going for years and years. We are a service, advisory and campaigning organisation and I suppose our strength is our advocacy and campaigning work, managing not to lose sight of campaigning while providing services for black minority women who are vulnerable due to gender related violence in the home.”

Helen Lowe, Women Against Fundamentalism
“Most of our activity the last few years has been trying to influence policy documents, consultation documents and so on and trying to influence legislation on equalities and so on. Although we keep an eye on campaigns that are going on, our particular interest is to look at what religious forces are nosing in on campaigns and so on and acquiring more power through legislation. Particularly we were concerned with the Equalities Bill and how it gave more power to religious organisations to identify themselves almost as an oppressed minority. We’ve done a lot of theorising and some of us are quite itchy to get out there and do more campaigning.”

Ellie Schling, Hackney Housing Group (part of London Coalition Against Poverty)
“Hackney Housing Group was one of the first two groups in the London Coalition Against Poverty. We called ourselves a coalition before we were. Now we actually are a coalition and it’s been an interesting process getting here! Hackney Housing Group is very similar to Haringey Housing Action Group, we have meetings twice a month. We come together to update each other on our personal situations and campaign as much as we can and form alliances with other organisations.”

Harry McGill, Welfare Action Hackney (part of London Coalition Against Poverty)
“We came together as a group just over two years ago as a result of bad treatment received by many people at the Job Centre in Hackney, which is where I joined up. A lot of the abuse that people were receiving there was pretty bad to say the least. A lot of people had been laid off for no reason, nothing to do with them, because they were considered surplus labour. They are bullied and treated unfairly for a pretty small amount of money, which is Job Seekers Allowance. To add insult to injury many people have had their money stopped for trifling matters and we have come to their assistance and defended them as much as we can. ”

David Milner, Islington Poverty Action Group (part of London Coalition Against Poverty)
“We are part of LCAP. We set up about ten months ago, starting from a meeting organised by a couple of people from the Hackney group. We are a self-help group of people on benefits, and what we do is a mix of helping people and campaigning to try to get changes in the system.”

Helen Lowe who participated in the roundtable as a member of Women Against Fundamentalism died in her sleep on 12th June. She was central to WAF’s work. Helen is deeply missed by her partner, family, friends and all the women in WAF. 


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