Consulting

I have consulted trade unions both in Germany (ver.di, IG Metall) and Britain (Unison) in following areas: – membership development and engagement – organizing drives – industrial disputes I’ve also worked as an independent researcher for a Trades Union Congress (TUC) Project.

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Talks

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Academic Presentations

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Teaching

Taught Courses I have taught and lectured in following undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Queen Mary University of London, School of Business and Management Comparative Employment Relations (PGR) Work & Employment in Context (UGR) Employment Relations (UGR)    

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Book Reviews

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Publications

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Academic Writings

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Curriculum Vitae

CV 2017 2018 Teaching Position QM MB by Mark Bergfeld on Scribd

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Public Engagements

Bergfeld, Mark, 20 Nov 2013, Paper Presenter at Generations of Protest: Marxism Matters?, De Montfort University, Title of Paper: The role of anarchists in Occupy Bergfeld, Mark, 14 Nov 2013, Panelist at Essex Radical Conference, University of Essex, Social Movements and Activism Today Bergfeld, Mark, 3 Nov 2012, Paper presenter at ‘Our universities are not […]

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Public Sociology

2017 Willkommenskultur durch Arbeitsmarktintegration? Ansatzpunkte gewerkschaftlicher Arbeit mit Geflüchteten, labournet Germany & express – Zeitung für sozialistische Betriebs- und Gewerkschaftsarbeit (September 2017)  2016   2015   2014 Bergfeld, Mark, 11 Jan 2014, Beyond the Hashtags? Gezi Park and the AKP’s Media Power, ROAR Magazine Bergfeld, Mark, Jan 2014, Regime Crisis in Turkey, Counterfire  Bergfeld, Mark, […]

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Consulting

I have consulted trade unions both in Germany (ver.di, IG Metall) and Britain (Unison) in following areas:
– membership development and engagement
– organizing drives
– industrial disputes

I’ve also worked as an independent researcher for a Trades Union Congress (TUC) Project.

Talks

Academic Presentations

Teaching

Taught Courses

I have taught and lectured in following undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Queen Mary University of London, School of Business and Management

  • Comparative Employment Relations (PGR)
  • Work & Employment in Context (UGR)
  • Employment Relations (UGR)

 

 

Book Reviews

Publications

Academic Writings

Curriculum Vitae

CV 2017 2018 Teaching Position QM MB by Mark Bergfeld on Scribd

Public Engagements

Bergfeld, Mark, 20 Nov 2013, Paper Presenter at Generations of Protest: Marxism Matters?, De Montfort University, Title of Paper: The role of anarchists in Occupy

Bergfeld, Mark, 14 Nov 2013, Panelist at Essex Radical Conference, University of Essex, Social Movements and Activism Today

Bergfeld, Mark, 3 Nov 2012, Paper presenter at ‘Our universities are not supermarkets’ Conference at SOAS, London. Title of the Paper: Can students strike? Lessons from the Quebec student movement

Bergfeld, Mark, 7 Jul 2012, Paper presenter together with Hossam El-Hamalawy at Marxism Conference at UCL, London. Title of Paper: Revolution 2.0? Social movements and Social Media

Bergfeld, Mark, 22 Jun 2012, Speaker, ND-Haus, Was ist ziviler Ungehorsam?, Marx‘ is Muss-Kongress, organised by Marx21 (Die Linke)

Bergfeld, Mark, 15 Jun 2012, Paper presenter at For a Public University! Conference at Nottingham University Title of Paper: Neoliberal universities, neoliberal students? – Rediscovering the subjectivity of students

Bergfeld, Mark, 23 May 2012, Crisis & Resistance in Europe: How can the 99% win?, Augustine United Church, Edinburgh

Bergfeld, Mark, 6 Apr 2012, Discussant, with Sukant Chandan, What’s really behind Syria’s uprising, Shia Ithna’ashari Community of Middlesex (SICM)

Bergfeld, Mark, 11 Dec 2011, Discussant with Andrej Hunko MdB, Nicole Gohlke MdB, Haris Triandafilidou SYRIZA, „Krise und Protest in Europa. Ein Erfahrungsaustausch”, Studierendenkonferenz der Fraktion DIE LINKE. im Bundestag, Berlin

Bergfeld, Mark, Nov 2011, Discussant with Vegard Velle from Norwegian TUC, After Breivik: The fight against fascism in Europe, Marxisme, Copenhagen, Denmark

Bergfeld, Mark, 6 Oct 2011, Panelist with Owen Jones, Laurie Penny, Alan Whitaker UCU, Education Against Austerity, London School of Economics Students’ Union, London

Bergfeld, Mark 1 Oct, 2011, Panelist with French, Greek and Spanish student activists, Coalition of Resistance Conference ‘Europe Against Austerity, Camden Centre, London

Bergfeld, Mark 22 Jun 2011, Panelist with Mark Serwotka, John McDonnell MP, Unite the Resistance Meeting, Friends Meeting House, London

Bergfeld, Mark, 22 May 2011, Panelist with Tony Kearns Vice-President CWU, Communication Workers Union Congress, Meeting ‘Stop the Cuts’, BIC Bournemouth

Bergfeld, Mark, 12 May 2011, Paper presenter at Euro-Mediterranean conference ‘Rivolta di una generazione’ at Political Science, Faculty at La Sapienza, Rome, Italy Title of paper: Yearning for autonomy?  – Global youth revolts in context

Bergfeld, Mark, 29 Apr 2011, Panelist with Len McLuskey, George Galloway, Rally to Defend the Right to Protest, Strathclyde University, Glasgow

Bergfeld, Mark, 12 Feb 2011, Panelist with Michael Chessum (NCAFC), A people’s convention to build resistance to cuts and austerity, Right to Work Campaign, Friends Meeting House, London

Bergfeld, Mark, Dec 2010, Speaker, Solidarity with the Student movement, RMT Union Underground Engineering branch, London

Bergfeld, Mark, 15 Nov 2010, Main speaker,Where next after the national demo?, Education Activist Network, King’s College London.

Bergfeld, Mark, Nov 2010, Speaker, Solidarity with the Student movement, Financial Times, NUJ Chapel, London

Bergfeld, Mark, 31 Oct 2010, Panelist with John McDonnell MP: Time to Fight for Education, London Region UCU

Bergfeld, Mark, 15 May 2010, Panelist with Owen Holland (Sussex University), Stop the Cuts – Defend Jobs and Education, Steve Biko Building, University of Manchester

Bergfeld, Mark, 28 Oct 2008, Main Speaker: Another Education Is Possible Conference, School of Oriental and African Studies, London

Public Sociology

2017

Willkommenskultur durch Arbeitsmarktintegration? Ansatzpunkte gewerkschaftlicher Arbeit mit Geflüchteten, labournet Germany & express – Zeitung für sozialistische Betriebs- und Gewerkschaftsarbeit (September 2017) 

2016

 

2015

 

2014

Bergfeld, Mark, 11 Jan 2014, Beyond the Hashtags? Gezi Park and the AKP’s Media Power, ROAR Magazine

Bergfeld, Mark, Jan 2014, Regime Crisis in Turkey, Counterfire 

Bergfeld, Mark, Jan 2014, Tot pot canviar un dia d’any nou…, En Lluita (Catalan)

Bergfeld, Mark, Jan 2014, The world according to Merkel, Al-Jazeera English

2013

Bergfeld, Mark, Sep 2013, The Many Faces of Frau Merkel, Al-Jazeera English 

Bergfeld, Mark, July 2013, ¿Por qué Marx tenía razón, GRUNDmagazine #4

Bergfeld, Mark, July 2013, The Pop-Up Union at Sussex: Start with Solidarity, Socialist Review

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013, Brasilien: Die Bewegung ist ein Schlachtfeld, Neues Deutschland, 28/06/2013

Bergfeld, Mark, June 2013, A Brazilian Autumn? An Interview with Miguel Borba de Sa, Jacobin Magazine

–          Translated into Spanish by José for GRUNDmagazine

–          Translation into Norwegian by Joakim Møllersen for Radikal Portal

–          Featured on Salon.com, Left Unity, Socialist Worker (US)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013, How #OccupyGezi could transform society, New Statesman

–          Translated into Norwegian by Helle Håkonsen for Radikal Portal

–          Featured on Pluto Press

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013, Food Fights Against Austerity, Climate & Capitalism Journal,

–          Translated into German by Rosenrot for DieFreiheitsliebe.de

–          Translated into Norwegian by Hallgeir Opdal  for Radikal Portal and Ni Tyd (print only)

–          Translated into Spanish by José for GRUNDmagazine

–          Translated into Greek by George Venizelos (forthcoming)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013, Interview with Dan Swain: Marx’s Theory of Alienation, Socialist Project (Canada),

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013, Interview with Francisco Louҫa, leading member of Bloco and Economist, Monthly Review Zine

–          Translated into Italian by Giuseppe Volpe for Z Net Italia

–          Translated into Spanish by Viento Sur

–          Translated into French by Presse-Toi A Gauche

–          Featured in International Viewpoint IV461, Socialist Worker (US)

Bergfeld, Mark, 22 May 2013, Der Anfang einer Krise des Regimes, Neues Deutschland

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013, New struggles, New unions? On the Pop-Up Union at Sussex University, Ceasefire Magazine,

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013, Portugal: I Prefer The Horses In My Lasagne To The Donkeys In The Government, Monthly Review Zine

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013, Portugal: Police Batons for Protesters and Rubber Bullets for the Kids of Bela Vista, Monthly Review Zine

Bergfeld, Mark, 2012, Victory for Quebec students! Lessons from a strike, Adbusters Online

Bergfeld, Mark, Dec 2012, Crisis and Resistance in Portugal, Socialist Review, source: http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=12165

–          Featured on RC44 – Research Committee on Labour Movements, Socialist Project (Canada), Global Research (Canada), Left Unity, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Bergfeld, Mark, 2012, Portugal: When ‘good students’ turn sour, Trade Union and Global Restructuring, source: http://andreasbieler.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/portugal-when-good-students-turn-sour.html (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2012, Occupy: How Do You Build A Movement?, The Occupied Times London, source: http://theoccupiedtimes.org/?p=6448 (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2012, Germany: The Rise of The Pirate Party, Socialist Review, source: http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=12051 (accessed 13/06/2013)

–          Translated into Dutch by Socialisme.nu

http://socialisme.nu/blog/nieuws/29967/hoe-rebels-is-de-duitse-piratenpartij/

 

Bergfeld, Mark, 2012, From Quebec to London: Is Student Power on the Rise?, The Occupied Times London, source:  http://theoccupiedtimes.org/?p=5945 (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2012, New Battles in Higher Education, The Occupied Times London, source: http://theoccupiedtimes.org/?p=3099 (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2010, Education Demolition, Socialist Review, source: http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=11440 (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2010, „The Birth of the Climate Justice Movement”, The Essex Graduate Journal of Sociology, Vol.10, source: http://www.essex.ac.uk/sociology/documents/pdf/graduate_journal/10-11/the_essex_graduate_journal_of_sociology_2010.pdf (accessed 13/06/2013)

 

 

Reviews

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013 (forthcoming), Ed. Laura Khatib – We Are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy & Graeber, David – The Democracy Project, Contention Journal

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013 (forthcoming), Book review: Luis Suarez-Villa-Technocapitalism: A Critical Perspective on Technological Innovation and Corporatism, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013 (forthcoming), Alice Mattoni- Media Practice and Protest Politics: How Precarious Workers Mobilise, Interface Journal

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013, Shelley Streebey – Radical Sensations: World Movements, Violence and Visual Culture, Left Eye On Books

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013, Book review: Richard Wolff – Democracy at Work: The Cure for Capitalism, Socialist Review, source: http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=12252 (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2013, Book review: Campbell Jones – Can the Market Speak, Berlin Review of Books, source: http://berlinbooks.org/brb/2013/04/can-the-market-speak/ (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2012, Book review: Eds. Sasha Lilley – Catastrophism, Socialist Review, source: http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=12202 (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2012, Book review: Eds. Tad Tietze & Elizabeth Humphreys – On Utoya, source: http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=12007 (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2012, Book Review: Stefan Collini – What Are Universities For?, Socialist Review, source: http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=11972 (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2011, Book Review: Lucio Magri – The Tailor of Ulm: A Possible History of Communism in the Twentieth Century by Lucio Magri, Socialist Review, source: http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=11847

Bergfeld, Mark, 2011, Book review: Lars T Lih – Lenin (Critical Lives series), Marx & Philosophy Review of Books, source: http://marxandphilosophy.org.uk/reviewofbooks/reviews/2012/602 (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2010, Film Review: No Impact Man, Socialist Review, source: http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=11390 (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2010, Book Review: Meszaros, Istvan – The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time, International Socialism Journal 125, source: http://www.isj.org.uk/?id=628 (accessed 13/06/2013)

Bergfeld, Mark, 2010, Book Review: Derek Wall – The Rise of the Green Left: Inside the Worldwide Ecosocialist Movement, Socialist Review, source: http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=11454 (accessed 13/06/2013)

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A Brazilian autumn? Interview with Miguel Borba de Sá

A Brazilian autumn? Interview with Miguel Borba de Sá

This interview was first published in Jacobin Magazine and subsequently translated into Spanish  for GRUNDmagazine and Norwegian for Radikal Portal.

Interviewing for Jacobin, Mark Bergfeld sheds light on new developments with Miguel Borba de Sa — a university lecturer at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He is the author of Bolívia – Passos das revoluções and has written extensively on indigenous struggles in Latin America.


Mark Bergfeld: How could a twenty-cent increase in bus fares spark protests in more than 100 towns and cities across Brazil?

Miguel Borba de Sa: In his book, The Road To Serfdom the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek wrote that there are two areas that one cannot leave to the competitive principle: transport and the environment. Brazil’s bourgeoisie consistently fails to understand this.

In the last ten years transportation has become a lucrative business for the Brazilian elite and local government officials. Enterprises and corporations bid for local routes and lines. Local government officials cosy up to the bus companies for benefits.

Here in Brazil, transport costs cut into workers’ wages far more than other utilities such as electricity or water. Fares have risen faster than inflation. An average workers’ wage is 650 Brazilian real. A bus ticket is 2 real. This private-public relationship has broken down.

The movement we see on the streets today actually started in Porto Alegre. People protested the fare increase two months ago. The police turned violent. Public outrage followed and the hike was halted. Was it a victory? No! The money for the bus company was raised by exempting the local bus company from future tax payments. In Rio, for every real I pay for a ticket the local authorities adds the same amount in subsidies or tax exemption.

At the same time the huge infrastructure projects like the Confederation Cup, the Pope’s visit later this year, the FIFA World Cup have displaced poor people from the city center and, in many cases, even cut them off from public transport. Dissatisfaction and “unfairness” have been simmering on Facebook, in the popular neighbourhoods and among working class youths. Radicalization and marginalisation have gone hand in hand. Now there is collective rage.

A few days ago FIFA President Sepp Blatter condemned the protesters and said “we did not force the World Cup on you.”

In towns and cities where the World Cup will take place there has been an escalation of social conflicts on an unprecedented level for the last one and a half years. (People might remember Pinheirinho.)

Infrastructure and entertainments projects like the FIFA World Cup wreck people’s livelihoods and are class war from above. The protests don’t articulate concrete demands but people are automatically linking up the issues. The displacement of indigenous people and the further enrichment of the elites are at the core of the protests are two sides of the same coin. People are sick of the elites.

That’s why the escalation has been so rapid. There’s a daily escalation. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that the World Cup might have to be cancelled. That led even more people to spill out into the streets. 80,000 people surrounded the stadium in Fortaleza where Brazil’s held its first match in the Confederations Cup. That’s more than the stadium’s capacity.

How are people organizing and coordinating the protests?

There’s no doubt about it. In many towns and cities the protests are spontaneous. People saw photos and reports on Facebook and started organizing their own protests.

In Rio de Janeiro the local authorities announced a hike in fares for the beginning of this year on 2 January. Anonymous, the hacking collective, organized a protest in response. Radical left organisations such as PSOL and others showed their solidarity with their protest. Only 95 people turned up yet the demonstration stopped the hike going forward.

In May we organized big demonstrations against the new Human Rights Commissioner who is a homophobe, racist and sexist. The demonstrations were big. The mainstream press denies that there is any correlation between these protests and the ones today.

Throughout all this time we organized assemblies (Forum Contra O Aumento Da Passagem) which brought different groups, students and non-political people together. In other cities, there have been similar initiatives. At least in Rio we never managed to get Anonymous and the hackers to come along. In other cities that might be different.

These assemblies are really beautiful. They are popular and really changed my outlook on radical politics. They have a political quality to them. I have never been involved in anything like it before.

Have the assemblies experienced any difficulties?

Last Sunday was a huge turning point. The middle classes started to mobilize with their anti-corruption platform. Alongside their buddies in the media they called for a demonstration for this following Monday. They tried to split the movement and the assemblies which had called for yesterday’s demonstration. Luckily, they were unsuccessful. The movement had gained so much momentum that they had to come in behind Thursday’s protests.

What is the influence of these middle-class groups? And what is the role of the media?

The movement has become the prime site of struggle for hegemony today. Different actors try to articulate themselves through the movement.

The parties of the radical left, Anonymous and the autonomists aim to push the protests in an explicitly anti-capitalist direction. We raise the property question and point to the the systemic inequality that government after government perpetuates.

It is more and more the case that the middle classes and the media-savvy anti-corruption parties are the dominant voices in the movement. With the media at their disposal they appear to be successful. In many towns and cities they’ve managed to sideline the demands of more radical elements.

In its own right the media has mastered an historic shift. For a long time they kept quiet. Then a journalist from Sao Paulo’s biggest newspaper lost his eye and six other journalists were heavily injured. That changed the situation. Some circles within the ruling class altered their strategy. The media started to support the protest – and even call on people to march. This gave the protests a greater sense of legitimacy but represents a clear attempt to hijack the protests.

What is the Workers’ Party (PT) doing?

The PT and the CUT didn’t mobilize initially. Only once the liberal-conservative elites started to call for President Dilma Rousseff’s resignation the PT mobilised its members to prevent the protests turning into an anti-government movement. Now PT and CUT members are in the streets to defend Dilma’s government.

The CUT, the main national trade union, is currently discussing the possibility of a general strike. Depending on what shape the movement takes in the next few days a general strike could become a reality. But that’s speculation.

There have been reports that right-wing thugs and nationalists are mobilizing as well.

The demonstrations have turned increasingly yellow and green as the movement goes on. All the contradictions in Brazilian society come to the fore. People come up to radical left and autonomist activists and scream at us for not carrying Brazilian national flags. Our comrades have been physically confronted in a number of places. People with left-wing flags and red t-shirts have been hunted down on the demonstrations. As people don’t have clear demands and no clear enemy they turn against all political parties.

The media whips up hatred against the radical left. The bourgeoisie uses sexism, racism and homophobia. In this case, the “carnevalization” of the protests serves those hostile to the aims of the movement. And undercover police are creating chaos everywhere, as well. Last night’s clashes in Brasilia, the capital, were led by the extreme-right. I’m astonished of their capability to lead, highjack and imprint meaning on these events.

When protesters closed Octávio Frias de Oliveira Bridge in Sao Paulo a couple of days ago our comrades experienced a sudden outbreak of hostility. Last night, the bloc of radical left organisations, students and members of the social movements was attacked by thugs in Rio de Janeiro. The levels of intimidation and aggression we experience on the demonstrations are out of this world. Yesterday night they sought a large conflict with us. The left closed ranks. PTSU militants, PSOL and PCR joined ranks and defended those people carrying red flags and banners on the demonstration.

What is the future for the protest movement?

The movement is a battlefield. It highlights all the contradictions of Brazilian society. The “common sense” ideas prevail in people’s heads. Sexism, racism, homophobia aren’t vanishing like they should. At the same time the state apparatus and the elites remains intact. That is mainly due to a change in strategy. Yet the bourgeoisie is acting irresponsible and playing with fire.

There is no political force on the Left that could articulate any alternative to the current status quo. Social movements have declined in the last few years and the radical left doesn’t have the kind of political instrument we so desperately need. However, the anti-elitist sentiments of the majority of protesters should be fertile ground for us.

While it is a possibility that this movement ends with a right-wing consolidation, its future is really in the air.

 

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