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A few years ago the global warming debate passed into history. Very few outside a small and isolated fringe give any credibility now to the climate change sceptics. Indeed, most meteorologists agree that 2007 was the hottest year on record - beating the previous record set in 1998. Its effects are now a matter for headline: fast retreating glaciers from Greenland to Peru. In Summer 2007 the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic was completely free of ice for the first time in maritime history and it seems likely that the Northeast Passage around Siberia could soon be so too.

A heat wave swept across southern Europe and North America, destroying crops and houses on a huge scale. At the same time, the monsoon season in South Asia was extraordinarily severe, causing devastating flooding in Bangladesh and parts of India. A consensus now exists amongst the ruling class and the political establishment "that something must be done" even if they cannot agree on what exactly that is, or the extent of the measures to be taken.

So, as the events of 2007 demonstrate - coming on top of the great New Orleans disaster of 2006 - climate change and, more generally, environmental degradation, has become the urgent political issue of our day. We are pleased then, that two articles in this issue deal with this hugely important question. Joy Macready looks at the intensifying international debate on climate change, while Luke Cooper shows that contrary to prevalent "Green" prejudices, genuine Marxism is not productivist in the sense of Stalinist industrialisation which wreaked havoc on the natural environment. He shows that the analytical tools of Marxism can be harnessed to show how environmental degradation is systematically created by capitalism and that only its abolition can restore a harmonious balance between our species and the natural world.

Looking back on the last year, we once again see a world beset with political criris and turbulence. The global financial crisis looks set to bring a world recession. While the neoliberal offensive against workers gains has continued apace. America achieved a relative and temporary stability in Iraq only to suffer damaging reverses in Afghanistan that spilled over into Pakistan for good measure. It seems, then, that the structural disequilibrium of world capitalism has continued to spark social upheavals, crisis and resistance. But, as the case of France demonstrates, the global movements of resistance are beset with problems. As Marco Zito argues with respect to the events of the last year, the idea that the historic dichotomy between the revolutionary and reformist strategy can simply be put to one side is fundamentally wrong. He asks can the French workers build a revolutionary party? And, concludes that - despite all the obstacles - the answer is yes.

There are few countries that have occupied the attention of leftists the world over as Venezuela in recent years. Many have rashly concluded Hugo Chavez is leading a socialist revolution, while others have rightly been more critical. Clearly, there is an urgent need for revolutionaries to engage with forces in the country. In this spirit we are pleased to publish the English language translation of recent correspondence between the League for the Fifth International and the PRS-UIT in which we debate the tactical and political issues at stake.

The rise of China as an industrial power is another issue which has rightly occupied the attention of many leftists and commentators. But to what extent has China changed world capitalism, or rather, more specifically, to what extent is its growth dependent on its close ties with the United States? World attention will certainly be focused on China as it hosts the Olympic Games - an event treated with great significance by Communist Party chiefs as expressing the arrival of China to the top of the world stage. Exposing popular misconceptions, Peter Main shows talk of China being "at the top" is decidedly premature.

The death of George Habash in January 2008 was met with great sadness across the Arab world amongst secularists and democrats. As one of the founders of the PFLP, he was a leader who was synonymous with the heroic days of the Palestinian struggle (second in prominence only to Yasser Arafat). His death gives us an opportunity to review the experience of the PFLP, its successes and mistakes, with the hope that forces across the region can learn from these and take steps towards the formation of new revolutionary parties. Finally, in our review section we have articles on Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, Between Equal Rights by China MiÈville, Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion and Alex Callinicos' pamphlet Universities in a Neoliberal World.

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