Really excellent piece over on The Disorder of Things blog

The Disorder Of Things

Once a French neologism, precarity is now a household name describing in equal measure the fate of low-wage, part-time holders of bullshit jobs, seasonal and migrant workers, creative entrepreneurs of the self, “graduates with no future,” foreclosed homeowners, debtors and increasingly even segments of the salaried bourgeoisie. At its most basic, a term for the economic uncertainty and existential angst associated with the dissolution of fixed employment, precarity also suggests the disintegration of stable societal bonds, occupational identities, social protections and a sense of entitlement and belonging characteristic of the old proletariat. In short, then, precarity is the experiential dimension of the crisis of the society of work dating back to the 70s and 80s.

Diego Rivera Detroit Industry Mural 1923

Increasingly advanced production methods, introduced since the 70s to tame shop-floor insubordination as well as reap the untapped potentials of global competition, have caused a decline in growth rates, which no amount of…

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Syrian refugees are blockading the ferry port in Calais demanding right of entry to the UK

Calais Migrant Solidarity

65 Syrian refugees have been staging a blockade of the Calais ferry terminal for over ten hours now, demanding to speak to a representative of the UK Home Office. Some are on hunger strike.

After fleeing shelling and persecution in Syria, the refugees endured further brutality in Europe. In the small French port town they have been subject to evictions from emergency shelters, destruction of possessions and repeated arrest.

The blockaders have therefore resorted to direct action to have their voices heard. They are refusing to leave until their demands are met.  In a town where the police act with considerable impunity on a daily basis, it is important that the blockaders receive solidarity from beyond Calais in publicising their demands.

The group of refugees say:

‘We are now demonstrating in the port of Calais, we will not leave until they let us go to England. We demand one person…

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Programme up for the Social Water workshop taking place in York on 25 October

Social Water: an interdisciplinary postgraduate workshop, 25.10.13

We’re very excited to announce that we now have a provisional programme for Social Water, which can be found on the new ‘Workshop‘ page.

We received such a high number of responses that we decided to run two sets of parallel panels during the day.

We think the range of topics and disciplines really shows the diversity and liveliness of water research today, and we’re grateful to all the presenters for their thoughtful and fascinating engagements with the Call for Papers.

Take a look at the programme on the Workshop page, or below:

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Still not very well and not feeling up to writing up ideas, mainly sitting at home feeling sorry for myself while listening to the new 65daysofstatic album (because I live in Sheffield you see).

I’ve also been watching a couple of the papers I missed at the excellent ‘Neoliberalism, Crisis and the World System’ conference in York, organised by Nicholas Gane and Claire Westall back at the beginning of July. The organisers have been gradually uploading the presentations onto YouTube. You can watch them all there on the dedicated channel they’ve set up. There was also a series of articles related to the conference papers written for openDemocracy.

So another post of links I’m afraid.

I’ve recently been trying to fill one of the many gaping holes in my social theoretical understanding of the world – this time in the shape of the state. I’ve been reading bits and pieces from the debates around Open Marxism (there’s lots of free material on Werner Bonefeld’s paper at the conference on the German ordo-liberals was certainly one which caught my attention (again much of Werner’s material is available at, including this one which relates to the topic of the talk)

William Davies’ paper ‘Revenge of the Social’ was very good too. Davies blogs at potlatch which I highly recommend, and also writes on openDemocracy from time to time (I’m sure most of you will know already if you’ve come across my obscure blog!)

The third paper I found particularly interesting was Rowland Atkinson’s titled ‘Domestic Sovereigns: The Private Home and Public Space’:

There are another 12 there to watch (and I’ve just watched Clare Birchall’s too which I missed on the day and is very thought provoking)

A quick post after a hat-tip from Manchester Climate Monthly of the city I call home, on a petition you should really sign.

Manchester City Council just received an unexpected £14.5m dividend from its 35 per cent stake in Manchester Airport Group, which the council is proposing to use for a so-called ‘Clean and Green Places Initiative’. While Cllr Bernard Priest is “asking the people of Manchester to do is to engage with us through the normal processes”* which demonstrably don’t work (for actual residents at least), this petition is demanding a full and democratic consultation on how the money is spent.

Here’s ‘5 reasons the council should welcome a public consultation’. This isn’t a blog where I post up petitions for you to sign, but on a couple of people’s initiative this could be an opportunity. It is your city after all. More at

*and please do read/listen to that short interview to get an idea of the earth-shattering neoliberal urban platitudes that pass for political leadership in Manchester

I’m going to try to start blogging again to get my brain out of its summer slump, now I’m upgraded and preparing for fieldwork, and I’ve got lots of ideas bubbling away. But in the meantime and while I’m too ill to think properly (and about to run off to go to Hillsborough to see Wednesday crush Yeovil) here’s a couple of things…

Last night I listened to an excellent interview with Jason Read of Unemployed Negativity (a blog I’ve just started reading and is well worth checking out – like this little one on the concept of ‘negative solidarity’) on Exist Anew titled ‘The Dilemma of Work’.

By and large the politics of work and post-work imaginaries is an extremely difficult subject to articulate – or at least articulate well outside of very insular in-the-know political/academic groups – and this conversation seemed to me a breath of fresh air. Some of the questions veer towards lifestyle politics, escapism and localism, but in part I think that’s what makes the interview interesting, and Read deals with them expertly.

Secondly a tip that Mark Purcell has a new article on Lefebvre titled ‘The right to the city: the struggle for democracy in the urban public realm’ in the Policy and Politics journal, which is free to access till the end of September. Haven’t read it yet, but not much point posting this after the point you need a university log-in again!

Finally I was sad to hear of the passing of Marshall Berman, author of All That is Solid Melts Into Air, The Politics of Authenticity, and Adventures in Marxism. There are tributes with links to some of his articles and some lovely videos at Dissent Magazine, Crooked Timber and Verso.