The global crisis of capitalist rule and the strategy of socialist revolution
17 December 2018
In the founding document of the Fourth International, The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International, written and adopted in 1938, Leon Trotsky summed up the character of the epoch as expressed in the political crisis of class rule in all the major capitalist countries:
The bourgeoisie itself sees no way out. In countries where it has already been forced to stake its last upon the card of fascism, it now toboggans with closed eyes toward economic and military catastrophe. In the historically privileged countries, i.e., in those where the bourgeoisie can still for a certain period permit itself the luxury of democracy at the expense of national accumulations (Great Britain, France, United States, etc.), all of capital’s traditional parties are in a state of perplexity bordering on a paralysis of will.
Without much modification, this passage serves well as a description of the world situation as the year 2018 draws to a close.
In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May is essentially a political corpse, having barely survived a vote of no confidence from her own Conservative Party last week. The British ruling class remains wracked by internal divisions over Brexit two and a half years after the referendum backing a decision to leave the European Union. May is hoping for some arrangement with the EU that will mollify her opponents within the Conservative Party, while the Labour Party headed by Jeremy Corbyn is seeking to avoid any measures that would further destabilize the government and encourage popular opposition.
In France, the banker-president Emmanuel Macron is perhaps the most reviled individual in the entire country, with approval ratings hovering…