Joe Biden was sworn in as US president surrounded by armed troops, in the middle of a pandemic, weeks after a far-right mob stormed the Capitol building. These are unprecedented times. The capitalists are pinning their hopes on the new administration to pull US capitalism out of this period of chaos and decline, but the writing is on the wall.

The general strike of the winter of 1960-61 destroyed in practice all the myths of the ‘bourgeoisified’ working class in Belgium and in Europe. For five weeks, a total of 1 million workers made the bosses and their state tremble. In this article we look back at those dramatic events.

Trump has been summarily banned from Twitter and a host of other major social media platforms after he encouraged supporters to storm the Capitol building last week. While there is a gratifying irony in this, Marxists must soberly consider the implications of this move by the Big Tech capitalists.

Alan Woods, editor of marxist.com, looks at the tumultuous state of the world at the dawn of 2021. Capitalism is in a profound crisis. While a handful of billionaires enrich themselves, the vast majority are trapped between the coronavirus pandemic and poverty. But Marxists remain optimists. The working class and youth are beginning to stretch their muscles in preparation for the battles to come.

2021 has kicked off with a bang. If anyone had any remaining doubts, yesterday's events exposed the depth of the crisis of US capitalism—and it is only the beginning. Even in the turbulent years before and after the US Civil War, we have never seen the US Capitol building breached by protesters—and encouraged by the sitting president! Anti-terrorist attack emergency protocols were activated as tear gas wafted through the corridors, and at least one person was shot and killed. As former president GW Bush put it, these are the scenes one would expect in a “banana republic"—not in the bastion of world imperialism.

On the 26th of November, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande announced that students who are funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will receive a ‘living’ allowance for the extended months of the academic year. However this is only applicable to students who are yet to complete the academic year. The academic year was extended due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which at one point threatened to collapse the current academic year.

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