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.

An analysis of the growing political and social turbulence in Europe, the United States, Latin America with an emphasis on Venezuela, the Middle East and Asia with particular emphasis on the explosive situation in Pakistan and ends with an appeal to help build the International Marxist Tendency in all countries. At this stage it is a discussion document. Read the final document here.

This is the first part of a draft document on World Perspectives as approved at the recent meeting of the leadership of the International Marxist Tendency. At this stage it is a discussion document. Read the final document here.

In the final part of the document we look at the lessons of Haiti and the threats to the Cuban revolution. The only way of defending it is through an all-Latin American revolution. We also look at indigenous movements, the effects of the free trade agreements and conclude by emphasising the new period we have entered. A new revolutionary wave is spreading across the globe.

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