EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT UNIVERSAL CREDIT: 9th October, Bridport

Hi Autonomy film watchers,

We haven’t shown a film for a while because we’ve been doing other things, but we thought you might like to know about a meeting we’re organising this week.

So many people have been having trouble getting the benefits they are entitled to – or even getting any kind of response – from the new Universal Credit scheme. For some it is causing real hardship. So two members of the Citizens Advice Bureau are coming to explain it and try to help. Please let anybody know who might be interested! Hope to see you there.

Universal Credit: DWP publicity stunt backfires

Anarchist Communist Group

DWP Secretary Amber Rudd is determined to be Boris Johnson’s running mate in the imminent Tory leadership campaign. Her fragile 346 vote majority in Hastings is one problem. Her other problem is her responsibility for Universal Credit and its disastrous impact on working-class households. This in turn is attracting a stream of bad press stories, even in the Mail and the Sun. Not a good look for an ambitious One Nation Tory.

Solution? Suddenly, after years of denial, refusal to release information or allowing journalists to speak to JobCentre staff, the DWP is launching a public relations campaign to persuade the public that Universal Credit is a wondrous and beautiful thing.

A leaked internal memo picked up by DPAC, the Disability News Service and subsequently the Guardian reveals a concerted publicity campaign involving newsprint and TV to “myth-bust the common inaccuracies reported on UC”.

At the end of May, giant ads wrapped around the cover of the Metro freesheet at a cost of £250,000 will be accompanied by a further four-page advertorial feature. According to the leaked memo “the features won’t look or feel like DWP or UC – you won’t see our branding … We want to grab the readers’ attention and make them wonder who has done this ‘UC uncovered’ investigation.” This will go on for nine weeks. The Metro has an estimated readership of 2½ million.

Amber Rudd meanwhile will invite selected journalists to JobCentres to see “the great work we do”. This has already started. Under the headline “I think Universal Credit is great – here’s why’, the Leicester Mercury last week splashed an interview with a job coach team leader at the local Job Centre Plus. The article declares that ‘Living on benefits is not a lifestyle choice’ and repeats the long- discredited myth about intergenerational benefit dependency. When challenged as to why there was no mention of the DWP campaign or the common ownership shared by the Leicester Mercury and the Metro, the reporter in question insisted that it was an interview and not an advertisement.

To cap this publicity campaign BBC2 will be screening a three-part “documentary” which is “looking to intelligently explore UC” by filming inside three jobcentres. It will not be reporter-based – no risk of awkward questions. The leaked DWP memo drools about how this will be a fantastic opportunity and how the DWP has been involved from the start. What’s more, the DWP will see the final product before it’s broadcast. The BBC of course denies this has anything to do with editorial control.

Unfortunately for Amber Rudd the whole publicly funded stunt is starting to unravel.

First the leaked memo blew away any secrecy. Secondly, if readers’ comments are anything to go by, the press visits to JobCentres are being seen straight away for what they are, undeclared government propaganda. Thirdly, a House of Commons Select Committee has picked up on the leak and has started to ask awkward questions. Due to the “lack of branding” even the Advertising Standards Authority could become involved.

Above all, what do claimants themselves think? DPAC is quite clear. As reported by the Disability News Service, DPAC has now called on its supporters to visit locations where the free paper is given away – such as train and tube stations – and “remove or otherwise prevent as many as possible” from being read from 31 May.

DPAC is also preparing a dossier of evidence about the DWP-Metro deal to pass to the advertising watchdog, and pledges to “make sure the Metro never want another DWP advert again”. A spokesperson said: “We refuse to be force-fed government propaganda, so we will put a stop to it ourselves. If they want us to be militant, we will be militant. We are not taking it anymore.

Red & Black Telly: I, DANIEL BLAKE – A LUMPEN ANARCHIST VIEW

Looking for hope or leadership and finding it only in Brexit. Isn’t much in evidence elsewhere

Looking for hope or leadership and finding it only in Brexit. Isn’t much in evidence elsewhere

From Kate Belgrave; we’d like to reblog it but it seems to be disabled.

And This time its Personal: Psychocompulsion & Workfare by WellRedFilms.

Published on Feb 29, 2016

“At the very moment when the government is reducing the ability of NHS mental health practitioners to serve those who are unwell, they are investing public money in dubious mental health programs. Unemployed people will be coerced by sanctions into compliance. The government is trying to convince us that unemployment is a mental illness rather than a result of adverse economic conditions created by capital. WellRedFilms explores the underpinnings of the psycho-coercive practices endorsed by the government with leading researchers and the Mental Health Resistance Network.”

A Selection of Especially Stupid Benefit Sanctions

Stupid or malicious? You decide: STUPID SANCTIONS.

URGENT SOLIDARITY CALLOUT FROM DORSET IWW: Co-Op Anti-Workfare Pickets.

We urge all anarchists, socialists and working class radicals in the Bournemouth area to support this action and get this despicable practice shut down once and for all!

Posted on Dorset IWW

Stew Art Original PlacardA local Co-operative store in Bournemouth has chosen to sign up to use the exploitative practice of Workfare or government work programme.

IWW Dorset are outraged that a store that promotes itself as an “ethical employer” is prepared to put fellow workers jobs at risk, as well as paying the workfare participant less than minimum wage.

We demand that Co-operative put an immediate end to this exploitative practice and offer the workfare participant a contract of employment and treat them as an equal team member.

As such we are proposing a rolling picket to inform customers of the situation and allow them to make up their own minds what action they are prepared to take if any.

We are therefore looking for volunteers to man the picket, handing out leaflets at convenient times between 7am and 11pm ongoing as and when people are available.

The picket will operate at any times when we can get 3 or more people to man it.

Leaflets and guidance will be provided for all volunteers.

If you want to help with this action please be in touch, in the first instance by emailing afoolofatook@riseup.net with any availability. Someone will then be in contact with you with further details and rota slots will be prepared.

Solidarity – See you on the streets!