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Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left

20 Nov

Capital and Class/CSE Midlands is hosting an evening with Ian Parker, author of “Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left” (Zero Books, 2017).


Tuesday 28 November
Centrala – Unit 4, Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, Birmingham B5 5RT

From the publisher: “Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left comprises short essays on fifty revolutionary keywords, each word being put to work on a contemporary political issue. With keywords ranging from academicisation to neoliberalism, from postcolonial to Zionism and with subjects including, Badiou, North Korea, sexual violence and Žižek, the book concludes with an essay mapping the development of progressive keywords before our century of revolution, which began in 1917, keywords that emerged in the fifty years of struggle between 1917 and 1967, and revolutionary keywords for the new left today”.

All welcome!


Picturehouse Strike Speaker Tour

20 Nov

Picturehouse Strike Speaker Tour
Thursday 23 November, 6-7.30pm
University of Birmingham, Arts Lecture Room 3


The ongoing Picturehouse dispute has seen over 300 cinema workers take strike action for over 12 months. In an event hosted by Capital and Class/CSE Midlands, Kelly Rogers, one of the trade unionists involved in organising the strike, will talk about the campaign and what we can do to support it.


Workers in the Picturehouse cinema chain have been demanding a real Living Wage since 2014. A series of strikes then resulted in a 26 percent pay rise and a commitment from Picturehouse to work towards implementing the Living Wage over the subsequent two years. The company reneged on this deal, and since September 2016 workers have been back out on strike. Running for over a year now, the renewed dispute has grown considerably: from one cinema on strike, to six; approximately 50 union members in the chain, to over 300. In addition to a real Living Wage, workers are demanding decent sick pay, company maternity and paternity pay, recognition for their chosen union, BECTU, and pay rises for their supervisors, managers, chefs and projectionists.

Predominantly young workers, many of them migrants, the Picturehouse dispute bucks the trend of a trade union movement in decline, and shows us that precarious, low-paid and migrant workers are leading the fight for better pay and conditions today.

Kelly Rogers is an organiser for the Picturehouse strike and one of four sacked union representatives from the Ritzy Picturehouse in south London.
More details:…/picturehouse-cinemas-…

Spring 2017 readings – The Econocracy

23 Mar

This term (Jan – April 2017) we are reading The Econocracy, by Joe Earle, Cahal Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins of the Post-Crash Economics Society at the University of Manchester.

The book gives a unique insight into the mindless indoctrination that passes as an education in the discipline of mainstream economics.

As the authors put it, ‘Economic experts are at the heart of econocracy. Yet their understanding of the world is often limited to a fixed set of models, taught in a manner that is almost completely disconnected from the real world. … The result of teaching students only the neoclassical way of thinking is that economic experts have no critical perspective on the limitations of their expertise. Most students are not even told that there are other ways to think about the economy and as a result they do not see economics as a subject with debate and disagreement. In the words of one bemused student, ‘I had always thought of economics as a lively debate. Until I started university, that is.’.’

9 March, 12.30: Introduction and Chapter 1

23 March, 1.00: The Econocracy.chs2.3., Muirhead Tower, University of Birmingham

6 April, 12.30: Econocracy_final, University of Birmingham

All welcome!

Michael Roberts – The Long Depression

11 Jan

CSE Midlands are happy to welcome Michael Roberts, to present the main ideas of his new book, ‘The Long Depression’. 

Michael Roberts —The Long Depression: Capitalism in Stagnation since 2008
University of Birmingham
Wednesday, 25th January
University House, Room 111
All welcome! 

Michael Roberts has worked in the City of London for over 30 years as an economist. He has an intimate knowledge of the workings of finance capital as a result. He presents a Marxist analysis of modern economies as opposed to mainstream economics (neoclassical and Keynesian). The Marxist thesis is that production under capitalism is for the profit of the owners of capital and there is continual conflict between meeting the needs of people and profit for the few. The contradiction was starkly expressed in the Great Recession of 2008-9, the biggest collapse in capitalist production since the 1930s. In his new book, Roberts explains that, since the end of the Great Recession, the major economies have remained in a Long Depression as in the 1930s and 1880s that they cannot seem to escape from. The book explains how and why this happened and what happens next.

CSE Midlands reading schedule 2016-7

25 Oct

CSE Midlands reading group have scheduled to read Michael Roberts’ The Long Depression: How It Happened, Why It Happened, And What Happens Next, published earlier this year (2016).

Adopting an ‘unapologetically Marxist perspective’, Roberts argues that the global economy remains in the throes of a depression, due to an ongoing problem of low profitability and high levels of debt; the only ‘solution’ to which will be yet another economic slump, which would need to destroy the value of existing capital and therefore restore the profitability of that which remains.

The reading schedule is as follows:

All meetings are to take place at the University of Birmingham, starting at 12.30pm:

20th October – Intro, chapters 1 & 2 (Thursday) – Strathcona SR2

4th November – chapters 3 & 4 (Friday) – Strathcona SR 6

17th November – chapters 5 & 6 (Thursday) – Muirhead 716

2nd December – chapters 7 & 8 (Friday) – Muirhead 716

15th December – chapters 9 & 10 (Thursday) – Muirhead 716

6th January – chapters 11 & 12 (Friday) – Muirhead 716

12th January – chapter 13, appendix 1 (Thursday) – location tbc

20th January – Appendix 2 (Friday) – Muirhead 950

All welcome!


2016-17 first meeting

4 Oct

The first meeting of CSE Midlands this academic year will take place on Monday 10th October at 12.30 in room 429 in the Muirhead Tower.

This meeting will be to discuss the texts we wish to read this year and any other events we may want to hold. Suggested texts so far include:

We are open to other book suggestions, so please bring them with you to the meeting or send them through email. If you have any suggestions regarding speakers to invite or events to host, please feel free to let us know. We will also be discussing viable meeting times for this year, so please inform us if you have preferences.

All welcome

Against the commercialisation of the university: strikes, protests and/or Jeremy Corbyn?

16 May

Against the commercialisation of the university: strikes, protests and/or Jeremy Corbyn?

A solidarity event hosted by CSE Midlands in support of the UCU pay dispute

25 May 2016, University of Birmingham Chaplaincy (i.e. on the “right” side of the picket line)

Over-paid managers are taking over our universities. Our wages continue to decline in real terms, whilst the managers who introduce “5-year plans” and “departmental restructures” see their bloated salaries continue to escalate. The University of Birmingham’s Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Eastwood, earns £416,000 per year, one of the highest in the country. Its Chancellor, Lord Bilimoria, was recently exposed by international press coverage of the Panama Papers, as having earned £3.2 million in dividends at the same time as his company, Cobra Beer, was about to go bankrupt. Should the university be run according to ‘market logic’?

This event, replacing a planned launch event for the current special issue of the journal Capital & Class, on Left Convergence, will see authors from that special issue discuss the various ways in which we can and should learn from past and present discussions and experiences of social struggle, so that we might (re)discover how to end the neoliberal logic that is taking over our universities. The special issue can be found here:


12.00 Welcome, strike rally and update, Roland Brandstaetter, University of Birmingham UCU Branch President

12.10 Student Support for the Modern Languages campaign

12.20 Elio Di Muccio, University of Birmingham UCU anti-casualisation campaign, “You cannot have your cake and eat it: employers, casualisation and the proletarianisation of the workforce”

12.30 LUNCH (provided)

1.00 Introduction and the case for left convergence, Alex Prichard and Owen Worth

1.30 On representation and prefiguration, Teivo Teivainen

1.45 Lessons from horizontal politics, Nick Kiersey

2.00 Different context, same questions? the Kurdish struggle and the Rojava revolution, Yagmur Savran

2.15 Open discussion: maximising impact and gaining stronger leverage in our campaigns

3.30 END – Drinks (provided)

Location: St Francis Hall, “O2” in this map:

Hosted by CSE Midlands

Open to all picketers, those on strike, and supporters – children welcome