s | 14.09.2010 17:22
For some time now East Bristol Debtors Alliance has been organising around the question of debt and what we can do about it.
We have been running twice monthly drop ins at Kebele Social Centre which are open for people who are in debt to come along, have a chat and a cup of tea and work out together what they need to do. It's not really advice, more support, although we do have experience in advice work so can offer information from our own experience.
For some time now we haven't been getting the numbers of people coming to the drop-in that we expected. One thing we want to do is to expand our members. We want more people who are experienced in debt advice, legal advice or advocacy. We also want strength of numbers so we are after people who are willing to be called up at short notice to attend an action. We also want people who have ideas on different places to do the drop in and different ways of trying to grow this thing.
So this Thursday if you are in debt , then come along and we will work with you. Or if you want to get involved then pop in and say hi.
We are also starting to ask the question 'Does Bristol need a Coalition against Poverty?'
Last Saturday at the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP ) did a workshop on direct action casework detailing examples of how they have build up a radical network taking action (and winning!) on problems with benefits, housing and work. Looking at their website (http://www.ocap.ca/) it is inspiring but for this thing to happen it needs a large amount of people willing to get involved.
During the workshop we talked about how this could work in Bristol. The tactics they use are simple. If someone is getting messed about by the benefits system, then they will send a letter asking for the correct decision to be made. If this has no response then they will picket and then if necessary occupy the office until it's resolved. They often ignore official 'appeal' procedures and bureaucracy and still get results. They are led by the people affected , this is no paternal vanguard.
As well as this they also campaign on broader issues like raising the minimum wage to a living wage.
So if this is something you are interested in then please come along on Thursday 16th September between 7 and 9pm. It's at Kebele Community Co-operative, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 6JY
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty : http://www.ocap.ca/
East Bristol Debtors Alliance: http://www.eb-da.org
What is Direct Action Casework?: http://www.lcap.org.uk/?page_id=55
Original article on IMC Bristol: http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/693462