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.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Greek hospital now under workers' control!

Health workers in Kilkis, Greece, have occupied their local hospital and have issued a statement saying it is now fully under workers control.

It is in times of drastic crises, when capitalist social relations of production come under stress most, that workers regularly demonstrate their ability to run factories, hospitals, schools, etc. by themselves. Is this occupied hospital a sign of things to come in Greece similar to the events in Argentina in 2001, when many factories were taken over by workers?

Prof. Andreas Bieler
Professor of Political Economy
University of Nottingham/UK

Personal website:
24 February 2012

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Austerity Policies in Europe: There Is No Alternative?

Why are neo-liberal economists still in charge to solve the global financial crisis, although it has been their policies, which caused the crisis in the first place? In a new article, Asbjørn Wahl (2012) emphasizes the importance of the power structure in society. Real resistance against further neo-liberal restructuring will only be possible, if left forces manage to change the balance of power in their favour.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The imposition of austerity and the move to authoritarian government – Part II

The pressure on Greece to cut back its budget in order to receive another bailout package continues. The country is asked to implement 325m euros of further spending cuts before payment is made. But Greek people can take no more. With unemployment figures above 20 per cent and shortages in all areas of the public sector, people reach breaking point. Unsurprisingly, in order to enforce the draconian cuts there has been a shift from democratic government to authoritarian rule. Initially, this was done through establishing a technocratic, unelected government in November 2011. Now, the EU demands direct oversight over Greek budget spending in order to ensure that promised cuts are actually implemented (BBC News, 16 February 2012).

When analysing the dynamics of capitalist outward expansion in the early 20th century, Rosa Luxemburg had already identified this gradual shift to ever more direct intervention into a country’s economic affairs to secure the transfer of profits.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Going it alone? The University and College Union and its struggle for pension justice.

On 31 January 2012, the pre-1992 Higher Education section of the University and College Union (UCU) held a special conference in London to decide on the way forward in the dispute over the imposition of changes to the USS pension scheme. After heated discussions a majority of roughly 60 to 40 votes decided in favour of the recommendation by the national leadership to suspend industrial action in exchange for the right to an unreduced pension on redundancy for colleagues of 55 years or older to be extended until October 2014 and a joint review with the employers of the new scheme imposed last October. What are the chances of a successful conclusion to the pensions campaign on the basis of this strategy?