Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Economic and Social Research Aotearoa (ESRA)


All friends and supporters are invited to attend the public launch of ESRA, which is taking place in conjunction with the Social Movements, Resistance and Social Change conference being held at Victoria University, Wellington 1-3 September.


5.30 – 7.30pm Friday 2 September 

Keynote speaker will be UK writer and academic Nick Srnicek, co-author with Alex Williams of Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a world without work (2015). Nick will talk about the development of ESRA within the international context of new political ecologies of counterhegemonic struggle. Sue Bradford and Dylan Taylor will co-host the event which will also include a brief panel discussion with leaders from several key sectors explaining why the development of ESRA is significant for progressive politics in Aotearoa.  

5.30 pm                Drinks & nibbles                  The Hub, Kelburn Parade, VUW.
6.00pm                 Public launch                      Room KKLT303, Kirk Building, VUW.

Attendance is free, but it would be great if you could RSVP by 19 August to:

Whether or not you are registered for the full Social Movements conference, it would be great if you could RSVP on this.  Information about the conference is available here 


Saturday 3 September 

In addition to the Friday night event there will be two further ESRA workshops held as part of concurrent streams on Saturday 3 September.  

Saturday morning – Introducing ESRA 

This is an opportunity for people to meet some of our researchers and find out more about a range of current projects, as well as to learn more about how ESRA operates and our near-future development plans. There will be opportunities for questions and discussion.

Saturday afternoon – Political organisation

The ESRA inquiry group which is researching questions of political organisation is facilitating a participatory workshop looking at issues around the development of new forms of organisation on the radical left in Aotearoa.  
As with the launch event, please RSVP for these workshops to by 19 August.  Thanks!

ESRA Update – July 2016

It’s been a while since our last update and we’d like to extend a warm welcome to all of you who have asked to be part of this network since then.  Please feel free to get in touch with questions and feedback and we look forward to meeting up with you either in September or at other times in the months ahead.

At present a lot of effort is going into preparing for the launch, including developing our website so that it’s ready to go online by the beginning of September.

We have a number of research ‘Inquiry Groups’ up and running – these are small collectives working together on particular projects.  ESRA is also delighted to have its first funded research project underway in association with several union groupings.

In May Dylan Taylor and Sue Bradford visited Dunedin and spoke at a well attended public meeting about the development of ESRA.  We also took part in other activities while in town.  A huge thanks to Marcelle Dawson, the Sociology department and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University for supporting various aspects of our trip to the south.  In July Sue spoke about UBI at a public meeting in Whanganui hosted by the local Green Party, and found that the presentation created quite a lot of new interest in ESRA as well as in what a progressive Universal Basic Income might look like.

We continue to welcome contact from academics, activists, unionists, cultural workers and others who in different ways would like to help with our work.  At the moment limited resources unavoidably limit our ability to harness all the time, expertise and energy on offer, but we still love to hear from you and look forward to a future which sees nodes of ESRA activity gradually established in different parts of the country.

Supporting ESRA – can you help?

A huge amount of work is going into developing ESRA with very few resources.  Our only income at this stage comes from donations and automatic payments (APs) from supporters, plus one funded research project.  APs made weekly, bi-weekly or monthly are the most useful form of support as they give us the regular income needed to maintain a steady level of activity.

Can you help?  Even a small AP or donation makes a big difference, with huge thanks to all of you who are already contributing.

Bank account: ESRA 38 9016 0380440 00

If you would like to meet up in person at some point, or to help us organise a workshop or meeting in your district please get in touch. 

If you no longer want to be on this email list do let us know, as we don’t wish to bother people with unwanted correspondence.

Should this be your first contact with ESRA, you may be interested in Sue’s PhD thesis A major left wing think tank in Aotearoa – an impossible dream or a call to action? available here.   For more information, to provide feedback, or to add a friend or colleague to the mailing list, please email

Ngā mihi nui - Sue Bradford & Jonathan King (& other ESRA friends)


We are a national left think tank in Aotearoa whose work includes:

Developing an intellectual armoury for the radical left, based on high quality research and the development of theory relevant to the antagonisms and contradictions of our place and time.

  1. Working to build a radical left hegemony in Aotearoa, based on a kaupapa of social, economic and ecological justice, honouring tino rangatiratanga and grounded in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
  2. Generating a body of knowledge which incorporates different traditions of thought and ecologies of knowledge, to nurture and fuel activists and academics.
  3. Seeding a culture of resistance, solidarity and hope, informed by and translating the issues and hopes of exploited, oppressed and marginalised people.
  4. Combatting the political ideologies of capitalism.
  5. Deepening strategic thinking with and for people working in different community organisations, unions, and sectors about how we can move in practical ways beyond capitalism, starting now.
  6. Establishing spaces where we can have respectful conversations, debates and disagreements with each other from different parts of the left, and from academic and activist bases.

Disseminating and popularising alternatives to capitalism and collective visions of a better future.

*Text from ESRA's  August Update, August 8 2016