The situation in Pakistan is almost identical to that of Nigeria. The scientific explanation of the Pakistani society as put forward by Lai Khan also applies to Nigeria and the underdeveloped economies of the world.

For quite some time now several so called secular parties, especially the MQM, have been campaigning around the idea that feudalism is the real cause of the country’s plight and its abolishment is the only solution to Pakistan’s tribulations. Their endeavour is in fact mainly to defend the petty bourgeois businesses and the Mafia capitalism on which they rely for their social and economic basis.

This cliché has been in vogue for decades. The ex-lefts and the liberal intelligentsia have been analysing Pakistan as a feudal society and defining the solution in the accomplishment of the national democratic or the bourgeois revolution for the development of the country.

The Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohammed Mursi has won Egypt's presidential election with 51.73% of the vote. Ahmed Shafiq, the candidate of the military, got 48.27%, according to the election commission. However these figures should be treated with caution.

The turnout was officially claimed to be 51.8%. However, many eyewitnesses say that the real level of participation was far lower than this. Even if we accept the official estimate, it would mean that the Muslim Brotherhood only won the support of about 25% of the electorate. Moreover, an unknown number of these votes may have come from left-wing people who voted for the Muslim Brotherhood as “the lesser evil”.

Huge cheers went up from thousands gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square after the result was known. But the cheering will not last for long, for these elections revealed deep fault lines in Egyptian society.

The Egyptian revolution has taken a new turn in the last few days. The ruling Military Council (SCAF) has launched a number of very serious attacks on the revolution. The military police can now arrest civilians at will and parliament has been dissolved. The generals have also announced additions to the Constitutional Declaration of March 2011 which give them virtually unlimited powers. What was supposed to have been the first democratic presidential elections in the history of the country has ended in a farce and a power struggle between two rival factions of the Egyptian bourgeoisie: The Muslim Brotherhood and the Armed Forces.

British doctors have gone on strike today for the first time since 1975 over the government cuts to pensions. Unsurprisingly, this has been met with a chorus of indignation by the Tories who have accused the doctors of “penalising patients” by taking industrial action.

8 in 10 doctors voting in the ballot of BMA (British Medical Association – the doctors’ trade union) members chose industrial action. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of the strike has been partial, despite the overwhelming yes vote to strike action.

The elections in France and Greece represent a fundamental change in the situation. The crisis of European capitalism has entered a new and turbulent stage. A mood of anger is sweeping across Europe. Of course, we understand that election results do not reflect the psychology of the masses with complete accuracy. They are like a snapshot of the mood at a given moment. But it is necessary to analyse election results carefully, since they do show certain trends in society.

It is very important that workers' activists in Nigeria study the developing events in Europe and Greece in particular.

The electoral results of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) reveal objectively a serious political failure. Its result of 8.48% (26 MPs) is an increase of its electoral strength by a mere 0.94%, in a situation where hundreds of thousands of workers and youth were moving to the left. While SYRIZA won 800,000 votes, the Communist Party won only 18,823 votes.

Our tendency did not think the euro could even be founded, because of the impossibility of uniting economies headed in different directions. But for a while they in fact got away with this, due to the prolonged capitalist boom. In a 1997 document, “A Socialist Alternative to the European Union”, we pointed out that the euro would collapse “amidst mutual recriminations.” This scenario is now beginning to unfold before our eyes. [part 1]

We begin today the publication of the IMT’s analysis of the world situation. This is a draft document that is the basis of discussion within the Tendency and will be voted on with possible amendments at this year’s world congress of the IMT. Part One deals with the general crisis of world capitalism, to be followed by an analysis of specific areas of the world.

The situation is moving at lightning speed on a world scale. After the Arab Revolution, events followed in quick succession: the movement of the indignados in Spain; the wave of strikes and demonstrations in Greece; the riots in Britain; the movement in Wisconsin and the Occupy movement in the U.S.; the overthrow of Gaddafi; the fall of Papandreou and Berlusconi; all these are symptoms of the present epoch.

Once again Israeli and American imperialism are sabre rattling in the Middle East. This time Iran is the target. Over the course of the last ten years one sanction after another has been placed on Iran in order to pressure it to abort its nuclear programme.

Illustration: Carlos Latuff Illustration: Carlos Latuff

In the course of the last couple of years the imperialists have upped the stakes in the conflict over Iran’s nuclear programme. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called Iran “an existential threat” to Israel and has said that the Israeli regime would do whatever it takes to stop the Iranian nuclear programme.

Since last year four Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated, most likely through Mossad and CIA covert operations. At the same time the sanctions against Iran have been tightened, severely deepening the crisis in the Iranian economy. The latest major actions by the West have been the introduction of sanctions on Iran’s banking and oil sector. When the oil sanctions begin to bite, after being implemented at the beginning of February, the results will be catastrophic for the Iranian economy. Oil is the main source of income for Iran. Industry, services and agriculture are fully dependent on this sector. A collapse in income from oil could lead to major dislocation for Iran and especially for the Iranian people.

One year after the revolutionary overthrow of Ben Ali, Tunisia faces a wave of strikes, regional uprisings, sit-ins and protests of all sorts. For hundreds of thousands of Tunisian workers and youth who bravely defied the bullets of the dictatorship to get jobs and dignity nothing has fundamentally changed.

It is true that the dictator has gone, but the system which condemns the best of the Tunisian youth to a future of unemployment or emigration still remains. As a matter of fact, for many, the economic situation has only gotten worse.

The Syrian revolution has entered a higher stage in the last few weeks. The number and size of demonstrations have reach record numbers, towns are falling under the control of the defected soldiers- including areas surrounding the capital Damascus, and embryonic forms of popular power are appearing on the stage in the form of popular councils.

After dying down for a period, the demonstrations in Syria have come back to a record level in terms of their size and geographical distribution. The Syrian Revolution 2011 facebook-page estimates the number of demonstrators to range from 3 to 5 million on Fridays and the number of locations to be in tens and hundreds covering the whole country. Most notable development is that the protests are becoming a daily phenomena in many areas. significantly the movement is expanding inside the two largest cities of the country, Damascus and Aleppo involving neighbourhoods likeAl-Mazeh in downtown Damascus and Salah Al-Din inside Aleppo.

17 December, marks the first anniversary of the Arab revolution. On this day, one year ago, Mohammad Bouazizi, a young Tunisian fruit vendor, driven by desperation, poverty, and anger, set himself on fire in the city of Sidi Bouzid. The revolutionary wildfire that began after his death — first in southern Tunisia, then the entire country, then erupting across the entire Arab-speaking world—marked a turning point in human history.

One year later, it is clear that the revolution is by no means is over. The objective situation has never been as favourable for the revolution as now; however, a revolution is not a one act drama. The carnival atmosphere that transcended the early days of the revolution is being replaced by a more serious acknowledgement that more is needed to solve the main contradictions.

After 9 months of struggle, a major face-off is being prepared and the revolution is throwing all its forces to a single point of attack. For a number of days last week, a campaign for an open ended general strike was waged on all the web pages of the revolution. A call was made also by the Syrian National Council, the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution and other political forces for full participation in the strike. For the first time it looked that the organizers were taking the question of the general strike very seriously, drawing out a plan, and preparing leaflets for printing and distribution. The first date was chosen to be December 11.

Dramatic events have shaken the already stormy Syrian scene in the last month: strikes, demonstrations in downtown Damascus, attacks on intelligence headquarters, and condemnation by the Arab League. The Syrian regime looks weaker than ever and much exhausted, and a balance of forces favourable to the revolution seems to be the new reality. The arrival on the scene of a mass militia is an important shift in the situation which not only worries the regime, but also the bourgeois opposition and its imperialist allies.

At the end of my article on the Russian elections I wrote: “What happened in Tunisia and Egypt can also happen in Russia.” Events have begun to move in that direction far more quickly than I anticipated. In the last few days the cities of Russia have been swept by mass demonstrations.

In Moscow at least 50,000 people gathered on Saturday to protest the rigging of the elections. Some estimates put the figure at anything up to 100,000. It is impossible to verify these estimates, but the photos published on the Internet show that they were massive. In Petersburg 12,000 people protested, the biggest demonstration since 1995. In Nizhny Novgorod, Krasnoyarsk, Vladivostok and many other cities there were smaller demonstrations of a few thousands.

The parliamentary elections in Russia on Sunday, December 4, were seen as a popularity test of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is running for the presidency in March. The result was a blow to Putin, registering a sharp fall in support for his United Russia party. According to the official results, which are undoubtedly rigged, United Russia obtained just under half of valid votes cast, which gives it a very small majority in the State Duma.

Workers at Waha Oil company have been on strike and holding protests for 7 weeks now. Their main demand is the purge of the top management of the company from directors whom they accuse of being stooges of the old regime. It is an example of class issues coming to the fore once the old regime has been put to one side.

The capture and killing of Colonel Gaddafi has been described in detail by the mass media in all its gory details. With the death of Gaddafi and the taking of Sirte the National Transitional Council is talking about forming a transitional government. The NTC is recognized by the imperialist powers whose interests it represents. However, many ordinary Libyans look with justified mistrust at the NTC and their imperialist backers.

Although Gaddafi was captured alive he was summarily shot. But it is not difficult to see why he was not arrested and put on trial. Had he faced a trial he would have exposed all his past dealings with the likes of Blair, Sarkozy and Berlusconi. That explains why they have revelled so much in his death. Their hypocrisy stinks to high heaven, as they had made many lucrative deals with Gaddafi in the past, even handing over people to his regime who were subsequently tortured.

The death of Gaddafi and the final collapse of his regime closes one chapter. However, this merely marks one turning point in the situation. Now that the old regime is finally gone, a struggle will open up over the future of Libya. In this struggle we will see the forces of both revolution and counter-revolution trying to get the upper hand. Here we publish an analysis of the situation by Alan Woods.

The Relevance of Marxism Today was written by Alan Woods and Ted Grant in 1994. It explains all the factors that have led to the present crisis, and although the temporary and unprecedented credit bubble allowed the system to avoid a serious recession for an extended period of time, eventually all the factors explained in this article have come to the surface.

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