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, 5 October 2015

Working for an Alternative Economic Policy in Europe: the EuroMemo Group meeting in Roskilde.

Further austerity imposed, democracy attacked – the third bailout of Greece in July 2015 has demonstrated the brutal face of neo-liberalism in Europe. Refugees in need at the doors of Europe and the governments of the European Union (EU) member states are squabbling over the allocation of small numbers of refugees across the EU, numbers which the comparatively wealthy EU should easily be able to accommodate. These events provided the dramatic background to this year’s EuroMemo Group’s conference Addressing Europe’s Multiple Crises: An agenda for economic transformation, solidarity and democracy, held at Roskilde University/Denmark, 24 to 26 September. In this blog post, I will make some personal observations.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Alternatives to privatising public services!

‘What we are for is equally important as what we are against’, declared Dexter Whitfield in his presentation ‘Capitalist dynamics reconfiguring the state: alternatives to privatising public services’ to a packed audience at Nottingham University on Wednesday, 16 September. Hence, when contesting privatisation of public services, it is not enough simply to resist these processes. It is also necessary to put forward concrete alternatives of how to organise and deliver these services differently from within the public sector. In this post, I will summarise some of the key points of the presentation, which was jointly organised by the Bertrand Russel Peace Foundation, the local University and College Union association and the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Resisting Privatisation: Assessing the impact of the ECI 'Water is a Human Right'.

The first European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) on ‘Water and Sanitation are a Human Right’ was an enormous success. Between May 2012 and September 2013, an alliance of trade unions, social movements and NGOs succeeded in collecting close to 1.9 million signatures across the European Union (EU), thereby reaching the required quota in 13 EU member states (see Against the grain: The European Citizens’ Initiative on ‘Water is a Human Right’). In this post, I want to evaluate the outcomes, the concrete impact this campaign has had on EU policy-making drawing on interviews with key activists as well as documentary research from November 2014 to July 2015.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Against the grain: The European Citizens’ Initiative on ‘Water is a Human Right’.

Between May 2012 and September 2013, close to 1.9 million signatures were collected throughout the European Union (EU) and formally submitted to the Commission for the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) on ‘Water and Sanitation are a Human Right’. While impressive in itself, it is not only the large number of signatures, which is a sign of success. The ECI, based on a broad alliance of trade unions and social movements, was successful at a time, when austerity policies were enforced across the EU. It, therefore, went completely against the grain and in opposition to dominant forces pushing for further neo-liberal restructuring. In this blog post, I will discuss the main factors underlying this success: (1) the long history of water struggles; (2) the unique quality of water; and (3) the broad alliance of participating actors.  

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Analysing Global Capitalism: the centrality of class.

The recently published collection of essays by Hugo Radice on Global Capitalism (Routledge, 2015) represents impressive global political economy scholarship across three decades from the 1980s to 2011. Radice makes two key contributions. First, he successfully re-asserts the importance of focusing on class and class struggle in analysing the global political economy. Second, he provides insightful criticism of ‘progressive nationalism’, which is highly relevant for the upcoming debate over UK membership in the European Union (EU).

Monday, 31 August 2015

Labour and Transnational Action in Times of Crisis

From August 2013 to June 2014, the trasnational labour project group came together in Oslo to work on the project Globalization and the possibility of transnational actors: the case of trade unions. One of the key publications resulting from the project, the edited volume Labour and Transnational Action in Times of Crisis, has just been published by Rowman & Littlefield International. In this post, I want to draw out briefly the two main common themes underlying the various contributions as well as highlight a number of key findings.

Friday, 14 August 2015

The Next Revolution – Questions to Murray Bookchin.

Over the last weeks, the Marxism Reading Group (MRG) of the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) at Nottingham University has read the book The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy (London: Verso, 2015) by Murray Bookchin. In this post, six members of the group critically assess different aspects of the book in their questions to Murray Bookchin.