Mark Bergfeld

Start with solidarity

Issue section: 
Author: 

Mark Bergfeld responds to Sandy Nicoll from last months issue on the Pop-Up Union at Sussex university. Here he argues that our starting point has to be solidarity

In recent months there have been major developments at Sussex University. Two of the main unions on campus (UCU and Unite) held consultative ballots, forcing the third union Unison into a corner. In a rigorous three-page questionnaire more than 85 percent of Unison members ticked the box calling for industrial action. And yet, there is no intention of going on strike.

Democracy at Work

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Richard Wolff

As the barbarism of the Troika continues to hit Greece, the Vio.Me factory in Thessaloniki has begun production under workers' control. Against all the odds 40 workers have restarted the machines. Production costs are high and access to credit doesn't come easily. Yet workers are researching hot to produce ecological cleaning products which they plan to distribute through solidarity networks in a country of struggle.

Catastrophism

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Sasha Lilley, David McNally, Eddie Yuen, and James Davis

Frederic Jameson once stated, "It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism." With climate change negotiations deadlocked, the biggest crisis of capitalism since the 1930s and right wing media pundits declaring the end of Western civilisation in the face of the supposed Islamic threat, this book is the perfect antidote to the catastrophism that has become common currency from left to right.

Crisis and resistance in Portugal

Issue section: 
Author: 

Mark Bergfeld recently attended the congress of the Left Bloc in Portugal and witnessed the general strike there a few days later. Here, he argues that Portugal is currently experiencing its biggest social and political upheaval since the 1974-5 Revolution

A day before the right wing coalition government in Portugal was to vote through its 2013 budget, the German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble met his Portuguese counterpart Vitor Gaspar and proclaimed, "Portugal is on the right path and is, for all of us in the eurozone, a brilliant example that the approach we have been following to stabilise the euro is correct." Schäuble went on to praise the "exceptional job" being performed by the Portuguese government.

Germany: the rise of the Pirate Party

Issue section: 
Author: 

The German Pirate Party has captured the imagination of millions of young and unemployed voters but, asks Mark Bergfeld, are they really the radical anti-establishment force they claim to be?

"Que no! Que no! Que no nos representan!" They don't represent us. From the streets of Buenos Aires in 2001 to the squares of Puerta del Sol and Placa de Cataluna in 2011 this slogan captures the anger and alienation that millions of people feel towards the political system made up of professional politicians, lobbyists and unelected technocrats.

On Utoya

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Edited by Elizabeth Humphrys, Guy Rundle and Tad Tietze

This collection of short essays is the antidote to the mainstream media's "depoliticised" coverage of Anders Breivik's trial. Written only three months after the political assassinations of more than 60 young members of the Norwegian Labour Party on Utøya island, this book is a testimony to those young people who suffered at the hands of a fascist terrorist.

What Are Universities For?

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Stefan Collini

With the indefinite postponement of the Higher Education Bill Stefan Collini's latest book is timely. It lies somewhere between the various manifestos of the movement and the white papers of the government. Collini sets out to defend the notion of the "public university" while at the same time accusing the government of a "reductionist consumerist" higher education policy. This makes it a must read for students, activists and trade unionists in higher education and all those interested in defending it.

The Tailor of Ulm

Issue section: 
Author: 

Lucio Magri

Lucio Magri's memoir of his time in the Italian Communist Party (PCI), the most successful Communist party in Western Europe, is a story of confrontation and compromise.On more than 450 pages he traces the party's and his own political trajectory, often spicing it up with personal anecdotes.

Magri joined the PCI in the mid-1950s. He believed that the communists had been the best fighters against the fascists. Those achievements, however, would far outweigh anything the party would accomplish in the years up to its disbandment in 1991.

The Rise of the Green Left

Issue section: 
Author: 

Derek Wall, Pluto, £12.99

As capitalism and climate change threaten the livelihoods of millions of people across the planet this book, Derek Wall's most recent publication, is timely and welcome.

Wall has been a candidate for the Green Party and is one of the founding members of the Green Left in Britain. The Green Left is an ecosocialist anti-capitalist current within the Green Party which aims at "making greens redder, and reds greener". His book is a guide to activism and a manifesto.

Education demolition

Issue section: 
Author: 

Lord Browne's recommendation of unlimited tuition fees and the introduction of the free market into universities constitutes a devastating assault on access to education by working class people. Mark Bergfeld considers the effects of the proposals and how they can be stopped.

Lord Browne's proposals of lifting the cap from tuition fees and installing a free market in university funding is the largest attack on higher education (HE) we have seen to date. The spending review has twisted the knife further, by cutting central funding to all but the "priority" subjects. The signals are alarming.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Mark Bergfeld