The year 2015 is almost over. A year with a lot of social uprisings and political changes. Unfortunate the year 2015, was also the year of terrorist attacks in the western world. After seeing death and destruction only from their televisions, the people of France became the first western nation to feel the results of terrorism. Results which could have been prevented if the French government did not intervene in the Syrian civil war. In Burkina Faso, the Regiment of Presidential Security ( RSP ) staged a coup and tried to build a military junta. But the people rebelled and the RSP was forced to surrender. In 2015, the Syrian civil war keeps on going with the Islamic State now under attack from Russia and losing grounds in Iraq!
France started 2015 with the terror attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish owned shop in Paris. Two Islamic gunman opened fire and killed 10 people that day, including the editor and many cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo. The killers got what they wanted, the satirical magazine no longer dares to make fun of islam. Although Charlie Hebdo got massive support from the French population, they choose to make no more cartoons of Mohammed or Islam!
In Ukraine, the government became more dictatorial. With the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk still holding on, the Ukrainian regime decided to ban the communist parties from participating in local elections. Oligarch president Petro Poroshenko is loved by the western world, but he leads a reactionary dictatorial government that banned communism, including the use of the Internationale. Ethnic Russians in the east feel under siege and rebelled against the Kiev government, leading to the formations of the Donetsk and Luhansk ”people’s republics”. Many leftists and anti-imperialists are supporting these ”anti-fascist” fighters as the Russian media claims they are!
Revolutionary Socialist Media however has observed that these ”people’s republics” are in fact Russian nationalist, deeply in love with the Kremlin and tolerate far-right thinking as well. It is true that many anti-imperialist groups support the separatists for their opposition to western imperialism, but they turn a blind eye to Russia’s own imperialist goals. The Kremlin is arming these groups and many Russian soldiers are participating as ”rebels” in this war. Also the separatists promote Russian nationalism, Orthodoxe Christianity and hatred of homosexuals. In the ”People’s Republic of Donetsk” Russian Orthodoxy is made the state-religion. None-orthodoxe religions face prosecution, especially Protestant Christians!
In January 2015, the Coalition of the Radical Left ( SYRIZA ) won the elections in Greece. Many on the left hoped for a socialist government. But SYRIZA choose the social democratic road and desperate tried to make compromises with the Euro-Group. However President: Jeroen Dijsselbloem of the Euro-Group, refused and demanded austerity and privatizations. SYRIZA struggled for seven months until Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras capitulated. 25 members of parliament left the Coalition of the Radical Left and formed the anti-austerity party: Popular Unity. However the damage was done. New elections held in September 2015, again made SYRIZA the biggest party. Due to the low turnout and massive disillusion following SYRIZA’s betrayal, Popular Unity won no seats. With the opposition to austerity out of his party, Alexis Tsipras now embraced deep social cuts and privatizations, Jeroen Dijsselbloem was very satisfied!
Bernie Sanders is a rising star in the USA. A social democrat who calls himself a ”democratic socialist” is winning popular support. On the side of the Republican Party, Donald Trump is winning. With a deep nationalist agenda and far-right ideals, Trump is able to win the support of many Republicans. His bombastic speeches and rejection of Muslims makes him loved by many who fear Islam. Sanders however plays on the fact that there is deep poverty in the USA. His demands are simpel, take the wealth out of Wall Street. This leftist talk was unthinkable a few years ago, when Barack Obama ( who is a liberal conservative ) was called a socialist!
Socialism became the most typed word in 2015. This says a lot about the changing mentality. While Donald Trump can play on the brainwashed Republican electorate, Bernie Sanders wins the minds of younger Americans, who search for a alternative to the dictatorship of the rich and the 1%. Sanders is not a revolutionary socialist, but he can became a spark that lights the fire of revolution. He already calls for a new movement to oppose traditional capitalist politics and their masters at Wall Street. However there is a big possibility that Hilary Clinton wins the nomination for the Democratic Party. This is the biggest weakness of Bernie Sanders, who tries to change America through the Democratic Party. Revolutionary socialists do not think this is possible as the Democrats have proven that they are a capitalist party!
The struggle against the Islamic State has turned the Syrian civil war into a proxy war. Western nations and Arab kingdoms support the opposition against the Syrian Ba’ath regime, while Iran and Russia support it. The Kremlin launched air attacks against Islamic State positions in Syria, after a Airbus 321 was brought down by a bomb over Egypt. The Russian passenger plane carried over 200 tourists who all died in the crash. However the IS is not the only target of the Russian Air Force. The Russians also bomb positions of the Free Syrian Army and the Al-Nusra Front. It is clear that the Kremlin wants to remove all opposition forces against Bashar Al-Assad. The only region not attacked is Rojava, the last save-heaven for secular democracy, feminism and human rights in general!
Syrian Kurdistan became more or less self-governed after Syrian troops left the northern regions. This made it possible for the Popular Protection Units of the Democratic Union Party ( PYD ) to take over a large portion of north Syria. Soon Rojava ( Syrian Kurdistan ) became the first Kurdish region, that based itself on democratic confederalism, the ideology of PKK leader; Abdullah Öcalan. While other parts of Syria remain dictatorial controlled, either by the secular Ba’ath regime or Islamic fundamentalists, Rojava has introduced a direct democratic system. Feminism is also enforced which can be seen in the fact that Rojava has both a male and a female head of state!
In Venezuela the ruling united socialist party of the late Hugo Chavez, lost its first election since the start of the Bolivarian Revolution, 16 years ago. The antisocialist opposition was able to defeat the ruling party, because it was unable to build a socialist alternative. Venezuela is a deeply unequal society, Hugo Chavez promised to change that in 1999. But he never broke with the capitalist system, despite major social programs which lifted many out of absolute poverty, yet relative poverty and crime remained high. Also the state of Venezuela turned very inefficient and bureaucratic. It was in a constant competition with the ruling class, who still owned most means of production. Chavez fought his battles with the capitalists by enforcing state control of nationalized enterprises. This however replaced capitalist bosses with state bosses, who demanded the same things from workers!
At first most workers and poor were deeply positieve about Chavez, who’s charisma and popular speeches boosted the Bolivarian Revolution. However reality soon kicked in as Venezuela is a oil based society. Its exports are 95% based on the selling of crude oil. After the oil prices started to drop in 2013, things went bad. Also Hugo Chavez himself would not live to see the downfall. He died of cancer in March 2013, his successor Nicolas Maduro was not charismatic and lacked the popular support. With economic sabotages, lower oil profits, strikes and student demonstrations, the Venezuelan government panicked and turned authoritarian. Many were arrested, which only fueled the propaganda of the antisocialist: Democratic Unity coalition!
By 2015, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela was losing popular support to the capitalist opposition. Maduro blamed it all on foreigners and world capitalism, he failed to see that it was his government that was part of the problem. A complete lack of socialist thinking and understand, let to this fact. Because both Chavez and Maduro were petty bourgeois in nature. They used nationalism to mask their incompetence and even used Simon Bolivar as a revolutionary model, although the famous liberator was criticized by Karl Marx, for his inability to build a alternative to Spanish imperialism. The elections on 6 December 2015 were won by the Democratic Unity coalition. They got 56% of the vote, leaving the united socialist party with 40%!
France got its second terrorist attack on the night between 13 and 14 November. Islamic terrorists attacked five locations in Paris, killing over 130 innocent people that night. Most victims were found at the Bataclan Theater, over 89 were killed there by two armed terrorists. More then 350 people were wounded as fire was opened on people sitting in restaurants enjoying the evening. This attack was planned and carried out by French/Belgian supporters of the Islamic State. Revolutionary socialists said in the past, that the actions of the French government could led to these attacks. France is participating in the bombing of the IS in Syria and Iraq. This angered the terror group which then told its supporters in Europe, to strike back!
The social democratic government thinks that by bombing IS they can defeat them. President Hollande is wrong however as IS will only use the killing of innocent civilians by western bombs, to rally more young Muslims to their side. The killers who murdered 130 innocents are of French/Belgian origin and lived in the western world. They radicalized out of frustration and deep anger towards the capitalist politics of the French social democrats ( Parti Socialiste ). Many Muslim families in France and Belgium belong to the lower working class and live in relative poverty. Also they face discrimination and open rejection by western society because they are Islamic. We see this in the USA were Donald Trump is able to rally many Americans into calling for a complete ban on Muslims!
Most social democratic parties have rejected socialism. But the British; Labour Party has elected a new leader who does not belong to the right-wing. Jeremy Corbyn is called a ”old style” socialist, because he still stands on socialist principals. These principals were abandoned by Labour during the Tony Blair era. Corbyn wants to return his party to the days, when they were the party of British workers. But the Labour Party today is filled with right-wing people, who profit from good paid government jobs and who are supportive of austerity. It remains to be seen if Corbyn has the stuff to brake with the Blair tradition and supporters!
Burkina Faso got a new president, but unfortunate a person who used to be part of the Blaise Compaoré government. This is why a workers party must be build, so that workers can use it as vehicle for true change. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré is the elected president of Burkina Faso. He made his career under Compaoré as prime minister and leader of the previous ruling party. After the youth rebelled against dictator Compaoré, Kaboré left the party of his boss and created his own party. Thanks to his good connections and support, he won the presidential elections!
But Kaboré is not offering a alternative to the corrupt capitalist system that Blaise Compaoré introduced. He himself was part of the that corrupt regime and would have served his master had the youth not rebelled in 2014. It was also that Kaboré has the money to run a successful campaign. All candidates in this first democratic presidential elections were able to run campaign, because they had made their money under Blaise Compaoré. The only leftist party that stood in the elections was the Union for Rebirth – Sankarist Party, but they lacked money for an effect campaign. We must not forget that Burkina Faso is one of the poorest nations of Africa!
For the workers of the world, 2016 will be a new year of struggle. Socialism is back on the agenda. Now it is up to genuine socialists to fight for new mass workers parties. If Bernie Sanders win the nomination for the Democratic Party, he must fight for a socialist transformation. He will not only face the Republican Party, but also most Democrats who are not leftist. But there is a big possibility that Hilary Clinton wins the race. Therefore Sanders must not quite if he loses the nomination. He can still offer the people a alternative if he dares to brake with the Democrats. Since Bernie Sanders has said he will support the nomination, it is very possible that massive disillusion will follow if Clinton wins!
Revolutionary Socialist Media will keep on reporting from a revolutionary socialist perspective. For a unified socialist world under democratic controlled of the working class. Against capitalism, imperialism, racism, nationalism and the remnants of stalinism!