On a global scale the most important political development over the last year, indeed over the last couple of years, has been the transformation of climate change from a well-grounded scientific prognosis to a palpable present reality.
The rise of racism, The picture is mixed but overall the last year or so has not been a good one for that global class struggle. Certainly the stunning momentum of 2011, with the Arab Spring and the general Occupy movements has been beaten back, most obviously in Egypt, and one consequence of this is that in a number of countries such as Thailand, Ukraine, and France it is the right that have been able to seize the initiative on the streets. With this has come an inevitable rise of racism, though it has taken different forms in different countries. Ireland, though it has not experienced the dramatic political swings of some parts of the world is not immune to this process. The fact that over 5 years the working class movement, crippled by its Labour and reformist leadership, has not been able to offer a successful challenge to austerity has meant a predictable tendency to look for scapegoats, most obviously in the shape of `foreigners' and immigrants.