Thursday, July 06, 2006

Leave Blair out of it!

scapegoatAnother excellent CamPeace meeting tonight, and a useful debate that will serve as a follow up to my last post about the war.

Part of the meeting was led off by Suzon Forscey-Moore from Action for Justice who are part of the campaign to impeach Blair. Now whilst they do more than that I'm going to say why I think impeaching war criminal Blair is a bad idea, feel free to disagree.

Legal action of this sort can have some symbolic uses. The Nuremburg trials or the prosecution of Pinochet (where our friend, Jack Straw, did everything in his power to avoid extraditing him to Spain) were both times when the potential symbolic value of legal action were extremely useful.

But in the current situation there is a real problem with bringing the entire focus and blame for the war onto Blair's shoulders, because we all know that he is going to step down as leader of the Labour Party rather soon. By laying Iraq solely at Blair's door we allow Labour to leave the stigma of the war behind when they ditch its chief spokesman.

We need to broaden our grasp of the causes for war beyond the moral fiber of this or that leader. We need to address what's built into the system that brings us to war. Demonising individuals, no matter how foul, actually moves us away from a firmer understanding.

Nixon's pickled head (from Futurama)If we look to two of the US Presidents of the Vietnam war we have Nixon the caricature monster and Kennedy the clear faced hero - but lets get it straight. Nixon was taking troops out of Vietnam and Kennedy was sending them in. However, Nixon was forced out of office and is the bad man, Kennedy took a bullet and so is good. These people are the representatives of Imperialism - not the beast itself.

If we establish the principle that we can bring the PM to account through the courts who's going to use it? The Express, The Sun, The Mail to impeach PMs for not hanging enough foreigners or for allowing gay people rights. This arena is always going to be the prefered terrain of the rich and powerful and the left should enter into their courthouses with great care.

We need to bring these people to account politically, not with lawyers and arcane legislation.

There is a feeling of helplessness that Blair can break international law with impunity - but we need to bring him down on our terms so that people are clear it was mass action from those who opposed Imperialism and privatisation - rather than allowing a messy procedure (that will never come to fruition) to contribute to his demise.

The right are on the offensive against this government - over human rights, over asylum seekers, over crime and we can't allow Blair's successor to be more concerned about the Daily Mail headline writers than they are of a movement for social justice. That means two things.

1. We need to keep the movement visible, relevant and strong rather than retreating into courthouses.

2. We should ensure that the blame for war is laid at the door of the entire poltical class from New Labour to Flag Waving Tory to Support Our Boys Lib Dems.

It's the neo-liberal concensus that we need to put on trial not the tea boy.

1 comment:

Jim Jay said...

Bizarre coincidence - from Comment is Free Nixon the Lefty by Mark Braund