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.

Sunday, 26 March 2023

Conceptualising struggles over water grabbing!

Capital has identified water as an important opportunity for profitable investment. Whether it is the privatisation of public water infrastructure, the expansion of the bottled water industry, the construction of dams for energy generation or the free expropriation of water for mineral extractivism or large-scale agriculture, private capital has poured into water in large quantities. And yet, water is also an area where resistance to capitalist exploitation has been most successful as reflected in a wave of re-municipalizations of water services across the world (Kishimoto,  Lobina and Petitjean 2015). How can we make sense of these struggles against water commodification? In our recent article Water Grabbing, Capitalist Accumulation and Resistance in the Global Labour Journal, we develop a conceptual-methodological approach to this question.


Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Fighting today’s battles with yesterday’s strategies? On the romanticism of the picket line!

Since 2018, UCU has been in almost permanent industrial action over cuts to pensions, pay and working conditions including more than 60 days of strike by now. Currently action is paused to provide room for 'meaningful negotiations', but we are yet in another ballot to extend the dispute for a further six months including a potential marking and assessment boycott in the summer. Key to any action has been the sanctity of the picket line. All-out strikes are supposed to be all-out strikes. However, is this still the right strategy at this point in time? In this blog post, I use the moment of pause in industrial action to reflect on our approach. I will argue that we need to rethink our strategy drastically and emphasise impact on our employer over purity of action. The way the neo-liberal University works has changed, and we need to adjust our tactics accordingly.

Thursday, 5 January 2023

Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis - new book review

Just over four years ago, Adam D. Morton and I published our book Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis (CUP, 2018). In this book, we assess the forces of social struggle shaping the past and present of the global political economy from the perspective of historical materialism. We unravel the internal relations between global capitalism, global war and global crisis, an endeavour which has become even more important now considering ongoing capitalist crisis and the heightened geo-political conflict reflected in the war in Ukraine. 

In this guest post, Pedro Nunes reflects on some of the key contributions of this book as well as further necessary work beyond it.  

Friday, 16 December 2022

COP 27 – Surviving the Apocalypse: From ‘me’ to ‘we’.

Ultimately, it comes down to political will, when confronting the climate crisis. Instead of indulging in Elon Musk’s fantasies about life on Mars, we need to focus on solutions in the here and now on earth, argued Alan Simpson in his final TED talk on how to confront the climate crisis. What is required is a visionary space for nature and the necessary political will to enact it. Money is not the issue.


Monday, 12 December 2022

COP 27 – Greening Everything: Putting back more than we take out.

If we want to confront the climate crisis successfully, greening everything and here especially our cities is key, argued Alan Simpson in the fifth talk of his COP 27 series. Rather than paving over everything in our cities, which is often the cause of flooding, we need to enlarge our green spaces. 

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Watch out Benjamin Zephaniah! International Relations Theory poetry.

With a view to engaging students through different teaching methods, Andreas Bieler and Adam David Morton launched a poetry competition in 2011 on their core MA module "Theories and Concepts in International Relations". After all, Roland Bleiker has himself emphasised the role of the poetic image in challenging dominant modes of thinking and practice within International Relations. With that aim in mind and the permission by the author, I am happy to publish this winning poem by Zubeda Mir that may surely rival the social criticism of Benjamin Zephaniah!

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

COP 27 – ‘The 15-minute city’: connectivity as driver of carbon reduction.

We do have the necessary alternatives. What is missing are politicians with the necessary radical vision to put these alternatives into practice, declared Alan Simpson at the opening of his fourth talk on how to confront the climate crisis. At the heart of this talk was the question of how can we rethink transport and mobility to overcome our addiction to cars? Ultimately, improved local transport combined in a joined-up system with local energy generation and food production is the way forward.