Happy New Year?

Bart Simpson tells it like it is

A Happy New Year? It seems most of us bleated this trite sentiment at the beginning of 2006 and, whilst meaning well, fully understood that for many 2007 would bring nothing but misery.

Reflecting on the year 2007 is like re-reading the front pages for 2006. The year 2006 closed with the execution of Saddam Hussein, 2007 closes with the execution of Benazir Bhutto. Try as you might you cannot dismiss the oil profits dimension to either death. Would Bhutto be dead if Pakistan’s links to the Islamic fundamentalists of Afghanistan, a country strongly linked to the oil rich Caspian, were not so evident? And, still with oil, the price of black gold will close the year on a record high after reaching $99.29 per barrel last month, almost double the level at which it began the year

The biggest headlines seem to be reruns of previous years, adding emphasis to the Marxian dictum: “history repeats itself: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce”: scandal in the Labour Party, war in Iraq and the threat of the extension of the ‘war on terror’ into Iran, continuing war in Afghanistan, the US refusing to budge on climatic change, civil unrest from Latin to America to Myanmar, crime, poverty, hunger disease, waste, planned obsolescence. And the damnable One World Report statistics seem never to improve, nor do they look likely to for the foreseeable future.

Over in the US, the mind-numbed masses are in for a year of scum-raking electioneering as democrats and repukes fall over one another’s promises in the race to the White House. Republican candidates offer more or less the same as has been presented during the 7 years under the current lobotomised incumbent’s reign.

Indeed, Michael Tomasky editor of Guardian America comments in today’s Guardain: ‘…Republican candidates are running on exactly the same policies that Bush has pursued. Consider this list. All the major Republican candidates want to "stay the course" in Iraq, denouncing any discussion of withdrawal as evidence of pusillanimity. All see the fight against terrorism in more or less Bushian terms. All want to make the Bush tax cuts, now scheduled to sunset in 2010, permanent…All have promised the leaders of the Christian right that they will appoint supreme court judges "in the mould of" Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas

‘It’s pretty astonishing, really – we’re at the tail end of a failed presidency and the people running to succeed it are promising to continue its failed policies.’

So, 2008 looks to be no different from 2007 for one major reason - Capitalism is still very much on the agenda. This means that every aspect of our lives in 2008 will be subordinated to the worst exigencies of the profit system. Businesses will only run so long as they have the competitive edge on their rivals; wars will take place because the executives of the capitalist class realise this is simply an extension of the global search for raw materials, foreign markets and areas of influence. The state and their pals in the media will think of new laws to keep us in line and new ways of distorting facts and hoodwinking us, for the simple reason that our isolation and ignorance is an important component in maintaining the status quo. Our unwillingness to unite as a globally exploited class, our indifference to the excesses of the master class, will be the victories they celebrate in 2008.

We will reach December 31st of 2008 and look back on a year in which millions died of starvation; in which hundreds of thousands were killed in a dozen conflicts; in which millions died from curable disease. On December 31st 2008 the US war machine will still be hobnail- booting it all over the world, the Labour Party in Britain will be recovering from another scandal and there will still be homelessness and crime and every other social ill you can imagine. Despite all the reforms of the previous 100 years, despite all of our scientific, technological and medical know-how, we will still find it easier to launch a $100 million space probe on a journey to the furthest galaxies than to feed and inoculate a starving, disease-ridden African village for a few dollars.

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