Tag Archives: Brian Brivati

Progress Foreign Policy Seminar: 2020 VISION: Labour’s Future Challenges

Tom Brooks Pollock writes:

After our largest-ever annual conference in September, Progress launches a new series of seminars which seek to continue the debate on the challenges of the next decade. The first event is:

‘Labour’s foreign policy: Is liberal interventionism dead?’

Professor Brian Brivati, Kingston University; Gary Kent, Labour Friends of Iraq; Denis MacShane MP; Gisela Stuart MP; Oona King (chair).

Tuesday 7 November – 1800-1930 – House of Commons: Committee Room 15

If you want to come along, please register with Tom Brooks Pollock, by supplying your full name and email address to tom@progressives.org.uk or 0203 008 8180.

The Guardian: Shameful Evasions

Whether it is genocide or civil war in Darfur, we cannot stand by and let the slaughter continue, write Brian Brivati and Philip Spencer.

Raul Hilberg, the Holocaust historian, explained that for genocide to take place there has to be a triangle: perpetrators, victims and bystanders. In Darfur all the elements are present. We have the victims, the perpetrators, the indifference of bystanders. The issue is what will happen next: will this escalate further as civil war with crimes against humanity, or is there something different here that will bring it into the realm Hilberg describes?

Who are the victims? More than 200 000 black African Muslims have been killed in two years. According to the UN, by September 2004 1.45 million had been displaced, with 500 000 more in urgent need of assistance. The figure now is probably nearer 3 million. Then there are the deaths from disease and malnutrition—in 2005 the UN estimated 180 000 and there are probably now some 80 000 more.

In the recent renewal of fighting the rebel groups who oppose the Khartoum government and who rejected the peace treaty that ended the civil war there have been attacking civilians in the displaced persons camps. The government has launched attacks similar to those condemned by the UN in 2004. Some argue this is a counter-insurgency like many others. But this one is different because of the nature and the project of the Khartoum government.

Who are the killers? The Sudan government has systematically engaged in mass murder; it has the tanks, the aircraft, and its own militia, the Janjaweed. They have their own racist ideology, in this case an Arab supremacist one, which they use to assert their solidarity with Hizbullah and to claim they too are being attacked by evil Zionists. Jonathan Steele has argued on these pages that this is as much an economic conflict between nomads and settlers as an ethnic one between Arabs and Africans. Others have pointed out that all those involved are Muslims. It is difficult to see how this explains the large numbers of black African Sudanese being killed and displaced in such a concentrated period of time.

Who are the bystanders? The international community is once again disgracing itself by its passivity. But the UN has never intervened to prevent a genocide—not in Bangladesh, not in Cambodia, not in Rwanda. It has only recently, under limited US and British pressure, passed resolutions authorising intervention in Darfur. It ignores vicious internal suppressions in other parts of the world.

What is more shocking is the indifference of the left. Instead of demanding our governments act now, we are told that what is going on in Darfur is none of our business. Or that this is civil war, not genocide. Or that it is far too complicated for us to intervene. Or that any intervention on our part would only make matters worse. Or that we shouldn’t call for intervention because no one has the slightest intention of doing anything, so we are raising expectations that cannot be met. Or that the real plan is to invade Sudan and create a new colony.

These are shameful evasions that run counter to all the left is supposed to stand for.

[link to full text online]

Kingston Symposium: New Labour in Power: Ten Years On

te>. As we approach the tenth anniversary of the publication of the book and the election of the Labour government, many of the original contributors are gathering with other academics and commentators to revisit their first thoughts on the Labour government.

The symposium will be in Town House 102, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames on 11th September 2006 from 10-6pm

Speakers will include: Vernon Bogdanor (Oxford University), Andrew Blake (UEL), Sarah Childs (Bristol University), Nick Ellison (Durham University), David Walker (The Guardian), Rokhsana Fiaz (Change Institute), Simon Woolley (Operation Black Vote), Eric Shaw (Stirling University), Matt Beech (York University), Anna Showstack-Sassoon (Birkbeck College), Brian Brivati (Kingston University/Euston Manifesto Group), Alan Johnson (Edge Hill College/Social Democratic Futures), Rupa Huq (Kingston University) and Tim Bale (Sussex University)

Panels will cover Security and Foreign Policy, Domestic Policy, Representation, Governance: local, regional and constitutional policy and Party-Government relations.

Audience places are limited. Conference costs £15 (£10 concessions) for a booking form and to reserve a place please email: Dr Rupa Huq.