My own personal revolution began in 2013 when I read about the bedroom tax. Finding out that two thirds of the people affected, were disabled and needed those spare rooms for equipment or were being forced out of specially adapted accommodation, shocked me.
So began a journey into previously unexplored territory. I started to look beyond main stream media and the news on the TV. I was horrified by the Government’s proposals to reduce the welfare state and our public services in the name of austerity. This led me to The People’s Assembly and because there wasn’t a local group, we set one up in 2013.
Our group has had some local successes, joined national actions and grown in confidence and size since then. We demonstrated against the closure of children’s centres in Swindon, joined the 250,000 strong demo in London, had a big ‘refugees welcome’ rally, have set up SHAC to address the housing crisis in Swindon, have attended council meetings, signed and shared petitions and raised awareness of issues by writing to the local paper, getting published in local media outlets and writing to our MP’s and councillors.
On 5 December 2015 a group of us went to the National People’s Assembly Conference. I looked at the issues raised in the motions and felt a great sense of pride: defending our education, hands off our NHS, local authorities and councils, disability and mental health, tackling the housing crisis, welfare not warfare, refugees welcome, no to TTIP, the EU referendum, building our strength.
The People’s Assembly really are a movement which cover the things that matter. We will be working with other groups and people in 2016 to defend our services and to find alternatives to the cuts. We have a tough job ahead of us.
I know that a lot of people think we can’t make a difference, but we have much more strength if we join forces and stand together. Some people believe there is no money for these vital services which enrich our community and keep us all safe but the richest 1,000 people in the UK have doubled their wealth since 2008. I urge you to look at the People’s Assembly and what we do. I also urge you to investigate the reality behind the headlines. For those of you who already know these things, I urge you to have polite, fact filled conversations with anyone who is willing to listen.
Let’s stop blaming the sick, disabled, unemployed, refugees, migrants, low paid, public sector workers, the economy and the deficit on our situation and look towards government, financial institutions and big business. There are alternatives and if we work together and keep talking to each other a peaceful revolution in the way people think and then act, can be achieved.