This has been done before and it is not the first call that i've heard for the same. I've never felt able to lead in this way but i've been thinking about things and I am wondering what the interest and commitment would be like.
My first thought was maybe we could add that sad olympic mascot Mandeville to the burning pyres. From this I wondered if we are missing a trick given the Savile outcry.
Some things seem clear to me:
- Disabled Activists correctly promote the social model
- In doing so we sometimes criticise the tragedy model
We make a link between having no equality and the involvement of charities of disabled people in preserving the status quo, presuming to speak for us when we can speak for ourselves, and the investment that is made in them at the expense of under funded Disabled People's Organisations (DPO's).
So it is that a part of our modern movement was made at telefon when we opposed the media and successfully closed it down.
In addition to this we are told that Jimmy Savile was saintly for raising funds for charities. We are hearing that he used his links with charity, the media and care institutions including Stoke Mandeville to perpetuate gross indecencies on our people and others. We hear that institutions were even complicit in this and provided rooms and accommodation where these venal acts were carried out. We are hearing of people in the employ of some institutions, particularly the beeb who knew or suspected that this was going on and they did nothing as this was just the way things were; the dominant culture that prevailed.
We know that abuse is fairly common in institutions regardless of the level of that abuse
We know that abusers actively target good works in the community as a means of reaching their targets and we may not be surprised to one day find out that this includes celebrities who embarrass themselves on the night of Burn Pudsey Friday which coincides with the Children In Need telefon.
We also know that the current economic climate is penalising disabled people. We feel that we are being driven back into the arms of the same charities that have let us down throughout our history. We know that the rights to independence that we fought so hard to achieve through our Free Our People and Civil Rights campaigns are retroactive and some local authorities are proposing institutionalised care as a solution. We instinctively believe it is only a matter of time before the next big abuse scandal hits.
So what do we do about it? Do we call for direct action? Are we capable of making the links between charities, institutionalised care and abusers? Should we still be speaking up for the social model, independent living and against cuts to services?
Should we pressurise celebs who are appearing not to do so until the beeb cleans up its act?
If so who can we rely on to man the barricades? Who is up for it and how are you going to organise?
Replies to this blog would be much appreciated
Given the presumed importance of this blog I have reprinted in my own blog to aid circulation
The We All Shot Pudsey Bear Facebook Group started its Burn Pudsey Friday Event five years ago. It always coincides with The Children In Need telefon event and so if nothing else saves us from watching crap tv with crap celebs doing crap things. So if you are looking for something to do on 16th Novemeber 2012.....
Historically the page started when Clare Lewis sent me a picture of Pudsey with a bullet wound, a gun and the slogan 'I Shot Pudsey Bear'. I found this extremely funny - though its violent content has been much criticised. The picture was used on the page but one of our younger members decided that Pudsey should be feeling sad about this and his manipulation has been used ever since.
Clare and I had a shared experience of being Danners. One of my first actions with DAN, The Disabled People's Direct Action Network was outside the BBC Centre, White City. Some of us used tickets acquired by Nick Saunders to get into the studio and chant Rights Not Charity at Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslyn. I remember Sue Elsgood and Rachel Salmon being there. We were evicted. Burn Pudsey Friday came out of this event.
Marisha Bonar and Dave Lupton have been great supporters of this event, participating and cocntributing images to the facebook page. I have celebrated it myself with the aforementioned Nick and Adrian Wyatt helping me to burn what Marisha calls 'the little yellow bastard'.
What i really wanted to hear about was disabled people getting together, saving their fireworks and bonfires for this event. The idea of sociability and solidarity figured pretty big in my head at the time. I figured that the event could be celebrated individually too and just the idea of disabled people burning Pudsey across the country would conjure a sense of solidarity.
Don't buy a pudsey to burn. That would be to contribute to a cause I don't believe in. Previous burners have used other bears and put a sling across his unblind eye. I usually print the bear out on a piece of A4. I've found it doesn't burn well but, if you buy a newspaper that usually discriminates against minorities, that will usually help him to burn really well. Last year I bought the Express and tore out pages that showed discriminatory views or charity adverts or tragedy model messages and just burned them. The evidence is on the facebook page.
Did it have an impact. Well, DPAC became really direct in taking action this year putting law breaking above and beyond simple theatre so maybe the wishes that went up with that smoke meant something to someone.
Are there other ways to celebrate burn Pudsey Night. You bet there are. Some have suggested direct action. I wonder if any cinema franchises support Pudsey. What would happen if we all went to watch a film together. Its a case of choosing your targets i guess. But having said that doing anything, messing with your imagination, puttiung some art out there. Whatever, its your call. No pressure.
I have a photo journal on flickr which i would like to contribute to DAO for safe keeping, debate and discussion. If anyone can advise me how to do this it would be much appreciated. I have tried Slideshare but my Power Point is too big. I've tried attaching it and mailing it to the Editor. Again its too big. The Power Point is an editted down version of the flickr set. Its about 3,100kb.
Particpation in the first hardest hit march was a fun day out for us as participants. Much more fun than we had a right to expect. It tortured us to decide to go. Other crips would miss out on it, descrying it for being led by organisations for disabled people, those who speak for us at the risk of losing our own voice,presenting our own ideas, which the For's have heard, stolen, misappropriated. Why should we give them credit by filing alongside them in protest. We knew the risk. One of us says almost a year later that they are still being persecuted by radical activists for having the nerve to choose to participate - ah, the rigours of being principled in opposition, the unkindness of friends, the devastation our choices roll out when taken, the risks that were too much to take, the quality of support.
So, why risk it. UKDPC were calling for partcipation under their own banner. it promised to be big. The mass mobilisation of disbaledpeople as a major fighting political force. Some hopes even then it would fizzle out again until the pain behind the vastness of the issue began tobe felt. the issue was important but we could a) support our brothers and sisters, b) make a contribution c) see friends who would go and d) show we were there
We had to find a way to make it acceptable for us, I came up with the idea of cheap photocopied posters reading OF on one side. OFF on the other. We would use these to subvert the march by idenitifyingourselves as OF Disabled People and OFF charities for and the bad intentions of government.
My work stands for what it is on flickr. I'd like to be seen more widely. I'd like this to be a useful tool that reflects the fun and humour of taking action, that talks of friendships that we have, links we make and positions that we adopt. I'd like for it to be useful in discussions we contniue to have about our stance on the tragedy model and its evil practitioners.
I'd also like for the We All Shot Pudsey Bear Facebook Group to be more widely recognised.
Feel free to follow the photojournal and join the group. They are in public domain. Steal what is useful to you in support of our struggle for equality. Use art and action to make your own statements.