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Labour

Labour

REFRAMING LABOUR AND WORKERS’ RESISTANCE FOR THE 21st CENTURY

Call for Papers

Working USA special issue

Issue Editors:

Maurizio Atzeni, Loughborough University, UK; m.atzeni@lboro.ac.uk

Immanuel Ness, Brooklyn College, CUNY, New York City; manny.ness@gmail.com

Interpretations of global labour in the age of neoliberal capitalism urgently demands robust and critical historical and comparative analysis. For decades, research on labour collective organisation has focused almost exclusively on workers collectively employed on a stable basis in industrial settings or in the public sector, defended by collective bargaining, represented by trade unions and inserted within relatively stable systems of industrial relations. This view however it has always failed to take into account the transformative potentialities of that vast, rich and meaningful array of ‘precarious’ work experiences and relations that allow the production and re-production of capital as a whole.

Women’s labour in the sphere of social reproduction, low-waged workers who work outside conventional work as subcontractors in global production chains or in the informal economy of the global cities or as crowd workers in the digital economy, migrant workers whose exploited work often lays at the margin of legality, new groups of dispossessed people forced into the labour market, are categories of workers traditionally excluded and neglected by the labour relations literature as labourers; often considered unproductive, unregulated, and thus unrepresentable. Considering the speed of development and intensity of integration of global capitalist processes and the political turn to neoliberalism, which have brought about new (or refreshed old) paradigms to increase workers’ productivity and profits, absent has been the signal importance of these ‘invisible’, precarious workers, today representing not just the vast majority of workers in the global South but also increasingly shaping the social landscape of cities across the world.

Broadening research on this underworld of precarious and not represented workers is important to understand one fundamental dimension of the process of capital accumulation in the global age but it also helps to address deep theoretical concerns, put in evidence by heterodox Marxist currents across the social sciences, originating from the use of narrow conceptions about work and workers:

  • The conventional notion of the working class, based on the industrial, waged worker, has been questioned for not considering how different labour regimes co-exist and contribute to the development of capitalism as a system, especially women engaged in social reproduction.
  • The social organisation and militancy of workers it has been reduced to workers’ resistance to official strikes organised by representative trade unions, the ‘institutionalised form of resistance’, leaving aside the rich history and tradition of workers’ self-organisation. This remains crucial today in framing precarious workers organisation and in setting possibilities for transformative agency.
  • Geographically research concentrated on struggles at the workplace without considering the linkages of these with broader struggles over workers’ daily lives.

In the past 30 years, one sided views of labour has been explicitly based on the political role assigned to the industrial workers. Either from a revolutionary or a reformist perspective this particular section of the working class was considered central to any transformative politics. The advent of neoliberalism has swept away many of the elements upon which this centrality was built, leaving a tabula rasa, politically and theoretically speaking. From an empirical point of view, diversity, heterogeneity, unevenness, unpredictability characterise most workers’ struggles of the 21st century.

Against this theoretical and empirical gap in knowledge, the aim of this special issue is twofold.

It aims to offer insights on the daily lives, organization and resistance of precarious workers, intending these in broader terms, as employed in a range of different sectors, geographical and spatial landscapes, economic environments, and regulatory employment regimes.

It aims to produce new knowledge into the connections between these different workers’ struggles and the specific socio-economic, historical and productive context in which have developed.

Within these aims and considering the scope of the journal, we seek submissions from any social sciences discipline concerned with the study of workers and labour using a range of empirical and methodological analyses. The editors however would especially welcome papers that reach theoretical insights in addressing the relevance of certain groups of workers’ experiences or develop their arguments through comparative/historical analysis; focus on global cities and diverse employment regimes, workplaces and daily lives experiences; consider the experiences of workers in strategic sectors of the economy (distribution, transportation, knowledge economy); search for connections of workers struggles in different locations across the global production chain;  or offer insights on new forms of organizing and resistance

 

DUE DATE FOR ABSTRACTS OF 750-1000 WORDS: 15 September 2014

WORD LENGTH: 6000-10,000 words

DUE DATE FOR FINAL SUBMISSION: end March 2015

PUBLICATION DATE: September 2015

INCLUDE NAME, AFFILIATION

WE ENCOURAGE PHD STUDENTS AND ESTABLISHED SCHOLARS TO CONTRIBUTE

 

First published in http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/call-for-papers-reframing-labour-and-workers2019-resistance-for-the-21st-century

 

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‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Glenn_Rikowski?ev=hdr_xprf

Online Publications at The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Guy Debord

Guy Debord

LIVES OF THE ORANGE MEN

New book on socialist surrealism in Poland released…

Lives of the Orange Men: A Biographical History of the Polish Orange Alternative Movement
Major Waldemar Fydrych
Foreword by the Yes Men
Edited by Gavin Grindon

In Communist Poland, Surrealism Paints You!!!

Between 1981 and 1989 in Wroclaw Poland, in an atmosphere in which dissent was forbidden and martial law a reality, the Orange Alternative deployed the power of surrealist creativity to destabilise the Communist government. It worked. The militia were overwhelmed by thousands of unruly dwarves; celebrations of official festivals so disturbingly loyal that the Communist forces had to arrest anyone wearing red; walls covered in dialectical graffiti; new official festivals to assist the secret police with their duties; and a popular restaging of the storming of the Winter Palace using cardboard tanks and ships.

Lives of the Orange Men tells for the first time the story of this activist-art movement and its protagonists that played a key role in the 1989 revolution in Poland. Written by its central figure and featuring an appendix of newly-translated key texts including the ‘Manifesto of Socialist Surrealism’, a timeline of every Orange Alternative happening and a new foreword from the Yes Men.

“The streets of Wrocław were a magical place to be, once upon a time… Communism’s melting away in Eastern Europe in 1989 cannot be understood without the Orange Alternative. So listen to Major Fydrych – This book teaches the mystical tongue of the Orange Men and unveils their rites. Long live the dwarves!” – Padraic Kenney, author of A Carnival of Revolution: Central Europe 1989

“Lives of the Orange Men presents eyewitness reports and primary documents of the Orange Alternative’s cultural activism. Their ideological masquerade, predating The Yes Men and Reclaim the Streets, baffled police and stymied the disintegrating regime of General Jaruzelski. What more could anyone ask except to remind readers that there is no freedom without dwarves!” – Greg Sholette, author of Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture

“Dwarves belong to capitalism!” – The Polish Communist Militia
PDF available freely online: http://www.minorcompositions.info/?p=624

Released by Minor Compositions, Wivenhoe / Brooklyn / Port Watson Minor Compositions is a series of interventions & provocations drawing from autonomous politics, avant-garde aesthetics, and the revolutions of
everyday life.

Minor Compositions is an imprint of Autonomedia
http://www.minorcompositions.info | minorcompositions@gmail.com

 

**END**

 

‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Glenn_Rikowski?ev=hdr_xprf

Online Publications at The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Occupy London

Occupy London

CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON INTERSECTIONALITY

CHICAGO EVENT WITH INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPATION
Critical Perspectives on Intersectionality: Addressing Struggles over Race, Gender, Class, and Ecology
The social theory of intersectionality has gained prominence among and activists and academics as a way to address the question of inclusion and social solidarity that was often overlooked by the traditional Left focus on the working class. Does “intersectionality” deliver on its promise to theorize radical social change in an inclusive way? Does it offer a real alternative to capitalism?  How might intersectionality be understood in the context of contemporary struggles?
In this discussion, panelists will be engaging these questions from various critical perspectives focused on race, gender, class, and ecological struggles.

Speakers:
Lenore Daniels, “The Marginalization of Black Radicalism in the Obama Era” (activist and writer on Cultural Theory, Race and Gender)
Sarah Mason, “From Occupy to Marx: Ecology, Labor, and the New Society” (former activist, Occupy Los Angeles)
Kevin Anderson, “Karl Marx and Intersectionality” (author Marx at the Margins)
Sandra Rein, “The Gendered Subject at the Crossroads” (author Reading Raya Dunayevskaya)
David Black, “Philosophy, Ecology, and Anti-Capitalism” (author, Philosophical Roots of Anti-Capitalism)

Friday, July 25, 6:30 p.m.
Corboy Law Center
25 East Pearson St. Chicago
Room 208
Sponsored by the Loyola University Department of Philosophy
Co-sponsored by the International Marxist-Humanist Organization

See: http://www.internationalmarxisthumanist.org/

**END**

‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Glenn_Rikowski?ev=hdr_xprf

Online Publications at The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski

POLITICAL ACTION, RESILIENCE AND SOLIDARITY: CALL FOR PAPERS – EXTENDED CALL

Political Action, Resilience and Solidarity: An inter-disciplinary, inter-institutional workshop 

Call for Papers

Event organisers:
Nicholas Michelsen, King’s College London
Wanda Vrasti, University of Humboldt

In association with:
• Centre of Integrated Research in Risk and Resilience, King’s College London.
• Research Centre in International Relations, Department of War Studies, King’s
• College London.
• Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance, The Open University
• Centre for the Study of Democracy, Westminster University.

Location: King’s College London.

Thursday the 18th and Friday the 19th of September 2014

The concept of resilience first appeared as a means to articulate how complex ecosystems are able to meet the challenges of radically shifting environmental conditions whilst retaining their key functionalities. Thinking in terms of resilience is deemed to offer an advance on previous approaches to risk-management in that it is concerned with fostering the adaptive capacities that are innate to any system. Inasmuch as resilience allows a system, community or agent’s inherent openness to the unexpected to become a source of beneficiary adaptation, it has garnered attention in a wide number of fields, from socio-ecological systems to psychology, disaster risk management, urban and national infrastructure design, post-conflict development and public health planning. Across these fields, the concept of resilience increasingly frames the possibility of spaces for policy action, offering a heuristic device under which the defining problems of our era of supposedly unalloyed uncertainty and insecurity can be addressed.

Contemporary debates around resilience have centred on the political content of the concept. Whereas in socio-ecological literatures, the concept has retained a broadly positive connotation, as a means to conceptualise sustainable resource management, in its wider usage, resilience is subject to critique as informing a conservative, indeed pacifying  rationality of governance (“resilience from above”). Resilience seems to bypass any suggestion that extant (social, economic, political and ecological) circumstances might be subjected to a wider or structural critique.

In this context, resilience is often contrasted with explicitly political concepts like Solidarity. Whereas resilience seems to suggest adaptation and immunisation in the face of complex unalterable forces, solidarity offers a means to challenge and alter extant conditions. By contrast with resilience, however, the concept of solidarity suffers from significant under-theorisation in contemporary literatures. What does it mean to “act in solidarity” with something or someone, and how is this related to the performance of political subjectivity or citizenship? What does it mean for activists in Tahrir Square to stand in solidarity with government employees in Madison? We suspect that the concept must be more than just an affective unification of a group of otherwise disparate actors. Indeed, rather than being diametrically opposed concepts, solidarity seems a precondition for community resilience (“resilience from below”). In this sense, perhaps it is at the intersection of solidarity and resilience that effective political action can occur.

Equally important is the intersection between resilience and democratic citizenship. Resilience often refers to policies that aim at making citizens able to cope with sudden changes in their life through, among other methods, taking therapeutic measures; informing them what to do in times of disaster; and supporting critical infrastructure so important activities can continue. Yet, this understanding of resilience eschews the idea that coping with depletion of rights requires new rights claims. Rights to housing, care, political participation, and so on, are mostly ignored. Resilience policies become in their effects ‘managerial’. They tell citizens what to do and they avoid the fundamental democratic questions about what social, economic and political rights and lives citizens demand. At this intersection between rights claims and resilience, resilience from below — what people do in response to crises and precarity – attains democratic political rather than managerial significance.

This collaborative inter-institutional and interdisciplinary workshop is concerned to examine and problematize the distinct genealogies and interaction of the concepts of Resilience, Solidarity, and democratic citizenship with particular focus on the problem of political action or agency. It aims to explore the ways in which community resilience may be associated or contrasted with the mechanisms underpinning social and political solidarity and with new rights claims. A number of related concepts, such as identity, acts of citizenship and political agency, are clearly of relevance in this context. As such, we invite paper abstracts of no more than 300 words that speak to the workshop theme in the broadest sense.

Possible areas for discussion include:

* Activism
* Affect
* Citizenship
* Conflict and post-conflict reconstruction
* Development
* Disasters
* Ethics
* Group psychology
* Identity politics
* Public health
* Political theory/philosophy
* Radical Democracy
* Revolutionary politics
* Social Movements
* Socio-ecological systems
* Transformative communities
* Urban Infrastructure

Please send paper abstracts by June 20th to: nicholas.michelsen@kcl.ac.uk

 

David Chandler, Professor of International Relations, Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London, W1T 3UW. Tel: ++44 (0)776 525 3073.
Journal Editor, Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/resi20

Amazon books page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Chandler/e/B001HCXV7Y/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Personal website: http://www.davidchandler.org/
Twitter: @DavidCh27992090

 

**END**

‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Glenn_Rikowski?ev=hdr_xprf

Online Publications at The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Protest

Protest

AUSTERITY AND REVOLT

Duke University Press has recently published “Austerity and Revolt,” a special issue of SAQ: South Atlantic Quarterly, volume 113 and issue 2, edited by Werner Bonefeld and John Holloway.

In recent years, we have witnessed massive demonstrations of denial, refusal, and rejection exploding in one country after another. The squares of the world have become organizational focal points for rebellion and repression. What does such collective negation mean, and what comes afterward? This special issue explores the forms of a reinvigorated, experimental communism: councils, assemblies, communes, squares, occupys, horizontalism, recovered factories, and cooperative farms and community gardens. Practitioners of this new model of “communism as communizing” attempt to change fundamental social relations from the bottom up. By combining insider knowledge with sophisticated theoretical scrutiny, the contributors to this issue approach eruptions of rebellion from a variety of historical, economic, and methodological perspectives. Writing not only about but also within such forces of progressive resistance around the world, they investigate the complex, hopeful, and contradictory process of creating new social, economic, and political structures through negation.

To link to the electronic content page click here: http://saq.dukejournals.org/content/113/2.toc. If you find that your library does not subscribe to this journal and you do not have online access, please contact Katie Smart, who can arrange to have a complimentary copy of this issue mailed to you or your library.

John Holloway

John Holloway

First published in http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/latest-south-atlantic-quarterly-austerity-and-revolt

Werner Bonefeld

Werner Bonefeld

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‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskpoint.blogspot.com

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

Kshama Sawant

Kshama Sawant

ANGELA DAVIS, HARRY BELAFONTE, CORNEL WEST, KSHAMA SAWANT, AMY GOODMAN, DAVID HARVEY, AND STANLEY ARONOWITZ TO SPEAK AT LEFT FORUM 2014

Left Forum 2014

May 30th – June 1st

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York

524 West 59th Street New York, NY, 10019

Left Forum is the largest annual conference in the United States of the broad spectrum of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, organizations and the interested public. Each year thousands of conference participants come together in New York City to discuss pressing local, national and global issues; to better understand commonalities and differences, and alternatives to current predicaments; or to share ideas to help build social movements to transform the world. This year’s theme is “Reform and/or Revolution: Imagining a World with Transformative Justice.” Panels can be proposed until the deadline of April 27th.

 

Propose a panel or workshop

http://www.leftforum.org/panels/instructions

 

Download Call for panels

http://www.leftforum.org/content/left-forum-2014-conference-theme

 

2014 Theme

http://www.leftforum.org/content/left-forum-2014-conference-theme
Left Forum Newsletter

http://www.leftforum.org/files/newsletter/Left-Forum-Newsletter-2013.pdf
Register for the conference here

http://www.leftforum.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=126823&qid=418374

 

Left Forum: www.leftforum.org

David Harvey

David Harvey

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‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

 Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski at Academia: http://independent.academic.edu/GlennRikowski

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskpoint.blogspot.com

Karl Marx

Karl Marx

MARX’S EARLY WRITINGS ON TRANSCENDING CAPITALISM

SUNDAY, APRIL 20, 2014

6:00-8:00 PM

Westside Peace Center

3916 Sepulveda Blvd., near Venice Blvd. (free parking in rear)

Suite 101-102, press #22 at door to get into building

Culver City (LA area)

 

Speaker:

ALI KIANI, Iranian Marxist activist and translator

 

In contrast to the traditional view that Marx’s work is restricted to a critique of capitalism and does not contain a detailed or coherent conception of its alternative, this presentation will focus on aspects of his early critiques of political economy, from the POVERTY OF PHILOSOPHY (1847) through the GRUNDRISSE (1857-58). We will discuss the notion, developed recently in Peter Hudis’s MARX’S CONCEPT OF THE ALTERNATIVE TO CAPITALISM, that Marx was committed to a specific concept of a post-capitalist society that informed his critique of value production, alienated labor, and capitalist accumulation. Instead of focusing on the present with only a passing reference to the future, Marx’s emphasis on capitalism’s tendency towards dissolution is rooted in a specific conception of what should replace it. We will critically re-examine that conception in the context of the quest for an alternative to capitalism, something that has taken on increased importance today.

Suggested reading: Ch. 2 of Peter Hudis, MARX’S CONCEPT OF THE ALTERNATIVE TO CAPITALISM (Haymarket Books, 2013)

 

Sponsored by the West Coast Chapter, International Marxist-Humanist Organization

More information: arise@internationalmarxisthumanist.org

http://www.internationalmarxisthumanist.org

 

Here is the link to the online announcement of the meeting for posting via email, Facebook, etc.: http://www.internationalmarxisthumanist.org/events/los-angeles-marxs-early-writings-transcending-capitalism

Join our new Facebook page: “International Marxist-Humanist Organization” https://www.facebook.com/groups/imhorg/

 

**END**

‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski at Academia: http://independent.academic.edu/GlennRikowski

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskpoint.blogspot.com

PROTEST IN A DIGITAL AGE

Wednesday 7th May 2014, 7.30

Bishopsgate Institute

230 Bishopsgate

London EC2M 4QH

See: http://www.bishopsgate.org.uk/event/451/Troublemakers?—Protest-in-a-Digital-Age?&Keyword=troublemakers&TypeID=

This is part of the ‘Troublemakers?’ series of events, see: http://www.bishopsgate.org.uk/Events/Troublemakers

Social media has changed the way people organise and demonstrate creating new types of fast-moving protest groups and challenges for the authorities. From the Arab Spring to the London riots, UK Uncut and Occupy tell us their experience of policing and public responses while experts explain the challenges faced by those who seek to control the movements.

Speakers include Symon Hill (author of Digital Revolutions: Activism in the Internet Age), Jamie Bartlett (Head of the Violence and Extremism Programme and the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos) plus representatives from Occupy and UK Uncut. The event will be chaired by the Ian Dunt (politics.co.uk).

Cost £9 / £7 concession (*A postage fee of £1 applies for sending out tickets booked online or over the telephone)

 

**END**

‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski at Academia: http://independent.academic.edu/GlennRikowski

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskpoint.blogspot.com

Van Pace

Van Pace

MATERIALISMS OLD AND NEW – LONDON READING GROUP UPDATE

The ‘Materialisms Old and New’ reading group organise regular meetings to discuss both old and new materialist understandings of markets, rationalities, agency, contingency, power and governance. This is not a lecture course so we will be mixing up the texts and approaching key or interesting readings in an informal and flexible way, with a brief introduction by one of the group. The next two meetings in the new year are: 

7. Wednesday 19 March 2014 William Connolly – The Fragility of Things: Self-Organizing Processes, Neoliberal Fantasies, and Democratic Activism (2013) – introduced by David Chandler (University of Westminster).

8. Thursday 24 April 2014 Andrew Barry – Material Politics: Disputes along the Pipeline (2013) – introduced by Robert Cowley (University of Westminster).

Meetings are open to all and take place 6.30-8.00pm, Westminster Forum, Department of Politics and International Relations, 5th Floor, 32-38 Wells Street, London, W1T 3UW (5 minutes from Oxford Circus tube). If you would like to be added to the reading group mailing list, please contact David Chandler at d.chandler@wmin.ac.uk.

Sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster and the Centre for Media & Culture Research, London South Bank University.

Best wishes
David Chandler

Professor of International Relations, Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London, W1T 3UW. Tel: ++44 (0)776 525 3073.
Journal Editor, Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses:  http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/resi20
Book series Editor, Routledge Studies in Intervention and Statebuilding:  http://208.254.74.79/books/series/RSIS/

Book series Editor, Routledge Advances in Democratic Theory:  http://www.routledge.com/books/series/RADT/
Amazon books page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Chandler/e/B001HCXV7Y/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Personal website: http://www.davidchandler.org/

**END**

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski at Academia: https://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Social Movements

Social Movements

MANCHESTER SOCIAL MOVEMENTS CONFERENCE 2014

Manchester Social Movements Conference – April 2014

SOCIAL MOVEMENTS CONFERENCE – CALL FOR PAPERS

From 1995 to 2013, Manchester Metropolitan University hosted a series of very successful annual international conferences on ‘ALTERNATIVE FUTURES and POPULAR PROTEST’.

We’re very happy to announce that the Nineteenth AF&PP Conference will be held, between Monday 14th April and Wednesday 16th April 2014.

The Conference rubric remains as in previous years. The aim is to explore the dynamics of popular movements, along with the ideas which animate their activists and supporters and which contribute to shaping their fate. Given the significance of the mass movements in numbers of countries during the early years of this decade, we especially welcome papers discussing these – while no less welcoming suggestions on other topics.

Reflecting the inherent cross-disciplinary nature of the issues, previous participants (from over 60 countries) have come from such specialisms as sociology, politics, cultural studies, social psychology, economics,  history and geography.  The Manchester conferences have also been notable for discovering a fruitful and friendly meeting ground between activism and academia.

CALL FOR PAPERS

We invite offers of papers relevant to the conference themes.  Papers should address such matters as:

* Contemporary and historical social movements and popular protests

* Social movement theory

* Utopias and experiments

* Ideologies of collective action

* Etc.

 

To offer a paper, please contact either of the conference convenors with a brief abstract:

EITHER Colin Barker, Dept. of Sociology  

OR Mike Tyldesley, Dept. of Politics and Philosophy

Manchester Metropolitan University

Geoffrey Manton Building, Rosamond Street West

Manchester M15 6LL, England

email: c.barker@mmu.ac.uk

Tel: M. Tyldesley  0161 247 3460

email: m.tyldesley@mmu.ac.uk

Fax: 0161 247 6769 (+44 161 247 6769)

(Wherever possible, please use email, especially as Colin Barker is a retired gent. Surface mail and faxes should only be addressed to Mike Tyldesley)

 

See: http://londonsocialisthistorians.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/cfp-manchester-social-movements.html

 

**END**

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

 

IWGB

IWGB

LONDON LIVING WAGE VICTORY AT CORPORATION OF CITY OF LONDON

The Independent Workers Union (IWGB) has secured a major victory at the Corporation of City of London winning the London Living Wage for all cleaners. The IWGB has waged a campaign for over two years with strike action by cleaners at Guildhall and the Barbican Centre.

This a real victory for the solidarity of low paid migrant workers.

See: http://www.demotix.com/news/1893200/cleaners-strike-barbican-calls-increase-wages

City of London Corporation introduces London Living Wage for cleaners and caterers

The City of London Corporation has today (25 September) agreed to supplement ten existing corporate cleaning and catering services contracts to bring them in line with the London Living Wage (LLW). The changes to the five revised cleaning contracts will come into effect immediately after elected members decided to adopt the LLW ahead of the scheduled renewal date in August 2014. The extra annual cost of implementing the LLW across them is in the order of £812,000. The three companies operating the cleaning contracts are Sodexo, MITIE and ISS – covering sites including the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, City of London Police, Guildhall and schools.

Separately, five catering contracts will be revised in line with the LLW and backdated to 1 September 2013 – the date they originally commenced. This will come at an additional cost of £117,700 per annum. The suppliers of these contracts are Sodexo, ISS, Aramark, Holroydhowe and Brookwood – covering sites including the Central Criminal Court, Guildhall, City of London Police and schools.

Mark Boleat, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said:
“As a Best Value Authority, we are continuously striving to improve the way we procure goods or services. The City of London Corporation is committed to paying the LLW to staff and promoting it for contractors while delivering quality services across the Square Mile. We recognise that social value – as well as finance – should be a consideration when it comes to such arrangements and supplementing both these cleaning and catering contracts is a positive step forward.”

The City of London Corporation pays all staff in line with LLW, while taking account – like other organisations adopting the LLW – of the legal, financial and operational circumstances that apply when
considering contracts on a case-by-case basis. The LLW hourly rate currently stands at £8.55, compared to the current minimum wage of £6.19.

For more details visit http://www.livingwage.org.uk/

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

IWGB

IWGB

THE CASE FOR THE INDEPENDENT WORKERS UNION 

OUR RIGHT TO ORGANISE

The Independent Workers Union (IWGB), in our activities organising mostly migrant cleaning workers, has gained wide recognition and respect.  Professor of industrial relations Gregor Gall, recently wrote that:

“The IWGB is attempting to show in practice parts of the rest of the union movement that not only can what are commonly described as ‘difficult to organise’ be unionised but that they can be unionised in such a way where they play a greater than usual role in their own organising. But, of course, this takes guts and determination as well as a long-term orientation to do so.” (Frontline, an independent Marxist journal from Scotland, June 2013).

Gregor recognises it is true some union branches have organised cleaners:  “But what the IWGB shows is that so much can be done with so little in terms of resources. If the same method of using their greater resources was applied to their work in the sector by the established unions then, presumably, so much more could be achieved.”   

Our activity has raised important questions regarding present day trade unionism and how we organise in the workplace.  Including the very need for the IWGB at all, we welcome a serious debate on these issues.  The case against us was argued recently in Socialist Review by Sandy Nicoll – “Are ‘Pop-Up’ unions the way forward?”.  The IWGB recently debated these issues at a seminar hosted by the Independent Workers Union (Ireland) in Belfast.  It was a fraternal and mature discussion – a lesson for some of the ‘comrades’ in England on how to conduct themselves.   For it is clear that rather than engage in a discussion on these matters some people would rather engage in abuse, spread untruths and blacken the name of the IWGB.   We have sought to abstain from responding to abuse disguised as criticism and instead concentrate our efforts on the fight with the employers, to develop a culture of comradeship and spirit of solidarity. 

However the recent article by Max Watson ‘IWGB: Two small unions?’, and the stance taken by some associated with him cannot go unanswered.  It is not that Watson has articulated a view on important questions better than others or that he is a very important person due to his post on the UNISON NEC.  We are responding because Watson has openly belittled and maligned the struggle and achievements of cleaners themselves – directing his venom at the John Lewis cleaners and the locked-out NTT cleaners.  To read this from someone who describes themselves as a “Socialist & trade union activist” is beyond disappointing. 

Fabrications that seek to divide us

Before addressing the issues within and surrounding Watson’s article let us make clear in summary that contrary to his fabrications:

·         It is a lie that IWGB has a strategy “focused on recruiting members of other unions” or of “poaching”,

·         It is a lie that IWGB accused Max Watson and the London Metropolitan University Branch of UNISON of racism,

·         It is a lie that IWGB “attacked” Max Watson at the same time he was under attack by his employer, the government and officialdom,

Indeed until recently the IWGB has never issued a single word of criticism or correction of Max Watson’s statements even though we would certainly be within our rights to take action in pursuant of the Defamation Act 1996.   

It is the case that much of Watson’s tirades against IWGB arises from the fact a cleaner sent a private text message to another cleaner which included criticism of him.  In addition to his at times irrational and arrogant demands for an apology from this migrant worker, there is a more disturbing agenda at work.  Watson and friends are seeking to discredit the IWGB and to drive a wedge between us and other members of the Labour Movement, especially those unions who cooperate with the IWGB.   The decision of the UNISON United Left influenced by Watson not to support the 3 Cosas campaign for equal sick pay, holiday’s and pensions for University of London cleaners, who are poised to ballot for strike action, is testimony of the divisiveness of such methods.

Buried within Watson’s article which is peppered with personal abuse, is the more significant question of forming news unions – that is does the IWGB have a right to exist at all.  We are provided with an opportunity to address this before presenting the truth about the slanders against us.  

New unionism – renegades or renewal

The IWGB is criticised by Watson for not being affiliated to the TUC, that our “view is basically: UNISON is a Labour-affiliated, sell-out union full of right wing officials so there is no way we should join them.”  Facts show otherwise, for example Alberto Durango IWGB Organiser was until his victimisation also a UNISON Shop-Steward in the NHS.  We continue to have members who are also active in other unions including UNITE, UCU, PCS, RMT and UNISON to name but a few.

Watson is disingenuous in his modesty declaring “All of this stuff may be important to those thinking about the wider issues of red unionism or whatever. I’m no historian, and I’m not a dialectical materialist who likes to hypothesize with my pen all night and day.” This is after writing over 3000 words attacking the IWGB and posting on the internet he holds a Master of Research, Labour & Trade Union Studies supervised by the historian Mary Davies, and a BA: Politics and Modern History. Watson has publically attacked the IWGB for “Red Unionism”.  

History is indeed relevant though not his warped view of the old Red International of Labour Unions.  Watson’s problem is not lack of knowledge but his dogmatic view of historical development.  For Watson the current organisational form of the trade unions is fixed rigid, it should not be altered as to attempt to do otherwise would result in a creating a “sectarian personality cult”. But history shows otherwise.

Life does not stand still, and the development of our movement did not begin or end with the forming of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in 1867 or the General Federation of Trade unions (GFTU) in 1899. Our own time has some similarity to conditions which gave rise to the ‘new unionism’ before the upsurge of the years 1888-1914.  The “old unions” were elitist, there was bigotry towards migrant workers, unskilled workers and woman were neglected. Millions were unorganised.  The workers desire for change gave birth to new unions – the General Railway Workers’ Union (now the  RMT), Matchmakers’ Union, the Amalgamated Society of Gasworkers, Brickmakers and General Labourers,  National Federation of Labour, the Dockers Union, the National Sailors’,  Firemen’s Union, and the Industrial Workers of Great Britain to name but a few.

The view of the old unions’ leaders was the same as that of Watson and his co-thinkers – hostility.  TUC leader Henry Broadhurst denounced the new unionism as causing “disruption” and to “hound these creatures from our midst.”   The organising of the new unions was assisted by militants of the then radical socialist organisations, despite their own sectarianism.  A lesson important for today.

Many who pioneered or were influenced by the new unionism played a leading role in building the rank and file shop-stewards movements from 1915-1926, taking action within and when necessary independent of the established unions.  By taking a tunnel vision view of our history many of today’s activists, some calling themselves Marxists (poor Marx!) have come to view activity within established unions as the only acceptable option – completely ignoring the whole experience of new unionism and the Great Unrest.   

The case for a new unionism is relevant now

It was certainly true in the post-war period where the trade union movement expanded to 13.5 million members by 1980 covering 55% of the entire workforce, that there was little scope or justification for creating new independent unions.  Then rank and file/shop-stewards movements played a pivotal role.   But thirty-three years later the situation in the UK is dramatically different.

The number of union members as a proportion of the total 29 million in work, has fell to 26.0% in 2011. In the private sector the number in unions fell to 14.1 in 2011, in the public sector 56.5%.  The number of overall workers covered by collective bargaining between unions and employers stands fell to 31.2% in 2011.  The new organising campaigns like Justice for Cleaners that began in the 1990’s, was meant to start organising the ocean of unorganised workplaces.  Today only the RMT has continued with a sustained campaign of organising cleaners on the railways.  Elsewhere it has been at the initiative of local branches whether cleaners and outsourced workers are organised.   Amidst the deepening crisis of capitalism key unions such as UNISON and UNITE opted for a siege mentality of holding on where they were already organised in ‘brownfield’ areas as opposed to ‘greenfield’ initiatives.

This hold onto what we’ve got mentality has not halted the membership decline even in the strongholds of union organisation.  Indeed with 61% of all union members in the public sector, as outsourcing intensified from the 1990’s many of those previously unionised workers, such as cleaners found themselves virtually abandoned as unions sought to hold onto their stronghold amongst the “core” workforce.

Today union organisation hardly exists in the hotel, restaurant, fast-food and leisure sectors. The service sector, especially retail which has three million workers is similarly poorly organised; the union presence stands at 11% of workers.  At a time when 47% of union members are in professional occupations whilst the movement is failing to expand amongst three million of the lowest paid, “vulnerable” workers of the economy then the similarity to the situation faced by new unionism in the past is obvious.

The IWGB considers that there is an urgent need to organise the 70% of workers not organised and neglected by the old guard of the labour movement.  That does not mean abandoning all existing unions, we have never argued that. But it does mean recognising that the scope for new unions such as IWGB has arisen again.  This can be seen not in the more recent struggle of cleaners in London but the North Sea oil workers.

After the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988 the workers formed the rank and file Offshore Industry Liaison Committee (OILC) frustrated with the failures of the smaller established unions.  In 1991 they established themselves as an independent union.  They were denounced by the Labour Party, the AEU, EETPU and GMB and many on the left. Today they continue as OILC- RMT Offshore Energy Branch.  

This past and recent experience shows clearly it is false to put a barrier between the established movement and new initiatives from below by workers organising themselves.  It is equally wrong to consider the emergence of independent unions as counter-posed to a rank-and-file shop stewards movement to transform the labour movement.  

Solidarity or Slanders: Watson’s Fiction Pulped

Max Watson has an obsessive disagreement with the IWGB because a cleaner criticised him in a private text message.  This condition has grown worse following the decision of the vast majority of outsourced workers and others at the University of London to join the IWGB. The IWGB did not call on anyone to leave UNISON; this decision was an exercise of the workers own right to choose how they organise.  We defend their right just as we would a member of TSSA joining RMT.  We completely reject a mentality that views “the members” as a kind of property, one which sees sovereignty in a union not with the workers themselves but with the union as an institution.    

The decision of the workers at the University of London has been ably explained and defended in articles by Jason Moyer-Lee and Daniel Cooper.   Since the IWGB branch was formed there has been an electrification of the cleaners struggle at the University, coupled by a hysterical scare-campaign by certain Full-timers, alongside efforts by university bosses to ban protests and use the Police to suppress dissent.

The IWGB branch is engaged in a struggle with the University and Balfour Beatty bosses.  Our members are now prepared for a campaign of industrial action.  The UNISON United Left which Watson is a leading member stands for “Solidarity with UNISON members and other workers in struggle.” Yet the attacks by Watson on the IWGB cleaners facing banns and arrests of their student supporters, is in contradiction with these professed principles.  We appeal for the UNISON members to continue to cooperate with their fellow workers in the spirit of solidarity.  

Instead of solidarity Watson engages in slanders.  To strengthen his disagreement over the events at University of London he has fabricated a story of what were in fact very minor events at London Metropolitan University.  This includes contemptible attacks on cleaners who have stood up to their bosses.

LET US SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. 

The IWGB is not engaged in a strategy of “Poaching”.  In the vast majority of workplaces we have organised there are no other unions, in some places the sub-contracted cleaners were not organised by unions representing ‘in-house’ workers; an example is the Barbican where we have sought fraternal relations with other unions and the GMB has shown solidarity with our recent strike.  It is true at St George’s, University of London in Tooting we had a disagreement with UNISON.  All the cleaners joined IWGB in a successful struggle against cuts and for the London Living Wage. One person joined UNISON; the employer behind our backs signed a recognition deal with UNISON and tried without success to break our union.  This was an exception.  

The fact is the 1939 TUC Bridlington Agreement against poaching between unions has long been unfit for purpose and regularly ignored.  What is needed is a solidarity agreement, not crossing each other’s picket lines and supporting fellow workers in struggle.

The IWGB did not attack Watson when he was being victimised.  This is simply a work of fiction. Watson’s obsessive disagreements pre-date his own recent suspension by the London Metropolitan University bosses.   

The NTT Cleaners Fight was a Victory

The IWGB in its past or present form has not set out to undermine UNISON at LondonMetropolitanUniversity. How did it come about that we have cleaner members at the University?  Watson denigrates these cleaners and their achievements as having been in “collusion” with the employer, mocking, that they ‘got themselves transferred’ and were wrong to claim a victory in their fight.    

In February 2012 the cleaners at NTT Communications, employed by Dynamiq protested – in response the entire workforce was locked out by NTT and told they would be made redundant.  The unity of our members stopped the dismissals, forced Dynamiq to agree the workers would stay together in alternative jobs, be put on the London Living Wage and relocated on TUPE conditions.   In the end all the workers were transferred to the Moorgate and North Campus site of London Metropolitan University where Dynamiq had the contract.

Watson claims this was ‘behind our backs, so in effect in collusion with the employer’ – is he seriously saying workers, who had never even heard of Mr Max Watson and not in UNISON, should have asked his permission to save their own jobs? Is he saying forcing an employer who wants to sack everyone to find them jobs with a pay rise is class collaboration?   Sorry, are you mad, Max?

The Patriarch of London Met

At Moorgate site there was no UNISON presence amongst cleaners, the other cleaners were very impressed by the new workers accounts.  But there was no decision to go on a ‘permanent recruitment drive’ as claimed.   

Our union did set out to work with Watson organising cleaners at London Metropolitan.  We had no plans to organise there at all.  It is no doubt true UNISON did organise cleaners in the past, it was also the case many cleaners informed us activity had lapsed.  The cleaners already at Moorgate certainly had no engagement with UNISON.  This is not a criticism just how things were felt by cleaners. 

Watson first contacted the IWGB and spoke at a cleaners protest at Reuters in Aldgate.  He offered cooperation – he also raised working together and “no poaching” – it was never on our minds.  At a meeting of all cleaners, Alberto Durango emphasised that there was already a union organised and they should be part of it – that is UNISON!   A meeting of cleaners was held which elected reps to represent all cleaners, regardless of their union membership.  One of our cleaners’ branch activists was one of them.  She is a political refugee with a respected history of activity in Colombia.  Someone who has seen close family members languish in prison and her own life under threat. 

Why then did Watson become so upset with us?  From the start we made clear to him it is important in working together that we do so as equals and with mutual respect. Instead we and our members were treated condescendingly.  Watson became incensed because:

1.      A joint union leaflet was not produced to meet his deadline,

2.      Alberto Durango attended a meeting with the cleaning contractor, and Watson did not know in advance he was coming,

3.      Some leaflets informing people who our union was had been distributed in the UNISON office – he was there it was hardly a secret,

All because of these minor things Watson was angry, telephoning Chris Ford arrogantly damming our whole union as “unreliable” and engaged in some-kind of campaign to undermine UNISON.  It was an over the top paranoia coupled with a control freak mentality.  

Watson writes that he emailed Chris Ford IWGB Secretary ‘to try to resolve our conflict at London Met’.  This is not the case.  Watson sent long emails which bore the hallmarks of an obsession with a text in Spanish by the women activist mentioned above – to another cleaner’s rep.  She also felt Watson took advantage of her poor English.  That was entirely her prerogative.  She certainly did not make the assertions in his wild claims

Watson persisted in arrogantly demanding this cleaner issue an apology.  We had no intention of engaging in a ridiculous hounding of this worker all because she was critical of the UNISON Branch Chair.  Indeed she was a member of the UNISON Branch at the time.  Does Watson hound other members of UNISON to apologise for being critical of him?  

Watson notes we were too busy with the John Lewis cleaners strike to answer him.  Firstly all our activists are volunteers who do not get paid time off work to engage in union activities and the strike at John Lewis was more important.  Secondly contrary to his paranoid fantasies we were not engaged in an organising drive at LondonMetropolitanUniversity so it was not on our list priorities. 

Watson embellishes his fable about London Met with a slander Chris Ford played ‘no positive role’ in the London Living Wage campaign whilst a lecturer at that University.  In fact he had only just started working there and was a member of UCU not UNISON. However even though Chris was a part-time PhD student who worked a mere couple of hours per week as an Hourly Paid Lecturer he was the only HPL in his Department taking strike action and encouraging others to join UCU. He was sacked and represented by UCU who considered he was victimised, losing his job and his student position. These facts Watson is aware of but chooses to ignore.

It is bizarre indeed that Watson should cite some anarchists associated with the IWW approvingly to attack us.  During a brief period the old Latin American Workers Association and Justice for Cleaners joined the IWW.  The people Watson cites against us engaged in constant attacks on us for amongst other things they thought we wanted to become like “just another TUC union”, we were denounced for having legal strike action, and “getting into bed with Labour MPs”, meaning our friendship with John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn.  And Watson thinks we are “laughable”.

Contemptuous Attack on John Lewis Cleaners

From his high office Watson not only belittles the NTT cleaners and an insubordinate woman who criticised him – but contemptibly attacks the John Lewis cleaners struggle.   In order to justify branding their achievements as “hyper-bollocks” he simply lies about the campaign of the John Lewis cleaners.

The cleaners of John Lewis in Oxford Street are 100% migrant workers from Latin America and Africa employed by the contractor ICM.  From December 2011 until August 2012 they struggled with the employers to stop compulsory cuts of a third of the staff and cuts in their hours.  They added to their campaign the demand for the London Living Wage. 

Having kept the bosses at bay for months, without a penny in strike pay, the cleaners took two days of strike action in August 2012, the first at John Lewis since 1920.  The militant strikes were accompanied by protests and direct action.  Poised to take a third strike the employers agreed to a settlement which saw, no job cuts, no cuts in hours, reinstatement of two workers, re-organisation of excessive shift-hours and a 9% pay increase.  This was followed by the same pay rise for hundreds of cleaners in John Lewis across stores in London.    At this time there were job cuts and austerity measures across the country, including many at LondonMetropolitanUniversity. Against this background IWGB Secretary Chris Ford was right to state the cleaners “achievements are not minor – they are almost unheard of in the current period of austerity.” 

For the cleaners this was a ceasefire, the campaign has continued for the full Living Wage and is escalating towards new strike action.  Instead Watson belittles the statement as “laughable” and even worse condemning the cleaners as giving in when they should have won writing that “others had been winning the Living Wage elsewhere and to be quite honest, with an employer like John Lewis? Talk about open goal missed.”  

By any decent trade unionists standards Watson’s statement is contemptible – Max Watson writes that of the John Lewis dispute: “If that is not hyper-bollocks then my name is Jim Larkin.”  No your not – perhaps a word from the Mad Max of the big screen: “Look, any longer out on that road and I’m one of them, a terminal psychotic, except that I’ve got this bronze badge that says that I’m one of the good guys.” Indeed.

Our movement is at a crossroads, we urgently need a new unionism which meets the challenges of the 21st Century, the seeds of that new unionism are germinating in the struggles of today – the IWGB is a part of this process and we urge genuine trade unionists to support and assist the Independent Workers Union.

IWGB

IWGB

I.W.G.B

WWW.IWGB.ORG.UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

 

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