It’s been a while since I posted a blog; with university (postgrad) around the corner again, I am hoping to get back into more of a routine.
One of the byproducts of the riots was the potential for a shut down of social media networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter at times of ‘social unrest’; such an occurrence would have obviously been subjective and misused by the increasing fascist nature of those in power. The government realised that the public wouldn’t allow a move towards China style human rights and that they would have to implement their fascist activities through other channels. Fascist, as a term to describe the worrying political climate developing, may to some seem rather melodramatic; but if you consider the unraveling policies economically, socially and politically there is a strong hint of Social Darwinism – as a response to people who have been oppressed through social conditions and turned to violent activity (as the rioters did), the most violent element of society (as Emma Goldman argues) of ignorance and biased representations is implemented by those in power resulting in people being thrown out of their homes and losing their benefits, for instance. It’s a worrying time. Economic sadism, the restriction of freedom of speech, the implementation of policies where only those with money can survive is a capitalistic form of fascism.
Consider ATOS and the government’s continual support of a corrupt profit driven corporation, with very little to do with understanding disabled people’s needs, as employees are expected to meet targets of assessing 5 ‘claimants‘ (not patients) within a morning or afternoon session, giving only 45 minutes maximum for a thorough assessment. They are an IT company after all. I had it pitched to me that ATOS’s recent closing down of internet sites was a form of internet fascism – and the person had a point.
ATOS Origin, the branch of ATOS dealing with the health assessments etc., have been on a frightful shutting down of websites spree because the websites dare to report the truth in terms of the incompetent, sometimes even lethal assessments ATOS put people through. Carer Watch Discussion Forum was shut down with ATOS not given the Carer Watch any prior warning, instead contacting their ISP to remove the site. This was because of a post that was five months old that linked to another site, the content therefore was not even directly on Carer Watch and still remained on the other site that had obviously not been attacked by ATOS as the private discussion forum had! Carer Watch removed the post and ATOS allowed their site to be reinstated. To read the email exchanges regarding Carer Watch and ATOS check here.
ATOS also threatened Paul Smith with legal action because of his ATOS Register of Shame providing a list of medical professionals who had performed poor medical examinations. Full credit to Paul, as he has set up a new site called A### The Truth, where people can keep providing information about their personal experiences as they had done before on the Register. The fact ATOS can claim libel illustrates the increasingly damaging climate we are in, where a company can have no financial penalties for facing appeals and can carry on making money for destroying people’s lives.
They also threatened AfterAtos with legal action because of one of their spoof designs of the ATOS’s logo (the picture included in this blog is a perfect example), using the words “ATOS Kills” – which is hardly libel given that it sometimes has truth to it! This attack upon freedom of speech is appalling when considering that 1/5th of the ATOS centres do not have wheelchair access, only a 1/3 have on site parking, with many having to walk several minutes to access the site, only 1 centre has car parking facilitates for disabled people and 30 of the centres are not on the ground floor and some do not have lifts! Given that these buildings are there for disabled people to be assessed, this shameful disability provision is disgusting and further evidence of why disabled people have every right to use social media channels to get their voice, so often silenced through oppressive mainstream media coverage, of their REAL experiences!
It’s a time where job centres are being passed around guidelines for people feeling suicidal – the fact that one job seeker worker who has been there for over 20 years said nothing of this nature had been given to workers before (so this obviously covers the Thatcher era) illustrates how frightening the potential effects of the government’s policy changes are:
We were a bit shocked. Are we preparing ourselves to be like the Samaritans? The fact that we’ve dealt with the public for so many years without such guidance has made people feel a bit fearful about what’s coming.”
In a recent Mind survey, they found that at least 3/4s of those surveyed felt worse after their work capability assessments and that 51% of them had been left with suicidal thoughts! This strongly relates to a blog post I did a few months back regarding ethics and welfare. Essentially, the point of the blog was to demonstrate how the increasing interconnection of society is connected to the vulnerability that each one of us has. Judith Butler argues that there is a difference however between those seen as having ‘livable’ and ‘unlivable’ lives, where the former’s vulnerability is respected and cared for, whereas the latter’s is ignored and thus they are treated unethically. This can apply to those who experience ATOS examinations, their vulnerability and the respect people should have for each other is lost as people become mere codes placed into a totally objective inadequate computer system. This construction of ‘unlivable’ lives relates to the current sociopolitical conditions and the rising fascist tide in society, as people who don’t meet the capitalist model are chucked onto the scrap heap as ‘unlivable’ in a Social Darwin purge.
On a personal end note, I was at the London Vegan festival a week and a bit ago and bought an “against fascism, racism and nationalism” patch to sew on to one of my many holey pairs of trousers and couldn’t help but think that now is a time when these words are so true and worth remembering in our fight against this Tory government.