Kincaid & Barker on crisis, austerity, resistance (23 Feb)



 BPAG10, Broadcasting Place (this is part of Leeds Beckett University, opposite the Fenton pub on Woodhouse Street) , 6PM Monday Feb 23rd

Despite recession, ‘secular’ stagnation and deflation the capitalist system continues to exhibit a remarkable staying power. And in terms of the social costs the living standards for millions have fallen whilst the commitment to full employment and the welfare state have long been abandoned. Globally governments pursue neoliberal economic objectives that have resulted in the most grotesque inequalities combined with diminishing civil liberties and the virtual abandonment of representative democracy.

Yet with the results of the elections in Greece we might be seeing the stirrings of a mass rejection of austerity politics and with a coming general election in the UK against a shattered and discredited political system it is possible that opportunities for change are at last in sight. And to help socialists in Leeds to consider both the pitfalls and possibilities confronting us, two distinguished Marxist theorists will be proposing explanations of the crisis and examples for resistance in the coming period.

Jim Kincaid is an economist who devoted much of his time to the issues of poverty, welfare and social policy, but has been more recently grappling with Marxist political economy, especially its application in a financialised global economy. Most recently he raised eyebrows at a Historical Materialism conference where he drew attention to the persistence of puzzlingly high rates of corporate profits throughout a period of economic stagnation and recession. Jim is a member of Left Unity.

 Colin Barker is a political theorist and activist who has devoted much of his life to the study (and promotion) of radical and revolutionary movements of resistance and mass democracy. Among a large body of distinguished work is a recent collection on Marxism and Social Movements (available as a  Haymarket paperback). Until recently Colin was a member of the editorial board of theInternational Socialism journal but since June 2014 he has begun to fulfil the same role for the Revolution in the 21st century magazine. Colin is a member of rs21.


As founder members of the International Socialists in the 1960s Jim and Colin are old mates and it is in the spirit of fraternity that they will be offering their ideas from their respective perspectives.


We are looking forward to a relaxed and open debate which will allow us to think about the relevance of Marxist approaches to understanding the world today.


Thurs 11 Sept – Action against sanctions and workfare in Leeds


HANDS OFF OUR HOMES have issued this information:

Support the Day of action against sanctions and workfare

Thursday September 11th 2014 

On September 11th people around the country will be taking action against the government’s cruel regime of sanctions against people relying on Job Seekers Allowance, and those in the Work-Related Activities Group on Employment Support Allowance.

We’ll also be opposing the policy known as “workfare”, of making claimants work for free as a condition of getting their benefits – thereby making easy profits for many employers at the public expense, whilst depriving someone of a proper paid job.

Please join us on Thursday 11th September, from 12 noon – 2pm, on Briggate (near the Body Shop) in Leeds

Bring your stories, your friends and neighbours, banners and placards, musical instruments, chairs and tables, whatever you need to be comfortable

For more info or more flyers, phone or text 07930 966205 or email

Help us spread the word!

Why are we doing this?

Along with the bedroom tax, sanctions and workfare are probably the cruellest and most unfair part of the government’s programme of cuts aimed at the poorest and least powerful in society. Already, many thousands of people affected by sanctions have been forced to rely on food-banks – and things are only set to get worse.

But these policies are only the thin end of the wedge. They are part of a huge, long-term programme of cuts and privatisations which will eventually affect everyone. They include service cuts, pay freezes and reductions, removal of health and safety and environmental protections, and outsourcing of services to corporations who cream off huge profits at the public expense whilst paying poverty wages and delivering a crap service to those in need.

We are told the cuts are needed because we (as a country) have been “overspending” on welfare, and that services are inefficient and too expensive. We know these excuses are lies – the point is to transfer as much wealth as possible into the pockets of corporate bosses and shareholders, financiers, those who pull the strings – giving them more opportunities for easy profits at our expense. In the meantime, those who are unable to work are viewed as worthless, and the vital but invisible work done by millions of carers, parents and others is given no value.

To change this we need a mass movement, which refuses false divisions between ordinary people – between workers and jobless, between those who get a wage or salary and those who work unpaid, between service-users and service-providers. We need to refuse the scapegoating of certain groups in society – of migrants, of people who are disabled or have chronic illnesses, of the young and of unpaid carers and parents. We need claimants, workers, trades unions, campaigners and neighbourhood groups all acting in solidarity.

How can I help?

There are many ways you can help – by leafleting, organising a meeting or joining one of the organisations already campaigning against cuts. This leaflet has been produced by Hands Off Our Homes, which has been campaigning hard against the Bedroom Tax, and Unite Community, which is a union branch you can join if you are out of work or work in the home or in a community setting. We would warmly invite you to join either of these organisations, and we can give you info about others.

Contact Hands Off Our Homes on 07504 017322 or

Unite Community on 0113 236 4830 or