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Daily Archives: February 2nd, 2011

Money, money, money

PRIVATE EQUITY, CORPORATE TURBULENCE AND LABOUR REGULATION

Call for Papers
Private Equity, Corporate Turbulence and Labour Regulation

ESRC/Middlesex University One Day Workshop
Monday June 13th  2011, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Concerns over the role of private equity in shaping corporate behaviour were already apparent in the years immediately preceding the Great Financial Crash of 2008. In 2006 alone buy-outs of businesses by private equity organisations amounted to US$ 725bn. – equivalent to the economies of Argentina, Poland and South Africa combined. One quarter of all takeovers before the financial crash were financed by such private equity.

Major household names, such as Nabisco, Carrefour, Gate Gourmet and EMI have already fallen to such venture capital. Private equity finance depends on leverage, or the ability to borrow money to raise more finance. There is thus a dependence on debt, which enormously increases the risk of such investment. Up until the financial crash such risky ventures produced huge returns for the financiers, but after the crash such debt led to huge losses. Harvard University, for example, lost millions of dollars from its funds after it had mistakenly switched to private equity investment as an alternative to stocks and bonds. The result was lay-offs and redundancies of workers to cover the cost, a pattern of events being repeated elsewhere for workers whose employing organisation is dependent on debt finance.

Such ‘short-termism’ appears built in to the private equity model, as the financiers seek immediate gains from their investments at the cost of longer term corporate stability. Employees and their unions are faced with continuous episodes of restructuring as corporations are treated as ‘bundles of assets’ and plants are sold off to make profits or avoid losses. Productive investment in a company becomes less likely, as it is an additional cost to the remote owners. Workers suffer from increased job insecurity as off-shoring and contracting-out is encouraged, while industrial relations and collective bargaining becomes a casualty of corporate instability and ‘invisible’ employers.

This seminar will discuss and debate the continuing problems of private equity finance and corporate turbulence by bringing together academics and practitioners from trade unions, government bodies, employers and NGOs to discuss policy initiatives. The seminar is convened by Middlesex University, London and funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council. It is part of a series of seminars examining global labour regulation in the international economy. Previous seminars reviewed problems arising from the increasing use of contract and agency labour, and migrant workers.

Overview speakers include:

Professor John Grahl (Middlesex University) on Restructuring under the Rule of the Capital Markets: the case of private equity? and
Professor Geoff Wood (Sheffield University), Professor Marc Goergen (Cardiff University) and Professor Noel O’Sullivan (University of Sheffield) with a data presentation on The Employment Consequences of Private Equity Acquisitions: The Case of Institutional Buy-Outs.

Plus speakers from International Trade Union Federations on the trade union response.

If you wish to contribute a paper to this seminar, or wish to attend as a delegate please contact below. We are particularly keen to hear case study presentations on labour-related problems flowing from private equity and institutional buy-outs. Some financial assistance may be available for selected presenters to cover costs of travel and accommodation.

For more information, and registration at the Seminar, please contact Professor Martin Upchurch, Middlesex University, London, UK: m.upchurch@mdx.ac.uk or Denise Arden d.arden@mdx.ac.uk

Further information on the seminar series can be found at Beyond Labour Regulation blog: http://www.globalworkonline.net/blog/private-equity-corporate-turbulence-and-labour-regulation/

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A Crisis of Capital

CAPITAL AGAINST CAPITALISM

– CALL FOR PAPERS – CALL FOR PAPERS – CALL FOR PAPERS –

Capital Against Capitalism
A conference of new Marxist research
Saturday 25 June 2011
Central Sydney, Australia

It seems significant, and hardly coincidental, that the impasse that politics fell into after the 1960s and 1970s coincided with the eclipse of Marx and the research project of historical materialism. Social democracy, various left-wing melancholies and/ or the embrace of dead political forms has stood-in for these absent names. Returning to Marx, to Capital and to the various traditions tied-up with these names may present a way to cut across this three-fold deadlock.

We invite papers responding to contemporary politics from a range of historical materialist perspectives. We want to bring together the theoretical discussions and debates occurring in Capital reading groups, PhD study circles, and Marxist political organisations and networks. Our conjuncture – its manifold crisis – urges new analyses, new strategic orientations and the engagement of activists and academics alike on these questions.

Conference Structure
The conference will involve two plenaries and four workshops. There will be space for 12 workshop papers about, or connected to, the conference theme. We are happy to receive proposals for themed workshops of three papers, with the caveat that we may need to alter suggested panels or reject individual papers to ensure overall timetabling.

In our opening plenary, Rick Kuhn will overview the argument of his new book, with Tom Bramble, Labor’s conflict: big business, workers and the politics of class (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Geoff Robinson and Tad Tietze will act as respondents. The final session will be a keynote address from Nicole Pepperell on the key ideas of her PhD thesis and forthcoming book on Marx’s Capital (to be published by Brill, as part of the Historical Materialism Book Series, later this year).

In all sessions there will be time for contributions from conference participants. To maximise discussion at the conference, each first plenary and workshop speaker will have 15 minutes to overview their paper.

Proposals for Papers
Proposals for papers should be submitted by 15 March 2011 to Elizabeth Humphrys lizhumphrys@me.com and Jonathon Collerson jonathoncollerson@gmail.com. Authors should also indicate whether they would be submitting a written paper for refereeing. 
Papers should be 1500, and no longer than 1800 words. Refereed conference papers will be published, potentially also as a special issue of an academic journal. We reserve the right to reject papers if we have too many to fill the allocated slots, or they are deemed unsuitable, but we will do our best to accommodate everyone.

Key Dates
1 February – Call for papers
15 March – Abstracts due
1 May – Papers due for refereeing; conference timetable released
1 June – Feedback to authors
25 June – Conference

Other details
The conference will be held in Central Sydney, in easy reach of public transport and in an accessible location. There will be a small conference fee, of approximately $20-$30 on average, to cover the cost of lunches and travel costs for the interstate speakers. Full details to follow. If you require childcare please contact us to discuss this by 1 June 2011. The conference organisers will not be arranging billeting, but please contact us if you are unable to arrange your own accommodation option. As the conference has no outside funding source, we will be unable to cover travel costs for workshop presenters.

Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=104092856334915

Elizabeth Humphrys and Jonathon Collerson (obo the organising group)

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World Crisis

WORLD CRISIS AND RESISTANCE

International Socialism Northern Day School
The Dance House, Oxford Road, Manchester (opposite the BBC)
Sunday 6th February 2011, 10.30-5.00

The world is now in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the 1930s. This is a crisis brought on by the capitalist system. The response of our rulers, everywhere, is to make ordinary people pay the price—even though they didn’t cause it. Their policies are a declaration of class war.

Unevenly, but with growing strength, workers and students are developing a fightback in country after country. In Britain, the head of the Metropolitan Police says we are entering an era of mass protests.

In the past fortnight, mass protests have brought down a hated regime in Tunisia, and are now challenging Mubarak’s dictatorship in Egypt.

International Socialism journal invites you to join in a day school on the crisis, organizing in the resistance, and the possibilities for revolutionary politics.

Sessions on:

[1] Understanding the capitalist crisis;
[2] How should revolutionaries organise in the 21st century?;
[3] What do we really mean by socialist revolution?

Speakers include:
Session 1: 11.00-12.30
Jane Hardy (Professor of Politics, Hertfordshire)
Joseph Choonara (editorial board, International Socialism)

Session 2: 1.30-3.00
Esme Choonara (London ambulance worker, former Socialist Worker journalist)
Jen Wilkinson (SWP organiser, Manchester)

Session 3: 3.30-5.00
Jonny Jones (deputy editor, International Socialism)
Megan Trudell (editorial board, International Socialism)

There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion. And an extensive socialist bookstall.

Admission: £10 waged, £5 unwaged, £2 school and FE students.

For further information, and for advance bookings, contact ISJ Day School, PO Box 111, Manchester M21 0AA or call 0777 234 6819.

International Socialism
http://www.isj.org.uk
+44 (0)20 7819 1177

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

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Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

World Crisis

Karl Marx

SYMPOSIUM ON KARL MARX’S ‘NOTES ON JAMES MILL’ (1844)

Marx and Philosophy Society
Symposium on Karl Marx’s ‘Notes on James Mill’ (1844)
2-6pm, Saturday February 5, 2011, at the London Knowledge Lab, 23-29 Emerald Street, London WC1

Andrew Chitty and Martin McIvor will lead a discussion of this fascinating early text by Marx.

An English version of the text is available at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/james-mill/index.htm . An alternative translation is in the Penguin Early Writings collection, titled ‘Excerpts from James Mill’s Elements of Political Economy’.

Attendance is free and open to all. To register e-mail Meade McCloughan: m.mccloughan@ucl.ac.uk

Directions and map: http://tinyurl.com/ywmsvc  Tube stations: Holborn and Russell Square.

Marx and Philosophy Society: http://www.marxandphilosophy.org.uk/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sean Sayers, Professor  of Philosophy,
School of European Culture and Languages
University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NF, UK
Tel +44 1227-824945; Fax +44 1227-823641
http://www.kent.ac.uk/secl/philosophy/staff/sayers/
Editor, Marx and Philosophy Review of Books: http://www.marxandphilosophy.org.uk/reviewofbooks/

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Lenin

HISTORICAL MATERIALISM VOLUME 18 NUMBER 3 (2010)

Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory
Volume 18 Issue 3, 2010

http://www.brill.nl./hima

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/hm

CONTENTS

Article
Gene Ray
Dialectical Realism and Radical Commitments: Brecht and Adorno on 
Representing Capitalism

Symposium on Lars Lih’s ‘Lenin Rediscovered’
Paul Blackledge
Editorial Introduction

Ronald Grigor Suny
Reconsidering Lenin: What Can Be Said about ‘What Is to Be Done?’

Robert Mayer
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: On Lars Lih’s Lenin

Chris Harman
Lenin Rediscovered?

Alan Shandro
Text and Context in the Argument of Lenin’s ‘What Is to Be Done?’

Paul Le Blanc
Rediscovering Lenin

Lars T. Lih
Lenin Disputed

Interventions
Matteo Mandarini
Critical Thoughts on the Politics of Immanence

Mario Tronti
Workerism and Politics

Review Articles
Paul Flenley
On Oktyabr’skaya Revolyutsiya i Fabzavkomy [The October Revolution and Factory-Committees] edited by Steve A. Smith, and Oktyabr’skaya  Revolyutsia i Fabzavkomy, Volume 3, Second Edition and Oktyabr’skaya  Revolyutsiya i Fabzavkomy: Materialy po istorii fabrichno-zavodskikh komitetov, Volume 4, edited by  Yoshimasa Tsuji

Jeffery R. Webber
on Fernando Ignacio Leiva’s Latin American Neostructuralism: The  Contradictions of Post-Neoliberal Development

David Parker
on Heide Gerstenberger’s Impersonal Power. History and Theory of the  Bourgeois State

Historical-Critical Dictionary of Marxism
Dick Boer
The Imaginary

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