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 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.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Transnational solidarity? The European working class in the Eurozone crisis.

European labour movements are under severe pressure as a result of the global financial and Eurozone crises, which have been used by capital to attack unions and workers’ rights. In our recently published essay in the Socialist Register 2015, Roland Erne and I assess the response of European labour movements to this attack and discuss to what extent relations of transnational solidarity have been established in this process. As Germany plays a central role in the European political economy, particular attention is placed on the role of German trade unions. In this blog post, we draw out some key points of our argument.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The global financial crisis and service provision: The public sector in difficult times.

Public sector restructuring is generally justified with reference to the need to save money in view of large public debt resulting from the global financial crisis. In this post, I want to investigate this claim and unravel the real motivations behind current attacks on the public sector.

National Demo against Sussex University Privatisation - Serena Cheung

Friday, 26 September 2014

The new faultline between networks and hierarchies in China: Where is class struggle?

As part of the Workshop on Chinese Labour in the Global Economy, Paul Mason, the Economics Editor of Channel4News, gave a highly stimulating and thought provoking public lecture at Nottingham University on 12 September 2014. The focus of his talk ‘Digital rebels, analogue slaves? China’s workforce in the 21st century’ was on the information technology (IT) revolution and its implications for workers’ unrest in China. Provocatively, his main claim was that the main conflict is no longer between capital and labour, but between networks and hierarchies (see also Mason, Comment is free, 14/09/2014). In this blog post, I will critically evaluate this claim.