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, 30 May 2013

The Great University Gamble – Privatising English Higher Education against the background of global economic crisis.

Similar to other public sector areas in the UK, Higher Education (HE) is currently under attack. The introduction of tuition fees of up to £9000 per year, the downward pressure on wages and the attack on pensions imply a fundamental transformation of the sector. In The Great University Gamble: Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education (Pluto Press, 2013), Andrew McGettigan unravels the true objectives underlying restructuring in English HE. In this post, I review this fascinating book and provide some additional reflections on aspects of resisting restructuring.  

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Resistance to neo-liberal restructuring in Germany: the case of Stuttgart 21!

Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to be unopposed in Germany at the moment. Her incorrect story about the Eurozone crisis along the lines of "Germany did it best" rather than "Germany wins at the expense of others" puts her above criticism within the German domestic context. In this guest post, Werner Sauerborn reflects on the situation of left-wing policies and trade unions in Germany with a specific focus on the conflict around Stuttgart 21, the planned new railway station for this city in the South-West of the country. 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Neoliberal University: Origins and Alternatives.

UK Higher Education (HE) is being transformed. The introduction of tuition fees of up to £9000 per year induces changes across the whole system including the public purpose, administration and culture of universities. In this guest post, Hugo Radice assesses the transformation of HE as part of wider processes of neoliberal restructuring.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Age of Austerity: Fighting Cuts and Privatisation – The Impact on Women!

Austerity and cuts affect especially women. In the third talk on local anti-cuts initiatives, organised by the UCU association at Nottingham University, Melanie Jeffs, manager of Nottingham Women’s Centre, illustrated the triple jeopardy women are currently facing as a result of government policy: (1) cuts to jobs; (2) cuts to benefits; and (3) cuts to services.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Why we need local People’s Assemblies!

The public sector in the UK is under attack across the board. Tuition fees and marketisation in Higher Education, the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance in Further Education, moves towards privatising parts of the NHS, the transformation of schools into academies, cuts in disability benefits, the list could go on. Since 1 April this year, a second round of draconian cuts have been implemented damaging especially the weakest members of society (for an overview, see BBC News, 15 April 2013). And yet, resistance is fragmented and weak. A coherent, united movement against austerity has not emerged in the UK. On 18 May 2013, a People’s Assembly Against Austerity will be held in Nottingham. In this post, I will discuss the importance of local People’s Assemblies for the revival of resistance to austerity in the UK. In particular, I will highlight four reasons: (1) the collapse of resistance at the national level; (2) the importance of a broad space to bring together the diverse groups and people opposed to austerity; (3) the fact that the impact of cuts is felt at the local level; and (4) the need to unite various existing local movements of resistance.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Politics of Austerity and Resistance: lessons from the Zapatistas

Today in Britain, we are, unmistakably living in a period of economic crisis. Whilst a triple-dip recession has just been narrowly avoided, the Coalition’s plans for austerity to deal with Britain’s deficit are beginning to bite, threatening long-fought for welfare rights, job prospects and cherished services such as the NHS. In this guest post, Chris Hesketh discusses the lessons we in Britain, resisting austerity, can learn from the Zapatistas in Mexico. Most importantly, this includes challenging the idea that there is no alternative.