Ralph Boes, 54, has not eaten since November 1 and, he told the Stuttgarter Zeitung on Monday he would not stop his protest until his demands are heard. Until then the occasional cup of vegetable stock will have to do.
Boes refuses to label his protest as a hunger strike, preferring the idea that the government has punished him with starvation. The job centre recently cut his monthly jobseeker’s payment to €37.50 – a tenth of what it was. It still pays his rent.
He denies bringing the situation upon himself by turning down multiple job offers, saying that as a trained and experienced occupational therapist, it would be unthinkable to work in a badly paid, unskilled job.
He turned down shifts at a call centre for €7 an hour, calling it “slave labour”, while a job in the office of a temping agency would make Boes what he called a “slave master” both of which were, morally, not options for him.
Instead, he wants an unconditional basic income paid by the government for everyone. In the fight for this, it was time that someone trying to be heard, “replaced their voice with their life.”
“I’m being punished to the point of death,” he added. “But I will not die, I will win.”
Boes told the paper he believed a basic income should be available to everyone from the government to fund them to do what they consider right, important and sensible.
Until then, he said he was recording his daily activities and weight loss in a blog – he has lost nearly seven kilos in the last nearly three weeks.
To the critics who have labelled him a parasite, Boes said “I asked them what they think of bankers; whether they too are not parasites?”