Created: Tuesday, 10 February 2015 20:21
Written by Scotland Branches
Cover Welfare Sanctions Now!
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!/ Revolutionary Communist Group is a founder organisation of Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions (DAWS). Along with local campaigners against Atos, DAWS was launched on 1 April 2014. Basing itself on regular weekly work and monthly protests at the Dundee burroo - old Scottish parlance for the Employment Bureaux of the 1930's - it has collected thousands of signatures from those going in to sign on at the Wellgate Job Centre. Dundee's holds the record in Scotland for the highest number of sanctions issued there. There were 5,551 JSA sanctions over the period from 2012 to 2014. Those sanctions which can reduce an individual's income to £30 a week, have driven the massive uptake in foodbank usage. It is not an exaggeration therefore to say that bankers are taking the food out of hungry children's mouths - that is the reality. The popular movements against unemployment of the 1920's and 30's called the governments of the day 'baby starvers'.
DAWS stood with Scottish independence campaigners outside the burroo in the summer heading up to the referendum. Alex Salmond was shamed by our intervention into joining the protest for a photo there and pledged to end the sanctions. He remarked on radio that he had noted the queues forming in Dundee at DAWS stalls to register to vote. Dundee's working class gained due recognition as the force behind the highest Yes vote amongst Scottish cities at 57.35%. After the failed vote the Scottish National Party tested the acceptability of its Home Rule position at a national demo in Dundee under the demands 'No to Austerity. Yes to Home Rule'. DAWS campaigners at an organising committee meeting objected to this position, describing Home Rule as a retreat. Some SNP members agreed that it was but accepted it as a necessary retreat. DAWS formally withdrew its support for the demonstration. On the demo itself Home Rule slogans were noticeably absent with the loud and lively chants of 'What do we want? Independence!' and 'End Welfare Sanctions' pre-dominating.
At its first monthly protest of the New Year DAWS launched a new petition targeted at the SNP government in Edinburgh. Just as Salmond had said he was going to hold Westminster's feet to the fire over promised powers for Scotland, DAWS aims to hold the SNP's feet to the fire also. DAWS demands that the Scottish government cover all sanctions losses in the same way as it covered money lost through the Bedroom Tax. The SNP's newly professed commitment to social justice - new leader Nicola Sturgeon has declared it her mission to eradicate poverty - must be acted upon immediately. As James Connolly - who joined the socialist movement in Dundee - recognised, this is the real politics of the stomach. Hungry bairns cannot wait!
Facebook.Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions
By Michael MacGregor
DAWS Statement January 2015
On Friday 9 January campaigners against welfare sanctions gathered outside Dundee's Wellgate Job Centre. Our first monthly protest of the year saw Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions launch a new petition calling on the SNP government to cover the financial losses of those sanctioned, just as those who suffered losses from the Bedroom Tax were supported by the Discretionary Housing Payment fund.
The new petition was well received by the crowds of folk who came over to sign and who shared their continuing direct experience of sanctions. The battle is on!
Campaigners later sat down to plan future work, arrangements and structure:
1) Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions is open, active and democratic. The monthly meetings are open to all who contribute £1 per month to the campaigning work and who contribute to the regular work against sanctions. This active membership will determine and guide our work. Join Us!
2) Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions will also support campaigning work in Perth, Arbroath, Blairgowrie and elsewhere and will co- operate with other campaigning groups like Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty and others, to take forward the fight against sanctions, workfare and other attacks on welfare. Join Us!'
'I have been asked to write something about our comrade Jen Spark who passed away this Xmas. She was dedicated to standing up for those who had the least in society. From being part of the Bin the Bedroom Tax Campaign, then the campaigns against Atos and the Work Capability Assessments, she went on to set up Perth Against Welfare Sanctions- PAWS. She done all this despite having to struggle with her own mental health issues which sadly ended her life. We will never forget our Jen as she played such a big part in our lives. RIP Jen.'
By Ronnie Swinton.
Albert joined us on the regular pickets organised by Dundee Against Atos at the medical examination centre at the Greenmarket. His cheery face can still be seen on the DAA facebook page. He was pleased at the beginnings of protest against the attacks on the poor and disabled and was always urging unity of all campaigners and campaigns. He recognised the obstacles too as he shouted lustily at the supremacist orange walk which was holding up our coach after we tried to leave Glasgow after a march against the Bedroom Tax. We will miss his irreverence and bad jokes and will miss a working class man who stood up with others against injustice.