At the beginning of the 1990s we were promised a ‘new world order’ and told we had reached ‘the end of history’. Capitalism was the only option for humanity, it was said, but there was no cause for worry because a ‘new economic paradigm’ had banished economic crisis. How quickly the illusions were shattered when the global financial crisis hit in 2008. The ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011 showed the possibility of revolutionary change but was crushed by the forces of reaction. So what hope is there for a successful revolution in the 21st century?