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.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Why public ownership is key: private water and the problems of sewage pollution and leaks.


Britain’s private water companies are yet again in the news. After reports on high and regular discharge of raw sewage into the country’s rivers (The Guardian, 31 March 2022), it is their high levels of water leakage, which make the headlines in the current drought. While 14 billion litres are the daily demand in England and Wales, another 3 billion litres are lost due to leaks (BBC, 12 August 2022). In this blog post, I will argue that the type of ownership is fundamental when thinking about how to tackle these problems.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Labour Conflicts in the Global South!

Against the background of the global economic crisis since 2007/2008 and increasing inequality across the world, the Global South has experienced widespread, large-scale industrial action, including in countries such as China, Brazil, India and South Africa, which had been hailed as the new growth engines of the global political economy as part of the so-called BRICS. In this blog post, I will introduce my recently published co-edited volume (together with Jörg Nowak) Labour Conflicts in the Global South (Routledge, 2022). 

Monday, 4 July 2022

Public Water Services in times of emergency: the case of the Covid19 outbreak.

The Covid19 outbreak has underlined once again the importance of basic services for human life, including water services. At the same time, it re-opened the debate on the role of the state in managing such services. How did public water operators react to the outbreak of the Covid19 pandemic? The book Public Water and Covid-19: Dark Clouds and Silver Linings (Transnational Institute, 2021), edited by David McDonald, Susan Spronk and Daniel Chavez, provides some answer(s) to this question. In this guest post, Gemma Gasseau provides a critical review of the book’s key contributions.

Monday, 27 June 2022

Fighting for Water: Resisting Privatization in Europe – first reviews

My book Fighting for Water: Resisting Privatization in Europe (Zed Books, 2021) was published one year ago. From the successful referendum against water privatization in Italy, via the European Citizens’ Initiative on ‘Water and Sanitation are a Human Right’, to the struggles against water privatization in Greece and water charges in Ireland, I demonstrate why water has been a fruitful arena for resistance against neoliberal restructuring.


Since the publication, several reviews have been published, all available on the internet. This blog post brings them together.


Sunday, 12 June 2022

Put Out More Flags! The Platinum Jubilee and the long arm of history.

70 years on the throne are truly remarkable. Unsurprisingly, people up and down the country poured into the streets to celebrate the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II over four days from 2 to 5 June. Houses were decorated with Union Jacks and red-white-blue bunting, thousands of street parties organised across the country. While many of my left-wing British friends fled in horror either abroad or to some hidden place in the countryside to escape it all, I happily stayed back and joined in. After all, what can possibly be wrong with neighbourhoods coming together and celebrating jointly? This was not the moment to engage in critical discussions about unelected Heads of State or the virtues of Republics, I thought. It should not take long, however, before the darker undersides revealed themselves.

 

Thursday, 28 April 2022

The Critique of Commodification: Moving towards a use-value society?

In his new book
The Critique of Commodification – Contours of a Postcapitalist Society (OUP, 2021) Christoph Hermann critical investigates the concept of commodification and relates the associated dynamics to current political economy developments. Importantly, he demonstrates how production for profit instead of human needs results in enormously harmful consequences for humanity and nature alike. In this blog post, I will discuss some of the key contributions of this highly important book.

 

Friday, 11 March 2022

The Limits to Commercial Capitalism

In his latest book A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism (Haymarket Books, 2020), Jairus Banaji provides a masterful overview of historical trading relationships in Europe. At the same time, this book also reveals once more the limits of an understanding of capitalism, focused on market exchange relations. In this blog post, I will provide a critical review drawing out the weaknesses of such an approach.