At the 2015 Labour conference, shortly after Corbyn’s victory, Labour members voted in favour of a Unite motion to only support air-strikes on Syria if they have United Nations (UN) backing. More recently in the Commons vote to authorise this bombing, in the absence of UN support, Diane Abbott, a key Corbyn ally and Labour left-winger, urged caution, saying that “if some MPs are intent on military action, surely their first step should be to pressure Cameron to obtain some kind of UN resolution?”.
Even before they started, the so-called peace talks about the future of Syria have collapsed. UN special envoy to Syria, Steffan de Mistura, has called for a “pause” in the talks and a resumption on 25 February. Meanwhile the Syrian Arab Army and its allies have dealt a crushing blow to western-supported Jihadists in northern Aleppo. As the balance of forces shifts in the war, none of the parties on the ground have any reason to take serious steps in the talks.
“Out with the Old. In with the New”. That was always the encouraging message of New Year. But amidst all the parties and the popping of champagne bottles, there was no sign of any optimism or hope for the future on the part of the ruling class and its strategists. On the contrary, the columns of the bourgeois press are filled with pessimism and foreboding.
Over the past year, hundreds of thousands of people in the south east of Turkey have seen their home towns and neighbourhoods destroyed in the face of indiscriminate and barbaric attacks by Turkish armed forces. Thousands of innocent people have been imprisoned and hundreds of men, women and children murdered in a barbaric civil war waged by the Erdoğan regime against the Kurdish people of Turkey.
The authorities in Burkina Faso recently announced that they are formally charging Gilbert Diendéré, the notorious former commander of the so called Revolutionary Protection Regiment (RSP), with the murder of Thomas Sankara in 1987. The murder charges relating to Sankara’s death are in addition to the charges that he faces in relation to the defeated right-wing coup that he launched in September. The bringing of this central figure involved in Sankara’s murder to justice represents an important gain for the revolution which broke out in October 2014.
With 53% of the votes the Venezuelan opposition has managed to secure 112 seats in the National Assembly. This gives them a sweeping two third majority and wide ranging powers. Drunk with victory and seething with revenge, they have started to announce plans to reverse every single one of the gains of the Bolivarian revolution. This has provoked ferment amongst the revolutionary rank and file, which at the same time is directing part of their anger at bureaucrats and reformists within its own ranks.
Late into the night on 6th December, the Venezuelan National Electoral Council announced provisional but conclusive results for the parliamentary election. The counter-revolutionary opposition MUD had won 99 seats to the Bolivarian PSUV’s 46, with another 22 remaining to be allocated. This is a serious setback and it is our duty to analyse the reasons and explain the likely consequences.
Venezuelans will go to the polls on December 6 to elect deputies to the National Assembly. A combination of factors have made this one of the most difficult challenges the Bolivarian Revolution has faced in the 17 years since President Chávez was first elected in 1998. To the usual challenges of a profoundly undemocratic opposition and belligerent imperialist provocations we have to add a combination of national and international economic factors which work to put Venezuela in a very tight spot and lead to one conclusion: either the revolution is completed, or it will be defeated.