Tag Archives: Euston Manifesto

Trade Unions and Democracy In The New Iraq

The London Euston Group is holding a meeting — “The Other Iraq: Trade Unions and Democracy in the New Iraq” — on Tuesday 18th July at 7.30pm at Waterloo in London.

Speakers at the meeting will include Gary Kent, Director of Labour Friends of Iraq (in a personal capacity) who recently led a soldarity delegation to Iraq, and Alan Johnson, co-author with Abdullah Muhsin of Hadi Never Died: Hadi Saleh and the Iraqi Trade Unions, just published by the TUC. There will be lots of time for questions and discussion.

Come along if you are interested in the under-reported story of Iraqi reconstruction and the role that the Iraqi trade union movement has in building the new Iraq.

Please email londoneuston at the domain googlemail.com to confirm your attendance and so you can be sent directions.

Paul Berman Thanks

Thank you to Paul Berman for an excellent talk and to all those who helped with the frantic last-minute organisation of the dinner meeting last Sunday. It was another thumping success, selling out overnight. Apologies to those living outside London who wanted to attend. We hope to organise other meetings outside the capital in the future. The meeting was recorded in various media and we will make the results available on the Euston Manifesto Website or link to them from here.

Wall Street Journal: Left Turn

At first blush, the Euston Manifesto doesn’t seem explosive. Conceived in a London pub and hashed out online, and signed by left-wing, mostly British academics and journalists, it declares itself for democracy and freedom of ideas, and against racism and terror. OK, great. Torn by the Iraq war and the fight against terrorism, Britain’s left, like some in the U.S., could use a few reminders of what is at stake.

Yet since its unveiling in April, the Euston Manifesto has generated fierce debate. On the kinder end, Daniel Finkelstein, in the Times of London, called it “a gigantic waste of time and energy” that seeks to salvage an unsalvageable left. Brendan O’Neill, meanwhile, wrote in the Guardian that “the Euston group and al Qaeda are cut from the same cloth.”

Just what could be so provocative?

link to full text online

The Australian: Right of Left bounces back

A new democratic progressive alliance is born, writes Phillip Adams
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THIS SUNDAY: Paul Berman Meeting

The Euston Manifesto Group is hosting a special London (UK) meeting featuring Paul Berman, author of Terror And Liberalism and Power And The Idealists, this Sunday (11Jun06) 7:30pm (18:30hrs UTC) at The Devereux in The Strand. Tickets are limited and can be obtained from tickets@eustonmanifesto.org.

Launch Thank-You

The official real-world launch of the Euston Manifesto took place on 25May06 in London and was a huge success. Thank you to all (250) of you who came and generously gave. You made it the event it was, but there wouldn’t have been an event to invite you to if it hadn’t been for the brilliant organisational skills and hard work of the launch team.

Thanks to Jane Ashworth, Kate Waterfield, Dan Johnson, Peter Stapleton, Brian Brivati, Roger McCarthy, Bevan, Philip Spencer, Alexandra Simonon, Andrew Regan, David T, Anthony Cox, Gabbi, Paul Evans, Neil Denny, Richard Sanderson, David Herman, and all those recording the event in various media: Paul Christopher, Tim Sewell, Philip Wolmuth, and David Herman. Special thanks should go to the fine speakers: Norman Geras, Shalom Lappin, Eve Garrard, and Alan Johnson, and to the chair — Nick Cohen.

Blueprint Magazine: European Wake-Up

[Blueprint is the magazine of the US Democratic Leadership Council]

There are cracks in the façade of European leftism that should give us all some hope. They come in the form of editorialists, academics, activists, and bloggers who’ve pretty much had it with the reflexive anti-globalism, anti-Americanism, and anti-interventionism of the 1968 generation in Europe. Some of the new voices are youngish journalists in rebellion against the dogmatism of their elders, who often exercise iron control — and sometimes enforce ideological unanimity — over certain key media like Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and the BBC.

Perhaps the most noticeable fissure in the masonry of group-think is a new initiative promoted by old British leftist Norman Geras, who supports the war in Iraq and democratization in the Middle East. Together with a young columnist named Nick Cohen, Geras is leading a new movement dubbed the Euston Manifesto — because it was conceived during several meetings in a pub near London’s Euston Station. The manifesto is posted on the Internet and is open for anyone to sign. Within a month of going up in early spring, it had attracted hundreds of signatures, quickly becoming an intellectual and ideological home for many disillusioned European leftists who are looking for a sensible progressive movement to join. That has to warm an American progressive’s heart.

Sunday Herald: Brian McNair

An old communist confesses: the class war is over and even Rupert Murdoch makes sense … what do lefties do now?

EVERYONE remembers where they were the first time they found themselves agreeing with Rupert Murdoch. I was at my desk, circa-1995, reading a speech he had given on the global impact of new technologies. These, he said, were proving “an unambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere”. Fax machines, direct dial telephones, primitive e-mail (this was before the internet really got going) were eroding state control over media and culture, all over the world. As a result, “the Bosnian Serbs cannot hide their atrocities from the probing eyes of BBC, CNN and Sky News cameras … the extraordinary living standards provided by free-enterprise capitalism cannot be kept secret”.

Before that moment the only thing I had in common with Murdoch, apart from our Scottish heritage, was the fact that we both kept busts of Lenin on our desks as students. He abandoned any attachment to Marxism in order to become a master of the media universe. I left the Communist Party at the age of 26, but continued to see myself as a man of the left. What else could you be in the west of Scotland during the Thatcher years? This was Red Clydeside, my city, the place where tanks once parked in George Square to prevent Bolshevik-inspired revolution. We were proletarian in our hearts, even if now we went to universities and became academics and teachers and social workers. We had read our Marx, and some of us our Stalin, and so knew that capitalism was doomed to collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions. We admired the Cuban revolution, and defended the Soviet Union even as Gorbachev was telling us how much the whole sorry experiment stank of stagnation and decay.

link to full text of article online

The Times: The Left Needs To Get It Right

The Euston Manifesto is a corrective to extreme views on terrorism, Iraq and Bush

WRITING IN this newspaper two weeks ago, Daniel Finkelstein gave the Euston Manifesto — a document calling for a progressive realignment and which I had a large part in drafting — a mixed review. “Really very good,” he said. “I agree with its sentiments; I think it well written and timely.”

But he also described it as “a gigantic waste of time and energy”. How so? Because, even though it challenges ideas widely held on the Left, the aim of those who produced it is “to save the Left from itself” and that isn’t worth the bother.

There are two things that may be said in response to this. The first is that even for someone who doesn’t regard the Left as the best place to be politically, a more rather than a less healthy Left is surely to be desired.

Finkelstein thinks the manifesto’s “clear statement of principles has been wasted on people who do not agree and never will”. But in politics you don’t know how many will agree with what you have to say until you’ve said it, and there are already signs that what we’ve said in the manifesto — holding firm to democratic principles and universal human rights, not making excuses for tyranny or terrorism, opposing anti-Americanism and not selling short the liberal tradition of freedom of ideas — has found a welcome from a section of left-liberal opinion. How far this will go remains to be seen, of course, but except from a very narrowly partisan view it has to be better for the wellbeing of the polity, that those on the “other side” from you are attached to principles of a better rather than a worse kind.

Secondly, for those of us who haven’t given up on the Left, there is more reason still why we shouldn’t want to see democratic and universalist values made light of. We see these values as linked to others that have always been the special concern of the Left. No one else can be relied on to defend them.

link to full text of article online

The Guardian: They should come out as imperialist and proud of it

Geoffrey Wheatcroft:

There is a progressive tradition of support for colonialism, which the Euston Manifesto Group could champion

Whatever else the Iraq enterprise and the supposed attempt to democratise the Middle East have done, they have produced some unlikely alliances, and begun some fascinating new disputes. The question of imperialism has been raised again, though in a way that is uncomfortable on more than one side politically, as the recently promulgated Euston manifesto suggests.

The Iraq war has divided opinion, but not just on conventional left-right lines. It was largely opposed here by the left, but also by a number of former Tory cabinet ministers (not to say more ordinary Conservatives than Labour voters), and in America not only by liberals and radicals but by veteran conservatives such as Peter Viereck and William Buckley.

Another division has opened on the American neoconservative right. Many neocons angrily resent any suggestion that the US could ever be described in terms of imperial hegemony. But some neocons have begun to say that America is indeed an imperial power, and a good thing too: Charles Krauthammer has insisted that Americans must stop shying away from the word “empire”, adding that “we could use a colonial office in the state department”.

Here even the moderate left still does shy away from the idea of empire, as can be seen from the new group that began life in a pub near Euston station a year ago and will be formally launched later this month. A “loose association of bloggers, journalists, academics and activists”, the signatories to the Euston manifesto include Nick Cohen, John Lloyd and Francis Wheen, as well as the Americans Paul Berman and Michael Walzer.

Not all Eustonians supported the Iraq war, but they are broadly “liberal hawks”, or progressive interventionists. Their manifesto deplores “the anti-Americanism … infecting so much left-liberal thinking”. In essence they believe the west, with all its acknowledged faults, is a benevolent and progressive force.

link to full text online