Politicians of all parties and public authorities assume that unemployed and low-paid workers just didn’t offer themselves and their labour intensively enough and in the right way, that they didn’t engage enough in self-promotion as entrepreneurs of their own labour power. With this attitude the needless human suffering that accompanies austerity, ascetism and hard work is consolidated. The logic behind this is that in capitalism humans always have to do something for being considered their right to live.
The change of law concerning Hartz IV now states that those who increase, maintain or do not reduce their need of assistance have to pay back the Hartz IV benefits already received and do not get further benefits in the future.
Increasing one’s need for assistance means to endure every occupational situation in order not to have to apply for (more) Hartz IV. Bad conditions include excessive working hours, work intensification, subcontracted labour, senseless work, mobbing as well as unpaid extra work. If you quit your job because of this, to make matters worse, you become a debtor of the jobcenter. If you refuse a job, you do not only risk a 30% sanction of your unemployment benefits but on top a refund claim because of „antisocial behaviour“ (sozialwidriges Verhalten). And the wages expected in the future are only paid as loans.
In this way people are pressed into exploitation at work, having to justify themselves in the case of job loss and beg for whatever job available. We from the unemployment initiative call this forced (extra) labour under the impression of the punitive state. And we are against it. Today it may be widely accepted as reasonable to be forced to produce unnecessary rubbish that harms humans and environment or provide useful services as unpaid volunteers. Our vision of a good life looks different. Contact us if you are put under stress by the jobcenter. If you want to file an objection against the accusations of the jobcenter there is suspensory effect on the refund claim of the jobcenter.
Basta and Berlin Migrant Strikers.