Sunday, April 23, 2006

Marc Cooper & Will Hutton endorse the Euston Manifesto

I notice that the Euston Manifesto has been endorsed (and signed) by two significant independent-left voices from different sides of the Atlantic: the admirable Marc Cooper ("Why We Fight - And Why We Don't"), an American left-wing journalist who once worked for Salvador Allende and is now a contributing editor of the Nation ... and, over in Britain, Will Hutton ("Why the Euston group offers a new direction for the left"), probably best known in the US for his influential (and best-selling) anti-Thatcherist manifesto of 1995, The State We're In. (Both of them, incidentally, were strong opponents of the 2003 Iraq war.)

Neither is uncritical.

But I have decided to put my signature on the new Euston Manifesto. Hardly an organized movement (fortunately), it's mostly a statement of principles.
I encourage you to the read the entire statement. Even as loose as it currently stands, it's still a bit rigidly "progressive" for me. Yet it comes very close to what I feel nowadays. And I was happy to see some folks articulate some of those otherwise inchoate notions.
[....] a small meeting of disillusioned leftist journalists, university lecturers and passionate bloggers in a London pub last year is proving a potentially important political event. Two or three internet bloggers have been arguing strongly for some months that whether it was for or against the Iraq invasion, Western liberal opinion must now stand united behind the attempt to create and entrench the panoply of democratic and human rights in Iraq and be against the religious fundamentalism propelling it down.
Western liberalism has been making a fundamental mistake in claiming that, because they spring from a war so many of us opposed, the anti-Enlightenment jihadists and insurgents are somehow Bush and Blair's responsibility. The right course now is to construct an Iraqi democracy which means backing the hated Blair and Bush. [....]
In short, a strand on the left passionate about democracy is coming to Blair's rescue. What started as a debate among those bloggers has now flourished into a fully fledged - and very long - manifesto, signed by more than 600 people, which covers everything from the Iraq war through anti-Americanism to globalisation and equality. [....]
I googled Euston.Manifesto and it posted more than 200,000 results. It is beginning to attract attention not just in Britain, but in the USA, and for a good reason. Although wrong in disabling ways and philosophically illogical, it redeems itself with one golden thread in its thinking: democracy is a universal principle that must be upheld.
I'll go for that.

Yours in struggle,
Jeff Weintraub