Marxist Sociology Blog: Theory, research, politics2018-10-24T10:00:29-04:00

Populism and the Limits of Business Power

Populism has become a formidable political force across the world, ranging from Trump and Bolsonaro in the Americas to Duterte and Modi in Asia as well as Brexit and a variety of populist movements across Europe. While populism comes in different forms, conventionally grouped into exclusionary right-wing and inclusionary left-wing varieties, our research focuses primarily on right-wing populism. Right-wing populists have achieved some spectacular electoral success across various parts of the world, and they represent a novel and difficult challenge to business. On the one hand, they tend to be anti-socialist and pro-business by temperament, supporting low taxes and opposing many kinds of regulation, such as environmental regulations that generate costs for businesses. On the other hand, right-wing populists also advance policies that many businesses oppose, including protectionism through tariffs and quotas, curbs on labour migration, and threats to central bank independence. Populist leaders inject greater uncertainty and unpredictability into politics and business by rejecting established systems of expertise, law and bureaucracy in favor of their own personal instincts and ability to represent the authentic voice of ‘the people’. Therefore, the rise of populism raises complex dilemmas for business.

What does this tell us about the power of business to get […]

By |Oct 5, 2022|Categories: Blog article, Theory|Comments Off on Populism and the Limits of Business Power

Why a 19th century concept of “social murder” is very much relevant today

The social murder concept makes explicit the source of excessive morbidity and premature death experienced by the working class in today’s society. Hopefully, it can stimulate public resistance to our exploitative economic system that sickens and then kills so many today.

By |Sep 28, 2022|Categories: Blog article, Research|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Why a 19th century concept of “social murder” is very much relevant today

Reorganizing the Core: Precarity, Organizing and the Labour Process in South African Manufacturing

Much of the analytical focus on the conditions of precarious work has been centred in the Global North. This can, in part, be explained by the novelty of the phenomenon in contrast to the Global South where paid work, to some extent, has always been precarious. In South Africa, new precarious forms of subcontracted and casualised employment proliferated after the advent of democracy in 1994. This was the result of the combined forces of South Africa’s reintegration into the global market economy and employers attempts to circumvent newly won rights by workers in the first post-apartheid Labour Relations Act (LRA).

Today it is estimated that 40% of workers in the formal sector are employed in some form of precarious work. Such workers earn, on average, half of what permanent workers earn and often without any form of benefits. In essence, the rise of subcontracted, casualised and other forms of ‘atypical’ work have enabled the colonial and apartheid regimes of cheap black labour to persist.

Like elsewhere in the world, the South African trade union movement has struggled to respond to the changing composition of the workforce. In the last membership survey of the Congress of South […]

By |Sep 21, 2022|Categories: Blog article, Research|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Reorganizing the Core: Precarity, Organizing and the Labour Process in South African Manufacturing

How Are Unions Building Power in an Anti-Labor Era?

There is neither a discernible overarching vision that unites all workers and aids in broad class solidarity nor an easy way of layering strategies so that they serve complementary ends. Whether this misalignment proves damning for labor remains to be seen.

By |Sep 14, 2022|Categories: Blog article, Research|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on How Are Unions Building Power in an Anti-Labor Era?

Corporations that fund food banks do so out of self-interest

Food banks delude the public into thinking food insecurity and hunger are being managed.  Food banks allow governing authorities off the hook. Instead of passing laws and regulations and developing policies to reduce poverty and low wages, governments contribute funding to food banks.

By |Sep 7, 2022|Categories: Blog article, Research|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Corporations that fund food banks do so out of self-interest
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