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Violent Misogynists, Reactionaries, And Fascists Wanted 2018 To Be The "Counter-1968." They've Gotten Their Wish.

In the first few months of 2016, the spirits of three young women - all fighting in various areas of the Global South, against poverty, Apartheid, fascism, and fundamentalism - hung over the world.

Anna Campbell, 22, a British anarchist and eco-feminist, gunned down by the forces of Turkish dictator Erdogan and extremist groups tied to ISIS. Ahed Tamimi, 17, a rebellious child prisoner in the wider prison state of Israel. Marielle Franco, 38, a Brazilian murdered in the belly of a neoliberal police state.

All three represented popular resistance against an increasingly hostile and patriarchal world, governed by the supreme diktats of markets and Empire. Their dreams reflect the ideals of millions of young women - but not just women - in the poorest regions of the earth.

2018 was supposed to be the "year of the woman." Between a massive March manifestation - lively, anarchistic, and rebellious - against the patriarchy in Spain, the exposure of sexual violence by the obscene and wealth-obsessed world of Hollywood, and the fall of the anti-abortion eighth amendment in Ireland - the tides of history appeared to be moving in the direction of liberation.

But the international extreme right, cruel, bellicose and willing to use any means, no matter how ugly, had a different vision. From Germany to Britain to the USA, conservatives spoke of a "counter-1968," that is to say, a movement towards a violent, hierarchical, and older society - to some, perhaps a return to the 1950s, for others, a return to the 1550s.

Just months after state agents assassinated Marielle Franco, a genuine psychopath grabbed hold of the Brazilian electorate. After openly discussing raping female congresswomen, threatening to kill leftists with machine guns, and arousing massive female outrage, Jair Bolsonaro captured 47 percent of the vote in the first round of the country's presidential elections. When (not "if," let's be serious) he wins the second round (or indeed, thanks to the military, if he loses), he is sure to install a fascistic and dystopian hell for poor and black women in Brazil.

In Palestine, where Ahed Tamimi's protests inspired international solidarity, international racism inspired the creation of a grotesque Israeli "embassy" in Jerusalem, and the assassination by IDF soldiers of hundreds of Palestinians, young, old, disabled, journalists, and medics.

The armies of Erdogan, helped along by terrorist groups but also the German and French governments, raped the city of Afrin that Anna Campbell's YPJ comrades fought to protect, leading to massive human rights abuses and assaults. For ensuring the deportation of refugees, Angela Merkel submitted before Erdogan, treating him with a full state visit.

Throughout the world, the banners of reaction and misogyny were raised almost daily throughout 2018. Perhaps this phenomenon is best captured by the fact that Jordan Peterson's manual for incels and anti-communists appeared on US bestseller lists for over eight months straight. A translation into German is coming soon, arguably redundant, given the events in Chemnitz.

Those on the left, anarchists, communists, socialists, can only look back with disgust at this rampant sexism and violence. Nonetheless, lessons have been learned. Women in the US, in particular, spent the year looking for "justice:" a reckoning for abuses of power by men via the courts and the ballot box. The confirmation of accused predator Judge Brett Kavanaugh to that country's highest court is flesh-and-blood proof that justice is impossible when coming from the corporate state. It's an activist cliche that victories are never handed down from above, or handed out like candy by power. But if there's one truth the left should keep in mind going into the final months of 2018, it's this one.