When Greece goes, the question is immediately posed of the contagion spreading to other countries. Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy will fall like dominoes. Banks will collapse, starting with the Greek and Cypriot banks, and then proceeding to the UK and U.S. financial system, both of which are unsound. An economic collapse in Europe would send a Tsunami racing across the Atlantic, putting pressure on the dollar and threatening to undermine the unstable financial set-up in the USA. [part 1]

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.

Exactly twelve months ago, in an article entitled: 2011: - Optimism or pessimism? I wrote the following: “The first effect of the crisis was one of shock, not only for the bourgeois but also for the workers. There was a tendency to cling to jobs and accept cuts in the short term, especially as the union leaders offer no alternative. But this will be replaced by a general mood of anger and bitterness, which will sooner or later begin to affect the mass organisations of the working class.”

For most of 2010 all eyes were fixed on Europe and the travails of the euro. The crisis of capitalism has revealed the existence of deep fissures in the EU. The first phase of the crisis was mainly characterised by defaults of the banks. The second phase is characterised by defaults of states. [part 1]

The year 2011 began with the customary toasts to health, happiness and success. As the bourgeois clinked their champagne glasses, it seemed as if their dreams were coming true. The collapse of financial markets that threatened to destroy the economic recovery in 2010 had failed to materialise. Global output has probably risen by almost 5%, a lot faster than forecasters were expecting 12 months ago.

In the final part of this year’s World Perspectives document we deal with the class struggle in Europe, with particular emphasis on the events in Greece. We look at the relationship between economic crisis and political radicalisation. We answer the question of whether there is a threat of Fascism in the coming period and we also look at the impact of the recent period on the mass organisations of the working class and point to the tasks that lie ahead. [part 1] [part 2]

In Part Two we look at the impact of the economic crisis on world relations, highlighting the growing contradictions between the different dominant powers. We also analyse the growing revolt of the peoples of the former colonial world, with particular emphasis on the revolutionary developments in Iran and Latin America. [Part one]

The Crisis of Capitalism and the tasks of the Marxists – Part One. Photo: Jeff Mcneill.

We are making available to our readers the final version of the 2010 World Perspectives document, which was amended and passed unanimously by the World Congress of the IMT in Marina di Massa on August 7, 2010. Part One analyses the world economic crisis, looking into the different factors that led to the most serious crisis of capitalism since the 1930s.

The discussions on World Perspectives are the foundations from which everything else flows in terms of the perspectives and work in each country, our priorities, tasks, etc. The instability on a world scale has only deepened since the World Perspectives document was drafted, in the autumn of 2009. But the main lines of the perspectives have been entirely confirmed by the march of events. The following is a summary of the main points in the lead-off given by Alan Woods at the 2010 World Congress on the basis of notes taken by delegates.

The loss of belief in the existing society, its institutions, laws and morality, is a prior condition for revolution. But such a change does not happen all at once. Gradually, to the degree that the given socio-economic system begins to fail, the feeling grows that “something is not right” with society, that some kind of change is necessary. [Part one]

Europe faces a protracted period of austerity, with major contractions in output, consumption and employment. The crisis has started with the smaller, more vulnerable economies like Greece, Portugal and Ireland. But the others will follow, starting with Britain. [Part one]

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