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Solidarity with Tony Cox

Solidarity with Tony Cox

Tony CoxOn the 9th of June WestGAP members joined IWW and Castlemilk Against Austerity in standing in solidarity with Tony Cox of SUWN outside Govan Job Centre. The event took place on the day of Tony’s court hearing for alleged ‘threatening behaviour’ while advocating for someone at a disability assessment in Arbroath. Members of each group stood outside Govan Job Centre and talked to the public to raise awareness of Tony’s situation, austerity and welfare reform.

The shcoking thing about Tony’s case is that he had the right to be at the assessment, and more importantly the person he attended the assessment with has the right to have an advocate present; this is written into the DWP’s own legislation. Despite this many advocates have been wrongly challenged by DWP staff, simply for advocating on behalf of their client at their request. Advocacy is vital to ensure vulnerable and marginalised people aren’t bullied by the state: it should not be punished.

Sadly Tony was found guilty on the 24th of June, with sentencing deferred until July. As he states in the Courier, the judge’s decision cannot be considered impartial, since he admitted to not giving equal weight to each parties’ testimony. In short, the judge was biased:

“In the Sheriff’s words, he preferred to believe the assessment centre witnesses rather than my testimony and that of the person I was advocating for. All in all, it’s a terrible result, and one which I have major trouble accepting.”

“I have no intention if stopping my campaign work and we are going to double our efforts, moving towards direct action.”

“We are now opening ourselves up to arrest every time we go to a Job Centre or an assessment centre and our argument is that we are on the receiving end of partial and politicised policing.”

The judge’s decision demonstrates the partiality of the legal system and the way it is instrumental in the marginalisation, even criminalisation of individuals and those who attempt to uphold their rights. Partial policing, as Tony puts it, is being used to suppress dissent against the punitive Tory welfare system by those who seek only to be treated fairly and compassionately – as the welfare system was originally designed for.

However, rather than being disheartening, the outcome of Tony’s trial should serve to highlight the importance of advocacy work, challenging the corrupt, unfair Tory welfare system and standing up to those who are implicit in the systematic oppression and marginalisation of the working class.

Advocacy isn’t a crime

Featured in this article:

SUWN – Scottish Unemployed Workers Network

IWW – Industrial Workers of the World (Scotland)

CAA – Castlemilk Against Austerity

Pssst…. Next Monday July 4th WestGAP will be at the ‘Tories Out/General Strike’ protest in George Square, Glasgow.

Why not join us and voice your opposition to Austerity? – Details here

ALL WELCOME AT OUR 2016 SKILL SHARE!

No need to register, just come along if you have an interest or experience in any of the below issues
WestGAP Skill Share

Public event: ‘Poverty of the state? The state of poverty.’

Public event: ‘Poverty of the state? The state of poverty.’

 

WestGAP will be hosting a two-part event on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th July at Garnethill Multicultural Centre, exploring the economic logic behind austerity measures and welfare reform.

Friday’s event will provide an overview of the connection between state finance, debt and austerity – ‘why the government’s agitation against “benefit scroungers” is agitation not only against people on benefits but also against other workers’. On Saturday we’ll hold a longer workshop to learn in greater detail about the role of sovereign debt in determining public spending.

Both workshops are open to all. No prior knowledge of finance or political jargon is required. Each event stands alone – you’re welcome to attend one or both.

Poverty of the state? The state of poverty

Friday, July 4 at 7:00pm and Saturday, July 5 at 12:00pm
Garnethill Multicultural Centre, 21 Rose Street, G3 6RE

With the advent of the financial crisis of 2008 and the following world-wide general economic crisis, living conditions for many people deteriorated. This crisis and the reaction to it by capitalist states led to a sovereign debt crisis which governments responded to with further large scale but this time planned impoverishment: austerity.

In these two workshops we want to give an introduction to how the state finances itself – and what for – in order to explain why the state implements austerity and how this economic system presupposes and reproduces poverty in boom and bust.

1. Austerity Talk and Discussion
Friday 4th July, 7pm-10pm
Garnethill Multicultural Centre

In this workshop we want to present and discuss what welfare reform has to do with the UK’s AAA rating, why the benefit cap is an apt austerity measure even though it only affects a small minority of people, why the government puts pressure on people to find work in a time of mass unemployment, and why the government’s agitation against “benefit scroungers” is agitation not only against people on benefits but also against other workers.

2. Sovereign Debt Workshop
Saturday 5th July, 12noon-7pm
Garnethill Multicultural Centre

That austerity is somehow related to how the state finances itself is well known. It is however a bit of a riddle how something with the power to raise taxes – i.e. choose how much money to earn – can be in trouble with paying the bills. Indeed, one response to austerity – by groups like UK Uncut and beyond – is to remind the state of its tax raising powers and to demand “tax the rich” to plug the hole in public finances; so why isn’t this happening?

These workshops are hosted by WestGAP and presented by Critisticuffs.

Please note that although Saturday’s event has level access (and an accessible toilet), Friday’s event will be taking place up two flights of stairs. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

The State of Poverty

‘We are not removing’ report by Dr Kirsteen Paton (2009)

‘We are not removing’ report by Dr Kirsteen Paton (2009)

Has Partick become too Posh?

“Glasgow has become a leader in regeneration for cities worldwide, with such high profile projects as Glasgow Smiles Better, Glasgow Harbour and the 2014 Commonwealth Games. However, regeneration often involves gentrification – a process of class transformation where a traditionally working-class neighbourhood is altered through redevelopment of property, influx of middle-class residents and a subsequent increase in land value. This raises important questions: what is the real legacy of regeneration projects? What happens to the communities living in these neighbourhoods? Does regeneration lead to displacement or does it help vulnerable groups, as claimed? These questions are more pressing given the difficult economic situations faced by many during the recession and, yet, the continued investment into high profile regeneration projects as the 2014 Commonwealth Games.”

Click the image to view the report, or Right Click > Save As to download it.

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