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, 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.