TONY BLAIR is facing his most profound crisis. Politicians have been caught lying and cheating many times before. Blair's lies over Iraq are of a different order. He lied so he could join in killing thousands of Iraqi people.
He lied to drag Britain into a war for US imperialism, a war to help George Bush's regime grab Iraqi oil and demonstrate its terrifying military power. Peter Mandelson was forced to resign over a home loan. US president Richard Nixon had to go in the Watergate scandal in 1972 over snooping on his political rivals.
Blair should go, and go now. His supporters say the argument about Iraq's weapons is all in the past. But it is about the future. US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, echoed by Blair, is turning his sights on Iran and North Korea. The Bush gang are turning out the same propaganda over Iran as they did over Iraq.
The threat of more bloodshed means the crisis engulfing Blair must not be just a question of parliamentary wrangles and manoeuvres. Some MPs are calling for a public inquiry into how Blair misled parliament over Iraq's weapons. That would embarrass him. But it would also mean kicking the issue into the long grass.
Waiting months, or even years, for a few bigwigs to sift the evidence will not satisfy the fury of millions today. Blair should be answerable for his crimes now, not next month or next year. There are some who still say we have to unite behind Blair to stop the Tories crawling back into office.
Those who argue that New Labour is the lesser of two evils end up backing a putrid government whose policies are indistinguishable from the Tories. They will support the government to the end, even as New Labour pursues murderous policies abroad and ruins lives at home.
There is talk of replacing Blair with Gordon Brown in an internal coup. But neither Brown, nor any of those who stayed in the cabinet, opposed Blair's war lies. None of them offer an alternative to imperialism and neo-liberal policies.
Such an alternative can be built - but it involves two factors. First, the trade union leaders who say we should stick with Labour must wake up to the fact that defending public services, pay and pensions means confronting the government.
They have to start putting their money where their mouths are. Secondly, the two million people who marched against the war on 15 February are angrier than ever about what has been done in their name. A viable left alternative can connect with their mood.
That means socialists getting stuck into every campaign -from opposing the occupation of Iraq to fighting over low pay, campaigning against SATs tests and being there wherever people resist the system.
It means creating a dynamic electoral challenge to Labour that builds on the success of socialist candidates in last month's elections. That needs to happen now in order to fight the next major elections in June next year. And next month sees a great opportunity to discuss how to deepen the movement against Blair. Thousands of activists will gather in central London for the Marxism 2003 event (see article here and Marxism 2003 website www.swp.org.uk/marxism).
Punished for telling truth
TONY BLAIR is a liar. Everything left wing Labour MP George Galloway said about the war has been shown to be true. Yet it is Galloway who has been charged with bringing the Labour Party into disrepute and who has been suspended. New Labour officials even barred him from attending a party meeting in his own constituency last week. Three left wing members of Labour's National Executive Committee were to try to get the suspension overturned when it meets next Tuesday, 10 June. Galloway was one of the handful of Labour MPs who spoke out during the war and expressed the feelings of millions. That's why the postal workers' CWU union conference voted unanimously to defend him and why support will continue to flood in, whether the Labour Party kicks him out or not.
Donations to Galloway's legal defence fund should be made payable to 'George Galloway Legal Fund' and sent to Davenport Lyons Solicitors, 1 Old Burlington Street, London W1X 2NL.
Protest at George Galloway's suspension from the Labour Party Tuesday 10 June, 9-10am outside Labour's NEC meeting at Labour Party headquarters, Old Queen Street, London SW1 (St James's Park/Westminster tube)