The Battle of Waterloo - 200 years ago, on 18th June 1815 - was the last great event that marked the end of that great historical process that was begun in 1789 by the Great French Revolution. With the defeat of Napoleon, the last flickering embers of the fires lit by revolutionary France were extinguished. A long, grey period settled down on Europe like a thick coat of suffocating dust. The forces of triumphant reaction seemed firmly in the saddle.

Recent comments by South Africa’s most powerful business tycoon, Johann Rupert, gives interesting and penetrating insights into the current state of mind of the bourgeoisie. Rupert is clearly very disturbed by the current state of affairs, even admitting that they are keeping him awake at night.

In a highly significant event, delegates to the 15th National Congress of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have voted to remove the incumbent general secretary, Frans Baleni and replace him with a clear left wing candidate, David Sipunzi. The result, which came as shock to many, is a heavy blow to the class collaborationist right wing of COSATU, the main trade union federation. This shakeup will have wide ramifications not only in the trade union movement, but also in the Tripartite Alliance.

We live in a time when the whole establishment is not only corrupt and rotten to the core but is seen as such by a large section of the working class, both in Britain and throughout the rest of the world. Bankers and financiers are manipulating the markets for short-term gain; politicians are pocketing whatever they can whilst demanding that the poor accept pay cuts and declining services; rich and powerful individuals are exposed as having carried out acts of extreme depravity right under our eyes with nothing being done about it; bosses carry out illegal blacklisting aided by the state...the list goes on. However, if you were to ask the average person in the street to come up with something that defined, above everything else, corruption, bribery and general fiddling, many would answer with one word: FIFA.

Alongside the shock of a Tory majority, the other big story of the General Election results was that of Labour’s collapse in Scotland to the SNP. With the Nationalists very nearly sweeping the board with 56 out of 59 seats, it more than negated any small increase in votes Labour got in England and Wales.

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