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.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Water privatization in Jyväskylä, Finland?

Photo by Sampo Sikiö
Jyväskylä is the first Finnish municipality, which has decided to part-privatize its water services, intending to sell 30 per cent of the municipal company. What may look as an attractive option at first sight to generate finance for the municipality, is however a potentially highly dangerous initiative. The experiences of water privatizations elsewhere in Europe counsel caution.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

What’s worse than being a casual worker in academia? Being an outsourced casual worker in academia.

In June 2019, the University and College Union (UCU) released a report, Counting the costs of casualisation in higher education. It details the increasing precarity of work in the HE sector, and vividly lays bare the prevalent use of “atypical” employment/engagement practices by UK universities. Of note is the report’s observation of the widespread use of casual worker arrangements and the role of doctoral research students within this landscape:

“Many [atypical academics] are PhD students, teaching during their studies, dependent on their teaching earnings to fund their studies. Many are also contracted as ‘casual workers’, a form of zero hours contract that means that they are paid by the assignment, like temps, and have fewer employment rights. Prominent universities that use casual worker status include UCL, Warwick, Birmingham, and Nottingham among others.” In this guest post, Robert Stenson outlines his experience as a ‘casual worker’ at Nottingham University.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Globalization and Labour in the 21st century: Reflections on Verity Burgmann.

Verity Burgmann has produced an excellent, broad coverage of different instances of resistance by labour movements from around the world in her book Globalization and Labour in the Twenty-First Century (Routledge, 2016). It includes accounts of occupied factories in Argentina, opposition to privatisation of oil facilities in Iraq, as well as anti-austerity struggles in Greece amongst many others. It covers private industries as well as public sectors and explores the potential of new social media for resistance. In this blog post, I will provide some critical reflections on this major account of labour movements' potential role in the 21st century.  

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Talking about Resistance – inside Bolsonaro’s Brazil

Photo by gaby_bra
From 3 to 10 December, I visited Sao Paulo/Brazil for several lectures and also had the opportunity to speak to representatives of the local metalworkers’ trade union as well as the Florestan Fernandes National School (ENFF) of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), outside the city. In this blog post, I will reflect on comrades’ perceptions about how the rise of the right in Brazil around Bolsonaro can be contested and what the future may hold for radical social movements. 

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Where next for Labour?

The outcome of the 2019 UK general elections dealt a huge blow to the Labour Party and its policy programme around issues of social justice. In this post, I am reflecting on the causes of the defeat, the things to come as well as possible next steps for the party. I will argue that we must not succumb to the vilification of Jeremy Corbyn, be it by the right-wing media, be it by the right inside our own party.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Revisiting the 'Mode of Production': Enduring Controversies over Labour, Exploitation and Historiographies of Capitalism

The Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) at the University of Nottingham organised a one-day workshop Revisiting the ‘Mode of Production’: Enduring Controversies over Labour, Exploitation and Historiographies of Capitalism on the 1st July 2019. The event was dedicated to the re-examination of two important debates in historical materialism related to the conceptualisation of the mode of production and domestic labour that were thriving in the 1970s and attracted fresh interest more recently. The organisers of the event were delighted to host two distinguished contributors, Jairus Banaji and Silvia Federici as keynote speakers who presented alongside other prominent authors, including Andreas Bieler, Tony Burns, Neil Davidson, Jens Lerche, Alessandra Mezzadri and Benno Teschke. In this guest post Jokubas Salyga and Kayhan Valadbaygi share video-recorded proceedings of the event.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Public Water for the Many

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson intends to turn the current general elections into a contest over Brexit, it is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, which offers a real political alternative including wide-ranging plans for renationalizing key services such as the railways, energy, postal services and water. In this blog post, I discuss the lessons to be learned from struggles over public water across Europe.