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View Full Version : The Euston Manifesto, or how the left learned to stop worrying...



gek-opel
22-04-2006, 07:32 PM
Was reading this last week about this:http://eustonmanifesto.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=1

In essence an attempt by Leftists of the Iraq war favourable/pro Blair persuasion to rebrand their ideas--- (ie a manifesto that appears to have been constructed by Nick Cohen and John Lloyd- who are involved on some level). Lots of of obvious points, but basically attempting to focus on some ill-defined and absollutist concept of "freedom" and "democracy" which is to be the prime factor in decision making for some rejuvenated leftist movement of the future... in otherwords an attempt to re-align what remains of the left towards the hegemonic western discoruses of the day.

I cannot figure out this particular strand of commentator/journalist at all... Oh sure, I can see why they are angry at what they perceive to be the anti-war movement's "enemy-of-my-ememy"ism, but are they not a little guilty of this themselves now? with a manifesto which appears to align themselves pretty squarely with neocon ideas about limits to the sanctity of statehood under international law (ie- as they state in their manifesto "if the state itself violates this common life in appalling ways, its claim to sovereignty is forfeited and there is a duty upon the international community of intervention and rescue. Once a threshold of inhumanity has been crossed, there is a "responsibility to protect"."

A lot of what appears here seems misguided not because of its inherent falseness, but rather that in context it's deeply ill advised...

Padraig
23-04-2006, 03:00 AM
Was reading this last week about this:http://eustonmanifesto.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=1

In essence an attempt by Leftists of the Iraq war favourable/pro Blair persuasion to rebrand their ideas--- (ie a manifesto that appears to have been constructed by Nick Cohen and John Lloyd- who are involved on some level). Lots of of obvious points, but basically attempting to focus on some ill-defined and absollutist concept of "freedom" and "democracy" which is to be the prime factor in decision making for some rejuvenated leftist movement of the future... in otherwords an attempt to re-align what remains of the left towards the hegemonic western discoruses of the day.

I cannot figure out this particular strand of commentator/journalist at all... Oh sure, I can see why they are angry at what they perceive to be the anti-war movement's "enemy-of-my-ememy"ism, but are they not a little guilty of this themselves now? with a manifesto which appears to align themselves pretty squarely with neocon ideas about limits to the sanctity of statehood under international law (ie- as they state in their manifesto "if the state itself violates this common life in appalling ways, its claim to sovereignty is forfeited and there is a duty upon the international community of intervention and rescue. Once a threshold of inhumanity has been crossed, there is a "responsibility to protect"."

A lot of what appears here seems misguided not because of its inherent falseness, but rather that in context it's deeply ill advised...

Given that it was the emergence of the state itself which not only constructed such notions as "freedom" and "democracy", but also guaranteed [if however ostensibly] those same notions, its interesting the way these wannabe neo-cons are attempting to advance a contrary agenda [the state as inherent violator of the very rights it created] by appealing to a notion of "international community" that, as these aggressive empire-nationalists love to deny, they have been actively undermining ["coalition of the coerced" etc] for years, with the help of such august, US-controlled "international" bodies as the UN, IMF, World Bank, BIS, NATO, etc ...

bruno
23-04-2006, 05:47 AM
i say let people slaughter each other and find a way out of internal conflicts on their own. in the case of chile we'd have missed an orderly return to democracy had someone come to 'liberate' us. i won't venture to guess what our situation would be like today had that happened, who knows who or what we'd have to deal with now.

this newfound love for humanity that we see today is a farce. in the real world no one does anything without self-interest, without asking for something in return. the only ones that do are real groups of people like medécins sans frontières who day in day out risk their lives for others. and they don't topple governments.

it's not right to meddle in the internal affairs of other countries, period.

luka
23-04-2006, 08:08 AM
that sounds silly to me. like ignoring the fact your next door neighbour keeps kicking the shit out of his wife.

bruno
23-04-2006, 10:24 AM
that sounds silly to me. like ignoring the fact your next door neighbour keeps kicking the shit out of his wife.
providing succour to your neighbour's wife is the right thing to do. though you might be delusional, misreading things (they could be rehearsing for the play, they could be sadomasochists), the consequences of intervening are negligible compared to doing the same thing to a society where history, memory, motives, a sense of future are weaved into a very complex fabric that you are not a part of. in the first case you have no interest but for your neighbour's well-being, in the latter i argue these actions are never undertaken without interest, whether under the shield of an international body or on lone initiative, and the consequences of your actions are infinitely more complex and have far wider ramifications besides run of the mill 'collateral damage'. i firmly believe that, for better or worse, social processes have to be played out in order for a society to mature. that means mind your own business.

i wanted to fit 'you're a surgeon operating with boxing gloves' somewhere into this text but fuck it, i'm off to bed.

craner
23-04-2006, 03:36 PM
Uh, you'd better check up on the history of medécins sans frontières and the ideas of its founder Bernard Kouchner before going any further with this idea, Bruno. Surely the name 'Doctors Without Borders' gives the game away, here? Their very existance is partly due to the 'neutrality' doctrine of the Red Cross. There seem to be some limits to sovereignty, no?

bruno
23-04-2006, 04:48 PM
absolutely, and i'm not asking to shut down the borders. what i'm against is military intervention and 'regime change'.

bassnation
24-04-2006, 02:47 PM
absolutely, and i'm not asking to shut down the borders. what i'm against is military intervention and 'regime change'.

...especially when its dressed up like its philantropy for someone elses benefit, when everyone with half a brain can see that its not.

droid
24-04-2006, 03:21 PM
...especially when its dressed up like its philantropy for someone elses benefit, when everyone with half a brain can see that its not.

And when those demanding regime change are the same people who supported said regime when it was committing its worst crimes...

craner
25-04-2006, 09:52 AM
Having a bit of trouble with CONTEXT droid?

droid
25-04-2006, 10:06 AM
Having a bit of trouble with CONTEXT droid?

Er... no?

How are you Oliver? Still begging for scraps at Nu-Labours Humanitarian feast of plenty? Still believing the hype? :p

bruno
25-04-2006, 12:11 PM
i take back the it's not right to meddle in the internal affairs bit and say instead that it is right as long as you do it covertly, leaving no fingerprints (yet even some fingerprints are tolerated after the fact, the important thing is for the original intervention to have been executed in stealth). this is an unspoken rule of the game for things that go beyond diplomacy.

legitimacy is key: people need to feel events are in their hands. it's not enough that a cause is good, it has to be perceived as good. the minute a good cause is advanced by foreign interests openly it is tainted, in my view.

scottdisco
25-04-2006, 12:27 PM
A U.N. mission could help to stop the atrocious attacks on civilians in Darfur, but only if it’s given the means to act aggressively.
Peter Takirambudde of HRW.

is it multilateral interventions you object to Bruno, or just uni/bi-lateral grabs (a la US/UK) ?

i apologise if i am not reading you well; you did say the moment a good cause is advanced openly by foreign interests it is tainted.
which presumably means everything, but thought i'd get further clarification.

just interested (of course some of us, it appears, would argue the UN is an American puppet anyway).

corneilius
30-04-2006, 03:46 PM
The people power of the UN, like democracy in the US or the UK and elsewhere exists to the extent that people at community level, worldwide, are prepared to demand a meaningful involvement (which is more than the process of voting) or not.

These two ideals, Democracy and THE UN have two levels, the contractual which was enough for the ideas to be sold, (ie; the concept of inalienable rights, supported by law) and can only really be enforced by public opinion, strongly expressed, and the actual, which will be down to who actually gets involved in the process.

At present we tend to leave it all to professsional politicians and civil servants while we watch TV, work and go on package holidays. And then we blame them when it goes wrong. Or worse, blame the people they blame, swallowing the hype in the process.

We avoid our responsibilties at our own peril.

sherief
30-04-2006, 05:26 PM
It looks to me like one of the big names on the list is Norman Geras, which is really interesting to me. Reading up a while ago on some of the humanist/anti-humanist debates in Marxism, I was reccommended some of Geras' work. He was a humanist marxist, supportive of human rights against alot of the Althusserian trends of the 1960s-70s, but I guess with age he got more and more concerned with human rights and less with Marxism. I don't really see anything now in his original theoretical work, but I can say at least it wasn't so conservative as he's become...e

tatarsky
30-04-2006, 11:58 PM
In reading this, I think the crucial question to ask is: "How is this different from a neo-con perspective?" (allowing room for a neo-con agenda built upon principals, rather than considering them as simply being corrupt bastards, committed to their own interests alone and/or the interests of America, as they perceive them. ;) )

In many areas, the only difference is in emphasis, in that BoBonoist fashion - i.e. the construction of the systems they propose are the same as the current order, except with the supplement that they believe they can be tweaked for good.

On regime change: "OK, but do it with a happy face, and without all the killing of civilians/torture".

On globalisation: "OK, but do with a happy face, without all the poverty, and weath and income gaps".

etc.

There are a few genuine differences, and these are the aspects that any new Left must examine hardest.

Within their stated principals, what peaked my interest the most was the mention of open source, which kind of came from nowhere, and was neglected any mention in their elaborations. But it seems to me that the line of thinking that brought them to put open source on their list is the correct one to pursue, since its primary aspect is its attack on monopoly power, which for me must be absolutely crucial any new Left agenda.

As discussed above, many of their points in their Statement of Principals are hard to argue against. The trouble is that their Elaborations make it much clearer what this group is to be about. The elaboration mainly concerns itself with particular international affairs, Iraq, 9/11, Palestine, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, all of which fits squarely with that weak, BoBonoist perspective.

The only paragraph in their elaborations that actually refered to anything outside of this Bobonoism is this;

"The social and economic foundations on which the liberal democracies have developed are marked by deep inequalities of wealth and income and the survival of unmerited privilege. In turn, global inequalities are a scandal to the moral conscience of humankind. Millions live in terrible poverty. Week in, week out, tens of thousands of people — children in particular — die from preventable illnesses. Inequalities of wealth, both as between individuals and between countries, distribute life chances in an arbitrary way."

...with it's reference to inequality. But there is no further discussion before it makes way for mutterings about Abu Ghraib, etc.

They conclude:

"The values and goals which properly make up that agenda — the values of democracy, human rights, the continuing battle against unjustified privilege and power, solidarity with peoples fighting against tyranny and oppression — are what most enduringly define the shape of any Left worth belonging to."

To me, the most important phrase there is "the continuing battle against unjustified priviledge and power". The trouble is, my focus would be on Goldman Sachs and various other financial terrorists, and indeed our very own unjustified priviledges and power, that we hold over the developing world via the WTO. If this is the agenda, it smacks of the worst kind of hypocrisy.

It's also worth noting that there are no environmental issues discussed here.

Is this what the "Left" is to become? Will the same BoBonoism of many environmentalists and developing world campaigners be extended to regime change?

Mr. Tea
02-02-2007, 09:44 PM
I was wondering if anyone else here has read this yet, and, if they haven't, if they'd like to?

http://eustonmanifesto.org/joomla/content/view/12/41/

I'll let you draw your own conclusions, but I have to say it's very rare that I agree pretty much entirely with anything anyone writes about politics (which I do here). The only thing I'm not too sure about is whether I agree American democracy is as 'strong' as all that (item 6). Apart from that, it sums up pretty well what I think about the world. I'd be interested to read your comments.

noel emits
02-02-2007, 10:13 PM
http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=3696

gek-opel
02-02-2007, 10:57 PM
Nick Cohen and his hand-wringing post leftist bullshit... I've been reading this imbecile's views for the last four years or so in the new statesman, where they see fit to give him space to write an identical article every two months or so about how the SWP and Galloway are in bed with horrible people and there's no solidarity on the left with the people of Iraq (vs Saddam) and its all motivated by anti-Americanism above all else... blah blah fucking blah--- now he's written a whole book on the subject, which I'm sure you would love, Mr Tea...

I think the Euston manifesto is insanely naive, the blueprint for an interventionist strategy for the left which whilst logical in certain regards gives no view to (a) the historical results of such strategies or (b) the realpolitik which guides the hand in terms of selecting such interventions.

Mr. Tea
02-02-2007, 11:05 PM
I thought there was a fair chance this had been discussed on here, but hey ho.

Some of the criticism is interesting, if a little predictable. I'm not sure I follow the argument that the Eustonites are 'saying effectively the same thing as the neo-cons': surely 'wanting to intervene in the affairs of other countries out of a genuine desire to uphold human rights' is a LOT different from 'wanting to intervene in the affairs of other countries out of financial self-interest/neo-imperialism'? Just because the neo-cons have often used the former as an excuse for the latter, that doesn't mean that *anyone* who wants to do the former is going to end up doing the latter, does it? (It's a bit like a woman who is instantly suspicious when her husband brings her flowers, thinking he's trying to wangle his way out of some misdeed - hey, maybe he just wanted to give her some flowers. :) )

Out of interest, I was in favour of the recent Iraq war when it started, but I've changed my stance having seen what a monumental fuck-up has been made of the 'reconstruction' process since.

Edit: well, you speak of the history of 'such strategies' - have there been ANY interventions, in recent history, for genuinely, no-strings-attached humanitarian reasons? I.e., for the reasons outlined in the Manifesto? As for naivety, that's a valid claim, but any political credo as optimistic as that is inevitably going to sound naive in these cynical times.

As it happens, Gorgeous George is my MP. The cunt.

tht
02-02-2007, 11:17 PM
surely 'wanting to intervene in the affairs of other countries out of a genuine desire to uphold human rights' is a LOT different from 'wanting to intervene in the affairs of other countries out of financial self-interest/neo-imperialism'? Just because the neo-cons have often used the former as an excuse for the latter, that doesn't mean that *anyone* who wants to do the former is going to end up doing the latter, does it?

there are no instances where a goverment has disregarded the sovereignty of another for 'human rights' alone

there are a few examples where something good has come to pass collaterally, but that is something else entirely

gek-opel
02-02-2007, 11:33 PM
you speak of the history of 'such strategies' - have there been ANY interventions, in recent history, for genuinely, no-strings-attached humanitarian reasons? I.e., for the reasons outlined in the Manifesto? As for naivety, that's a valid claim, but any political credo as optimistic as that is inevitably going to sound naive in these cynical times.

This is the whole point. The Eustonites float their ideas disingenuously, on the one hand contextualising them as they must in recent history (for they are purely reactionary in nature) yet on the hand failing to think, in REAL terms, who will be doing the intervening, and why. This is why its either strikingly naive, or appallingly cynical.

bruno
02-02-2007, 11:48 PM
hey, maybe he just wanted to give her some flowers. :) )
pretty expensive flowers, in this case.

Mr. Tea
02-02-2007, 11:48 PM
I fail to see what's reactionary about them. In fact I don't have too much of an idea of what 'reactionary' means, other than that it's the opposite of radical or progressive, and these guys support things like non-exploitative trade relations, democracy, women's rights, freedom of speech and other things I would certainly consider 'progressive' in the widest possible sense.

I don't think it's cynical, I think the worst you can accuse them of is being naive and unspecific in their aims - which is hardly surprising, given their attempt to put together a manifesto of such broad scope.

I think there have been examples of interventions carried out in which protecting civilians from war has been the main (if not the only) goal, but these seem to have happened mainly under the UN, which, sadly, is looking increasingly toothless these days.

gek-opel
03-02-2007, 12:12 AM
I fail to see what's reactionary about them. In fact I don't have too much of an idea of what 'reactionary' means, other than that it's the opposite of radical or progressive, and these guys support things like non-exploitative trade relations, democracy, women's rights, freedom of speach and other things I would certainly consider 'progressive' in the widest possible sense.

And who on the left wouldn't be for these things for fucks sake! This section is the clearest possible indication of the intellectually shallow waters these men swim in: this whole "manifesto" is a reaction to a Nick Cohen straw man enemy of a villainous left winger so in love with anti-Americanism that they would pal up with even the most repressive Muslim extremist.

In terms of the substantive criticisms Tatarsky on the previous thread says everything that needs to be said.

crackerjack
03-02-2007, 12:41 PM
As it happens, Gorgeous George is my MP. The cunt.


Well, well. Snap (both sentences).

crackerjack
03-02-2007, 12:44 PM
I dunno what happened there, but the first part was a quote of Mr Tea's post.

Mr. Tea
03-02-2007, 01:45 PM
Straw man, eh?

In general I respect Livingstone and would not call him 'hard left' - I certainly wouldn't lump him in with Galloway et al - yet he's been linked to this character:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4165691.stm

Galloway himself exhorted British Muslim soldiers to throw down arms in Iraq (which, whatever you think of the war, isn't exactly going to help anyone), a woman from the co-called 'Respect' party urged British Muslims not to cooperate with the police, full stop (to be fair, this is not even Galloway's official position), and there are people on the left in Britain and America who want to try and 'understand' al-Queda and the Taliban. I would say these people ceriainly aren't supporting democracy, women's rights and human rights in general in regions ruled by Islamic theocracy.

The point the Eustonites make is that you can be against both American imperialism AND Islamic fundamentalism, whereas the main thing these two ideologies agree on is that everyone who is not "for" us is "against" us. The real 'clash of cultures' I see happening is between moderate, liberal people on one side (be they Christians, Muslims, Jews or atheists) and fundamentalists on the other (be they American neo-cons, Zionists, al-Queda/Taliban or rabidly anti-American leftists).

gek-opel
03-02-2007, 02:04 PM
Counter argument is that who are the Eustonites themselves politically in bed with? Is it possible to be in politics to any extent without making alliances of convenience with unpleasant people.

I would also argue, and have done before, that understanding Al-Qaeda and the Taliban is essential if we are to make any headway in seeking solutions that actually work, rather than exacerbate the problems associated with these organisations. What would you have us do Mr Tea, deliberately not seek to understand the motivations and aims of these groups, for what purpose would that serve exactly??? Unless you understand what they are doing and why on an ideological level, there is no hope of ever removing these people from the global stage, and therefore no hope of ever helping to improve democracy, women's rights and human rights. Another issue is if we are to make the promotion of these values our primary goal what the fuck are we the "liberal" west doing about Saudi Arabia? A massively destabilising influence and repressive against all forms of human rights.

Mr. Tea
03-02-2007, 02:18 PM
OK, fair point, I meant 'understand' in the more active sense of 'attempt to empathise with'. I just think it's disingenous to think, as some people might, that Osama's crew are simply going to pack up their bags and get back to a peaceful life of poppy-farming and prayer if only America would force Israel to come to an equitable settlement with Palestine, close down Guantanamo bay and so on (not that both those things aren't extremely desirable in themselves).

Personally, I do think the Eustonites let America off too easily. I don't think the US is responsible for all the evil the world, as a minority of extremists might believe, but it's obvious to anyone with their eyes open that they've not exactly doing a great job as guardians of the world's freedom and prosperity, to put it lightly.

As the guy in the other thread says, the manifesto's lack of emphasis on environmental issues is also puzzling.

gek-opel
03-02-2007, 02:25 PM
And capitalism!

Mr. Tea
03-02-2007, 07:20 PM
Until someone comes up with a better idea, it looks like capitalism is all we have to work with, I'm afraid.

gek-opel
03-02-2007, 07:38 PM
It doesn't mean that its rules, terms and discontents cannot be questioned, inquisited and held thoroughly to account though! For example, how many dictatorships have been propped up historically by western governments for the sake of economic benefit? And how many democracies destabilised too? How do the Eustonites square radical interventionism with its background history of (mainly the US') murderous surreptitious meddling? And indeed from the longer history preceeding that of Colonialism?

Mr. Tea
03-02-2007, 08:00 PM
Maybe I'm giving the Eustonites too much credit, but what I see as their message is "the West (in the broadest sense) has a chequered history which includes good things (concepts like democracy, equality, freedom of speech etc.) as well as bad things (imperialism, slavery and so on), so why not try and build on the *good* Western traditions, and try to use them to oppose bad things, wherever they're happening, i.e. whether they're the fault of corrupt, greedy American businessmen or brutal third-world dictators (who are so often in league anyway)?". OK, that sentence sucked, but you get my point. Just because developed countries have a history of military intervention in their own interests, that doesn't necessarily mean it's impossible, even in principle, for them to do it for altruistic reasons, if that's what those countries' leaders really wanted to do.

If you're saying "just because capitalism doesn't look like going away any time soon, that's no reason not to question and challenge it", it seems reasonable to me to ask "just because interventions have historically been undertaken for ulterior reasons, that's no reason to assume that has to be the case in the future".

gek-opel
03-02-2007, 08:44 PM
The problem comes in terms of:

(a) Who is to do the intervening
(b) Under what system of law
(c) Said system of law to be ruled on at which court

For nation states to be any of these actors will not work, because the historical pull of

(a) Imperialist colonialism
(b) Imperialist covert operations
(c) Recent disastrous post 90s interventions, and disastrous non-interventions...

are impossible to disentangle from those who took part in such operations. As such only independent/transnational bodies fit the bill. However the UN is at an all time weak point in its history, and its power is curtailed by the strongest of the state actors which make it up. Also there is no internationally recognised court or system of law specifically designed for interventions (outside of that overseen by the UN, which is widely discredited now).

Mr. Tea
03-02-2007, 08:51 PM
I guess what I'm really saying is "we need a UN that isn't a complete waste of time". But you've just succintly highlighted how far we are from actually having that.

hundredmillionlifetimes
03-02-2007, 10:25 PM
Until someone comes up with a better idea, it looks like capitalism is all we have to work with, I'm afraid.

Until? ... [And what, per chance, are you afraid of, exactly?]

Capitalism is what we have to work against ....


Euston, we have a problem.

"Right, er, comrades. Ahem! Let's agree on the following:


1) We support human rights for all, regardless of gender, creed, colour, nationality, sexual orientation, gustatory proclivity, hair colour, height, mass, adiposity, nose shape, tooth length, provenance, sumptuary propensity, or indeed, comrades, any other kind of human variation.

2) Let's go kill some untermenschen.

This absurd 'initiative', based on the resentments of a collection of bloggers and journalists of the petit-bourgeois liberal-left (the introduction is co-written by Nick Cohen and Norman Geras), is quite possibly the most comically inept excuse for supporting imperialism that I have yet read. Identical in tone to the equally preposterous 'Unite Against Terror' statement (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2005/07/unite-against-wickedness_21.html), it retails the usual array of charges made by these purblind bigots. The anti-imperialist left is antisemitic, fascist, Islamofascist, totalitarian, anti-American, terrorist-loving or willing to accomodate all of these. Anti-Zionists are either antisemitic or tolerant of antisemitism. We are heterodox, while they - they Decent Left, the One True Left - are keeping it real." More ... (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2006/04/that-euston-manifesto-in-full.html)



Not to also mention: "Schools Minister Jim Knight, writing for the Euston Manifesto website (yes, that augean stable of 'progressives') following the catastrophe in Lebanon, has insisted that the armed forces should sponsor schools (http://education.independent.co.uk/news/article1221362.ece), setting up what he called "Armed Forces Trust Schools". Gordon Brown wants more school cadet forces (http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=229432006). Sir Ian Russell, the former head of ScottishPower, has been asked to look at involving "private benefactors and companies to help fund new cadet forces in state schools, particularly those in deprived areas." They're going after the working class kids who, failed by the system, will be used as cannon fodder to defend it and advance its aims. Earlier this year, a school in Scotland handed children over to the armed forces for the day - with no prior parently consent. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/diary/story/0,,1857774,00.html) They were "made to take part in exercises that included 'imagining they were in a minefield' and 'acting injured', and told by an officer that he was 'having more trouble with you lot than with Iraqi terrorists'."

All of which is designed to teach working class kids that 650,000 Iraqi deaths = fun, adventure, civic duty, humanitarianism and ethnic diversity." More ... (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2006/10/schools-to-teach-kids-arithemetic-of.html)

And, the Euston Manifesto's abuse of "liberation." (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2006/10/liberation.html)

Mr. Tea
04-02-2007, 04:04 AM
Until?
2) Let's go kill some untermenschen.




Yes. Because the people behind the Euston Manifesto are secretly neo-Nazis. Well done.

Edit: you link to a blog that says "I'm not a good guy. I'll inject your new born baby with smack if someone pays me enough to do it: that's not a rash, that's track marks." Oh my gosh. How terribly edgy. How terribly now.

swears
04-02-2007, 12:40 PM
Mr Tea: Don't you think there are some problems that maybe the west can't solve? That it's better to admit that policing the rest of the world is none of our business, and even with the best intentions in regards to human rights and defeating extremists, we're only going to cock things up beyond recognition with interventionist foreign policies?
That, ideology aside, on a purely practical level, these actions simply don't work?

gek-opel
04-02-2007, 01:12 PM
Ok so we're agreed that Euston manifesto is little better than a reactionary fig leaf for continued (accelerated?) western imperialism. Do they actually have any support beyond the list of signatories? The press profile of people like Cohen I suspect distorts the apparent scale-- is this not so much the birth of a vile new mutation in the "liberal" left, but rather the all too public death throws of a certain kind of Blairite media operator?

crackerjack
04-02-2007, 02:55 PM
Mr Tea: Don't you think there are some problems that maybe the west can't solve? That it's better to admit that policing the rest of the world is none of our business, and even with the best intentions in regards to human rights and defeating extremists, we're only going to cock things up beyond recognition with interventionist foreign policies?
That, ideology aside, on a purely practical level, these actions simply don't work?

It sounds like maybe you're arguing for your own kind of ideology, one that condemns all intervention that doesn't first go through the snail-like bureaucracy of the UN. I agree there are problems the west can't solve, but are you happy to argue for a policy which washed its own hands of the blood of 1m Rwandans and would've left Serbian snipers to pick off Balkan Muslims at will?

There are limits to western powers, but there are terrible consequences to isolationsism too.

tht
04-02-2007, 02:59 PM
they seem to subsist on a sect like paranoia and contempt towards their foes (largely imagined) whilst suggesting there is an undercurrent of commonsense that would here! here! to them if only it wasn't stifled by something or other (the effete liberalmedia, their lifeblood and paymaster) which is just like the complaints of american paleoconservatives

Mr. Tea
04-02-2007, 06:14 PM
A lot of the anti-Eustonites in this thread seem to be saying there is never a case for intervention, ever. Is this what people think? Surely far more carnage would have occurred in, say, Yugoslavia had not NATO intervened?

sonofsophia
04-02-2007, 09:20 PM
That's the end result of their line of reasoning - the dark side of the idea of liberal interventionism, and it's quite inescapable. The essential qualities that Cohen attributes to Totalitarianism in "What's Left" are present in the idea: we have a pan-state constituency (all people want to be free), we have a global obligation (to make this so) we have the means at our disposal (overpowering strength). For me, it's not a question of whether intervention can "ever" be justified, but one of how on earth people pretending to recover the true liberal tradition for the 21st century can end up arguing in favour of force majeure.

tht
04-02-2007, 11:51 PM
The essential qualities that Cohen attributes to Totalitarianism

this reification seems to be a common thought contagion among these people, always conveniently appearing witin scud distance of israel and usually absenting itself from the liberal utopias of central asia

hundredmillionlifetimes
05-02-2007, 02:59 AM
Yes. Because the people behind the Euston Manifesto are secretly neo-Nazis. Well done.



Whatever you say.


"As far as the Americans were concerned, the Iraqi people were sub-human, untermenschen. You could almost split the Americans into two groups: ones who were complete crusaders, intent on killing Iraqis, and the others who were in Iraq because the Army was going to pay their college fees."

==============>Ben Griffin (http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/03/12/nsas12.xml), the former SAS soldier who quit in disgust in June 2006 after witnessing the Iraq occupation at first hand. There's also an interview with him in the same Torygraph (http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/03/12/nsas112.xml).

vimothy
05-02-2007, 12:28 PM
This absurd 'initiative', based on the resentments of a collection of bloggers and journalists of the petit-bourgeois liberal-left (the introduction is co-written by Nick Cohen and Norman Geras), is quite possibly the most comically inept excuse for supporting imperialism that I have yet read. Identical in tone to the equally preposterous 'Unite Against Terror' statement (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2005/07/unite-against-wickedness_21.html), it retails the usual array of charges made by these purblind bigots. The anti-imperialist left is antisemitic, fascist, Islamofascist, totalitarian, anti-American, terrorist-loving or willing to accomodate all of these. Anti-Zionists are either antisemitic or tolerant of antisemitism. We are heterodox, while they - they Decent Left, the One True Left - are keeping it real." More ... (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2006/04/that-euston-manifesto-in-full.html)



Lenin's Tomb??!! Give me a f**kin break ...

[Note the Hezbollah flag on the blog - Lenin is an imperialist and a warmonger, btw].

Mr. Tea
05-02-2007, 02:19 PM
Whatever you say.


"As far as the Americans were concerned, the Iraqi people were sub-human, untermenschen. You could almost split the Americans into two groups: ones who were complete crusaders, intent on killing Iraqis, and the others who were in Iraq because the Army was going to pay their college fees."

==============>Ben Griffin (http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/03/12/nsas12.xml), the former SAS soldier who quit in disgust in June 2006 after witnessing the Iraq occupation at first hand. There's also an interview with him in the same Torygraph (http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/03/12/nsas112.xml).

I was unaware any that any signatories to the Manifesto were members of the American armed forces.

vimothy
07-02-2007, 03:45 PM
"As far as the Americans were concerned, the Iraqi people were sub-human, untermenschen. You could almost split the Americans into two groups: ones who were complete crusaders, intent on killing Iraqis, and the others who were in Iraq because the Army was going to pay their college fees."

What about, "as far as the Brits were concerned, the Americans were untermenschen ..." As a European, I've been hearing about the stupidity and evil greed of the average American for some time now and I must say it's getting rather tiresome.

I mean, really: how much more retarded can you be in your wholesale, blanket condemnations of a people? It's as self-contradictory as saying something like "all Australians are rascist".

gek-opel
07-02-2007, 04:05 PM
This quote for all its flaws is clearly talking about American SOLDIERS, in which context it makes sense. 90% of Anti-Americanism in the UK is focused on Bush and his acolytes.

Guybrush
07-02-2007, 06:03 PM
Regarding the Hezbollah flag: If find some fractions’ tacit support for Hezbollah and its equals slightly confounding, as one of ‘the Left’s’ (sorry, it’s a handy term) main criticisms of the U.S.’s Cold War policies has been the ‘our enemy’s enemy is our friend’ outlook.

vimothy
08-02-2007, 09:31 AM
This quote for all its flaws is clearly talking about American SOLDIERS, in which context it makes sense. 90% of Anti-Americanism in the UK is focused on Bush and his acolytes.

Of course: "all American soldiers are racist" sounds much more rational. I also note with interest that Griffin adopts typical Jihadist historicism, describing Western troops as "crusaders".

vimothy
08-02-2007, 09:32 AM
Regarding the Hezbollah flag: If find some fractions’ tacit support for Hezbollah and its equals slightly confounding, as one of ‘the Left’s’ (sorry, it’s a handy term) main criticisms of the U.S.’s Cold War policies has been the ‘our enemy’s enemy is our friend’ outlook.

Personally, I've stopped expecting consistency, though I still find it infuriating.

mos dan
24-05-2007, 10:19 AM
a little something i knocked up for the ns to mark euston's first anniversary:

http://www.newstatesman.com/200705280020

vimothy
24-05-2007, 10:49 AM
Tenets such as "we are committed to democratic norms, procedures and structures" and "we are opposed to all forms of terrorism", while incontestable, have not been reprinted on T-shirts sold in Camden, or been scrawled by attractive poli-sci students in the margins of notebooks, as extracts from a great manifesto should.

Erm... largely irrelevant. What has that got to do with anything? Also, students tend to favour dodgier political ideologies like communism or incoherent anti-westernism. It's hardly a bad sign that they are uninterested in the mainfestio. After all, something as boring as defending liberty from fascist islamists is hardly going to float the boat of teenagers looking for a bit of rebellion-lite to go with their chomsky and home made bongs.


History's most memorable manifestos were all written with literary flair, and none is more quotable than that of the Italian futurists...

Interesting that you compare it unfavourably to totalitarian (fascist and communist) political manifestos, mostly because they are more quotable. Again, that seems irrelevant.

No criticism of the actual content, just the form. Did you sign it?

mos dan
24-05-2007, 11:24 AM
Erm... largely irrelevant. What has that got to do with anything? Also, students tend to favour dodgier political ideologies like communism or incoherent anti-westernism. It's hardly a bad sign that they are uninterested in the mainfestio. After all, something as boring as defending liberty from fascist islamists is hardly going to float the boat of teenagers looking for a bit of rebellion-lite to go with their chomsky and home made bongs.

Interesting that you compare it unfavourably to totalitarian (fascist and communist) political manifestos, mostly because they are more quotable. Again, that seems irrelevant.

No criticism of the actual content, just the form. Did you sign it?

i didn't sign it, but that issue is entirely separate from the article: the entire piece is just an exercise in gentle, tongue-in-cheek humour for chrissakes. sorry if it's not funny enough for that to be clear - i was told to 'go easy on the jokes'. i don't actually rate political philosophies based on whether they get printed on t-shirts sold at camden market :rolleyes:

vimothy
24-05-2007, 11:34 AM
Right, sorry, ignore me. It's been a long week of life, death and hard slog. And I'm finding it increasingly hard to tell what's serious and what isn't in the weird world of the British left. There's just so much that seems like parody, that the parody has obviously started to seem entirely real...

mos dan
24-05-2007, 12:15 PM
fair enough mate! and this is so true:


And I'm finding it increasingly hard to tell what's serious and what isn't in the weird world of the British left. There's just so much that seems like parody, that the parody has obviously started to seem entirely real...

i wonder if cohen will have a sense of humour about me slightly dissing him in his own magazine (sort of). i am genuinely interested to see what come out of the 'one year on' conference...

crackerjack
24-05-2007, 12:37 PM
The document lacked the rhetorical flourishes and inspirational bons mots that have distinguished the writing of great manifestos.

Ain't that the truth. Norm Geras is an unbelievably turgid writer. The only thing more boring is hearing him speak. I went to the Euston launch with an Arab mate who was torn between nodding off and walking out in disgust during Geras' opening speech.

Mr. Tea
24-05-2007, 05:49 PM
Ain't that the truth. Norm Geras is an unbelievably turgid writer. The only thing more boring is hearing him speak. I went to the Euston launch with an Arab mate who was torn between nodding off and walking out in disgust during Geras' opening speech.

Oh dear. Perhaps the Eustonite Left needs its own Galloway? Or better by far, its own Boris Johnson? :)

crackerjack
24-05-2007, 06:13 PM
Oh dear. Perhaps the Eustonite Left needs its own Galloway? Or better by far, its own Boris Johnson? :)

Hitchens has his fans as an orator and he and Aaronovitch are both top writers (regardless what you think of their ideas) - weirdly neither have signed up to Euston, even though it encompasses much of what they've been saying for 5 years.

Geras speaks like a cantankerous old university lecturer addressing a particularly dim student and writes much the same way, like someone with a bad smell under his nose.

Alas there's only one Boris - and thank fuck there's just the one McHawHaw.

Mr. Tea
31-05-2007, 08:13 PM
Nick Cohen and his hand-wringing post leftist bullshit... I've been reading this imbecile's views for the last four years or so in the new statesman, where they see fit to give him space to write an identical article every two months or so about how the SWP and Galloway are in bed with horrible people and there's no solidarity on the left with the people of Iraq (vs Saddam) and its all motivated by anti-Americanism above all else...

Haha, you know, it's kind of funny...I can't rememer ever reading anything by Cohen until the other day when I picked up a copy of the Evening Standard on the tube (whose once-ludicrous claim to be "London's Quality Newspaper" is looking increasingly justified in light of the sub-tabloid shiterags being given away these days) and saw Cohen's piece in it - I didnt' even know he wrote for the S'nard - and part of it was a dig at "pseudo-Leftiist Livingston" and his chumminess with "the racist, homophobic and mysogynistic Islamic far Right". Which may still have something in it, although it seems (from a brief Google/Wiki) this al-Qaradaw character may not be as monstrous as he's been painted.

Sounds like Cohen might need to get some new material, in any case.

Edit: Galloway can still fuck off, mind you.

hundredmillionlifetimes
03-06-2007, 07:01 AM
Edit: Galloway can still fuck off, mind you.


[EDIT (self-censorship)] Perhaps it might have been more appropriate to add: "Yes, and you can follow him."

Woebot
04-06-2007, 06:20 AM
No, it is you who urgently needs to fuck off, you mindless turd.

hml, i'm sure you're frustrated, but i think you may have crossed a line here.

Sectionfive
29-09-2015, 01:27 AM
So old Nick Cohen has finally 'quit the left'. It has been interesting to watch how the contours and cleavages among the Decents have shifted since 2006, how the rise of social media has really put the wind up a lot of columnists and indeed, how much of the Eustonite rubbish was recycled to attack Corbyn over the past few weeks.

droid
29-09-2015, 09:07 AM
Let's not underestimate the career factor here. There's not much money in posing as a leftist whilst supporting traditional imperialism. Muscular liberalism is mainstream now.

Cohen is just taking the logical next step. He's following the money.

craner
29-09-2015, 11:27 AM
This is an amusing thread that I totally forgot existed.