"The year 1848 is turning out well", wrote Engels. "By this glorious revolution the French proletariat has again placed itself at the head of the European movement. All honour to the workers of Paris!" That revolution spread across the whole of Europe, marking an important development in the class struggle.

When arguing the Nkandla case, President Jacob Zuma’s senior advocate, Jeremy Gauntlett, said that this was “a delicate time in a dangerous year, societally” and that the Nkandla saga has “traumatised the nation in many ways”- a profound statement which sums up the current state of mind of the ruling class.

The capitalist crisis of 2008 was rescued by an enormous transfusion of public money into the banks. The system has been on life-support ever since.

The recent Constitutional Court judgment against President Jacob Zuma is only the latest in a series of rapid-fire events which have shaken South African society fundamentally. From the Marikana massacre in 2012, to the latest revelations, society has been staggering from one crisis to another. The turnover of these events is astonishing. New shocks crop up almost on a weekly basis, and old controversies resurface periodically only to assume new convulsive forms. In the final analysis, this shows that, on a capitalist basis, none of the fundamental problems of society can be solved.

Heads are beginning to roll thanks to the Panama Papers. The Icelandic Prime Minister has been the first casualty as a result of the leaked data from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which specialises in offshore tax avoidance.

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