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 January 2014

Amazon workers' long-running war on wages and working conditions!

Workers in Germany are currently locked into a bitter struggle with the online retailer Amazon. In this guest post, Halvor Fjermeros reports back from his trip to Germany in November last year, when he met with workers to find out the reasons for this dispute. Importantly, he makes clear that it is not only low wages, but also poor working conditions which are at the heart of workers’ grievances with Amazon.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Exploitation in the Global South and North: lessons from the aluminium industry.

The production of aluminium is based on the destruction of the environment and exploitation of workers in the Global South and North alike, reported Frank Meyer, the Director of ARBARK, the Archive and Library of the Norwegian labour movement, to the transnational labour project at the Centre for Advanced Study in Oslo. In this blog post, I will provide an overview of Frank Meyer’s key points in relation to his comparative case study of Porto Trombetas in Brazil and Ă…rdal in Norway and reflect on the possible involvement of trade unions in resisting exploitation in the aluminium industry.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Geopolitics of Global Capitalism and the Transnational State

With all of the kerfuffle in the UK academic world about open access journals−meaning without legal or financial barriers to gain access to publically-funded academic work−and the fudge underway to resolve this in the interests of publishers, Adam David Morton and I are delighted to announce a new article of ours now available in the Journal of Australian Political Economy (JAPE). This journal publishes peer-reviewed articles and is fully open access. The latest issue includes the annual E. L. Wheelwright Lecture by Susan George, articles on urban political economy, and our joint article on recasting contemporary geopolitics, territorial processes of capitalist accumulation, and spaces of imperialist rivalry. Our article is entitled ‘The will-o’-the-wisp of the transnational state’ and can be freely accessed here.

Monday, 13 January 2014

NUMSA asserting its independence: showing the way for unions in Europe?

When I attended the Futures Commission of SIGTUR in Johannesburg/South Africa, Nelson Mandela was already seriously ill in hospital (see SIGTUR’s Futures Commission and the search for alternatives in and beyond capitalism!). Nonetheless, first voices of criticism were voiced by South African representatives at the Commission meeting, arguing that Mandela had given in too easily to demands by the white capitalist class. At the same time, his figure as the father of the new South Africa prevented a more in-depth discussion of his socio-economic legacy. As he has now passed away, could this be the moment for a more serious discussion about South Africa’s socio-economic future? The Declaration by the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) adopted at its special national congress, 17 to 20 December 2013, seems to suggest this. In this blog post, I will discuss NUMSA’s Declaration and reflect on its implications for European trade unions.