At the end of 2021, Italy was crowned “country of the year” by the Economist magazine. The new “national unity” government of former Goldman Sachs investor and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was lauded. For once, Italy had “acquired a competent, internationally respected prime minister”, and political parties from the centre-left to the far right “buried their differences to back a programme of thoroughgoing reform”.
Trotsky began outlining his theory of permanent revolution from a prison cell while awaiting trial for his participation in the 1905 revolution. In that upheaval, he had been elected chair of the Saint Petersburg Soviet, a radical workers’ government that had coordinated waves of mass strikes, armed workers in their thousands and levelled demands against the ruling monarchy.
The results of the French presidential election in late April expose an intensifying crisis and polarisation within French society. In the second-round run-off, President Emmanuel Macron was returned to office with slightly more than 58 percent of the vote against his far-right rival Marine Le Pen. Although Le Pen was beaten, her 42 percent support was the highest yet recorded by a far-right candidate, an alarming development.
2021 was a year of disaster for most of humanity, but for pharmaceutical companies it’s been a year of wonders. Profits are up. Pfizer expects to make up to US$26 billion this year from its COVID-19 vaccine, and Moderna US$18.4 billion. Moreover, the development of these vaccines has also provided these companies with a much-needed reputational boost. But Pfizer and the other pharma giants aren’t vaccine heroes.
From the moment Marx and Engels urged workers of the world to unite at the climax of the Communist Manifesto, the goal of international revolution has been at the core of Marxist politics.
The storming of the US Capitol expressed the deep polarisation in US politics—but America’s ruling class and establishment are trying to miraculously transform it into a moment of national unity. And tragically, what passes for the US left—including prominent “socialists” in Congress—are part of the drive to rally around the flag and Constitution, rather than trying to confront the far-right politics revealed at the protest.