The State of the Union, it would seem, is not a happy one. In his annual address to Congress on 31 January, the chief executive of US imperialism, George W Bush, inadvertently gave away some illuminating secrets about the current thinking of US monopoly capital.
The biggest surprise of the occasion came in the form of a startling admission that “America is addicted to oil” and must drastically cut its reliance on it over the coming years. When a US president suggests that his country should move “beyond a petroleum-based economy and make [its] dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past”, you know things have gone seriously awry for the plans of US imperialism. Bearing in mind that the US is currently orchestrating an occupation of Iraq, at a running cost of some £80-100bn a year, the specific purpose of which is to secure exclusive (or near-exclusive) rights to the latter’s substantial untapped oil reserves, this statement must reflect the growing, albeit reluctant, understanding in Washington that the United States and its partner in crime Britain are sing the war in Iraq. So heroic, so ferocious, so well-orchestrated is the war of resistance that is being waged by the Iraqi people that it is most certainly going to send the occupying forces – armed to the teeth with the most sophisticated killing equipment known to man – packing.
Perhaps the US is starting to place its hopes in Iran. Bush made a direct appeal to the Iranian people to “win your own freedom”, an appeal which even the Financial Times labelled “a barely disguised call for regime change”. In a Reuters interview later the same day, Bush said: “The United States is very aware of [the Iranian people’s] conditions, and we recognise that liberty is universal and that we hope some day they will be in a position to have a democracy …” Somewhat ironic, considering the role of the US and British intelligence services in bringing about the fall of the democratically-elected nationalist government of Dr Mohammed Mossadegh and installing the thoroughly autocratic Shah, who proceeded to terrorise Iran for 26 years. There are no signs that the Iranian people are going to fooled by the empty rhetoric of the various imperialist leaders, each of whom is hoping to get his hands on Iran’s massive oil and natural gas supplies and reserves.
The imperialist economies are on the verge of collapse. The debt balloon that is currently keeping the economy afloat is so taut that the slightest of punctures will send it into spiralling disintegration. Unemployment is high, research investment is low; the outlook is not good for capital. Meanwhile, the world’s people are standing up for themselves in a way that has not been seen for a long time – from Venezuela to north Korea, Palestine to Iraq, Zimbabwe to Nepal. In Bolivia, a major supplier of natural gas (and the poorest country in South America, thanks to decades of IMF-subservient policies), the newly-elected Morales administration has just started taking steps towards nationalising hydrocarbons, thereby putting billions of pounds’ worth of imperialist investment at risk.
We urge British workers to take up the fight against imperialism; the tide is turning.