The year 2022 has been a year in which much of the inflammable material in world politics – accumulating and smouldering over decades – has burst into flames. War, hunger, mass displacement and spiralling prices torment humanity. Meanwhile, we have seen industrial unrest, revolutions, and accompanying them, coups, counter-revolutions and repression. But to recall a folk expression: “The fire that bends the iron, tempers the steel.”

Just a week before the ANC’s 55th National Conference, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa is embroiled in a scandal involving the theft of huge sums of undisclosed foreign currency from his Phala Phala game farm in the Limpopo province. This scandal has deepened the factional fighting that has seen the ANC lurch from one crisis to the next for nearly two decades. At bottom though, this is part of a struggle within the ruling class for control of the party.

The past few months have seen central banks scrambling to raise interest rates to control inflation. Yesterday, the Federal Reserve introduced another 0.75 percentage point hike, and the Bank of England will follow suit today. This spate of rate hikes caused mortgage rates to multiply, government borrowing rates to spiral, and now a recession looms. This will be painful for ordinary people, but will the ruling class achieve its aims?

William Ruto was sworn in as Kenya's fifth president on Tuesday 13 September, a week after the Supreme Court rejected a challenge by his opponent in a close-fought election, in which Ruto received 50.5 percent of the vote against 48.8 percent for Raila Odinga. Neither of these reactionary bourgeois politicians offered any way forward for the Kenyan masses, who face increasingly intolerable conditions.

In the last few days, Ukrainian forces have made significant advances on the Kharkiv front, forcing the Russians into a disorganised retreat. Where did this surprise counteroffensive come from and what is its significance for the war overall?

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