Kafka’s The Sanction : A Personal Odyssey

Without having done anything wrong
I woke up one morning to find
that I had been ” Sanctioned ” ,
For without knowing it I had ,
at some point in the past
inadvertently expressed an opinion ;

It was that which gave them cause
to raise their euphemistic ” doubt ” ,
then pass on that ” doubt ” to others ,
who then embellished and modified the opinion
I had been reported as having uttered ;

They passed on the rebooted version of my dissent ,

To underline my culpability it was pointed out ,
that the ” good reason ” that I’d have to give
in order to stay the Sanction was itself
not defined in Law,
my ” participation ” in their forced labour scheme
was also a term not defined in Law ;
Although i did not falter ,nor flinch,
nor hesitate ,nor seek compromise
or for my wounds to be salved ,

Thirteen weeks of penury ensued ,
imposed by implacable bureaucratic rules ;

they had achieved their goal,
planting the ball in the back of my net
after first getting the goalkeeper sent off.

None of that is defined in their Law either.

On August 13 2015 I completed a 13 Weeks Sanction imposed by the Department of Work & Pensions
for what they said was my failure to attend / participate in Mandatory Work Activity. M.W.A. is a state-run forced labour scheme onto which long term unemployed are conscripted. Once on it ,they are supposed to initially undertake 120 hours of unpaid work ( 30 hours per week for 4 weeks ). This I was reluctant to do. For full story and background you can visit #DansLaMerde on facebook. Similar State-run forced labour schemes are now the norm in capitalist countries as diverse as Germany and Australia amongst them.
Official estimates for the UK show that 1,000,000 so-called benefits sanctions are routinely issued each year.People are in effect left in the direst of need for the duration of their sanction period.

10 thoughts on “Kafka’s The Sanction : A Personal Odyssey

  1. Kuchibhotla Sarada

    You left the reader speechless giving the clear cut fact of a more personal issue. I wonder how law becomes flexible that they have the free will to change it according to their whims.
    Maybe a person who faces the similar problem can give you more comfort through words or.ideas about it..

  2. Elizabeth Kuriakose

    An intense and poignant write – yes a sheer case of unfairness on their part, helplessness on the writers part!

  3. pramilakhadun

    This is not acceptable in the advanced world we are living today where man’s rights are respected and human values pushed forward to create a better world.The struggle continues dear Louis……..and we poets across the world are with you always.

    1. Louis Kasatkin Post author

      Thank you for your very supportive comments. As not only a Poet,but a life-long political and community activist I accept that whatever befalls me personally is intrinsic to the wider struggle for the liberation of mankind from the global capitalist tyranny.

  4. Sarala Ramkamal

    Humans are growing less-human everywhere in this world now. The greed never ends. A pen best used to call the human in every such ignorant being around us. I am happy it is over anyway. My respect to your will power and maturity to handle such surprise gift from this unfair world.


  5. Santosh

    Kudos to you for this poetic rejoinder to the blows of capitalist tyranny . Pen is indeed mightier than the sword . Fight on through your pen.

  6. Sunil Sharma

    Kafka reborn!
    By re-writing Kafka for our times, Louis Kastakin—the acerbic wit and impatient iconoclast—dramatically demonstrates through this haunting verse that the world first inhabited and then grimly documented by the Great German still continues to be the same. This farce of humanism of late capitalism is tellingly exposed by a political Louis here in this moving odyssey.
    The personal becomes universal.
    Let this confessional poetry be the clarion call for a fundamental social change!
    Let us all invoke the spirit of Dickens!
    System for the human beings! Not the human beings for the System!


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