The worldwide crisis of capitalism is leading to a deep questioning of the structures, institutions, politicians, and parties of bourgeois society. From Greece to Italy, Brazil to Turkey, Egypt to Iran, the consciousness of the masses is undergoing a profound transformation. This is not a linear process, and is not automatically and directly reflected in all countries at the same time.
In last week’s elections the Australian Labor Party (ALP) suffered a historic defeat, with its lowest primary vote since 1903, at just 33.8 percent. In 2007 the ALP won 43.4%, but since then there have been six years of Labor governments, first under Rudd and then Gillard, in which the working class saw the party they had voted for implement policies demanded by big business while real wages stagnated.
The Arab revolutions have opened up conflicts within the ruling classes of the Middle East. Along with crushing any opposition movements and the working classes in their own countries, they are also fighting amongst themselves to be the dominant power in the region.
The spontaneous uprising of the Syrian masses, inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, has degenerated into a sectarian bloodbath. Deprived of a revolutionary leadership, the hopeful beginnings have been transformed into a tragedy. On the other hand, US imperialism's hypocritical and bellicose zig-zags are a complete and utter farce, and graphically illustrate the limits of US power.
When the current crisis began, there were some who painted it as simply a Western crisis; a crisis that was unique to Europe – due to problems caused by its common currency – and America – due to its sub-prime mortgage scandal and ensuing credit crunch.