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Feminist Economics, Irish Finance, and the Commons

June 17, 2019 @ 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm


June 17, 2019
1:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Room 1001, the Bridge, Hardiman Research Building


Charlotte Amrouche

This workshop, led by Conor McCabe, author of Money (Sireacht): Longings for Another Ireland (2018), will look at writers such as Silvia Federici, Maria Mies, Mariarosa Dalla Costa, Nancy Fraser, and Selma James, and the application of their ideas and analysis to an Irish context in terms of combating the new enclosures of financialisation in housing, health, education, transport and energy. It will explore the institutional economic class interests that exist in Ireland, and alternatives to same in the spheres of paid labour and social reproduction.

Capitalism does not willingly pay for the reproduction of the labour it exploits. Social democracy forced it to somewhat contribute to this reproduction through legislation and general taxation, but from the 1970s onwards these very supports have been under profound attack by capitalism, in particular finance capital. The slashing of corporation and capital taxes is the slashing of capital’s contribution to the social reproduction of human labour. Austerity as the new normal is a continuation of this process – one where ‘class struggle includes struggle over social reproduction: for universal health care and free education, for environmental justice and access to clean energy, and for housing and public transportation.

The need for capitalism to enclose social reproduction for profit-seeking purposes makes the issue one that contains the potential for a genuine counter-attack against it. This workshop will explore this potential in terms of activist strategies and organisation.

Cooperation among movements for societal change is nothing new; but the purpose of that cooperation, and its power, appears to have been forgotten. The way capitalism seeks profit and maintains power has an effect on the shape of our resistance to it. The ideas of social movement unionism and feminist economics serve to shine a light on ways of thinking and organisation that will complement the actions by those who wish to transform capitalism.

Dr. Conor McCabe is a research associate with UCD Equality Studies Centre.. He has written extensively on Irish finance and is involved in activist education, working with political, trade union, and community groups.