- Date published:
11:14 am, April 24th, 2018 - 17 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Politics, public services, Social issues, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, workers' rights - Tags: liberalism, social work
There’s a good piece over at reimaginingsocialwork.nz dismantling the bullshit that’s oozing from parliament’s select committee process.
I’m not a social worker, and I’ve found myself questioning whether I even support the concept or not. Because if social work is geared towards ‘helping’ people cope in a highly dysfunctional society in such a way as to excuse that society’s dysfunction, then I’d say social work is toxic. If, on the other hand, coping mechanisms are developed while society is simultaneously taken to task, then social work is very much worth while.
That question or tension is addressed in the first two sentences of the linked piece by Emily Keddell.
I wasn’t always pro-registration. Coming from more of an activist background I was suspicious of the role of regulation by a government body when social work is about resisting and ameliorating the harms of the state.
The piece then goes on to address the other big question I’ve had around this Select Committee stuff. See, I’ve found myself asking why it is that certificates and courses are required for jobs as mundane as washing dishes or, if anyone can be employed to do “social work”, then why can’t anyone be employed to be a cop, or a teacher?
Under this stuff that’s coming out of the Select Committee I could be – if the same logic they are applying to social work was applied to those other areas. Emily explains it really well, so I’ll ‘haud ma wheesht’ on what others are explaining better than I could and simply encourage you click on the link that’s been provided.
The last nagging doubt I have (not covered by Emily) is around the motivation behind the Select Committee’s stance. Because if social work is to be politically neutered, then the quickest way to do that is to have things arranged so that any Tom, Dick, Jo or Harry can jump on in there; that employers can ‘work the system’, not simply with an eye to making money, but on behalf of government in “keeping things safe” – to make sure hard questions are never asked and unsettling propositions never get to gather steam.
Pitting qualified and motivated workers against unqualified or unsuitably qualified workers, who may be more inclined to be motivated by the prospect of unpaid bills than by any political awareness, is toxic on many levels. And when it comes to funding, a ‘free for all’ in terms of the workforce, allows government to guide funding towards those safer and less confrontational organisations.
The more I think about this malarkey, the angrier I become. There is nothing progressive in what’s on the table at the moment – neither in terms of worker rights, nor in terms of possible social advancement. As of now, I’ll happily take myself along to “the barricades” if and when they need to be thrown up.