On Monday July 15, the famous American writer Gore Vidal was interviewed on the BBC Four channel. Gore Vidal is a member of one of America's leading families - a patrician in background, upbringing and culture. His close personal acquaintance with America's ruling elite gives him a unique insight into the workings of the system, and he understands the hypocrisy that underlies this pretence, and the vicious, exploitative and aggressive character of US imperialism. He is one of those extremely rare animals - a bourgeois political commentator whose vision transcends the immediate and has a broad historical view of things.

As preparations for war with Iraq continue, and prospects for the economy look bleak, John Peterson, editor of the US Marxist Magazine Socialist Appeal looks at the complete hypocrisy of the US government in relation to Iraq.

As contract talks are underway between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, a Bush Administration task force has said that if the longshore workers strike, troops of the National Guard will be sent to occupy the ports, and members of the Navy will be used to load and unload ships. But this threat has only made the workers of the ILWU more determined to fight. In the name of the "War on Terror" Bush is attempting to destroy the most fundamental gain of the Labor Movement - the right to strike.