An astonishing piece of gutter journalism has been published by charity journal Third Force News which accuses Boycott Workfare of terrorism and says that charities have been blackmailed into pulling out of unpaid work schemes.
According to Robert Armour, the journalist behind the piece, three Scottish charities including Glasgow the Caring City, have been “blackmailed, intimidated and bullied by campaigners associated with Boycott Workfare”. One charity goes even further saying anyone who challenges the campaign is “subjected to abuse and terrorism”.
The above picture is a message left on Boycott Workfare’s facebook page just two days before the article appeared and which shows that Glasgow the Caring City appear to take a very different view of Boycott Workfare to that presented by Third Force News. They even encourage Boycott Workfare to communicate their positive message to others in the voluntary sector. Which would be incitement to commit terrorism if Third Force News’ claims were anything other than sensationalist bollocks.
The charity who accuse Boycott Workfare of terrorism along with an organisation who claim to have received a threat of arson are not named by Third Force News, so there is little way of checking the truth of these allegations. What is certain however is that Boycott Workfare had nothing to do with this or any other violent threat. To attempt to blame every single incident on one campaign group is as ludicrous as blaming the fucking RSPCA if an animal right’s group torches a slaughterhouse.
There should be no doubt. Threatening workfare using charities or their staff with violence is a dickish way to behave. The person you are threatening might be on workfare themselves for a start. But whilst there are laws against sending communications which are threatening, obscene or designed to cause anxiety there is nothing illigal about firmly telling a charity what you think by writing to them or posting on their social media pages. Or holding a protest outside their premises. That is not blackmail, it is legitimate protest. And that is all Boycott Workfare, and hundreds of other claimants and supporters, have ever called on people to do. In the case of Glasgow the Caring City they didn’t even do that. They merely informed people that an offshoot of this charity were using workfare.
There are dozens of groups actively fighting workfare in the UK and possibly thousands of individuals. Martin Himes, the CEO of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) who publish Third Sector News is one of them. All are resisting in different ways. Some have opted for civil disobedience. Others have protested online. Perhaps as Third Force News claim a few have grassed up charities to health & safety representatives or the local council. This is not surprising given the appalling conditions some people on workfare have to endure. It is hardly fucking terrorism though is it?
The truth is that many people are disgusted that charities are involved in forced labour schemes which are backed by punitive benefit sanctions that are leading to horrendous suffering. These charities may claim that all their forced workers are happy fucking slaves, but they never see the impact on those sanctioned because they couldn’t or didn’t want to work for them without pay. The homelessness that sanctions cause, or people queuing at foodbanks, ill health and poverty. Workfare using charities are responsible for those consequences, no matter how they squirm and spin and try to blame everyone except themselves. To pretend otherwise is shameful. For Third Force News to smear those trying to bring this vile system to an end by publishing ludicrous claims of terrorism is beneath contempt.
Third Force News are on twitter @ThirdForceNews if you want to tell them what you think of this trash (in a non-threatening, non-obscene way of course).
Boycott Workfare are holding a week of action against workfare and sanctions this week, join in and spread the word.
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