John Haylett is political editor of the Morning Star. Here he analyses the forces which can block the ruling class offensive and sets out a fighting agenda for 2012.

Ed Miliband's message for 2012 is that his party's mission will be to show that politics can make a difference - that "optimism can rise above despair."
He accuses the government of favouring the "privileged few," noting that George Osborne's autumn statement imposed a financial sacrifice on the working poor three times that of the banks.
The Labour leader was right to insist that it is unacceptable for politicians to simply shrug their shoulders as they watch unemployment rise, growth stagnate and borrowing go higher as a result.
However, nailing the flag of "more responsible capitalism" to his mast will not inspire confidence that his parallel pledge of a "different economy" means anything substantial.
His shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont warns Labour not to fall into the Tory election trap of appearing as a "tax and spend" party and retreating to its core support.
And he urges "an electoral appeal based on private-sector growth and improving living standards for the majority rather than a simple defence of public spending."
McClymont's prescription, with its goal of delivering "efficiency and social justice via successful economic modernisation," smacks of the generalities voiced by new Labour prior to 1997.
It also ignores today's reality of the Con-Dem coalition's sustained and systematic assault on the living standards of working people and how to combat it.
Labour in Parliament has failed to mount a convincing critique of the government programme of cuts and privatisation, because, as David Cameron never tires of pointing out, so much of it, including "free" schools and private-sector penetration of the NHS in England, has its roots in new Labour policies.
Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls are constrained by their unwillingness to criticise Labour's period in office or to move beyond Alistair Darling's deficit-cutting proposals that differ in degree only from those of the Tory Chancellor.
The Labour leader has to enthuse his party's bedrock support as the first step to rebuilding wider support among the electorate, but he won't do that by intoning the "everyone accepts that cuts are necessary" mantra.
The hundreds of thousands of low-paid workers who view the prospect of losing their jobs in the near future with alarm do not accept the necessity of being dumped on the dole.
And the people who depend on essential public services or state benefits are similarly unimpressed by Establishment politicians' consensus that the crisis precipitated by adventurist bankers should be resolved at their expense.
Public-sector workers have already gone on strike in their millions against the government's plans to make them work longer and pay more towards pensions that will be worth less.
Decades of anti-union legislation, employer hostility and difficult economic circumstances have weakened our trade unions, leading the government to speculate that workers would not heed the calls for strike action, even though ballots showed clear majorities in favour.
Its propaganda was thrown back in its face as workers across the public services united to defend their pensions arrangements, understanding clearly that there was no question over their pension schemes' viability.
The key problem is that government and opposition favour what is effectively a new tax on public-service workers to tackle the financial chaos generated by rampant speculation by the unregulated banking sector.
Ministers are currently ramping up their divide-and-rule tactics against the unions, seeking to dislodge some from the united front that has taken a stand against the bankers' agenda imposed by the Cabinet of multimillionaires whose allegiance is to society's privileged 1 per cent of which they are part.
If 2012 is to be anything but a carnival of reaction in which the postwar social gains of the NHS, comprehensive education and the welfare state are reduced to rubble, the labour movement must ready itself for further resistance.
No trade union leader wants to see members lose pay or, worse still, their jobs as a result of taking strike action, but it is clear that the Tory-led government, with its compliant Liberal Democrat catspaws, will not be persuaded by pleas for mercy.
The Tories have dropped the ill-fitting mask of touchy-feely reasonableness and have reverted to their natural single-minded backing for private profits at workers' expense.
The unions and their political voice in Parliament have to understand that business as normal is not an option. Every effort has to be made to stop the coalition in its tracks and to make its period in office as brief as possible.
The Morning Star will, as ever, report sympathetically the statements and activities of the labour movement and open its pages for explanations of plans for resistance and debates on alternatives.
Our paper will also assist the process for political clarity by supporting an all-Britain conference in Bishopsgate Institute, hosted by our London supporters, on March 17, at which key trade unionists will be among the speakers.
It is essential that greater numbers of workers understand how capitalism operates and why a real alternative based on the policies of the People's Charter can open the way to a socialist future.
Labour cannot remain neutral in the battles that lie ahead. The movement must unite to enthuse all working people that progressive change is winnable.