Scrap the Welfare Reform and NHS Bills - sign here
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Scrap the Welfare Reform and NHS Bills
We are protesting against the Welfare Reform and NHS Bills because they are life-threatening. Tens of thousands of people are already dying because of fuel poverty, being made destitute, refused survival benefits, dependent on foodbanks, thrown out of jobs, forced to move homes and schools; much of the NHS is already privatised and if the Bill goes through and is implemented we face losing guaranteed free healthcare – many asylum seekers are already denied it.
We refuse to pay for greedy bankers, landlords and corporations. We are not tax dodgers, we don’t have offshore accounts. The government has no right to take our money to pay for their friends and their obscene life styles while we suffer.
In the 1940s, people who had sacrificed so much felt entitled to a world where we mattered – a life without the constant threat of war and poverty. Family allowance, income support, unemployment and housing benefits, sickness and disability benefits, a state pension, the NHS and free education assumed that everyone contributed and deserved to be looked after "from the cradle to the grave".
Entitlement fostered not only dignity and respect, but decent wages and working conditions for those of us in work. The social wage ensured that we could turn down starvation wages because no one would be made destitute. When we are threatened by destitution, decent wages and hours cannot be maintained.
Since 1979, the free market has determined social policy; the welfare state, Britain’s most civilised and civilising legacy, has been undermined. That’s because none of the three major political parties has stood with us – instead they called us workless, work-shy, scroungers, fraudsters. People on benefits have been forced into workfare (i.e., £1.63 an hour) and prisoners made to work for corporations for £2 a day; sick and disabled people are found "fit for work" even despite terminal illnesses; immigrant people who work long hours without contracts, job security or benefit rights, are attacked for “taking jobs”; older people told that their pensions will be postponed because living "too long" is considered not a blessing but a crisis; and the vital work of mothers and other carers has been disregarded and dismissed. And while there’s no money for us, there’s money to bail out bankers and to wage war, despite the will of the people who opposed both.
Why would corporations pay a living wage or any wage at all if they can get claimants and prisoners to work without one? We are expected to compete with Chinese workers, 600,000 of whom drop dead from overwork every year. The Chinese, like the rest of us, are demanding better wages and working conditions – and the welfare state is part of that. We refuse the race to the bottom. People are getting together internationally to raise everyone's standards, not to lower them. If we worked shorter hours, as workers in France and Germany do, we would all be better off.
Without welfare with the NHS at its heart, society is destroyed. We believe that we are our brothers and sisters keepers and stand for rights and compassion. The Global Occupy movement has shed light on the causes of the economic crisis and how as the 99% we can refuse to pay for them. The anti-workfare movement has already defeated much of what they had in mind for us. We can do the rest. We can stop implementation of these Bills. Whatever aspect of the Bills we have been organising against, we oppose them wholesale, and we are determined to fight together until they have been scrapped.
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For more info: Single Mothers’ Self-Defence firstname.lastname@example.org
WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities) email@example.com
Global Women’s Strike firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7482 2496
Signed on 1 March 2012 by:
Adam Lotun Workplace Disability Adjustments also Disabled People Against Cuts
Alistair Murray Housing Justice
Cari Mitchell English Collective of Prostitutes
Claire Glasman WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities)
Cristel Amiss Black Women’s Rape Action Project
Dave Skull Mad Pride
Dr Ron Singer President, Medical Practitioners Union-UNITE
Eleanor Lisney Disabled People Against Cuts
Gay Lee palliative care staff nurse
Giorgio Riva Payday men’s network
Jean Cozens Mental Health Resistance Network
Kim Sparrow Single Mothers' Self-Defence
Krishna Wati Hounslow Pensioners Forum & Hounslow Disabilities Network
Lisa Longstaff Women Against Rape
Mary-Ellen Archer Disability Network Hounslow
Michael Harding Precarious Workers Brigade
Nina López Legal Action for Women
Pat Onions Pat’s Petition
Rev Paul Nicolson Chair of Zacchaeus 2000
Sara Callaway Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike
Sarah Louise Smith Sex Workers United
Selma James Global Women's Strike
Sian Evans parent
Shirley Pearson Mad Chicks
Tony Flint Gulf War veteran
Victor Logan South East London Direct Action Network
Co-ordinator of Global Women's Strike
Quoted in NY Times Op-Ed: Pay People to Cook at Home!
Speaking at The Life and Legacy of C.L.R. James Conference
In the Guardian: From welfare to wages, women fight back against the uncaring market
More Guardian articles
Listen to speak in Ireland: "How can women defeat austerity?"
Other countries we work with (so far...)
Sojourner Truth Radio
Margaret Prescod on Sojourner Truth Pacifica Radio, KPFK, Tuesdays.
News on US domestic & foreign policy. Cutting-edge interviews with women, people of color & others around the world.
KPFK's Margaret Prescod named Best Radio Personality - 2012 by OC Weekly!
Sojourner Truth website
UK Fri 17th May 13
Letter to The Guardian reporting on launch of petition 'Invest in a caring society. A living wage for mothers and other carers.'UK Thu 16th May 13
Messages of support to launch of petition Invest in a caring society. A living wage for mothers and other carers.UK Thu 16th May 13
Mon 13th May 13
USA Sat 11th May 13