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, 15 January 2019

100 years on – Rosa Luxemburg’s legacy continues!

Memorial to Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht
100 years ago, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered in Berlin by right-wing Freikorps troops. When I participated on Sunday, 13 January in a march in memory of both revolutionaries in Berlin, it was clear that their legacy lives on. Thousands of people walked to the Memorial of the Socialists (Gedenkstätte der Sozialisten) to show their respect as well as their commitment to carry on the struggle against capitalist exploitation and for social justice. In this blog post, I will reflect on Luxemburg's key intervention about 'socialist democracy' in the organisation of revolutionary struggle.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

'We are ready to defend ourselves!' Letter by indigenous nations to the new President of Brazil.

The election of Jair Bolsonaro as new President of Brazil has put indigenous people under renewed pressure. Only recently, loggers invaded indigenous territory and attacked indigenous people in the Xingu region in Para. This blog post reprints the letter of three indigenous nations from Brazil to President Bolsonaro, asserting their rights.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

How Labour Built Neoliberalism: assessing the role of trade unions in restructuring.

In her recent book How Labour Built Neoliberalism: Australia’s Accord, the Labour Movement and the Neoliberal Project (Brill, 2018), Elizabeth Humphrys challenges the narrative that neo-liberalism was generally imposed onto labour by right-wing governments such as the Thatcher government in the UK and the Reagan government in the US during the 1980s. Through a detailed analysis of the Australian political economy between 1983 and 1996, she demonstrates how restructuring was also carried out by a Labour Party in close co-operation with trade unions. In this blog post, I will provide a critical engagement with this important book.

Friday, 7 December 2018

The Australia Book Launch of Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis.

Adam D. Morton and Andreas Bieler are delighted to announce the Australia book launch of GlobalCapitalism, Global War, Global Crisis, which will be at Gleebooks on 7 December, at 6:00pm and chaired by Elizabeth Humphrys. Having launched the book in the UK at the British International Studies Association (BISA) annual conference in Bath and at the independent bookshop FiveLeaves Books in Nottingham, as well as at the European International Studies Association (EISA) conference in Prague, we are very much looking forward to this launch in Sydney.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Bilbao European Forum: The European left re-grouping towards another Europe?

Calling every European citizen! EUROPE MUST BE ON ALERT AND CALLED UP! Let’s recover over future! For a permanent collaboration and a convergent action between leftists, green and progressive forces in Europe – this was the call by left parties across the EU for their meeting in Bilbao, 9 to 11 November 2018. Over three days, representatives from across Europe met and discussed the danger of the rise of the far right, the possibilities for an ecological transition as well as a new economic order based on social justice and solidarity. In this blog post, I will critically reflect on this meeting.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Is Capitalism Associated with Different Forms of Exploitation?

In his book Theory As History (Brill Academic Publishers, 2010), Jairus Banaji makes the claim that we should not reduce a particular mode of production to one specific form of exploitation, such as the capitalist mode to wage labour. ‘Relations of production are simply not reducible to forms of exploitation, both because modes of production embrace a wider range of relationships than those in their immediate process of production and because the deployment of labour, the organisation and control of the labour-process, “correlates” with historical relations of production in complex ways’ (Banaji 2010, 41). Instead, Banaji introduces the notion of commercial or merchant capitalism from at least the 13th century onwards, based on the availability of finance and functioning institutions of long-distance trade, i.e. a ‘capitalism that invested widely in a range of economic sectors beyond commerce in its narrower definition’ (Banaji 2018). What this, however, overlooks is the centrality of wage labour in the capitalist mode of production and Marx’s insistence on exploitation taking place in the ‘hidden abode of production’ (see Modes of Production and Forms of Exploitation).

Distinguishing between a capitalist social formation and a capitalist mode of production, in this guest post Tony Burns provides a way of how we can retain the focus on the centrality of wage labour for capitalism, without overlooking the possibility of several forms of exploitation co-existing at the same time.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Capitalism in the Web of Life: Jason Moore on the exploitation of nature.

With the global economic crisis being anything but over, there are continuing struggles over how to respond to economic stagnation. While the right continues to push for austerity and neo-liberal restructuring and a new extreme right combines this with blaming migrants for economic woes, the left envisages a new role for the state in reviving economic fortunes. As different as these positions are, what they have all in common, though, is this view of nature as an external resource. In his fascinating book Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital (Verso, 2015), Jason Moore critically engages with this understanding and contrasts it with a dialectical position emphasising the internal relations between humans and nature. In this blog post, I will provide an overview of some of the key aspects of Moore’s argument.