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.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

How to ensure the Human Right to Water in the EU: A new study by EPSU.

The European Commission published its proposals for a Recast of the Drinking Water Directive, 1 February 2018. They include amendments to guarantee vulnerable groups access to safe and affordable water. The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) has welcomed these suggestions as a step towards realizing the Human Right to Water in the EU regretting that the Commission stopped short of recognizing the UN right in EU legislation. This guest post summarises the findings of a new study commissioned by EPSU, which goes into more detail on what the European Commission can do to build the frame in which the Human Right2Water can be realized (see PSIRU 2018). The main recommendation is that the Commission should cease all actions that endanger this right.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Turkish labour under deteriorating socio-economic conditions: why is there no united front?

Turkey, a peripheral country with poor working conditions, has been subjected to an anti-labour regime and severe capitalist exploitation under the consecutive Justice and Development Party (AKP) Governments since 2002. In this guest post, drawing on her article Countering globalization and regionalization: is there a united front within Turkish labour and disadvantaged groups?, recently published in the journal Globalizations, Elif Uzgoren discusses the possibilities of the Turkish Left to mobilise for an alternative to neoliberal restructuring.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Trump, the rise of China and labour: What future for ‘Free’ Trade Agreements?

What are the implications of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? How does the rise of China affect global free trade? And perhaps even more importantly, what should labour’s position on free trade look like? In this blog post, I publish the interview, which I gave to Bruno Dobrusin from the Argentine Workers' Central Union (Central de Trabajadores de la Argentina, CTA) addressing these and related questions about the future of ‘free’ trade agreements.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Food Poverty in the UK and the possibilities of food sovereignty policies

The Food and Agriculture Organization (2003: 29), states that ‘food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs’. The British government currently utilises food security in departmental policy papers, emphasising the aim of improving trade relationships, in which food is considered a market good as part of neo-liberal frameworks such as the World Trade Organisation (McMichael 2003: 171-2). While popular assumptions relate lack of access to food to developing countries, food poverty is becoming more well-known in the UK due to the growth of food banks. Recent estimates state that 8.4 million of the UK population are undernourished (Taylor and Loopstra 2016: 1), forming the basis for many of the arguments concerning the necessity of change in UK policy (Taylor and Loopstra 2016: 1). In this guest post, Yasemin Craggs Mersinoglu assesses the UK’s food system by looking at the central concepts of food security versus food sovereignty.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Reflecting on Latin American alternatives to global capitalism

The socioeconomic landscape of Latin America by the end of the 20th century epitomised perfectly the relenting and damaging effects that neoliberalism had on the countries of the Global South, bringing poverty and instability to an already vulnerable continent. In response, a number of left-leaning governments and movements, known as the ‘Pink Tide’, came to power at the cusp of the 21st century. No longer would Latin American societies have to live and work within countries that had downsized their public sectors and deregulated their labour markets. In this guest post by Magdalena Tanev, the governments of Bolivia under Morales and Venezuela under Chávez are compared to understand the means necessary to reject the neoliberal economic model. Additionally, she will look at the experience of the EZLN (Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), which emphasises an autonomous form of government in defiance of the Mexican state, to establish whether taking state power is the most effective way to resist global capitalism.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

In whose interest? The need for a new economics.

The global financial crisis shook the global economy in 2007/2008 and its fallout can still be felt in the form of high unemployment, permanent austerity and wage stagnation. In the immediate aftermath, many started to question the neo-liberal assumptions about the benefits of the ‘free market’. Had it not been the deregulation of financial markets and here in particular the financial markets in the US, which had caused the crisis in the first place? And yet, almost ten years later, neo-liberal economics continues to reign supreme. In this blog post, I will assess the strange non-death of neo-liberal economics and its implications for the politics of the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

Friday, 1 December 2017

The Struggle for Development: CSSGJ Annual Lecture 2017.

On Monday, 27 November Ben Selwyn from Sussex University gave the Annual Lecture 2017 of the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ). In his excellent lecture, Selwyn drew heavily on his new book The Struggle for Development (Polity, 2017). I will reflect on some of the key themes in this blog post including labour-centred development and the possibility of system transformation through democratisation of the economy.