Reviewing the past year is in many ways a thankless task. Who wants to be reminded of the bad things - or indeed anything - in the past that now cannot be undone? Most of us, I'm sure, want to embark on a new year inspired with hope and optimism and to pursue new goals, rather than be reminded of what we failed to achieve in 2012. However, we do have to learn from history if we don't want to be doomed to repeat it, as Edmund Burke remarked.
Twenty-twelve was characterised by the continuation of a world financial crisis that shows little sign of abating.
The positive, though, is the widespread social movements it has engendered, from trade unionists taking to the streets in Greece, the "indignados" marching in Spain to the Uncut movements in the US and here in Britain.
What is still lacking in the tidal opposition to the crisis is clear leadership and a unifying ideology.
Despite this, there's been a deepening realisation, for perhaps the first time since the end of the second world war that capitalism is not only incapable of solving mankind's most pressing problems, but that it automatically spawns corruption, injustice and poverty.
The upholders of capitalism are refusing to face the reality of their world crumbling and have been regrouping in a determined effort to defend their discredited system.
Also on the positive side - never, in my lifetime, has capitalism and its ruling elite in this country taken such a powerful battering.
People are outraged at tax avoidance by wealthy individuals and the corporate rich and by the banks' Libor-fixing scandal.
The Leveson inquiry has exposed the illegal and immoral machinations of the Murdoch press and the other privately owned media conglomerates and the web of corruption that has penetrated to the core of the system.
The government had hoped for a fillip from the radiated feel-good vibes of the Olympics and the Queen's jubilee, but this failed to materialise.
What the Olympics did demonstrate, through the thousands of volunteers and community involvement, was that society does still exist and that solidarity and co-operating together for the good of our country and its people is something people still feel strongly about.
Danny Boyle's amazing Olympic opening ceremony was a celebration of those aspects of British life that made everyone proud, like our National Health Service.
The boos that greeted government ministers when they appeared in front of Olympic audiences also sent a clear message that their policies were abhorrent.
But despite all the battering, the Con-Dem coalition shows no let-up in its attacks on the poor and vulnerable and in its relentless privatisation of our public services.
It is following Margaret Thatcher's chilling dictum, couched in quasi-religious terms: "Economics are the method - the object is to change the soul."
While Con-Dem policies are doing untold damage to our society, the Labour Party, despite Ed Miliband's leadership, is still pusillanimous in its opposition.
The bankruptcy of the party's postwar social democratic beliefs was cruelly symbolised by chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown's naive comment only months before the financial tsunami hit us full in the face that "there will be no more boom and bust."
Amid the continued economic gloom we will undoubtedly face in 2013, we also need reminding of the bright side of the past year.
Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney, Hugo Chavez was re-elected president in Venezuela with a decisive majority and the progressive political process throughout Latin America continues, with the only blip being the ousting of Fernando Lugo in Paraguay.
The Arab spring took on a rather zig-zag course and expectations have to be downgraded as far as its democratic outcomes are concerned.
An increasingly horrific civil war, fuelled by outside interference, is still tearing Syria apart while the United Nations looks on.
We will undoubtedly see increasing sectarian and religiously fuelled violence in that part of the world, for which Western meddling and imperialist intervention is chiefly to blame.
Certainly in the new year we will witness an even more powerful China and see it playing a pivotal role on the world stage, particularly in Africa and Latin America.
The dollar as a world reserve currency will come under increasing pressure. Until now the US has been able to ignore its debt and ward off its creditors by simply printing money. If the dollar loses its prominence, that solution will become less feasible.
The nation is expected to hit its borrowing limit of $16.39 trillion this week - an unprecedented sum that could see its international credit rating downgraded.
Socialist alternatives to capitalism are now more widely discussed than ever despite the oft proclaimed "end of socialism."
However, the capitalist world is determined to maintain its hegemony and is entrenching. Here in Britain they have been desperately trying to deflect increasing disillusion with capitalism and social inequality by shifting the blame onto the "feckless" poor, public service workers and the "work-shy."
The present drive to privatise remaining public services is a last-ditch attempt to impose "irreversible" change.
This is why the Labour Party must be pressured by the wider left to commit to reversing Con-Dem privatisation measures and promise to take the banks, utilities and public services back into public hands.
Popular struggle needs to be broadened and intensified, through united action by trade unions, the student movement, left political parties and other grass-roots organisations.
What is certain is that 2013 will be a challenging year and in many ways a make-or-break one for Britain - we will either bring down the Con-Dem coalition and begin to reverse those policies now destroying the postwar consensus or we will face the future as a more divided, unequal and dysfunctional society.
Let our new year resolution be to bring about the former!
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