How is an Activist Born…

It’s amazing how circumstances can change your out look…

What are the circumstances that would change you from the archetypal mild mannered citizen, to the protester, activist, activist blogger or creator of a movement?

For me it wasn’t the student fees protests although as  a teacher that almost swayed me…

It wasn’t the riots because it didn’t seem like much of a protest…

It wasn’t the police over reacting to any kind of protest, kettleing being for me the low point, from a force that is supposed to protect citizens human rights…

nor was it the Occupy Movement, which i still whole heartedly support…

none of these things made me sit up and say oh my god I need to do something …

No not even being found ‘fit for work’ by the now notorious ATOS, WCA, created that set of circumstances, because I had a plan for that eventuality. I would add to my already P/T teaching hrs and go self employed working round my health (Fibromyalgia)( because I fully expected to have my health problems ignored by such an unfeeling ‘unfit’ process to asses my invisible medical problems. So being one of the lucky ones I opted for work choice and created Ravenswyrd Designs ( and no I’m not to proud to advertise it here… Still a work in progress…

No none of these things, all though, all worthy reasons to get involved, where the catalyst for me…

So what was my catalyst?

For me it was the release of the ‘Responsible Reform Report’ AKA the ‘Spartacus Report’ ( As I run two FB Fibro support groups,(UK FIBRO   and CORNWALL FIBRO I have to be benefit aware so I can provide information to my members. I had begun to follow the governments plans to change ESA and DLA, via the Welfare Reform Bill. I was horrified by what I was hearing and how it would effect the people I help to support. This fear was only heightened when I heard about the work that Sue Mash and Kayla Franklin and their companions who despite overwhelming odds and serious health issues, took on the government, by releasing the RR report and delivering it to the lords.

The RR report based on FOI request, was an analysis of the proposed changes and draft regulations for PIP the new benefit designed to replace DLA. After my experience with ESA and my fears and worries for other people like me. I said to my partner, I have to do something, I cant sit by anymore, and watch this tragedy unfold…

However I had no idea how to do this, but I started to follow, blogs, FB Groups, read the news and slowly I realised something serious was happening, something dangerous, something so scary I didn’t want to believe it at first. The disabled community, genuinely sick and disabled where being attacked not by the changes to benefits although they are utterly merciless and not ‘fit for purpose’ but by the media and the government who had begun and continue to systematically down grade the sick and disabled from valid and equal members of society  to a drain on society, fraudsters, and scum, the lowest of the low in their eyes (something that has happened, once before in history, with horrifying consequences).

With headlines like 54% (April 2012) of sick and disabled found ‘fit for work’, ignoring the 40% of successful appeals. And the news papers who began cheering along like an audience at the colosseum, baying for blood as more and more articles appeared, that splashed hate against the disabled across their pages, inciting the public to new height of hate crime against us. Despite fraud levels through sickness and disability, being the lowest of all benefits at a tiny 0.5%. And all this with no mention of the fact, that the human rights of the sick and disabled people, where being trampled all over and no coverage on any of the major news networks, of the protests being held in the capital by disabled people.

So it was with all this going on that  I started thinking of getting more involved and having joined the Spartacus Report ( FB group I found myself answering a call for volunteers… and as they say the rest is history…

But blowing my own trumpet is not what this blog post is about…

Having got involved in Spartacus in a small way, I found myself working with other people doing things like helping to write open letters to the government, or writing to MPs etc, protesting Workfare for the disabled which is intended to be mandated and indefinite…

This started me thinking… And now I’m getting to the point honest…

This is how resistance begins, by word of mouth, although this generations word of mouth covers continents and oceans in seconds. Through the internet and social networks, protest and resistance has taken on new meaning. And this could not be more true than for the disabled community, who for generations, have had their voice go unheard, such as the voice of the house bound,  but no more… From the well known, Diary of a benefit scrounger, blogs (, and Benefit scrounging scum,blogs ( and many, many more, as well as information and news groups like Social Welfare Advocacy ( and their new Social Welfare Union( To the quiet, loan and emotive blog by Helen Sims (  who’s voice in previous times would never have been heard . A new voice of disability is starting to be heard.

The time for disability activism to re-emerge is upon us, from the protest in the street by groups such as DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts (, The Black Triangle ( and UK Uncut (, to groups like Spartacus ( that seek to inform and support, the disabled community to have a say,and engage in a dialogue with the changes as they happen.

For me, now is the time, to try to make a difference, if not to the whole then at least to the few. For many like me that time has come… I feel privileged to be among the many, many people, who have said this is the time for action this is the time to be heard… before we loose the ability or the rite to be heard…

Now is the time and our limit has been reached  we will not go quietly…

So for me the circumstances have come together to make me act even if I have to do it alone, but I know I am far from alone, in this fight…. Dxxx


10 Comments Add yours

  1. Bill says:

    I refuse to be slandered by vile Hurrays, lied about by the now eviscerated BBC, bullied by the jobsworths at the DWP, used for profit by Atos and cornered into the Virtual Workhouse. I will be the moving forest that the Scottish King was arrogant enough to believe could never come to Dunsonaine.

  2. Jane says:

    Fabulous, fabulous post Debbie, love it, love it, love it 🙂 So inspiring; you are an inspiration xxx

  3. Jane says:

    Reblogged this on Jane Young and commented:
    This is the most inspiring article I’ve read in a very long time. Read it and be encouraged…

  4. Amy Hamilton says:

    There is one thing people could do and that is sign Pat’s Petition which is asking for a pause tocuts to benefits and services and for the Government think again -

  5. The Goldfish says:

    Thanks so much for this. So many previously non-political disabled people – even folk who didn’t identify themselves as disabled before – have become politicised by the cuts. We have an almighty battle on our hands, to avoid the reversal of decades of progress towards equality, but what we definitely do have is strength in numbers. 🙂

    1. ravenswyrd1 says:

      I’m pretty new to this so thanks… I agree if we can get organized i think the powers that be are in for a shock if they thought we are an easy target… Dxxx

  6. NTE says:

    Powerful post.

    1. ravenswyrd1 says:

      Thank you… Dxxx

  7. Thank you for this inspirational post. The Goldfish is right, we are facing ‘…an almighty battle…’ and it’s time to for everyone to play their part.

    BADD 2012 has produced some excellent posts by people like yourself who are on the front line. My eyes have, quite literally, been opened to the problems facing us.

    Thank you.

    Cheers! 🙂

    1. ravenswyrd1 says:

      Thank you Gary, its all pretty new to me as well 🙂 all we can hope for is to influence change… welcome to the fight lol Dxxx

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