Joseph Kay

Inside and against the university

3Cosas won concessions with a 2 day strike - and announced a 3 day one

With recent strikes, occupations, and violent repression, the university is becoming a battleground. What does this mean for university staff and students?

To begin, I should stress that the choice to be inside the university is disappearing. Whether by escalating indebtedness, involuntary outsourcing, or indeed, summary suspension for political activity, exclusion from the university is making a comeback.

Decent wages and decent capitalism?

Decent wages and decent capitalism?

Ha-Joon Chang argues that higher wages are good for workers and businesses alike. He's wrong.

Ha-Joon Chang is a leading heterodox development economist. He is probably best known for his 2002 book 'Kicking away the ladder', which convincingly demolishes free market development myths. Chang shows that the countries which successfully industrialised in the 20th century were those which pursued activist state development policies.

Capital can't be reasoned with - the importance of affective politics

Students block police from intervening in a demonstration

When we limit ourselves to reasoned critique we cut ourselves off from the everyday experiences of life under capitalism from which any revolutionary rupture must grow.

David Graeber's article on 'bullshit jobs' seems to have struck a chord, being widely republished and discussed, as well as inspiring numerous responses.

In lieu of a blog - tweets on parliamentarism and left- Keynesian mythology

John Maynard Keynes

Some tweets on left parliamentary aspirations and Keynesian welfare state mythology.

Dawkins and liberal racism

Dawkins and liberal racism

Some quick comments on the latest 'shit Dawkins says on Twitter' row.

Some of you may have noticed the row over Richard Dawkins' latest comments on Twitter, where he took an arbitrary swipe at the achievements of muslims (all of them):

Stop laughing at the English Defence League

Stop laughing at the English Defence League

Three reasons why laughing at the EDL is counter-productive, and what we should do instead.

You've all seen the images doing the rounds on facebook of EDL members waving mis-spelt placards. Maybe you've liked or shared them on Facebook. I had the autotuned 'Muslamic Ray Guns' tune stuck in my head for ages even though it was politically problematic.

Low cost pragmatic storage solutions for the surplus population

Low cost pragmatic storage solutions for the surplus population

A follow-up to my blog on the 'housing shortage', originally posted as an overly-long facebook status and reposted here now that the scheme to house people in shipping containers has been approved.

I've been arguing with a few Green Party supporters over the plan to store surplus poor people in shipping containers. My point is there's a massive surplus of houses (in Brighton, 4,000 empties, 867 of which are long-term, vs 135 homeless families), the scarcity is artificial.

Communism and free education

'Omnia sunt communia'

A short blog inspired by a long banner.

Some students today unfurled a giant banner. In simple white type on black, one side simply read 'communism'. On the reverse, 'omnia sunt communia'. Not being versed in latin, an accompanying leaflet translated and gave some context.

Wrong to work! Two perspectives on the abolition of work

Wrong to work! Two perspectives on the abolition of work

ALL MUST WORK! declares the cabinet of millionaires. 'Workers not shirkers!', they implore. 'Strivers not skivers!' The divide-and-rule rhetoric trying to pit those in work against those without is as relentless as it is transparent. But what's so good about work anyway?

Junge Linke's short piece nicely skewers how attempts to mobilise resentment of claimants and the unemployed undermine even those in work who aren't claiming benefits. What I'd like to focus on is two perspectives on what an explicitly anti-work politics might look like.


There is no housing shortage

There is no housing shortage

The Guardian today reports a rise in homelessness. This is a predictable (and predicted) consequence of benefits cuts, but it has nothing to do with a shortage of homes.

The 'housing shortage' has become something of a received wisdom amongst the political mainstream. From the right, we get the endless moans from property developers about 'bureaucratic planning red tape'. From the left, the nostalgic call for a new wave of council housing.