On the 26 July Glasgow Against Atos held another successful picket outside the Atos testing centre on Cadogan street. Individual campaigners and members of supporting campaigns and groups took part; Citizens United Against The Cuts, Black Triangle, anarchists, Dundee Against Atos and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! With a strong turn-out of around 30 people, armed with placards and banners, we made sure that both G4S security guards and the police knew that we would stand our ground and not be deterred by their presence.
The picket was taken as an opportunity to give remembrance to the tragic death of Elenore Tatton who died from a brain tumour on 21 April 2013 a month and a half after being found ‘fit for work’ by Atos assessors. This is just one of many similar cases, as the government ruthlessly plunders thousands of people into desperate, and often fatal, situations. In order to symbolise the tragedy of these deaths campaigners wore black arm-bands and had made a make-shift alter with candles.
GAA supporters made a call for passers-by to join our campaign and put an end to this violent destruction of the sick and disabled. Powerful accounts were shared on the megaphone by those personally undergoing Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) speaking of the mental and physical stress caused by them. Campaigners also took to the megaphone to highlight that Atos are ‘unfit’ to sponsor the city’s 2014 Commonwealth Games due to their degrading and punitive practices. Finally recent suggestions by the Minister of welfare reform and mainstream media that Atos should be replaced by another profit making company or that the WCA should be replaced by another assessment were exposed as a sham by campaigners. The war on welfare being waged by the upper classes will continue. We call for Atos and the WCA to be scrapped as part of opposing the war on welfare. We will not accept punishment of the sick and disabled under a different name! The working class and poor are the only people that can bring this welfare warfare to an end by fighting back.
It must be noted that militant organisation against the cuts has evidently caused a problem for Glasgow City Council in the run-up to the Games as Strathclyde Police have attempted to reinforce their power and crush any form of resistance. This obvious tactic led to the arrests of two GAA members who stood trial on 25 July with trumped up charges gained during a Glasgow Against Atos protest. Supporters from the Glasgow Defence Campaign and GAA joined the two arrested campaigners, ‘The Glasgow Against Atos 2’, at the Sherriff Court to oppose the authorities’ use of political policing. Their trial was postponed and they will stand trial again on 1 October. During yesterday’s picket outside the Atos test centre a call was put out on the megaphone to support those facing trial and to point out the importance of joining in solidarity to build an effective defence campaign to challenge such blatant police harassment and repression of anti cuts protest. GAA will defend its right to protest and join with others to oppose attempts to criminalise wider opposition to the cuts!
Finally a member of Dundee Against Atos (DAA) informed campaigners of the work that he has been doing along with others in Dundee. It was urged that GAA members and anyone else support DAA in trying to build a strong and effective campaign which will help put an end to these vicious attacks on the working-class. DAA protest on the first Friday of every month so the next protest will be Friday 2 August, 2-4pm, Greenmarket. Anyone interested or needing help to through through from Glasgow should contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07734348065
Although today’s picket was a success it is clear that effective resistance will only be proved if we join together in solidarity and unite against the Department for work and pensions (DWP) and ATOS!
Join GAA At Our Next Protest
Glasgow City Council Hang Out Your Dirty Laundry!
Saturday 3 August, assemble 11am
Outside Peoples Palace, Glasgow Green.
Bring ‘dirty laundry’ (sheets, t shirts, big underpants, anything you can paint a message on and bring it down) to hang out on the day for all of Glasgow to see!