2016 was the most unstable year since the end of the Second World War. Rising discontent is reflecting itself in different ways. In particular, with Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, we learned to expect the unexpected. 2017 – the centenary of the Russian Revolution – is set to be even more turbulent.
Happy New Crisis! Last year was the most unstable year since the end of the Second World War. Rising discontent is reflecting itself in different ways. In particular, with Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, we learned to expect the unexpected.
Some have even compared this upheaval to the situation to 1848, when Europe was convulsed with revolution. Others have compared it to the 1930s, a period of crisis, revolution and counter-revolution.
2017 looks like being far more crisis-prone than 2016, with the beginning of the bitter Brexit negotiations and the growing fragility of Europe. Following the defeat of the Italian referendum and fall of the Matteo Renzi government, the Italian banking crisis has taken a turn for the worse. New elections in France and Germany could see further upsets.
“With an establishment refusing to draw any lessons from its defeats of 2016, our system is far more at risk of being demolished by the populists from the outside than reformed from within”, writes Wolfgang Munchau in the Financial Times (20th December 2016)
The ruling elites are afflicted with pessimism. Whatever they do seems to be wrong. Attempts to create economic stability have resulted in greater political and social instability. “The question still to be answered is whether the world we have known will survive it”, writes Martin Wolf in the same paper.
In fact, the old order is in turmoil as the establishment desperately clings to its power and privileges.
“For most people on earth there has never been a better time to be alive”, argues The Economist, the mouthpiece of capitalism. But it is forced to admit, “Large parts of the West, however, do not see it that way.” Anger and rage against the big business system has risen to new heights.
It continues: “After this bleakest of years for Europe, glib talk of the 1930s is in the air. The bonds of trust between nations are fraying, and the old saw that the European Union advances only in times of crisis is being tested to destruction. Populists are on the march. Britain is on the way out.”
Workers and youth, sick and tired of falling living standards, are looking for fundamental change. In this year that marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution, which swept away the landlords and capitalists and put power in the hands of the working class, it is time to finish what they began. Let us make socialism great again.