The next demonstration in Yeovil, against Atos and the DWP, will take place on Tuesday April 1st from 8.00am to 1pm, at:
Yeovil Job Centre Plus, 29-31 Hendford, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 1UU
We will be demanding an end to the Work Capability Assessment and an end to the unlawful use of sanctions against benefits claimants by the DWP.
There was a press-release thing that came with the mail, so I'm posting that here too:
DRAFT LOCAL PRESS RELEASE FOR NATIONAL AND LOCAL MEDIA AND ALTERNATIVE MEDIA SOURCES
Following the hugely successful multiple peaceful demonstrations held outside ATOS assessment centres on the 19th Feb, a further peaceful demo will be held on 1st April 2014 to highlight the continuing immoral treatment of sick and disabled people.
Campaigner Linda Lauderdale said “We are pleased that ATOS are seeking an early exit from the contract to carry out work capability assessments; however we are upset as campaigners and victims of ATOS that they have tried to smear us with allegations of intimidation. Almost all our major demonstrations were streamed live in February and clips of all of these moments of resistance are available online and show no threatening or intimidating behaviour. This can also be confirmed by the police and union leaders who were in attendance. We will continue to protest until the work capability assessment is carried out by fully qualified doctors who have no targets to cut peoples benefits. We will continue to protest until the victims of ATOS, the DWP and Iain Duncan Smith receive justice and the wrong doings of the individuals involved is acknowledged and addressed.”
The DWP's data show 10,600 deaths in 11 months and requests for information via the Freedom of Information Act 2000 have been met with refusal, due to, they say, requests being vexatious. On Thursday 27 February, MPs took part in a debate on a motion relating to the effects of welfare reform on sick and disabled people. This debate was scheduled by the Backbench Business Committee following representations from John McDonnell and Grahame M. Morris. The Motion, approved unanimously, was
"That this House calls on the Government to commission an independent cumulative assessment of the impact of changes in the welfare system on sick and disabled people, their families and carers, drawing upon the expertise of the Work and Pensions Select Committee; requests that this impact assessment examine care home admissions, access to day care centres, access to education for people with learning difficulties, provision of universal mental health treatments, closures of Remploy factories, the Government’s contract with Atos Healthcare, IT implementation of universal credit, human rights abuses against disabled people, excess deaths of welfare claimants and the disregard of medical evidence in decision-making by Atos, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Tribunals Service; urges the Secretary of State for Health and the Secretary of State for Education jointly to launch a consultation on improving support into work for sick and disabled people; and further calls on the Government to end with immediate effect the work capability assessment, as voted for by the British Medical Association, to discontinue forced work under the threat of sanctions for people on disability benefits and to bring forward legislative proposals to allow a free vote on repeal of the Welfare Reform Act 2012."
Very niiiice show here from Ralph featuring some great music incl. friends - Peverelist, Ashley Paul, Hogge, etc and, er... us.
We seem to get different films down in Yeovil to you cockney hipsters.
Has anyone seen this one, know if it's any good, etc? I haven't seen any reviews. Cheers.
Now, here's a 'band' whose line-up interests and excites me: Ralph, Laura and -- Charles Hayward !
Laura sent me her new CD today - looking forward to having a good listen.
Man, I just dig writing titles like that, because (a) I looove Mad Science; (b) I loooove crazy, edge-of-sanity SF, and (c) my youngest daughter Kid Kid Kid Shirt (aged 9) was asking me about Pluto at bedtime last night (they've been talking about the solar system at school) and wanted to know why Pluto wasn't a planet any more (Her teacher had told them "It used to be one", which had understandably confused her)...
So, tonight -- boy, what a bedtime tale I've got to tell her!
This article is interesting, of course, but perhaps for reasons other than you might think:
"Forget guns, what happens when everyone prints their own shoes?" and / or "Imagine what will happen when millions of people start using the tools that produced The Liberator to make, copy, swap, barter, buy, and sell all the quotidian stuff with which they furnish their lives. Rest in peace, Bed, Bath & Beyond. Thanks for all the stuff, Foxconn, but we get our gadgets from Pirate Bay and MEGA now."
It's interesting to me, firstly, because the tone it adopts has become increasingly familiar in recent months as Futurologists trip over their own feet in a headlong, hyperbole-propelled rush towards some bright, optimistic new corporate-paradigm-bursting, er, future. This Wired-led world of "Well, golly-gawsh, ain't science wunnerful, the way it's gonna free us from the chains of Big Manufacturing / Government. Bye-bye, Statism..." - *fires pistol into the air* / *throws crate of tea overboard* - is starting to sound a bit like, well, some other things that we've already heard before...
I'll take optimism wherever I can get it, for sure... but it's all starting to resemble a re-run of the buzz that circled the early days of the Web, when compound-dwelling survivalists and libertarians started moving in a lockstep migratory formation with baby-boomer burn-outs, cyberpunks and 1st-gen cryptohippies. And look how that turned out: the Internet is starting to increasingly resemble an enormous global mall, while various US government factions and media-streaming cabals try and arm-wrestle one another for control of an infrastructure that they never even built. Most people have never even heard of the Free Internet Movement and care even less as long as they can get Sky Sport for £19.99 a month or gamble on their tablets.
Everything ultimately becomes, I dunno, an opportunity for the same people - or the Sandford-educated children thereof - to exploit and make their first ten mil from. Optimism is quickly colonised by Shoreditch / Brooklyn skinny-jean 'entrepreneurs'.
There were similar waves of future-optimism in the post-war years as Modernism gamely marched into its second phase and industry switched track from manufacturing weapon-parts to refrigerators: the harnessing of atomic power, the conquest of the sound-barrier, of space... you too can own a durable Plastic Kitchen of The Future.
It's good that we seem to be moving towards the outer-suburbs of post-modernism and the notion of futurity is being embraced once again, but I'm suspicious of what - and who - are driving these narratives forward. It's starting to feel increasingly like hollow HTML column-filling and as much as - like David Duchovny - I want to believe (especially in a future full of co-operatively-owned printer-workshops and small-town corner make-places - an ideal that's tough to sell to myself when I see libraries and public facilities closing down wholesale...) I'm increasingly starting to not buy-in to this story.
Admit it - who do you know who can afford to buy - let alone actually owns - a 3D-printer?
The people who might need them the most will be those with the least access to the technology - and to the education needed to even understand or use it.
So, technologies like this tend to initially pool in-amongst well-heeled early-adopters - or (you guessed it!) corporations who contain clusters of ambitious technology-literate employees.
Another stopper of mass-adoption is what I call the Temporal Economy: in a world where effort is increasingly (and brutally) offsourced onto individuals and you're expected to do everything from pay your taxes and utility-bills on-line to banking, shopping and communicating with your kids' school via a remote goat-staring app on top of holding down one - OR MORE! - jobs to make a basic crust AN-N-ND coping with childcare... well, who the fuck amongst even the most sharp-elbowed self-sufficent m/classes has got the time to 3D-print a washer for a leaking tap? I mean, really...?
(Unless those pesky algorhythms really do put 60% of careers on Death Row. But, you know, didn't that narrative get trotted out too during the Industrial Revolution and the advent of affordable desk-top computing?)
Still, there are some interesting ideas in this piece. I particularly like this one: "In a bid to survive, places like Walmart and Best Buy will begin to offer stuff as a subscription... you'll get 200 lbs. of goods per year for a monthly fee of $19.99." Ha! - okay, so your house will become the New Landfill. Quadcopter-drones landing monthly on your drive delivering kilos of toilet-brushes, iPhone cases, plastic washers, soap-holders, pedal-bin components - all that shit you really need in order to survive the Singularity - Plastikdreck, Poundshop Objectkipple.
Wait: doesn't this just sound like Capitalism 3.0 (or 3.9 .. or 4.0.1 .. or... or...)?: the bulk-airlifting of junk. Industrial-scale carpetbombing of crap. The only futurism here, maybe, is the bulking up of the distribution network (Gosh, now which businesses could benefit from that? *strokes chin*) and the reduction of break-of-bulk-points down to atom-thin nano-slivver margins.
Here's my take on 3D-printing as Potential Disruptor of Classical Model Corporatism: why not just reuse the crap that other people throw away?
It's cheaper - free, in many cases - and you still get to cut those Old-fashioned 20th century dinocorps outa the picture.