|Wukan, China, December 2011: taste of the future?|
History is what we make it. I hope that popular movements in various parts of the world will - as the Arab masses did in 2011 - shape history in a new direction.
Let me know what you agree or disagree with - and perhaps offer a few predictions of your own.
1. Egypt's revolutionary movement will continue to battle on the streets and win some of its demands, though broadly speaking the political situation will be stabilised with moderate forces, e.g. Muslim Brotherhood, using the electoral sphere to boost themselves and undermine the movement on the streets.
2. The Occupy movement in the US will almost completely disappear, but many of those involved will develop new campaigns and protest movements, offering a longer-term antidote to the Tea Party. The organised left, however, will remain extremely weak and marginalised.
3. The Tories will succeed in dismantling the NHS, due to a deep failure by Labour, trade unions and the anti-cuts movement to get their act together in stopping it.
4. There won't be foreign military intervention in Iran, but there will be in Syria.
5. Unison and a number of other unions will capitulate in the pensions dispute, but there will be some further strike action by PCS, NUT and others. These unions will, however, still settle for a deal - by no later than February - that is more favourable to the government to the unions.
6. Labour will move slightly further to the right (astonishing as that may seem), under pressure from the Blairite wing and in the absence of a credible left-wing counterweight. Ed Miliband will survive as leader, due to the lack of a popular alternative and the disarray inside his party.
7. There will be marked increase in the use of nationalism - and to a lesser extent racism and other forms of scapegoating - by David Cameron and the Tories, as an opportunistic response to political and economic tensions in Europe.
8. Social unrest in China will grow considerably, including workers' militancy, but not to such an extent that justifies talk of a Chinese Spring or comparisons with Egypt.
9. There will be an increase in anti-austerity protests, mass strikes and riots in many European countries, in the context of a deepening crisis for the Eurozone. Portugal, Italy and Spain will be particular flashpoints.
10. There will be a very welcome, though tentative, increase in co-ordination by left-wing anti-cuts activists in the UK, with a much sharper polarisation between broadly left-wing elements and, on the other hand, Labour, TUC and moderate union leaders. These latter elements will fail to take any major initiatives - there'll be no repeat of 26 March - but the more radical parts of the movement will become more coherent and powerful.
11. There will not be a repeat of last summer's riots in the UK.
12. There will be a growth in anti-sexism protests in the UK, US and a number of other Western countries, building on the short-lived Slutwalk phenomenon last year, and overwhelmingly led by young women.
13. Those of us who are republicans will be just as marginalised as we were in 2011, with the diamond jubilee being as great a popular success as the royal wedding last April. Support for the monarchy will be more solid and secure than for a very long time.
14. There will be further protests in Russia, some of them bigger than those witnessed recently, and to some extent this will spread to a number of former Soviet republics.
15. North Korea will begin, however cautiously, to increase diplomacy with the US and other countries.
16. Boris Johnson will be re-elected Mayor of London by a significant margin.
17. The Tories will get a small boost in opinion polls from the Olympics - which will be widely regarded as a great success - but this will have been completely obliterated by October.
18. The topic of class will - following the flurry of mainstream media discussion prompted by Owen Jones' 'Chavs' in 2011 - make a full-blown comeback as a repsectable subject for discussion and commentary, although most commentators will naturally get things wrong.
19. In Scotland, Alex Salmond will confirm the timetable for an indpendence referendum, against the backdrop of opinion polls consistently indicating more support for independence than for retaining the union. We will be another step closer to an independent Scotland and the break-up of the UK.
20. The revolutionary left as a whole, here in the UK and internationally, will be the same size at the end of 2012 as it is now.