A Conversation with a Jobcentre Advisor

Originally posted on REALFARE:

Thomas Barlow – @tbarls

Like many people I have been in and out of work over the past couple of years.

Every job is temporary, or low paid, or unspecified hours, or all of them together.  And all of the jobs come to an end.

Recently I decided that I was going to stop this cycle and follow my dream of becoming a writer.  This is it,  this is what I will do, or die in the process.

So when I was told, suddenly, by my advisor, that I had to come in every day to the jobcentre for the next two weeks at least, I finally felt confident enough to speak back.

Though not at the time I was told.  As my interview was ending my advisor told me

“Oh, and you have to come in every day for the next two weeks, starting tomorrow”

“Really?  Oh ok” I…

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I’m With Bob


Remembering Bob

Originally posted on REALFARE:

By Thomas Barlow

So I was going to try and do a tongue-in-cheek, satirical remembrance of Bob Crow that lauded his achievements whilst chastising his enemies in a humorous way, but Mark Steele beat me to that – and unfortunately he is just far better than me in every department. So instead let me launch into a straight, good old tub thumping tirade against his detractors, who hypocritically came out to mourn his death this week.

The amount of stick he got for ridiculous things like daring to have a holiday (A holiday?! IN BRAZIL?! How f***ing dare he?!) may well have been a contributory factor to his sudden and unfortunate passing, so let Boris and the other thoughtless reactionaries shut their traps and consider Bob’s true worth for a moment. I am going to use a phrase that is unpopular because of it’s bland Marxist connotations, but it is true to…

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Stand with us and be sanctioned. Jobcentre bullying at its worst.

Originally posted on The poor side of life:

Today we met at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre for our regular Thursday demonstration. Nothing unusual at that. We are there every week to support the victims of the Jobcentres cruel sanctioning regime. What was unusual was that we were missing a regular attender. A member of the public that often attended our demonstrations. A nice quiet man, well mannered and very unassuming. He can see the injustice of the system. He had however passed a message onto us saying that he couldn’t attend because the Jobcentre staff had threatened him with sanctions for attending. He would however join us at our meeting after the demonstration away from the Jobcentre. When he joined us I quickly interviewed him and here is a transcript of that interview. In his own words. I cannot name him because he is scared. Hes been threatened by the Jobcentre.

“I walked into the Jobcentre for my…

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RealFare Manchester 1st Meeting follow up

Heya!  So much admin, so little time!  We were originally planning to meet on Monday, are you still up for it?
Can you gimme a call either way and let know if you are available to do any of the following?  Could do with the help!

  • We have some speakers confirmed, but will keep them under wraps for the next week or so.  No one huge yet.
  • We will be talking about the action week next Thu in London.  Should have some exciting news to come back with (Murdoch looks like a target now). Some interesting people have come on board
  • Thu 27th – Manchester Uni, Campaigns Bazaar, 7pm (open bar).  We are supposed to be running a stall, could do with some help!
Only need someone to join me flyering for 30 minutes before or after the event (though we can go together and hold hands if you are up for it!)
These are jobs that could be done on the day or (ideally) you could help me out with leading up to it.
  • Organising Camera Crews.  We want to record the main plenary, and some private interviews on the day
  • Sorting Accommodation – for speakers and special guests.  there are places around the city that will help us out.
  • Running a stall, and signing people in – it will be a ticketed event, though this will only matter if we sell out.  But we still want a RealFare stall and Kam and I will be too busy.
  • Help organise an after party? Not sure about this, maybe just a good spacious place to go and eat and drink
  • Help organise food and tea on the day.  People will be hungry and thirsty!  There is a kitchen at the place.
  • Being a runner! Help will be needed to grab people, or direct people, or help out with odd jobs no doubt (like setting up banners, mics, tables, etc)
It’s not sexy, but it’s what makes a great event and helps build the movement!
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Counter Power – Building our own methods of organising life

Originally posted on REALFARE:

Thomas Barlow – @tbarls

Image: Grow Heathrow

Image: Grow Heathrow

Last week we talked about Dual Power…

Yates McKee describes a dual power approach as “forging alliances and supporting demands on existing institutions — elected officials, public agencies, universities, workplaces, banks, corporations, museums — while at the same time developing self-organized counter-institutions.”

This week we look at one specific aspect of that – counter power.  Building the new in the shell of the old.

Below we have a list of organisations that are doing everything from simple basics, like where you put your money and what you buy, to creating whole new ways of eating, building and providing energy.  We don’t want to just be pointing out the flaws in this disastrous system we live in, we want to help find the solutions and get involved.

We hope that in the coming times when people say to you ‘nice idea but it…

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Review: ‘The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It’

Originally posted on REALFARE:

“He is our generation’s Orwell and we must cherish him” is Russell Brand’s somewhat hyperbolic assessment of Owen Jones.  

I must admit that as an Orwell fan I find that a stretch of imagination – even if it is meant in the lighthearted, throwaway sense that Brand peppers the world with.

What is true to say is that Jones is a thoroughly decent human being and a capable political story teller.

Image: Independent

Image: Independent

“The Establishment” is a useful contemporary account of the ruling elite of the UK, with a clear narrative, bags of stats, and some interesting characters that even the most battle hardened leftie will find moving and curious by turns.

He has invited the derision of both the right and the left (though it might be overstating Ian Bone’s petulant stuntism by Class War as relevant), which at least shows the prominence he holds in the…

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RealFare Podcast 4: Real Media

Originally posted on REALFARE:

In Podcast 4, we discuss the Real Media campaign (and how you can get involved), as well as take a deeper look at the propaganda model of news. (Some strong language from outset)

Get in touch with us at info@realfare.co.uk


The International Federation Of Journalists are drawing attention to the concentration of media ownership on their stand up for Journalism day – Europe is as bad as the US


  1. Equal pay? Not yet
  2. Facebook destroying political communication 
  3. Sellin’ Eurostar – we got anything left? 
  4. Today’s Britain – stealing or food banks for the poor – expenses for the rich
  5. British people are still wrong about everything - I wonder why?
  6. The Feminist protest the English speaking world ignored
  7. Russell Brand and David Graeber talk mafia capitalism
  8. Ritzy Cinema in U turn
  9. Student radicals Crowdsourcing buying a castle for refugees
  10. How the Government will mislead you about where your tax…

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