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.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Why Social Movements Matter: fighting for social justice.

In his recent book Why Social Movements Matter: an introduction (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2018) Laurence Cox provides a fascinating and highly stimulating engagement with social movements and popular struggles. He does much more than simply providing an accessible introduction. He develops a way of analysing and understanding social movements, which is fundamentally different from traditional, academic approaches. In this blog post, I will provide a critical engagement with Cox’s key contributions.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Marx at the Margins: towards a multilinear theory of history.

In his book Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Non-Western Societies (Chicago University Press, 2016) Kevin B. Anderson clearly demonstrates that Marx did not embrace a unilinear, economic determinist position on historical development. Rather, especially in his later writings he demonstrated a nuanced understanding of multilinear development including the possibility of transformation to communism without going first through a capitalist stage of development. In this blog post, I will engage with this highly important contribution to Marxist scholarship.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Higher Education for the Many!

The increase in tuition fees to £9000 per year and the removal of the cap, allowing Universities to recruit as many students as they want and can, has had dramatic consequences for Higher Education (HE) in the UK, limiting education to those who can pay for it. Developments at Nottingham’s universities are no exception in this respect. Only Labour’s policy of abolishing tuition fees, as outlined in the party’s 2017 Manifesto, can reverse this trend.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Crisis in the Eurozone: the illusion of development?

Post-Keynesians have delivered an important advance in providing explanations of the Eurozone Crisis, not the least in demonstrating how the formation of the European integration project lacked the means to manage effectively the macroeconomic imbalances between ‘core’ and ‘peripheral’ spaces across the region. In our recent article ‘EU aggregate demand as a way out of crisis?’, published in the Journal of Common Market Studies, Jamie Jordan, Adam David Morton and I provide a critical engagement with such descriptions. We argue that it is necessary to focus on the uneven and combined development of Europe’s ‘peripheral’ spaces and here in particular their integration into an expanded free trade regime since the 1980s in order to get a better understanding of the roots of the current crisis.

Photo by Chris Goldberg

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Labour’s woes over Brexit or No Brexit: don’t lose sight of the real problem - inequality!

Photo by ChiralJon
With all eight alternative options rejected by MPs tonight, the search for a way out of the Brexit impasse continues. As governing party, the splits in the Conservative party have been in the limelight, but Labour too is deeply divided. And positions become more entrenched. At local party meetings it is not uncommon to hear statements such as ‘if Labour backs a People’s Vote and betrays the electorate, I’ll never vote Labour again’ or ‘I would never forgive the Labour Party, if it ended up facilitating Brexit’. And yet, is there not the danger that we overlook the most pressing problem in this country, the exploding inequality in society?

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Wellsprings of resistance – struggles over water in Europe

The question of who controls water and for what purpose makes water inherently political. Whether it’s water sources, water production such as desalination plants and waste treatment, or water services, private industry and financial markets are approaching water as the “it” commodity of the coming decade. Water grabbing is a form of accumulation by dispossession. Risk is shifted from private investors to the public whilst profits are siphoned off in the opposite direction. In this guest post, Madelaine Moore draws on her recent Rosa Luxemburg publication Wellsprings of Resistance.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

“Europe is at a crossroad, and so are trade unions”. Interview with Andreas Bieler.

From the early 1980s onwards workers’ rights across Europe have been greatly cut back, especially with regards to collective bargaining and trade unions’ involvement in government decision-making. GDP kept growing, but the distribution has been so uneven that many people have lost out as a result. Is there an alternative to this that might lead to greater social equality? I was recently interviewed by the Italian online magazine ytali. We discussed neo-liberal restructuring across the EU, the related increasing social inequality, the rise of nationalism and potential progressive alternatives underpinned by social justice. I argued that “organised labour has realised it needs a much broader agenda to stay relevant, so it is starting to participate on issues such as water, energy and democracy”.