Iain Duncan Smith’s First Re-Education Centre To Open In Streatham Jobcentre

Johnny Void here describes the latest stage in this country’s descent into an Orwellian nightmare dystopia, courtesy of the Tories. Streatham Jobcentre now has a ‘Living Well Community Hub’, where, as he say in his very first paragraph, psychiatrists, social workers, voluntary sector charity workers and jobcentre staff will bully the unemployed back to work. He makes a good point when he states that this represents the end of mental health care that the mentally unwell can actually trust, as it has been co-opted into the system of benefit sanctions. He also points out the way the medicalization of poverty and homelessness has been used to put the blame for these conditions not on the state of the economy, but on the mental health of the poor and homeless themselves.

As for as the complicity of charities and the voluntary sector in this new phase of politicised medicine goes, he finds it complete unsurprising that Thamesreach, a charity that is ostensibly for the homeless, fully supports it and has invited Iain Duncan Smith to visit their new operations centre. Thamesreach’s campaign to end homelessness has basically consisted of their harassment, coupled with attempts to end private giving to the homeless in the streets, and their feeding by local authorities, as this apparently only goes to support their drug addictions and other problems.

Mr Void also here gives notice that the Mental Health Resistance Network are planning a demonstration against the Jobcentre. They’re planning to march on it on Friday, 26th June. Mr Void’s article contains a link to the Facebook page giving further details.

This latest development bears out an observation J.G. Ballard made a few years ago on future forms of totalitarianism. He said that whereas in the past totalitarian states made little pretence at being about anything other than command and control, in the future they would claim to be about serving the public. Ballard was a high Tory, who believed that modern society had become too safe and so had become suffocating and stifling. Hence novels like ‘Supercannes’ and ‘Cocaine Nights’ described closed, gate societies developing cults of extreme violence, or else were stalked by crazed psychopaths, as a means of restoring excitement, vitality and a sense of community amongst the bored, valium-sodden denizens. His observation was probably meant to be a description of the future of form of the ‘nanny state’ about which the Tories so often howl, in order to justify the next round of cuts and the further destruction of the welfare state. But it does accurately describe this form of politicised psychiatry. This isn’t about punishment, according to its architects; it’s about helping people. They’re to be cured of their mental illness by being sent off to work. Who could possibly argue with that?

In fact, as Johnny Void points out, they don’t help people. They bully them, and seek to dominate and control every aspect their lives. Mr Void has called Streatham Jobcentre a ‘re-education centre’. It’s something of an exaggeration, but only just. It is about re-education, and the psychological destruction of the individual, just like the re-education centres that sprang up throughout the Communist bloc, and which exist even today in the new, capitalist China.

It also recalls the politicised psychiatry in the Soviet Union. There, obedient psychiatrists serving the regime provided them with a new weapon to intern dissidents, who otherwise could be not be easily prosecuted by the regime. As the Soviet Union was the perfect state, only the mentally ill could possibly oppose the state and its version of the Marxist utopia. Hence they declared that a whole range of dissidents, from religious believers to troublesome old Bolsheviks, who took seriously the state’s avowed raison d’etre to serve the workers, were duly locked up as mentally ill. Iain Duncan Smith hasn’t gone that far yet, but the thinking behind the medicalization of poverty is dangerously similar.

It also shows how insightful Orwell was, when he described the way language was perverted to mean its exact opposite in ‘1984’. ‘War is peace’, ‘Slavery is Freedom’ were the oxymoronic slogans of the regime. He based it on the Stalinist abuse of language, but it applies to Iain Duncan Smith’s re-education centre here. All the rhetoric surrounding the DWP is supposed to lead you to believe that it is somehow a caring, institution. You even have a contract with the jobcentre itself. In actual fact, that contract is merely a demonstration of their power over you through a list of obligations, and the DWP and its minions are just bullies. But the whole vocabulary used to describe the process of victimisation and control is there to suggest it is anything but.

And you are expected to internalise this indoctrination, just as the Chinese victims of Mao’s Cultural Revolution were supposed to through ‘self-criticism’, the term the regime gave to their forced confessions of their failings and self-humiliation on behalf of the totalitarian state.

Unlike the Communist bloc, the forms of psychological coercion and control are more subtle. The political indoctrination carried out by the Jobcentre, and their political medicine, is made more plausible by the fact that it is not explicitly linked to the state. No-one is being arrested and interned for ‘anti-Soviet activity’. Instead, the Conservatives are merely claiming to be helping people in accordance to an impartial ideology that is self-evidently true, and not their explicit invention. Some people have mental health problems that prevent them from holding down a job or having a roof over their head. They must be helped and re-educated to make them a proper, responsible member of society. When they have their benefits cut, or are sanctioned, or put on workfare, this is because they have failed to keep their side of the bargain, not because they are guilty of ‘anti-Tory activity’. As the Tories see themselves as the party of business, and the natural party of government, that, however, is exactly what it is.

Despite the rhetoric of liberal capitalism standing for personal freedom, the Tories have learned some of the techniques of control and domination from the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. They’ve just refined them and made them slightly more subtle. And Streatham Jobcentre is just part of the new, subtle, kinder and friendlier authoritarianism.

the void

my-jobStreatham 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…

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3 Responses to “Iain Duncan Smith’s First Re-Education Centre To Open In Streatham Jobcentre”

  1. Florence Says:

    If sending the fit unemployed for CBT isn’t state abuse of psychiatry for political re-education, I wonder what is. If sending those diagnosed with MH problems for CBT (which can damage health further) as the DWP proclaimed “cure” for depression and MH issues, iming them “cured” and hence no longer in need of ESA isn;t abuse, then what is?

  2. conartistocracy Says:

    Sinister and outrageous. The establishment latched onto psychiatry as a political tool early on as it transfers blame for political failure or deliberately destructive policies onto the victims. The relevant subject is sociology which attaches responsibility where it belongs. The fact that it is happening now – attaching the stigma of mental defects to the unemployed is itself a pointer that the establishment is completely aware that their policies are damaging people, and this pseudo-psychiatric innovation is a pre-emptive move to threaten and legitimise seizing malcontents and locking them up in psychiatric institutions “for their own good”.
    First you are pushed out of work. Then you are pushed off benefit. Then jail? psychiatric unit?
    Starting to look awfully like Nazi Germany and we are the Jews.

  3. phobosanddeimos Says:

    The barely ‘edumukated’ quacks that they are using for this are not regulated by the gmc, nmc or even the hpc
    They only understand the first syllable of words like CONsent and CONfidential. And clearly they all think that ‘ethics’ is a place just outside London.

    Their fake ‘therapy’ is just ‘Information Retrieval’ (felt more like ‘Information Rape’ when I found out that nhs frauds had done it to me)… It’s just all about stealing free porn for the Jimmy Savile Fanclub –

    Maybe things would have worked out a bit better for the Jews if they had had pocket HDvideo cameras and youTube (yes it is completely lawful to record / publish / report crime and criminal abuse. And that is what all of this is).

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