Whilst there is a lull at work, while the students are rushing to hand in their assignments and swotting up for exams, I came across this old article. The list below is an extract from this link (a personal website). Because of the empowerment angle, I felt it is worthy enough to be filtered out via the web 2.0 arena. Any thoughts anyone?
10 reasons why charities have to go
- We can speak for ourselves. Disabled people prove time and again that we can speak for ourselves. We are our own best advocates. We have created democratic organisations controlled and run by disabled people. Despite this Charities remain run and controlled by non disabled people and often don’t even employ disabled people. The big charities have had 50 or more years to empower us so why haven’t they. Why do we still need them to speak for us?
- Give us the money cut out the middleman. Charities are a major block to disabled people and their organisations receiving direct public support. Charities not only take the public’s money but also actively compete against organisations run and controlled by disabled people to take national and local government money. Whilst disabled led organisations struggle some charities have millions of pounds sitting in vaults doing nothing. Isn’t it about time for the public to donate to the real struggle for disability rights?
- They are part of the problem not the solution. Charities claim falsely to speak for us. They also actively advocate for things that disabled people don’t want. Charities are the main owners of the institutions that we are desperately trying to get rid of. Our segregation in this country is run by charities. Because they never valued our input they will always get it wrong. Charities employ full time lobbyists who whisper in secret in Ministers ears. Its time for an open campaign led by accountable disabled people.
- Who are the great and the good? Who do they think they are? Most charities are spearheaded by the great and the good. People far removed from the discrimination that disabled people experience. They are unelected and unaccountable. Their motivation seems to be driven more by image than commitment. Worst of all it is these very spongers who decide how the cake is cut up when it comes to dishing out the cash the public gives. What gives them the right? Are they so arrogant to believe because they once were famous or are vaguely related to the queen that it entitles them to be experts on disabled people and our struggle?
- Impairment specific causes create division and unfair, unequal competition. Most charities advocate for single impairment groups each one trying to outdo the other in raising funds. The successful ones with more money can spend more money in making money whilst the unsuccessful ones struggle. The richer the charity the more lobbyists it can employ to whisper in the governments ear at free lunches paid for by the donating public. This is a crazy way to distribute the resources needed to create an equal society.
- We are not in control. Whilst the Charities are around it means disabled people are not in control of our own destiny, our campaigns, and our lives. The experience of many disabled people who sit on committees who attend meetings overloaded by people from the charities is that they have no idea that their very presence is oppressive and demeaning to disabled people. Our voice is lost in their confused and incoherent message.
- They send out the wrong message. What messages does all this send out? Disabled people cannot organise, cannot deal with money, cannot speak, cannot think, cannot be trusted, cannot work. In fact we are so pathetic that we can’t even beg for ourselves. Until the charities are out of our lives out of our campaigns this message will persist.
- Our bills not their sell-outs. Charities are driven by money not issues. Charities sold out disabled people when they gave the Disability Discrimination Act the thumbs up. Charities act as a buffer for any government to turn to when our demands are not met or when they need a compromise too far. There is always someone unelected, unaccountable in a charity who will praise the government whatever. So long as the money and peerages roll in.
- Our urgency not their pace. Disabled people who directly experience discrimination have a greater sense of urgency than the great and the good in charge of charities. Charities are directly responsible for the slow pace of change in improving the lives of disabled people.
- Work with us not for us. This does not mean disabled people do not want to work with non disabled people on the campaign for equality. The opposite is true. What we don’t want is non disabled people to work with non disabled people on our campaign. So join us in our campaign. Give disabled people your support and your cash. Lets build alliances between other campaigns for justice and equality lets build alliances with the big social movements. We’ve grown up as a disabled people’s movement its just that some people don’t realise it yet!!!!