Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Atos Mass Read Round Up - Part 3

6.30pm After a slight panic about the livestream link for Joy and Cova's broadcast at 7pm, which Lisa, @living_as_if fielded, we had the link all ready for 7pm. In the meantime, while I'd been cooking tea Melanie, @intastellabella had concluded tweeting David's story. We were all set for the livestream at 7pm, but then we had another technical hitch. Somehow, I managed to miss the beginning, and got distracted by something at home, so missed what Joy and Cova said at the end. But after a few tweets and emails, we sorted it out and found the livestream they'd recorded could be retweeted. You can find their powerful, angry broadcast  here

7.15pm Whilst that was going on, we were able to retweet the story Melanie tweeted and catch up with Lisa @living_as_if 's own personal story. As a member of the collective collecting stories, this was the first time she'd shared her own. It has a trigger warning, but for once, it's an example of an Atos staff member showing a bit of compassion. It does happen, and we should celebrate those people who are able to be humane in the midst of all the brutality.

7.30pm We were able to put up our first podcast as Gram Davis, @Poplarpersona offers wise reflections about the whole WCA/ESA/Atos/DWP experience in between reading stories that speak particularly to him.  We hit another technical glitch as the first reading came across rather echoey. But by 8pm it was all sorted, and it's well worth a listen.

At 8.45pm we began to draw the day to a close. We decided to end, as the Atos Monologues does, by tweeting Karen Sherlock's story on our timeline. I've read this story before, and it always makes me cry. Karen contacted us last year to tell us what she'd experienced. We were so delighted when she'd won her appeal, that her death 9 days later was all the more shocking. As I tweeted, one line jumped out from all the others
" Want to know how they can consider someone who is in hospital on dialysis 3 times a week& recovering inbetween is able to work".

As someone tweeted back to us "Who on earth would do that?" Who indeed?

We finished at 9.30pm 12 hours after we started, remembering Karen, and all those who have suffered, and died under the WCA.

And then, just as we were heading for bed, Jane and Rick from the WOW petition, sent us this last powerful podcast - please be warned, the first story is extremely shocking. But it needs to be told.

All in all, Atos Mass Read has been an amazing experience. We got stories out in a multitude of ways, which we hope reached people who might not have heard of the issues before. We also noticed we'd picked up a couple of trolls last night, a sure sign that all the retweets yesterday had an impact. We'd like to thank all our contributors for their efforts, possibly a first in multi-media artistic protest!


The stories we've been telling are painful, difficult, shocking, horrifying, but we didn't put them out there for people to despair. All our contributors wanted us to share their stories so that others won't have to suffer like this.

So what can you do now?

WRITE to your MP, to Iain Duncan Smith, David Cameron, George Osborne, Esther McVey to tell them what you think about the WCA, and Atos. Tell them it's time to End ESA Now.

JOIN the ESA End Game Campaign

SIGN the WOW Petition and get involved in the battle to save welfare

FOLLOW Bedding Out this week and Fit to Work: Poets Against Atos

BE PART of the Resistance to the War on Welfare, counter every piece of propaganda you read. Challenge every lazy assertion you hear. Pass on these stories wherever you can. Read, blog, podcast, livestream, tweet, do a live event - download them here

Together we can END ESA NOW!

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