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.

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.


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Low Pay at the University of Nottingham – the students’ perspective.

In the morning of 14 November, the Living Wage/Anti-casualisation campaign at Nottingham University held a big ‘clean-in’ protest in the courtyard of the main University building (Nottingham Post, 14 November 2017). The broad alliance of campus trade unions, student societies, Students’ Union officers and Nottingham Citizens called ‘on the new Vice Chancellor, Shearer West, to “do the right thing” and commit the university to paying all its staff, including cleaners and other low paid workers, the Living Wage’ (Andrea Oates, Ceasefire, 15 November 2017). In this blog post, I will present several of the speeches by students, supporting the campaign.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Out of the Wreckage – George Monbiot on a new politics in an age of crisis.

At a launch of his new book Out of the Wreckage, jointly organised by the Five Leaves Bookshop and the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) at Nottingham University, George Monbiot reflected on the possibilities for a new politics in an age of crisis. In this blog post, I will discuss some of the points he made during his presentation.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Beyond Defeat and Austerity: Disrupting Neoliberal Europe.

Despite increasing inequality and social deprivation in Europe since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2007-8, right-wing parties, such as the French Front National and the German Alternative for Deutschland, have benefited the most in recent elections. Does the electoral failure of the Left indicate that there is no progressive resistance against austerity and neo-liberal restructuring in Europe? Not so say the authors of Beyond Defeat and Austerity: Disrupting (the Critical Political Economy of) Neoliberal Europe. In this blog post Andreas Bieler and Adam David Morton provide a critical review of the book and some pointers as to wider debates that it may inform.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Modes of Production and Forms of Exploitation: Understanding Capitalism.

In his remarkable collection of essays Theory As History (Brill Academic Publishers, 2010), Jairus Banaji makes two significant claims about how to conceptualise capitalism and our historical understanding of it. First, capitalism as a mode of production cannot be reduced to the specific form of exploitation around wage labour; and second, understood more broadly, capitalism also needs to include the period of ‘commercial capitalism’, pioneered by Islam in the Mediterranean area as early as the eighth century AD. In this blogpost, I will critically engage with these claims.