As this document was drafted in April of 2004, many of the specific facts and figures have changed. However, the fundamental processes and trends remain accurate to this day, and many of the predictions are already coming to pass. The economic recovery has still not conclusively taken off or slipped back into recession, but the factors that allowed some breathing room for the economy are rapidly disappearing. The effects of Alan Greenspan’s recent interest rate rise - in an effort to counter inflation - cannot yet be predicted. With energy prices cutting into consumer spending, the industrial sector is once again shedding jobs, and the economy is producing less than the bare 150,000 jobs required just to keep up with the growing workforce. The world is as unstable as ever, with the farce of Iraq’s “freedom” a tragic joke on millions of Iraqis and the over-stretched US troops sent there to die in the heat and sand. The presidential election is polarizing America like never before, with Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 waking up millions to further political awareness. Kerry’s choice of John Edwards as his running mate is a surprise to no one, and millions of voters are once again faced with no real choice in the election.

The war in Iraq drags on and on, and the situation for working people here in the US continues to worsen, or at best stagnate. Working people and the youth are beginning to see through the lies of the capitalist class which could care less that entire families now live on the streets, or that 1.7 million people slid into poverty in 2002.

In a first in US Labor history, nearly 100,000 grocery workers are on strike or locked out in California, St. Louis, West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, demanding a halt to the ever-increasing bosses' assault on one of the working class' most essential needs: health care. Under the heavy skies of recession, these multi-billion dollar companies want to make the workers pay the full bill for the economic downturn. In order to maintain their huge profits, the capitalists are more than willing to put the physical health of the working class to the ax. This is a threat that the Labor Movement cannot tolerate, despite the braking action of their own leadership and the pernicious influence of the Democratic Party.