The purpose of this blog is to provide analytical commentary on formal and informal labour organisations and their attempts to resist ever more brutal forms of exploitation in today’s neo-liberal, global capitalism.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Greece at the ballot box – How should the European left show solidarity?

On Sunday, 25 January the Greek people are voting for a new parliament. According to opinion polls, this time the left party Syriza may win the elections (BBC, 22 January 2015). In view of the heavy pressure put on Greece by financial markets, the European Commission as well as European Central Bank, people of the European left are calling for solidarity. Support is needed especially should Syriza form the next government and demand from the European Union (EU) a re-negotiation of the terms of its bailout package. In this blog post, I will reflect on what form these solidarity actions may take.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Chinese labour in the global economy – What do we know?

From October 2011 to September 2014, we worked on the project Chinese labour in the global economy, supported by an ESRC research grant (RES-062-23-2777, £275k). Throughout this period, Chun-Yi Lee carried out a number of field research trips to China in order to interview workers, labour academics and representatives of informal labour NGOs. We organised a related panel at the World Congress of the International Sociological Association in Yokohama/Japan in July 2014 and held an international workshop at Nottingham University in September 2014. In this post, we provide an overview of the main findings of the project.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

We make our own history – A call to action!

‘As we become political subjects on our own behalf, recognise ourselves in each other and see the connections between our different movements, we come closer to being able not only to articulate the hope of “another world”, but also to bring it about’ (P.209). With these words, Laurence Cox and Alf Gunvald Nilsen conclude their latest book We make our own history: Marxism and Social Movements in the Twilight of Neoliberalism (Pluto Press, 2014). In this blog post, I will provide a critical appraisal of this important book. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Belgium’s “hot autumn”: opportunities and challenges.

Belgium is going through a “hot autumn” with a series of protests and strikes. In this guest post Sacha Dierckx briefly introduces the causes and features of this series of social protests, the opportunities that it brings, and the risks involved.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The People against Capital: Stop-TTIP!

The conflict over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a struggle between different blocs, argued John Hilary, Executive Director of the NGO War on Want and Honorary Professor at Nottingham University, in a presentation at the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) on Monday, 24 November. This not, however, between Europe and the USA or Europe together with the USA against Asia, but between capital on the one hand, and labour, the environment and the people on the other. In this blog post, I will discuss key points of John Hilary’s presentation covering the contents of TTIP, its dangers as well as the mounting resistance against it.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Forget a ‘fair wage for a fair day’s work’?

Struggles between trade unions and employers are first and foremost about wages. What constitutes a ‘fair wage for a fair day’s work’? Indeed, one of trade unions’ biggest success has been to obtain higher wage levels by organising workers into a collective social force, ready to go on strike together if needed. Calls for an increase in the official minimum wage or a living wage are equally over concerns of what constitutes proper remuneration for particular services of labour offered. In this post, I will critically examine the potential of struggles for higher wages for broader changes to inequality and injustice in society.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Struggle for Public Water in Italy

On 9 October, I gave the paper ‘Sic Vos Non Vobis’ – ‘For You, But Not Yours’: The struggle for public water in Italy at the Department of Political Economy, University of Sydney . The paper is about the Italian Water Movements Forum (Forum), a broad alliance of trade unions, social movements, development NGOs and environmental groups, and its successful mobilisation for a referendum against the privatisation of water in June 2011 (see also Road to Victory). Trade unions and other social movements find it often difficult to co-operate due to their different histories and institutional structures, as argued in an article on the European Social Forum. In this blog post, I will analyse how the Italian Water Movements Forum was able to bring together such a wide range of different groups into a successful campaign.