The words of George Bush’s annual state-of-the-union address were full of lofty sentiments. But the President aims were more prosaic. There is growing opposition at home to his war plans. And half way through his first term of office, his popularity ratings are falling. He is worried that he may not get re-elected in two years’ time.

Opposition to a war in Iraq is growing steadily, week by week and even day by day within American society. Up until recently, this had been the strongest amongst the youth and students. But there are clear signs that the working class, and trade union members especially, are increasingly joining the ranks of those opposed to war in the Middle East. The same weekend of the massive January 18 anti-war demonstrations in Washington D.C. and San Francisco also saw a conference of 110 trade union officers and shop stewards firmly declare itself against any war on Iraq. This is a big step forward, and increasingly, events like this are on the agenda, which will involve ever wider layers of workers in the United States.

The world is only days, or even hours away from war. The farcical charade over UN inspections is over and the American ruling class imagines it can achieve world domination through military force. But Bush disregards the anti-war and labor movement at his own peril. The truly massive anti-war mood which has emerged even before the war begins is a sign of things to come.