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, 20 October 2016

The Struggle of organising Migrant Workers

With precarious forms of work increasingly also emerging within the core of industrialised countries in the global economy, the issue of how to organise migrant workers has become an ever more pressing concern. In his talk at Nottingham University on Tuesday, 17 October, Aziz Choudry reported on related challenges, drawing on two of his recently co-edited books, Unfree Labour? Struggles of Migrant and Immigrant Workers in Canada (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2016), together with Adrian Smith, and Just Work? Migrant Workers’ Struggles Today (London: Pluto Press, 2015), together with Mondli Hlatshwayo. In this blog post, I will draw out a couple of key insights resulting from Choudry’s analysis of a large range of different forms of migrant labour organising.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Proposals for Alternatives to Neo-liberalism: SIGTUR's Futures Commission.

The Southern Initiative on Globalisation and Trade Union Rights (SIGTUR) launched its Futures Commission in Johannesburg, South Africa, in June 2013 with the assistance of the Chris Hani Institute and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s regional office for Southern Africa. This Commission, a group of left-wing intellectuals and trade union representatives, was entrusted with the task of undertaking first steps towards developing concrete alternatives to neo-liberal globalisation. 

As a first step, the Futures Commission has now published the booklet Challenging Corporate Capital: Creating an Alternative to Neo-liberalism. It includes proposals for labour and tax justice, a fair trade regime, a democracy-driven, public sector transformation as well as a response to the climate crisis. In this blog post, I will provide brief overviews of the contributions as well as links to the larger versions of the papers, freely available on the website of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation website.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Stretching to make ends meet – The struggle for a Living Wage at Nottingham University.

Inequality in Britain is on the rise. Deteriorating employment conditions and low wages are one of the main reasons. In this post, I will report on the LivingWage/Anti-casualisation campaign at Nottingham University, demanding a living wage and secure employment for all employees at the university. The campaign group consists of a broad alliance of the three trade unions on campus, Unison, Unite and UCU, together with Nottingham Citizens as well as the Labour Students society, UoN Feminists, Socialist Students, the Young Greens, the Left Society and the Palestinian Society.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Standing Up For Education!

On Tuesday, 20 September, Standing Up For Education, the latest publication by Spokesman Books, was launched in the Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham. It provides an excellent compilation of insights from different perspectives including students, teachers, trade unionists and parents into the devastating processes of destruction of primary and secondary education. Emphasising the situation in Nottingham, the volume provides a snapshot into processes affecting also other local communities across the UK. In this blog post, I will report on the contributions by four of the authors, who were present at the book launch.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Towards Labour Centred Development

In 2014, Ben Selwyn published the book The Global Development Crisis (Polity, 2014), in which he critically engages with market-led and state-led developmental models alike. Importantly, he puts forward the novel concept of labour centred development. In this blog post, I will discuss the main contributions of this remarkable book and explore further the possibilities of labour centred development. 

Monday, 29 August 2016

Chinese labour in the global economy: capitalist exploitation and strategies of resistance.

China is generally regarded as the new economic powerhouse in the global political economy. Some even talk of an emerging power, which may in time replace the US as the global economy’s hegemon. And yet, there is a dark underside to this ‘miracle’ in the form of workers’ long hours, low pay and lack of welfare benefits. Increasing levels of inequality have gone hand in hand with widespread working conditions characterised by super-exploitation. Nevertheless, Chinese workers have not simply accepted these conditions of exploitation. They have started to fight back. In a new special issue of the journal Globalizations, co-edited by Chun-Yi Lee and myself, the contributors have analysed these various forms of resistance by Chinese workers and the way they are organised. In this blog post, I will provide a brief overview of the contents of this special issue.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Fighting for the heart and soul of Labour!

Photo by Jason
The Labour Party is currently embroiled in a bitter internal struggle over the election of its next leader. While the challenger Owen Smith enjoys the predominant support of the Labour MPs in Parliament as well as the party establishment, the vast majorities of constituencies and individual labour members endorse Jeremy Corbyn. Critics of Corbyn argue that he lacks the necessary leadership qualities, visible in his allegedly weak role in the EU referendum, and is unable to ensure a victory by the Labour Party against the Conservatives in the next general elections. In this blog post, I will argue that this kind of criticism misunderstands completely what the current movement around Jeremy Corbyn is about.