Taken from the excellent DPAC website along with an apology for sharing the #endtheawkward campaign last year. As a newcomer to disability activism I am still learning, but DPAC have opened my eyes to the condescending, corrupt policies of so called charities.
SCOPE announces: “We are reinvigorating the disability movement” SCOPE for Change.
How dare they!
Here’s the problem: SCOPE is not and has never been a part of any so called ‘disability movement’, whatever that is. It’s a multi-million pound disability charity whose existence demands that disabled people are oppressed, vilified and subjugated. Their sales pitch depends on it-why would they change anything?
There’s a difference between organisations ‘of’ disabled people, which is those led and run by disabled people, and those ‘for’ run by non-disabled people. The ‘for’ organisations rarely, if ever, include disabled people in any positions of power. Yet, they are arrogant enough to speak for us and claim to know what disabled people want and need. Then they rattle their tins for us and we don’t see a penny.
Imagine that process applied to any other equality group: a set of men speaking exclusively for womens’ issues, white people speaking exclusively for people of colour- Each claiming to know better what those groups need, collecting money on that flawed basis –and keeping it!
SCOPE names itself as a disability charity, but its a corporate entity with an income of £101.1 million in 2015. It has senior staff on £150,000 per year. SCOPE is not and has never been part of any ‘disability movement’, like other charities SCOPE is part of the disability business- its just another parasitic corporate entity.
As things get worse for us, money rolls in to SCOPE from those that don’t understand the grassroots politics of disability. A grass root politics that rejects charity, rejects others speaking on our behalf, rejects the colonisation of disabled people as quazi representatives of the charity corporate business brand.
SCOPE like all the other big disability charities make money from disabled people- the worse the crisis gets for us -the better it is for them: donations soar, their overpaid elite get salary increases and disabled people remain in exactly the same place in society.
We don’t need or want disability charities. We need actions, strong voices critical of government, and mediocre organisations withdrawing from government groups. Groups such as Priti Patel’s apparent ‘task force’ set to advise on ‘support’ for those in the ESA WRAG group who’ll lose £30 a week from April 2017.
How could any group, charity or even user-led organisation even agree to this travesty? SCOPE and others may say they’re doing it to ‘help’, but collapsing into little government clichés doesn’t help-refusing to engage and rejecting the very idea that some disabled people will have 30% of their income removed does.
We’ve seen the lengths big Disability charities like MENCAP will go to keep their MP patrons-patrons who voted for the 30 pound cut to ESA are not being sacked-so whose side are they on? It isn’t ours.
Now SCOPE gather some young disabled people and dare to announce they are ‘reinvigorating the disability movement’ what next? And what types of campaign will these people be directed to?
Remember the awful ‘end the awkward campaign’? A patronizing piece of expensive rubbish brilliantly critiqued by Brain Hilton.
Remember the ILF /DPAC campaign against the ILF Closure? When some from the ILF campaign group insisted on writing to SCOPE to ask them what they were going to do, multi-million pound SCOPE told them it wasn’t in their program and to get in touch with DPAC.
When DPAC protested outside SCOPE’s offices in 2013 SCOPE used it as publicity to tweet they’d had a productive meeting with us!
When SCOPE , bizarrely, decided to celebrate 20 years of the Disability Discrimination Act in 2015 with an exhibition of ‘the disability movement’ we were confused but saw it as a way for them to avoid challenging the decimation of rights today. A decimation that initiated the UN Inquiry by four people from DPAC not by any multi-million charity, remember.
When SCOPE announced closure of residential homes in a newspaper without bothering to tell the residents, it said they were developing independent living. They were losing loss making inconveniences and selling them off.
When SCOPE was exposed by Boycott Workfare for entering the government market for the punitive workfare regime for disabled people in 2012-they claimed it was an ‘isolated incident’, and amazingly claimed to have no idea of compulsion or sanctions for disabled people.
The slogan ‘Rights not charity’ is a stalwart of the disabled people’s movement for a reason. We want human rights, justice, and equality –not charity models that present us as pitiful, vulnerable creatures to be saved by the collecting tin.
The vicious attacks on disabled people by this government, and attacks by new Labour before them, has not moved SCOPE to do anything other than produce intermittent bland and meaningless media statements.
But they wouldn’t do anything else would they, because they sit at the governments table, enjoy funds from government departments and are doing very well. They’ve done very well since 1952 when they were set up as the Spastics Society. They had an expensive brand change to SCOPE in 1994 because they thought that the Spastics Society just wasn’t modern enough.
They stole our words, our lives, our campaigning terms and put the social model of disability on their website- a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It didn’t wash then and it certainly doesn’t wash now.
Neither SCOPE nor any other multi million pound big Disability Charity speaks or acts for disabled people-we speak and act for ourselves.
For the young campaigners who have unwittingly joined SCOPEs latest public relations/donations campaign, albeit six years into the biggest assault on disabled people’s lives in recent history. If you want to make a change do it with a user-led disability organisation ‘of’ disabled people or set up something your selves.
Please though, above all, read up on the history of the struggles of disabled people to free ourselves from charities incarcerating us in institutions, speaking on our behalf and making millions on our backs-understand the slogan ‘Rights not charity’!
And for SCOPE forget ‘end the awkward’ #endthebullshit because most of us aren’t fooled.
SCOPE still spends 22.4 million on residential ‘care’ for disabled people
Big thanks to Bob for the title