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]

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]

After talk of the so called "credit crunch" gave way to optimistic comments about the "green shoots" in the economy, events in Greece caught the bourgeois commentators unaware. Now the world economy has once again been plunged into chaos and uncertainty as the governments of Europe try to contain the fall-out from the near-default of Greece and it is the workers who will be presented with the bill.

The present world crisis of capitalism means we have entered a new period in which the workers will face a situation of permanent austerity, with cuts in welfare and attacks on working conditions. This is already having a radicalising affect on millions of workers and youth, particularly in Latin America and other underdeveloped parts of the world and it is spreading to the advanced countries also.

At this year’s World School of the International Marxist Tendency held at the end of July, Alan Woods delivered a speech on the nature of the present crisis of capitalism, in which he deals with the relationship between the economic cycle and the class struggle, and also looks into what kind of recovery we can expect, considering the enormous contradictions that have accumulated within the system.

The year 2009 is a year of many anniversaries. As they will soon be reminding us, this is also twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. That was a time when the capitalists and their spokespersons felt triumphant. They announced the end of Communism, the end of Socialism, even the end of History. But now it is clear to all that their predictions were false. What collapsed 20 years ago was not socialism or communism but only a bureaucratic and totalitarian caricature of socialism. The collapse of Stalinism was a great historical drama, but in retrospect it will be seen by history as only the prelude to an even greater drama: the collapse of capitalism, which is already being prepared. Alan Woods looks at the prospects for 2009.

This document on World Perspectives, first drafted in November 2007, was discussed, amended and approved at the World Congress of the International Marxist Tendency at the beginning of August. The draft was published in two parts here and here.

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