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.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

‘For a Public University’ – the need for conceptual alternatives.

The current onslaught on Higher Education in the UK is unprecedented. The cut of state funding, the increase in tuition fees of up to £9000 per year, the attack on the pension systems of staff members, all these factors contribute to the danger of an increasing marketization of Higher Education. In order to resist restructuring, it is not enough to fight individual aspects of the programme. Comprehensive alternative visions of how Higher Education could be run differently also need to be developed. Together with others, the Local University and College Union (UCU) Association will hold the workshop ‘For a Public University’ at the University of Nottingham on 15 June 2012 in order to contribute to the development of such visions.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

German workers and the Eurozone crisis!

Germany is widely considered to be the dominant economic power in Europe. It is Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, who determines which measures should be adopted in response to the sovereign debt crisis of the Eurozone. On the back of a booming German export industry, German workers are often deemed to be part of the winners in the current financial and economic crisis. As the recent report Explodierender Reichtum, wachsende Armut (Exploding Wealth, Increasing Poverty) by the German Confederation of Trade Unions (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB), however, makes clear, such a conclusion overlooks these workers’ concrete position within the German economy, their falling share in wealth as well as the general increase in inequality in German society.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Uneven and combined development and the issue of resistance in the UK!

The nation-wide public sector strike by 30 trade unions was a high point in the resistance against budget cuts and general restructuring in the UK (see November 30 – what next?). Since then, the enthusiasm and dynamic of the movement against public sector restructuring has evaporated. No new dates for joint strike action have been announced, there is very little mobilisation on the ground. In order to understand better the reasons behind this development, I suggest to focus on Trotsky’s work on uneven and combined development as well as permanent revolution.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Trade unions, free trade and the problem of transnational solidarity - workshop report

As a result of uneven and combined development, different national trade unions are in different positions within the global capitalist social relations of production. Unsurprisingly, transnational solidarity between national labour movements in relation to free trade policies is anything but automatic. Labour academics, trade union researchers and social movement activists came together at the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) at Nottingham University on 2 and 3 December 2011 to assess the obstacles to and possibilities for transnational labour solidarity. The various contributions to the workshop can be accessed here.