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The crucial events that led to the occupation of Iraq by the US and Britain are now classified, proven and documented. Blair and his New Labour cohorts, backed by their Conservative allies, lied without shame in order to drag a reluctant country to war. A dung heap of ëfactsí was manufactured by Alastair Campbell and hurled at the media. Those who questioned the justification for war were traduced and harassed. The million and a half who marched to try and prevent the war were ignored. Iraq was occupied. Despite the rushed and half-baked elections there, a savage chaos still grips the country.
The cost of the Iraqi adventure has been heavy. In October a team of medical investigators sent by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reported that, up until then, more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians had died because of the invasion. Torture, encouraged from above, became a fact of everyday life. Perhaps some good liberal apologist for Blair will soon explain how democratic torture is much nicer than authoritarian torture. Perhaps the belligerati could take this further. Ian McEwanís next novel could sensitively depict the dilemmas of a liberal torturer faced with the barbaric Orient. Why not? We live, after all, in a world where illusions are sacred and truth profane.
Meanwhile, as some Members of Parliament (all non-Labour) contemplate impeaching Blair for lying and other misdemeanors, a general election draws near in Britain. What are we going to do? If Blair wins this election (as appears likely) he will claim, like Bush, that the country supports him in these difficult times. It is for this reason that all those who opposed the war must think carefully before they cast their votes. Abstention is not a serious option. The aim should be to return an anti-war majority to the House of Commons. This requires tactical/intelligent voting in every constituency.
Normally, people vote to assert their political sympathies. But this is not a normal general election. It will be the first opportunity to punish the warmongers. Given the undemocratic voting system, votes cast for the Greens, Respect and others will have nil impact, with the possible exception of Tower Hamlets, where George Galloway confronts the pro-war Oona King. It is possible that in some constituencies the Green/Respect vote could ensure the return of a warmonger, as has happened in certain by-elections. So why not treat this election as special and take the politics of the broad anti-war front into the electoral arena? Vote Lib Dem. If the result is a hung parliament or a tiny Blair majority it will be seen as a victory for our side.
Blair has led this country into more wars than Thatcher and Major combined. He is responsible for more deaths, and that with fewer popular votes to back him. In 1992, the year Neil Kinnock was defeated by John Major, the Labour vote was 11.5 million. In 2001 New Labourís indecent majority was based on a popular vote of 10.7 million. Turnout had dropped from 71 per cent in 1997 to 59 per cent in 2001. Gordon Brown provided a hallucinatory explanation: people were so relaxed and happy under New Labour that they couldnít be bothered to vote. Psephology beckons, Gordon. In reality, it was the collapse of the Tories that distorted the results. New Labourís massive majorities have been based on mass abstentions and a blatantly undemocratic electoral system.
New Labour’s redistribution of wealth has favoured the wealthy. The assault on civil liberties mounted by Blair, Blunkett and Clarke is far more serious than the appalling internment without trial that Edward Heath instituted in Ireland.
So, in constituencies where there are MPs belonging to the anti-war faction, we should vote for them ñ despite disagreements on many other issues. In the warmonger constituencies we should vote tactically. I intend to do so. In my north London constituency the MP is Barbara Roche: pro-war and pro everything else this wretched government has done. I donít simply want to vote against her. I want her to be defeated. That is why I will vote Lib Dem.
To mark the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X and the 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s death, Verso is publishing an updated edition of Streetfighting Years, Tariq Ali’s memoir of the 1960s
Louis Mendee explains the real human costs of climate change for the global south.
From climate change to automation to demographic shifts, Mathew Lawrence explains the challenges our economy will face in the coming decade.
Fifty years after the Abortion Act, women are still dying from being denied basic services, write activists from Feminist Fightback
We need to tackle the patronising ideology that lets Tory think-tanks sneer at social tenants, writes Emma Dent Coad
Acid Corbynism allows people to imagine a future beyond the paltry offerings of capitalism, writes Keir Milburn
'We wanted to use a shared love of the beautiful game to stand in solidarity with those living under occupation', writes Kate Hadley.
Priti Patel's shady deals are business as usual. Enough is enough, writes Eleanor Penny
Boris Johnson is a local disaster and a national embarrassment. He must go, writes James Clouting
The global elite have been stealing from society on an unprecedented scale, writes Tom Walker
Richard Murphy says that the appropriate political will and understanding of tax can put an end to offshore avoidance and evasion
Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism
Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists
Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson
As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win
The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution
Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.
‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition
#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny
Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke
The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana
Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth
Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company
You might be a centrist if…
What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild
Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University
This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback
Review: No Is Not Enough
Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein
Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up
Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement
‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic
Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden
There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright
Debt relief for the hurricane-hit islands is the least we should do
As the devastation from recent hurricanes in the Caribbean becomes clearer, the calls for debt relief for affected countries grow stronger, writes Tim Jones
‘Your credit score is not sufficient to enter this location’: the risks of the ‘smart city’
Jathan Sadowski explains techno-political trends of exclusion and enforcement in our cities, and how to overcome this new type of digital oppression
Why I’m standing with pregnant women and resisting NHS passport checks
Dr Joanna Dobbin says the government is making migrant women afraid to seek healthcare, increasing their chances of complications or even death
‘Committees in Defence of the Referendum’: update from Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte on developments as the Catalan people resist the Spanish state's crackdown on their independence referendum
The rights and safety of LGBTQ+ people are not guaranteed – we must continue to fight for them
Kennedy Walker looks at the growth in hate attacks at a time when the Tory government is being propped up by homophobes