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.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Chinese workers in the grip of global capitalism: What possibilities for resistance?

The workshop on Chinese Labour in the Global Economy, concluding a large ESRC research grant project, was held on 11 and 12 September 2014 at Nottingham University, co-hosted by the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Studies (CSSGJ) and the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Politics (CCCP). The purpose of the workshop was not only to understand better the situation in China, but also an aspiration of contributing to the improvement of workers’ conditions. Hence, both academics as well as activists had been invited. In this blog post, I will assess some of the key themes discussed during the workshop.


Thursday, 4 September 2014

The importance of Piketty: What perspective from the Left?

Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press, 2014) has received widespread attention within academia, the media, amongst the Left and across the general public. His criticism of increasing inequality has made him an attractive read for everyone concerned about the devastating results of global capitalism. In this blog post, I will critically reflect on the implications of this attention for the Left.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Unravelling Capitalist Globalization

Despite the prolonged global economic crisis since 2007/2008, neo-liberal economic thought and practice continue to reign supreme. In his important book Capitalist Globalization: Consequences, Resistance and Alternatives (Monthly Review Press, 2013), Martin Hart-Landsberg makes a number of key interventions unravelling the myth of neo-liberalism as well as the dynamics underlying capitalist accumulation.

Monday, 28 July 2014

The struggle against water privatisation: Victory for Greek union and social movements.

Proposals to privatise the water company in Thessaloniki/Greece were overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum on 18 May 2014 with 98 per cent of votes against. In this guest post, his third contribution focusing on the privatisation of water, EPSU's Jan Willem Goudriaan gives an update of the struggle of Greek workers against the austerity policies imposed upon them.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Exploited for a good cause? Campaigning against unpaid internships in the UK charity sector.

Unpaid internships in businesses are considered by many to be unfair. However, what if this unpaid work, takes place in a non-profit organisation purporting to fight poverty and human rights abuses? As an intern for such a charity, Vera Weghmann campaigned for workers’ rights, especially union recognition and fair pay, while she was expected to work for free! Despite her great admiration for this charity she and her fellow interns decided to campaign against this injustice. After six months they had successfully managed to stop the charity’s use of unpaid internships. In this guest post, Vera Weghmann tells her story:

Monday, 21 July 2014

Hope for Change? Critical reflections on the potential of a renewed Labour government.

With the 2015 general elections on the horizon, there is again a sense of optimism amongst left, progressive forces in the UK in view of a possible victory by the Labour Party next year. After years of one austerity budget after another, brutal cuts to public spending, job losses across the economy and intensified privatisation of the public sector, removing the current ConDem government has become ever more urgent. Nevertheless, what can we actually expect from a Labour government? In this blog post, I will critically reflect on this issue discussing two recent events, Len McCluskey’s, the general secretary of the large trade union Unite, almost unconditional support for Labour in the elections (BBC, 30 June 2014) and the Labour Party’s unwillingness to endorse and support the strike by public sector workers on 10 July 2014 (OTS News, 9 July 2014; Labour List, 8 July 2014).  


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Form over Contents or the misguided discussions over the new President of the EU Commission.

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, was defeated in Brussels over his attempt to block the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as the next President of the European Commission, and yet celebrated at home in the UK for making a stand against the appointment of a federalist at the helm of the Commission (BBC, 30 June 2014). In this blog post, I will argue that these discussions between federalists, striving towards a more strongly integrated Europe, and nationalists, attempting to protect national sovereignty, are fruitless and misguided in view of the EU’s current economic and social problems. They privilege the form of integration over its contents, thereby blocking more substantial questions of how the European political economy should be organised.