The isolationist Trump has had a change of heart. Instead of his promise to keep out of the Middle East, he has used the outrage over a chemical attack on civilians in Khan Shaykhun in Syria to send 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian government air base. The White House was quick to announce that the action sent a strong signal not just to Assad, but to the rest of the world.

The year 2016 ended with two more dramatic and bloody occurrences: the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Istanbul and the brutal murder of people in Berlin who were peacefully enjoying preparations for Christmas. These events were linked to the bloody morass in the Middle East and more specifically to Syria.

Across the world, centre-left governments and the traditional parties of the working class are in crisis. Reformism has hit up against the rocks of reality, unable to offer anything to workers and youth in this age of austerity. Daniel Morley examines the crisis of social democracy and points the way forward for leaders, such as Corbyn, in the fight to defend the gains of the past.

The recent NATO summit in Warsaw was full of contradiction and tensions between members of the alliance. The fragility of NATO’s power and the instability of world relations were on display for all to see.

For Marxists elections provide a valuable way of ascertaining certain tendencies in society. It is true that they are not the only way of judging the mood of the masses – nor even the best barometer of the real state of the class struggle. At best they are a snapshot of a certain mood at a given time. But having made these necessary reservations and qualifications, one has to take these indicators seriously, as Marx and Lenin certainly did.

At the 2015 Labour conference, shortly after Corbyn’s victory, Labour members voted in favour of a Unite motion to only support air-strikes on Syria if they have United Nations (UN) backing. More recently in the Commons vote to authorise this bombing, in the absence of UN support, Diane Abbott, a key Corbyn ally and Labour left-winger, urged caution, saying that “if some MPs are intent on military action, surely their first step should be to pressure Cameron to obtain some kind of UN resolution?”.

“Out with the Old. In with the New”. That was always the encouraging message of New Year. But amidst all the parties and the popping of champagne bottles, there was no sign of any optimism or hope for the future on the part of the ruling class and its strategists. On the contrary, the columns of the bourgeois press are filled with pessimism and foreboding.

The recent FIFA corruption scandal has adorned the front pages over the past few weeks. Beginning with the news on 27th May, just two days prior to the presidential election, that several officials had been subject to FBI raids and leading to the standing down of president Sepp Blatter after 17 years in the position and just a few days after being re-elected, the events have no doubt had a big impact at the top of FIFA.

We live in a time when the whole establishment is not only corrupt and rotten to the core but is seen as such by a large section of the working class, both in Britain and throughout the rest of the world. Bankers and financiers are manipulating the markets for short-term gain; politicians are pocketing whatever they can whilst demanding that the poor accept pay cuts and declining services; rich and powerful individuals are exposed as having carried out acts of extreme depravity right under our eyes with nothing being done about it; bosses carry out illegal blacklisting aided by the state...the list goes on. However, if you were to ask the average person in the street to come up with something that defined, above everything else, corruption, bribery and general fiddling, many would answer with one word: FIFA.

The main outcome of the NATO summit that took place in Newport, Wales on 4th-5th September appears to have been the decision to launch a new ‘spearhead’ rapid response task force. This ‘achievement’ is something that NATO’s political and military leaders seem to be very proud about. In reality this new project is yet another landmark in the weakening of US imperialism, the crisis in world relations and the decline of the global capitalist system as a whole.

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