In February, I presented one of several papers on 'Alternative ways of thinking the university' at a conference on Universities in the Knowledge Economy (UNIKE). I was joined by Joss Winn,...
I will be speaking about placing higher education in the service of social justice at this exciting event in April…
CSE* Midlands launch event:
What is to be done in the age of austerity and autonomy?
17 April 2015
University of Birmingham
Room: Muirhead 113
“The ability, and desire, to mobilise, organise and associate, autonomously of traditional left institutions, has been widely noted of late. Much theorising on the left highlights the move towards a ‘politics of autonomy'; and the wave of anti-austerity movements that have challenged established institutions (in the form of the indignados, Occupy, Gezi Park, and UK Uncut) seem to chime with this theoretical agenda. This move towards an autonomous and vibrant left appears to be a source of hope, especially as these new social movements add weight and renewed force to the continuing resistance from public service workers and their unions to years of austerity and public service reform.
Yet, this occurs at the same time as the so-called ‘age of austerity’, in which concessions that have in the past been made by the capitalist state are now being withdrawn; repression, rather than concessions, is increasingly becoming the response of the state to social mobilisation. This repressive neo-liberal reaction is evidence of the underlying contradictions of capitalism which traditional Keynesian-type state intervention leaves intact.
These underlying contradictory trends in contemporary capitalism raise crucial questions of strategy, tactics and analysis. The launch of this CSE Midlands group is an attempt to provide a forum for radical and anti-capitalist activists, critical scholars, and activist/critical scholars to come together to discuss ‘what is to be done’ in this apparently contradictory age of autonomy and austerity. This launch event will feature a panel focusing on some of the key contextual developments that contemporary radicals face; followed by a roundtable discussion on “what is to be done?” We intend the launch of CSE Midlands to be followed by similar events across the Midlands, including on contemporary industrial relations, the 2015 general election, contemporary social movements, and current trends in radical and Marxist theory.”
2.15 Session One: conceptualising the contemporary context
Sarah Amsler (University of Lincoln), Higher education for social justice
Whyeda Gill-Mclure (University of Wolverhampton), The politics of public service reform
Keir Milburn (University of Leicester), Austerity and contemporary capitalism
3.45 Session Two: what is to be done?
Tony Rabaiotti, Head of Local Government, UNISON West Midlands (tbc)
Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, General Federation of Trade Unions
Malia Bouattia, National Union of Students Black Students’ Officer
Craig Gent, University of Warwick/Plan C
5.00 END – Followed by drinks
* The Conference of Socialist Economists’ is an international, democratic membership organisation committed to developing a materialist critique of capitalism, unconstrained by conventional academic divisions between subjects’. For more information, visit the main organisational website.