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.
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.
There's been several articles posted lately critical of identity politics from a class struggle perspective. This blog addresses some of the pitfalls of the class unity v identity politics debate.
I've been meaning to write something on this for a long time, but I've hesitated as class struggle critiques of identity politics are often clumsy and serve to gloss over very real oppressions and violence.
This is a short blog inspired by the news that the UK is officially in ‘double-dip’ recession (as predicted by pretty much everyone on the left).
So everybody’s taking perverse pleasure in celebrating the return to recession as proof that 'austerity isn’t working'.1 Setting aside the armchair-Keynesianism behin
- 1. This assumes a rapid return to growth is the objective, rather than tearing up the post-war social contract, smashing the remnants of organised labour, privatising everything in sight and getting even more ridiculously minted.
This post was prompted by Joseph Kay's "bodies as a site of class struggle." As well as raising some interesting questions regarding the right to choose and class struggle - which I'll offer my own thoughts on here - it also prompted me to look more closely at the re-ignited abortion debate. I've been aware of it only peripherally due to my focus being elsewhere, but certainly what's happening there is very scary indeed.
I can't claim to offer any scientific data or analysis on the advances/retreats of womens’ rights in relation to wider social/economic conditions. However, I do broadly agree that what are known in the US as "culture wars" heat up in times of crisis and heightened class conflict.
This is a short blog prompted by recent events in Brighton, as well as wider discussions I’ve been having about the (possible) relationship of austerity to gendered violence and oppression.
In terms of what’s been happening in Brighton, a ‘pro-life’ group (who I won’t name since they’re aiming at publicity) have been regularly harassing women at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service clinic, importing tactics from the US where such actions are a lot more common. This made the front page of the local paper today after they intimidated a rape survivor (see lead pic).
This is part of a discussion on Facebook that started off some questions on the topic of general strikes. I thought the conversation was interesting, so decided to turn into a blog post.
2011 was the year 'general strike' reentered the vocaboulary of American social movements. Wisconsin planted the seed, Oakland attempted to pull one off and now large segments of the Occupy movement are organizing for a May 1st general strike. But what is a general strike? What have they looked like in American history? What about in other places?