Since the beginning of the present period in 2008, we have witnessed different phases of the class struggle. When the popular masses felt the consequences of the Great Recession, they rose up against the ruling class. The most important revolutionary upswing took place in the Arab world, where the masses overthrew the dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen in 2011 and continue their heroic resistance in other countries in which the rulers have defended and, and for the time being, managed to retain their power by all available military means (Syria, Bahrain, etc.).
In addition to the heroic armed uprising of the Syrian people against the Assad regime and the ongoing resistance against the military dictatorship in Egypt, a series of other important class struggles have taken place in recent years: the teachers struggle in Mexico; the popular protests in Brazil in 2013 as well as the resistance against the coup in 2015/16; the 2012 Marikana miners’ strike in South Africa; the biggest general strikes in human history in India, in which 150-180 million people participated in September 2015 and 2016; the Black Live Matters movement in the USA; more than 35 general strikes in Greece; and the mass protests against the Labor Law in France in 2016.
However, as these mass struggles were mostly spontaneous, they sadly lacked a leadership with a perspective which would enable them to overthrow not just specific rulers, but the entire ruling class of their respective countries. As a result of the absence of revolutionary leaderships, these struggles came up against immense obstacles. Again and again, the ruling class managed to either pacify these movements or to brutally suppress and defeat them.
As a result, the working class is now experiencing reactionary offensives by the local ruling class in many areas of the world. Not only is the bourgeoisie continuing and intensifying its reckless austerity attacks and privatizations programs, driving larger and larger sectors of the working class and the oppressed into poverty and social insecurity; it also is increasingly attacking the basic democratic rights of its citizens. Thus, for example, we are witnessing reactionary offensives like the military coup d’état in Egypt; the return of the Ben Ali clique in Tunisia; the 2016 institutional coup in Brazil; the advance of the right-wing forces in Argentina and Venezuela; the 2014 military coup d’état in Thailand; the general exacerbation of Islamophobia and racism against migrants and refugees; and the increasing militarization throughout the Western world and among Russian and Chinese imperialism as well.
With their armories bulging at the seams, the imperialist Great Powers have stepped up their military interventions in the semi-colonial world in order to defeat any popular resistance. As a result, tens of thousands are slaughtered by the rockets, bombs, and shelling of the US, France, Britain, Russia and Israel, or by their local lackeys in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Mali, Libya, Somalia and other countries.
Furthermore, the Great Powers – the US, EU, Japan, China and Russia – are whipping up militarism and chauvinism as well as the use of economic sanctions to increase their respective spheres of influence at the expense of their rivals, and to chauvinistically rally their domestic population behind their expansionist programs.
Already now we see an increase of economic protectionism, de-globalization, the creation of regional blocs and isolationism. The exit of Britain from the EU (Brexit) is an example for this. The rise of rabid chauvinists (e.g. Trump, Le Pen, Strache, Farange) is another indicator. A disintegration of the EU as a result of Le Pen und like-minded figures in key countries of the EU or a termination of the “Atlantic Partnership” between the US and the EU under a President Trump would be dramatic world political events and would lead to a massive escalation of global political and economic contradictions.
In short, in today’s world we are witness to an increasingly massive exacerbation of contradictions along all three axes of economic and political antagonisms – the class struggle between the capitalists and the workers and oppressed; the struggle between the Great Powers and the multi-national corporations against the oppressed peoples of the South; and the conflict between the rival imperialist powers.
These reactionary offensives of the ruling classes have resulted in a number of serious defeats for the working class and the oppressed. But they also inevitably provoke new upsurges in the class struggle – economic struggles, general strikes, popular uprisings, armed resistance against foreign occupiers, and insurrections. Before us lies a period of sharp and explosive class struggles full of revolutionary potential and counterrevolutionary dangers.