Donald Trump welcomed the New Year in his own inimitable manner: surrounded by his social and political clan in the opulent surroundings of his exclusive Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, accompanied by a representative gathering of all segments of US society – from movie stars to billionaires.

Yesterday protests carried on for the fifth straight day throughout Iran. Meanwhile, security forces have adopted a harder stance. On the fifth day the protests seemed to have decreased slightly in size, partially due to the increasing crackdown and partially due to the lack of a tangible focal point for the movement. The regime has also heavily reduced access to internet and communication, and it is also clear that many protests are not being reported, in particular from smaller towns and suburbs.

For the past four days Iran has seen the most widespread protests since the 1979 Revolution. While it is still smaller in size than the 2009 Green movement, it has spread far beyond the mainly urban areas of the big cities to which that movement was mainly confined. This is a sea-change and it has shaken the regime to its foundations.

Two statements were made on the same day, 21 November. Both declared the end of the war on Islamic State in Syria. The first was made by Vladimir Putin, in a meeting with Bashar al-Assad in Sochi, the second was released by Qassem Suleimani: the Iranian general at the head of the Quds Force (the Islamic Revolutionary Guards). Both, almost simultaneously, stated that “terrorism was defeated” in the country.

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump declared that he would officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This reveals the real nature of the so-called peace talks. In a speech delivered at the White House, Trump said, “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

On 26 November, national elections were held in Honduras. The election was divided into two camps: those who supported current President Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH), who is seeking re-election, and those who supported the candidate of the Alliance Against the Coup, Salvador Nasralla. The first block consists of the most reactionary forces that seek to maintain their privileges, starting with the National Party, the main political force of the oligarchy. The latter comprises the masses of workers, peasants, unemployed, students, housewives...who can no longer stand their exploitation, poverty, violence and lack of democracy and aspire to a profound change in society.

Robert Mugabe’s departure on Tuesday, 21 November as president of Zimbabwe, after 37 years in office, has sent ripples throughout the southern African region. In Uganda it has brought out many of the underlying tensions beneath the surface of society.

Tensions are reaching boiling point in Zimbabwe after the Army Commander, General Constantino Chimurenga, threatened that the army could “step in” if the ruling party, ZANU-PF, continues with the purge of veteran leaders in its ranks.

Like a hydra-headed monster, once again, ethnic tension has risen to near boiling point, threatening to tear Nigeria apart. This time around, it is the renewed call for secession of the South Eastern region (the Igbos) from Nigeria by the “Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)” to form the Republic of Biafra, that is haunting the nation. Similar agitation for Biafra in the late sixties eventually led to three years of civil war from 1967 to 1970, in which over two million men, women and children perished.

Over the last few days hundreds of thousands of people have returned to the streets of the West African country of Togo to protest against the brutal dictatorship of Faure Gnassingbé. This is a continuation of a mass revolutionary wave which have hit the entire region over the last period.

Alan Woods - editor of In Defence of Marxism - discusses the political earthquakes that have shattered the status quo and shaken the Establishment in country after country: from the victory of Donald Trump, to the Brexit vote.

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