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, 17 July 2015

Greece, the Eurozone crisis and the end of European solidarity?

Image by Wikimedia Commons
After five years of imposed austerity, the Greek economy is on its knees. GDP has declined by 25 per cent, unemployment is at 26 per cent with youth unemployment above 50 per cent. And yet, all the EU has got on offer for Greece is yet more austerity in exchange for a third bailout agreement (BBC, 13 July 2015). Pension reform will be part of the deal agreed at the marathon meeting of eurozone leaders on July 12, as is further privatisation and labour market liberalisation. EU agents will be given oversight of Greek government spending, including a new independent fund that will monetise €50bn in state assets to repay debts.

There is no sign of European solidarity in this deal. It is a punishment handed down to Greece for daring to say no to austerity. The EU was established on the principles of cooperation and mutual support – and many are now wondering what has happened to those aspirations. But solidarity fell by the wayside some time ago in Europe. This is just the most recent example of how European integration today is about profit maximisation for capital – not about cooperation between European people.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Axis of Evil or Access to Diesel? Reflections on the Iraq war.

Photo by Mark Rain
Did the Iraq war simply reflect the unitary decision by the U.S. state to assert its interests in the global political economy or was it the result of co-operation by a group of allied capitalist countries to secure access to oil in the Middle East? Alternatively, did the use of military force reflect the interests of an emerging transnational state? My latest article with Adam Morton, entitled ‘Axis of Evil or Access to Diesel? Spaces of New Imperialism and the Iraq War’ is now published in the journal Historical Materialism and attempts to address these questions.

We analyse the relationship between geopolitical and capitalist dynamics underlying the decision to go to war. Importantly, we argue that only through a focus on the internal relation between geopolitical and global capitalist dynamics can we begin to comprehend the way the Iraq War contributed to the continuation of capitalist accumulation through what we refer to as a strategy of bomb and build.