Challenging Neo-Liberalism – inventing, imagining, kicking off!

Thus far in the history of our campaign no one has stood up for the economics and politics of neo-liberalism. Whatever our differences in terms of strategy and tactics there is a consensus of opposition to the deeply divisive, damaging policies of the present government and its predecessor. In this light find a couple of links that seek to stimulate debate about the creation of alternatives. Fair enough you won’t absorb them necessarily over the weekend – in fact you might well want to do more playful things! – but at the very least save them for a rainy day.

The Kilburn Manifesto: our challenge to the neoliberal victory

Elites are using the crisis of global capital to reassert power. But this is no time for retreat. Stuart Hall, Doreen Massey and Michael Rustin outline the alternative in a manifesto, which will appear over the next year in monthly instalments.

Chapter 1 : After Neo-Liberalism : Analysing the Present

This is no time for simple retreat. What is required is a renewed sense of being on the side of the future, not stuck in the dugouts of the past. We must admit that the old forms of the welfare state proved insufficient. But we must stubbornly defend the principles on which it was founded – redistribution, egalitarianism, collective provision, democratic accountability and participation, the right to education and healthcare – and find new ways in which they can be institutionalised and expressed.


In this recent lecture Paul Mason returns to the question of resistance to neo-liberalism and the precarious position of ‘graduates, indeed young people without a future’.

All attempts to make the old model work without solving the global imbalances on which it rests lead to the policy of austerity: not just fiscal austerity, as in Britain and southern Europe, but a long-term strategy of reducing the wages, welfare benefits and labour rights of the workforce in the West. 

And there is one massively important group that has been dealt not just a tactical setback but a strategic one. In Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere I called these ‘graduates without a future’ – the first generation in the West since the 1930s who will be poorer than their parents.[1] They will leave college with £30, 40, 50k debts. The jobs on offer are – as the famous Santa Cruz ‘Communiqué from an Absent Future’ told us in 2009 – the same jobs you do while on campus: interning, barista, waiting tables, sex work. The first post-college job is often working for free or for the minimum wage. There is no way onto the housing ladder, the ladder is now horizontal; and in retirement, pension schemes will be gone.

For this generation it is not a question of simple economic grievance but of the theft of the promised future. And I’ve become sick of hearing that the movement has ‘petered out’. No. It has been massively repressed. Tear gas fired indiscriminately into crowds in Athens, rubber bullets in Madrid, tasers and pepper spray on campuses across America. Non-lethal policing is highly effective against non-violent protests. It tends to clear them away. But do not think it has cleared away the grievances in people’s minds that led them to demonstrate in the first place. What it does is push those who don’t want to get their heads broken into a more sullen, silent, passive resistance: a resistance of ideas; or a resistance of small, granular social projects; or, as in Greece, anomie – where people just embrace the beauty of being hopeless, roll a joint, stare into each other’s eyes. 

The crisis of neoliberalism, compounded by the total failure to emerge of any alternative within official politics, simply leaves unanswered the next generation’s question: how does capitalism secure my future?

But the world that was created after 1945 – a world of human rights, democracy and relative working-class affluence in the West – is now in jeopardy. And as long as all these things remain in jeopardy, it will go on kicking off. 



Challenging Heteronormativity : Practice, Activism and Impact

News of a fascinating conference in a couple of weeks time at Brunel from Fin Cullen.


I hope you may be interested in this forthcoming event CYWS & BGSRC to explore youth and LGBTQ issues.

Bridging policy, practice and research

May 14, 2013 from 1:30-5:30pm• Mary Seacole building, BRUNEL UNIVERSITY, UXBRIDGE

Michael Barron (Belongto)
Prof Ian Rivers (Brunel)
Jay Stewart (Gendered Intelligence)
Amelia Lee (LGBT YOUTH NW /Schools OUT)

Mark International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia at a half day event exploring how activists, youth practitioners and academics can work together in combating homophobia and challenging heteronormativity in work with young people.

Though presentations and discussion the seminar explores:

What lessons can be learnt from activism/practice?
How might youth research and theory on LGBTQ issues be used to challenge gender/ sexual inequalities in schools, colleges, youth settings and beyond?
What are the new areas of research collaboration where academics and activists can work together?
What are the opportunities and challenges in influencing policymakers on LGBTQ youth issues?

ALL WELCOME. For more details email Fin Cullen (

The day will start at 1:30pm on 14th May. The eventbrite to book a place is here:

The poster is here:

Please get in touch with any queries. Many thanks again in advance.
Warmest regards,


What is heteronormativity?

What is heteronormativity?Heteronormativity is a term used by social theorists in order to discuss the way in which gender and sexuality are separated into hierarchically organised categories. It has become one of the most important ways of thinking about sexuality within the academic study of sexuality. Theoristshave argued that a discourse or technique of heteronormativity has been set up, and subsequently dominates, social institutions such as the family, the state and education.Heteronormative discursive practices or techniques are multiple and organise categories of identity into hierarchical binaries. This means that man has been set up as the opposite (and superior) of woman, and heterosexual as the opposite (and superior) of homosexual. It is through heteronormative discursive practices that lesbian and gay lives are marginalised socially and politically and, as a result, can be invisible within social spaces such as schools.

Theorists have become interested more recently with bisexual, transgender and intersex lives. If one is able to exist between gender and sexual categories of identity, then one provides a counter argument to the idea that gender and sexuality are fixed and/or natural human characteristics and provide a way to challenge or ‘queer’ our understandings of these categories. Bisexual and transgender identities are able to be read in this way because law, science and education often talk about gender and sexuality as fixed, immovable and pre-ordained human characteristics that fit into either oppositional group (male/female and gay/straight). Political rhetoric also often follows this script. The idea that people can live in a different gender to the one they were born into, or refuse to identify as either male or female, or that people can have intimate sexual relationships with men and women and reject the gay or straight classification, demands that we re-think the way we understand gender and sexuality, what they mean and what they are and can be.

Emily Gray

Taken from Gender and Education Association