Over the last year the North East of England, particularly Sunderland, has seen demonstrations by several far-right, racist and fascist groups such as English Defence League (EDL), British National Party (BNP) and Northern Patriotic Front (NPF) ostensibly about plans for a mosque in the Millfield area of the town. The BNP also tried a similar campaign in nearby Pallion regarding halal products in a sandwich shop.
In response to the European call out for a day of action against capitalism on March 31st, Lincoln Underground Collective will be continuing the picketing of Workfare exploiters such as Poundland, Greggs and Dorothy Perkins.
This will follow on from the protest on Saturday 3rd which was called by Lincoln Youth Fight for Jobs which around 25 people picketed Primark, Burtons and BHS who are involved in scheme. We quickly gave out all our flyers (see Posters, download & distribute). Passersby reacted positively to our presence, lots of people approached us for a chat and some more joined us as we moved on to different shops.
So, on Saturday March 31st we will be out again this time with more banners, more flags and more flyers! The action aims to make workfare unprofitable so the bigger the crowd, the better the effect.
Actions will be happening across the country with South London Solidarity Federation promising direct action against workfare.
The time of the picket will be up soon. More events will also be announced nationally.
Make sure the government aren’t able to brush this under the carpet, keep up the pressure: we aren’t going anywhere.
Saturday 3rd March @ Stonebow, High Street
The Con-Dem’s coalition has backed down on the threat to Job Seekers Allowance over the uproar of the forced labour scheme, ‘Workfare.’
However, the government and the naturally greedy corporations hope this concession will be enough to take the wind out of the sails of the snow balling campaign around Workfare with their typical political half-lies and misinformation.
The facts remain:
- Not all sanctions have been removed
- Workfare is ONLY one of FIVE government work schemes
- The largest scheme ‘Work Program’ can see benefits lost for up to SIX months
Workfare screws us all over (well except the rich of course)
There is little argument that Workfare is a blow to the working class. Experience stacking shelves and sweeping floors offers no help finding a job. Employers have exploited the paranoid media frenzy that decries every claimant as a lazy scrounger, whilst brazenly ignoring the almost non-existent job vacancies. They have spun the lie that what is in the interests of private enterprise and government is somehow in ours.
Whilst workfare is in place with or without JSA sanctions there will be less paid jobs. Employers have used the scheme to replace paid jobs with slave labour. For example, Tesco shed 18% (3,500) of its jobs before applying for 3,000 workers under government schemes, never too shy to increase their profit.
Perhaps it is no over exaggeration to say people lucky enough to have work should be more worried about Workfare. If companies are able to use government sponsored slave labour then, as proved by Tesco’s, they will slash their workforce on the payroll. In turn this will increase national unemployment and when people are desperate for work with they will be willing to work for less and less undercutting each other towards a race to the bottom.
How long can the paltry safety net of the minimum wage hold out under the pressure, especially once sanctions remove benefits and plunge people into poverty?
It’s certainly not the unemployed who should be blamed. Capitalists screw their suppliers, and then screw their workforce and then the consumer. Throughout the economic mess profits of the big corporations only continue to rise. This speaks volumes.
The movement against workfare is growing stronger by the day with corporations and government running scared blaming the bearded and cloaked Anarchists and Trotskyites.
The Tories have already called upon the jack-booted Police to stop protests on Saturday.
It’s been successful so far because people are not asking for concessions; they want the DWP to clearly state the Workfare program is over.
Neither is it looking for politicians or leaders to offer us solutions. It is out of the control of government or negotiating organisations like unions. The movement aims to hit profits by directly stopping sales. When workfare is no longer profitable companies will pull out, not when they believe it to be morally dubious.
This is what scares them and will force change.
Saturday 3rd March
Protests against workfare will be taking place in 35 (and counting) locations tomorrow as part of a National Day of Action called by Boycott Workfare. For the latest details of all protests visit their website at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=359
We will be out in Lincoln. Plans are to meet at the Stonebow on the High Street @ 12.00
See the Facebook Event.
This is a personal account and is not the necessarily the views of anyone else who associates with LUC.
A few folk from LUC went up to Manchester for the first day of the Scummy Party Conference (bet you know which one) along with another thirty-odd thousand people to show a visible opposition the Tory party cuts.
We joined the feeder march as it moved along the main road. Mainly full of youth it was a lively mix of people with varying political and non-political beliefs. Anarchists made up a decent sized proportion collecting around the many Red and Blacks.
Forward Intelligence Teams, as always, were wearing out the springs on their posh new equipment happily snapping anyone looking as radical as a toddler or custard pie thrower. The photo-shy amongst us masked up which prompted some curiosity from a union member as for the need for creating a ‘bad’ media image, as if a mask itself causes trouble to occur.
Photo taken from truth-reason-liberty.blogspot.com because I’m in it
With a slow pace the feeder moved forward linking in with the larger union presence. Approaching the Manchester City Hall a fragment broke off to occupy the cobbled square. Calling themselves Occupy Manchester, the group slash collection of groups, aimed to create a space in which debate and free assembly can take place. Occupations being a very much activist past time the main procession took little interest and continued along the pre-planned route. This seems to be the flaw in the growing occupations movement across the States and the UK, although they can gain media attention they do not incorporate the mass of people which cannot attend and therefore don’t manage to spread the word of radical politics. Demands upon the elite lack any backbone and aid in reinforcing the occupation as an unorganised lobbying group or simply a stunt. The focus on a certain geographical setting, whilst creating a brand ‘Occupy Manchester’ and helping to focus worthy interest leaves a vacuum after its departure of self-organised structure which has the possibility of seriously confronting the Jack the Rippers in Parliament.
I left the square during the beginning of the assembly and slipped down the sides of the march as it squeezed through the bottle necks created by the anti car bomb barricades. Further ahead I reached a group of more mature unionists holding PCS banners aloft. As they passed the conference building no opportunities were missed to throw abuse at the cowards hiding behind the pale curtains. All around me screams of ‘scum’ were hurled across the barricades. Real, authentic class anger is definitely in the atmosphere which is simply being stifled by weak union leadership which has no real interest in that of the working class. Those people there wanted direct confrontation with the people cutting their grand kids futures and ending their chance of a comfortable retirement. However, it’s the union leadership which is ironically, but sadly historically, keeping the politicians and capitalists safe from the baying masses by not taking action beyond symbolism. Leaders would like to portray the older generation as rudderless biddies more concerned with tea, biscuits and flower arrangements, but they’ve lived through Thatcher. They know firsthand what’s in store.
The march finished in the park, with speeches of fighting the Tory government, labour battles and so on.
By and large, it was a positive day seeing the presence of so many people all opposed to the new austerity measures but raises the undeniable need for strong community grass-roots organising. The stuntism of Occupy Manchester, the symbolic marches and the one day strikes cannot replace the slow growing spread of radical ideas and alternatives. Anarchists must begin to create an atmosphere within their own neighbourhood of an alternative by communicating in all forms and all places with people usually cut off from our clicky circles. Time may be tight, and this process is the slowest of them all, it will take decades in fact, but it will form a base so strong and organised that people will believe revolution is possible and the rest will take its course.