14 April 2006

Of Train Stations and Politics

The Euston Manifesto which received prominent publicity recently at Harry's Place, Norm's and CommentIsFree seems a worthy endeavour.

Initially, my attention has been drawn to a few things:

" 2) No apology for tyranny. We decline to make excuses for, to indulgently 'understand', reactionary regimes and movements for which democracy is a hated enemy - regimes that oppress their own peoples and movements that aspire to do so. We draw a firm line between ourselves and those left-liberal voices today quick to offer an apologetic explanation for such political forces.


7) For a two-state solution. We recognize the right of both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples to self-determination within the framework of a two-state solution. There can be no reasonable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that subordinates or eliminates the legitimate rights and interests of one of the sides to the dispute.

11) A critical openness. Drawing the lesson of the disastrous history of left apologetics over the crimes of Stalinism and Maoism, as well as more recent exercises in the same vein (some of the reaction to the crimes of 9/11, the excuse-making for suicide-terrorism, the disgraceful alliances lately set up inside the 'anti-war' movement with illiberal theocrats), we reject the notion that there are no opponents on the Left. We reject, similarly, the idea that there can be no opening to ideas and individuals to our right. Leftists who make common cause with, or excuses for, anti-democratic forces should be criticized in clear and forthright terms. Conversely, we pay attention to liberal and conservative voices and ideas if they contribute to strengthening democratic norms and practices and to the battle for human progress.

Irrespective of its commendable aims, I wonder if the material conditions for this venture to be successful might not exist, at the moment.

The crystal ball is cloudy and I would suggest that the perception of the some of the Left as shifty, cult-like, combined with their innate middle-class nature will limit their impact in a wider sphere, unless they can find some significant issues to congeal around.

But who can tell? Fortune telling is not a valuable political pastime and prone to error.

1 comment:

SnoopyTheGoon said...

At least that perception of that Left you are mentioned is stable where Che Guevara as shining beacon of humanity is concerned...

But you are right - there is no guarantee of succees of THEM. Still, it is worth trying.