Streatham Jobcentre is to become the home of Iain Duncan Smith’s first Re-Education Centre where teams of gormless Jobcentre workers, psychiatrists, social workers and voluntary sector busy-bodies will team up to bully people with a mental health condition into low paid shit jobs as part of their ‘recovery’.
The South London Jobcentre already contains a Living Well Community Hub* where “specialist mental health services operating alongside Jobcentre Plus staff are working together towards a common goal of improving health and well-being and helping people to get back to, or stay in, work.” This is to be joined by a new Increased Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) team who, along with Jobcentre staff, will attempt to fix unemployed people with Cognitive Behavior Therapy and when that doesn’t work probably just stop their benefits.
With forced psychological treatment already threatened for those claiming social security, and moves to increase information sharing powers between Jobcentres and other agencies, these new centres represent the end of mental health services that people who are poor can actually trust. From now on only the naive or inexperienced will feel confident being open and honest with therapeutic staff knowing that a Jobcentre Work Coach is just next door waiting to sanction their benefits. Jobcentre staff, health assessors and charities have already been weaponised against unemployed, sick or disabled people, now nurses and psychiatric workers are also to be drafted into the unceasing war on the poor.
A consensus has emerged amongst politicians, charity bosses and think tanks that unemployment, homelessness or living in poverty are themselves evidence of psychological defects. That if you are unable to find a job – or even worse don’t want one – then there must be something wrong with you, something that can be fixed. And if you are unemployed because you are sick, then becoming employed will cure you. It is utter fucking horseshit and flies in the face of the reality of a low pay economy where work is often bad for your health and four million people are chasing 700,000 jobs.
Those at the top of the Tory Party know what’s really going on. That this is really a blueprint to demolish the welfare state and normalise both unpaid work and desperate poverty for those who can’t find a job. That this will create the kind of ultra-competitive and savage society that bosses want to force down the wages and working conditions of everyone. All Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms are really about is just another wealth grab that will consolidate the power of the capitalist class – the bankers, landlords and business owners who once again think they fucking own us. And if anyone complains that our entire lives consist of nothing more then ceaseless, boring work to increase the wealth of the rich then they will be seen as deviant, in need of forced psychiatric treatment. Or left to starve. Either way they will be ‘helped’ to understand that poverty paid monotonous labour is good for you, and will make you happy and free.
A mass protest has been called by the Mental Health Resistance Network against the new Re-education Centre and which will march on Streatham Jobcentre on Friday June 26. Meet at 1:30pm in Streatham Memorial Garden, more details on facebook, please share and spread the word!
*It comes as no surprise to find homelessness charity Thamesreach at the heart of this initiative, recently even welcoming Iain Duncan Smith himself to visit their Community Options Team in the new centre. Thamesreach’s strategy to end homelessness has long been to make the lives of homeless people as difficult as possible in the hope that this will cure them. This is the so-called charity that warns people not to give money to beggars because they are all druggies, that thinks increasing the price of Special Brew will stop people being alcoholics, that has teams of outreach workers harassing homeless migrants by telling them to go back to where they came from and who teamed up with Tory Westminster Council in their failed attempt to criminalise feeding homeless people. Whilst Thamesreach has been pursuing these policies the number of street homeless people has doubled in the capital. You can see why they would get along with Iain Duncan Smith whose attempts to fix poverty by making the poor poorer have only succeeded in creating more poverty.
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