Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 19, 2006

The Euston Manifesto - Bad Beer in a Bad Pub

by Malooga

[Comments on] 

The Euston Manifesto

[or what drinking bad beer in a bad pub can do for bad political argument.]
[Louis Proyect has some excellent background about the Manifesto]

For a Renewal of Progressive Politics
[sort of like the urban renewal of the sixties]

A. Preamble

We are democrats and progressives [or were twenty years ago, before we climbed aboard the CIA payroll]. We propose here a fresh political alignment [Bedding down with right wing fascists, pretty fresh, huh?]. Many of us belong to the Left [or claim we do], but the principles that we set out are not exclusive. We reach out, rather, beyond the socialist Left towards egalitarian liberals and others of unambiguous democratic commitment. [I believe that Clinton called it triangulation.] Indeed, the reconfiguration of progressive opinion that we aim for involves drawing a line between the forces of the Left that remain true to its authentic values [As we define them to be.], and currents that have lately shown themselves rather too flexible about these values. [Who just might end up in Gitmo, if you get my drift.] It involves making common cause with genuine democrats [™], whether socialist or not.

The present initiative has its roots in and has found a constituency [conspiracy] through the Internet, especially the ‘blogosphere’. It is our perception, however, that this constituency is under-represented elsewhere — in much of the media and the other forums of contemporary political life. [Yep, there just aren't enough “leftist,” pro-interventionist, zionist, imperialists out there on the web, in think tanks, or in the op-eds, these days. That nasty Chomsky, and his sidekick, Zinn, are taking up all the column inches.]

The broad statement of principles that follows is a declaration of intent. [Broad principles are so much more clear, and unassailable, than petty details.] It inaugurates a new Website, which will serve as a resource for the current of opinion it hopes to represent and the several foundation blogs and other sites that are behind this call for a progressive realignment.

B. Statement of principles

1. For democracy

We are committed to democratic norms, procedures and structures — freedom of opinion [Between the center-right and the far right, as long as it is in 15 second, or shorter, clips.] and assembly [In caged boxes and “free speech zones”; under the watchful eye of masked, leather booted, unaccountable, taser and tear gas wielding “friendly neighborhood cops.”], free elections [Or at least as “free” as the last two Presidential elections have been.], the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers [The only way they have been separated the past six years is that they are not actually physical Siamese twins. They work for each other, hunt with each other, cover for each other, and, in some cases, sleep with each other.], and the separation of state and religion. [Under god.] We value the traditions [myths and lies] and institutions, the legacy of good governance [Nothing but solid, good ole governance behind the myriad foreign interventions, the largest jail population in the world, the ecological devastation, the exploding cancer rates and lack of health care, and the poor and starving.], of those countries in which liberal, pluralist [Well, we ARE allowed to argue about abortions and flag-burning.] democracies have taken hold.

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 [Whether we support them, or not.] — regimes that oppress their own peoples and movements that aspire to do so. [Can anybody say, “Patriot Act?” How about “domestic surveillance?”] We draw a firm line between ourselves and those left-liberal voices today quick to offer an apologetic explanation for such political forces. [Like the Democrats in the Senate, who ratified the Act.]

3. Human rights for all

We hold the fundamental human rights codified in the Universal Declaration to be precisely universal, and binding on all states and political movements, indeed on everyone. Violations of these rights are equally to be condemned [Do I hear echoes of  Jeane Kirkpatrick's “moral equivalence here?] whoever is responsible for them and regardless of cultural context. We reject the double standards with which much self-proclaimed progressive opinion now operates, finding lesser (though all too real) violations of human rights that are closer to home [I believe Chomsky's formulation is that, while it might be easy for us to criticize China's violations, and vice-versa, that gets us nowhere. We are most responsible for, and have the most control over, our own actions. Good enough for Noam, good enough for me.], or are the responsibility of certain disfavoured governments, more deplorable than other violations that are flagrantly worse. We reject, also, the cultural relativist view according to which these basic human rights are not appropriate for certain nations or peoples. [They are, and we will enforce them, by golly!]

4. Equality

We espouse a generally [Is that a yes, or a no?] egalitarian politics. [Should be possible since  Buckley v. Valeo states that money does not equal free speech.] We look towards progress in relations between the sexes (until full gender equality is achieved), between different ethnic communities, between those of various religious affiliations and those of none, and between people of diverse sexual orientations — as well as towards broader social and economic equality all round. [Ah, that lovely word, progress. It falls so softly off the tongue, especially when it is the last dying word of the still hopeful oppressed.] We leave open, as something on which there are differences of viewpoint amongst us, the question of the best economic forms of this broader equality [Hmm, unalloyed capitalism might work, but then again, so might neo-liberalism, fascism, feudalism, autocracy, and oligarchy. This is one of those tough decisions we will just have to reserve judgment on.], but we support the interests of working people everywhere and their right to organize in defence of those interests. Democratic trade unions are the bedrock organizations for the defence of workers’ interests and are one of the most important forces for human rights, democracy-promotion and egalitarian internationalism. Labour rights are human rights.[Have we accidentally slipped into the Communist Manifesto?] The universal adoption of the International Labour Organization Conventions — now routinely ignored by governments across the globe — is a priority for us. [Just don't criticize America.] We are committed to the defence of the rights of children, and to protecting people from sexual slavery and all forms of institutionalized abuse. [We're just mealy mouthed bout the conditions that cause this oppression.]

5. Development for freedom

We stand for global economic development-as-freedom [That's a mouthful. Freedom for who? The indigenous, or the displaced campesinos?] and against structural economic oppression and environmental degradation. [OK, more development, less degradation, got it.] The current expansion of global markets and free trade must not be allowed to serve the narrow interests of a small corporate elite in the developed world and their associates in developing countries. The benefits of large-scale development through the expansion of global trade ought to be distributed as widely as possible in order to serve the social and economic interests of workers, farmers and consumers in all countries. [I thought we were already benefiting those displaced farmers by letting them work in machiladoras for seventy hours a week, while we feed them GMO corn.] Globalization must mean global social integration [Ulp. Don't tell my indigenous friends that they must “socially integrate” their cultures.] and a commitment to social justice. We support radical reform of the major institutions of global economic governance (World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank) [I thought we supported the death penalty for murderers in this country? Well, let's not go overboard and throw out the baby with the bilgewater. Anyway, it's good to know that we Progressives support “global governance.”] to achieve these goals, and we support fair trade, more aid [Agribusiness demands it.], debt cancellation and the campaign to Make Poverty History. [Progressively. Is that like a “War on Poverty?” Maybe we could bomb the poor.] Development can bring growth in life expectancy [It can also shorten your life expectancy by ten years, as it did for the men of the former Soviet Union.] and in the enjoyment of life, easing burdensome labour and shortening the working day. [Whoa there, whose working day has been shortened lately, except for the downsized temp workers?] It can bring freedom to youth [freedom = factory], possibilities of exploration to those of middle years [when you are fired and forced to move.], and security to old age [Especially after we privatize Social Security]. It enlarges horizons and the opportunities for travel [Which you just might need to do, since air travel is the single worst contributor to global warming], and helps make strangers into friends [Koombayaa!]. Global development must be pursued in a manner consistent with environmentally sustainable growth. [How?]

6. Opposing anti-Americanism [This is called “Burying the Lead.”]

We reject without qualification the anti-Americanism now infecting so much left-liberal (and some conservative) thinking. This is not a case of seeing the US as a model society. We are aware of its problems and failings. [But we will carefully avoid mentioning them in this document.] But these are shared in some degree with all of the developed world. [Which, I guess, absolves us from having to confront our failings.] The United States of America is a great country and nation. [Simply grrreat, Marge. Mix me another Martini while your up] It is the home of a strong democracy with a noble tradition behind it and lasting constitutional and social achievements to its name. [Those lasting achievements are eroding faster than the frescoes in Fellini's “Roma.”] Its peoples have produced a vibrant culture that is the pleasure, the source-book and the envy of millions. [Million$, is the operative word in that sentence. Or is it, “commodification?”] That US foreign policy has often opposed progressive movements and governments and supported regressive and authoritarian ones does not justify generalized prejudice against either the country or its people. [No, after we destroy your country, and kill, jail, and torture your relatives, you are EXPECTED to love us for it. Somehow, I think there might be a pattern hidden in that sentence.]

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. [In other words, the interests of an expansionist settler state, which has engaged in ethnic cleansing and occupation must not be subordinated to the interests of a people who have been ethnically cleansed and occupied. That should make for a “reasonable” solution.]

8. Against racism

For liberals and the Left, anti-racism is axiomatic. We oppose every form of racist prejudice and behaviour: the anti-immigrant racism of the far Right [Should we let everyone who wants to enter this country in? Wouldn't any limits be racism?]; tribal and inter-ethnic racism [Which we, alone, are qualified to identify, judge, adjudicate, intervene in, and punish.]; racism against people from Muslim countries and those descended [sic] from them, particularly under cover of the War on Terror.The recent resurgence [What evidence is there for this resurgence?] of another, very old form of racism, anti-Semitism, [Burying the lead, again. “Very old?” How quaint an implication of historical continuity.] is not yet properly acknowledged in left and liberal circles. [Just how many more op-eds in the New Pravda would make it properly acknowledged for you?]  Some exploit the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people under occupation by Israel, and conceal prejudice against the Jewish people behind the formula of ‘anti-Zionism’. [Where do I start here? Acknowledging Palestinian grievances is exploitation? Conflating the actions of a state with the people, so that if we oppose the state, is now evidence of prejudice against a people? The formula of Zionism? Not international law, like UN 242? Where's the Listerine?] We oppose this type of racism too [Well, you certainly defined it.], as should go without saying. [Then don't say it.]

9. United against terror

We are opposed to all forms of terrorism. The deliberate targeting of civilians is a crime under international law and all recognized codes of warfare [What if we claim that it was not deliberate, but simply collateral damage, as we do in Iraq and Afghanistan?], and it cannot be justified by the argument that it is done in a cause that is just. [Like Bush tries to do with our invasion of Iraq. This sounds like one of Rumsfeld's mad projections. The US is directly responsible in the deaths of 500,000 Iraqis during sanctions, and estimates of up to 300,000 since the invasion. This is over 3% of the total population. Wounded are many times more. Palestinian deaths outpace Israeli by about 10 to 1. Even if we count the deaths from 9-11, deaths of Westerners at the hands of Moslems are a minuscule fraction of the deaths of Moslems at the hands of US and Israelis. But note which is mentioned and criticized here.] Terrorism inspired by Islamist ideology is widespread today. [So is going into other people's heads and deciding for them what inspires them. Anyway, it couldn't be some more mundane cause, like being occupied and murdered, could it?] It threatens democratic values and the lives and freedoms of people in many countries. [It is certainly true that the US war in Iraq is rebounding and corroding democratic values in the US itself.] This does not justify prejudice against Muslims [No, it doesn't justify it, but slyly, this formulation does its best to incite it.], who are its main victims, and amongst whom are to be found some of its most courageous opponents [and quislings]. But, like all terrorism, it is a menace that has to be fought [O.T. Logic: More retributive killing is the answer.], and not excused.

10. A new internationalism

We stand for an internationalist politics and the reform of international law — in the interests of global democratization and global development. [Always in the interests of endless development, here.] Humanitarian intervention [Dance, Bill and Wes], when necessary, is not a matter of disregarding sovereignty, [we maintain] but of lodging this properly within the ‘common life’ of all peoples. [Gag me with an Anarchist pretzel!] If in some minimal sense a state protects the common life of its people (if it does not torture, murder and slaughter its own civilians, and meets their most basic needs of life), then its sovereignty is to be respected. But 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. [We might do well to look at ourselves in the mirror first, here. It is also the duty of the free press to manufacture consent by twisting information and vilifying the official enemy.] Once a threshold of inhumanity has been crossed, there is a ‘responsibility to protect’.  [But there is never a responsibility to go back and analyze who originally supported the wayward regime, installed the irrational leader, or equipped and armed its military. That could get uncomfortable. Nor is there any responsibility to avoid more killing by NOT intervening. That would not be fun. Again, we are judge, jury and executioner, here.]

11. A critical openness

Drawing the lesson of the disastrous history of left apologetics over the crimes of Stalinism and Maoism [Let's go back 50-80 years to kick the left in the butt, but ignore Vietnam and Central America.], as well as more recent exercises in the same vein (some of the reaction to the crimes of 9/11 [Anyone who wasn't enthralled in a jingoistic orgy.], the excuse-making for suicide-terrorism [Oh yes, I remember this argument well. Anyone who earnestly asked, and tried to answer the question, “Why do they hate us?” was "excuse-making.”], the disgraceful alliances lately set up inside the ‘anti-war’ movement with illiberal theocrats [resistance against occupation is futile unless you are sanctioned by the National Endowment for Democracy.]), 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. [Which side are you on, boy, which side are you on? Look, if you progressives feel more comfortable with the ideas of the right, why not just come out and say it?] Leftists who make common cause with, or excuses for, anti-democratic forces should be criticized in clear and forthright terms. [Those who supported the invasion of Iraq, and subsequent refusal to hold elections.] Conversely, we pay attention to liberal and conservative voices and ideas if they contribute to strengthening democratic norms and practices and to the battle [or myth] for human progress. [For a clearer sense of what really constitutes progress for the left, than this thin screed offers, see James Petras' recent article, “Center-Left" Regimes in Latin America.]

12. Historical truth

In connecting to the original humanistic impulses of the movement for human progress [again], we emphasize the duty that genuine democrats must have to respect for the historical truth. Not only fascists, Holocaust-deniers and the like have tried to obscure the historical record. One of the tragedies of the Left is that its own reputation was massively compromised in this regard by the international Communist movement [Hey, at least they had National health care. Seriously though, whatever errors the left made over communism are nothing compared to the Orwellian distortion over Central America, Rwanda, Yugoslavia and the current “War on Terror.” Nor is it a drop in the bucket compared to conventional non-partisan history as it is taught in our schools. See, “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” by  Dr. James W. Loewen], and some have still not learned that lesson. [But we will keep berating you until you do learn it. Have you figured out what side we are really on, yet?] Political honesty and straightforwardness are a primary obligation for us.

13. Freedom of ideas

We uphold the traditional liberal freedom of ideas. It is more than ever necessary today to affirm that, within the usual constraints against defamation, libel and incitement to violence, people must be at liberty to criticize ideas — even whole bodies of ideas — to which others are committed. [Just be mindful of what we said earlier that criticizing Israel is tantamount to that “very old form of racism, anti-Semitism,” and that  attempting to understand Islamic anger is really “the excuse-making for suicide-terrorism.”] This includes the freedom to criticize religion: particular religions and religion in general. Respect for others does not entail remaining silent about their beliefs where these are judged to be wanting. [I think this means that we should feel free to draw doodles of Muhammad, and call Moslems “Islamo-fascists” with impunity.]

14. Open source

As part of the free exchange of ideas and in the interests of encouraging joint intellectual endeavour, we support the open development of software and other creative works and oppose the patenting of genes, algorithms and facts of nature. We oppose the retrospective extension of intellectual property laws in the financial interests of corporate copyright holders. The open source model is collective and competitive, collaborative and meritocratic. It is not a theoretical ideal, but a tested reality that has created common goods whose power and robustness have been proved over decades. Indeed, the best collegiate ideals of the scientific research community that gave rise to open source collaboration have served human progress for centuries. [This one is about as explicable as Bush railing about human trafficing at the UN.  I mean, open source is nice and all, but why not mention drug manufacturers refusing to provide drugs for the AIDS sufferers of Africa, or why not mention some of the weapons treaties we pulled out of since we are talking about openness. Why not talk about demilitarizing space, rather than claiming that we own it. Why not develop all scientific research openly and collectively? In any event, I think that the current trend in software, at least as far as Uncle Bill is concerned, is to give it away for free, but restrict usage through spybots, and charge massively for support and services.]

15. A precious heritage

We reject fear of modernity [and the consequent rights of the indigenous everywhere], fear of freedom [I think this means people's rights to live under a non-democratic government, should they choose to do so.], irrationalism [Are you sure about this one, check your previous logic.], the subordination of women [Unless their unsubordination is progressive. Again this progressive sounding bit of totalitarianism denies the rights of traditional societal structures to exist.]; and we reaffirm the ideas that inspired the great rallying calls of the democratic revolutions of the eighteenth century: liberty, equality and solidarity; human rights; the pursuit of happiness [Unfortunately this idea often descends into disquisitions for good wine, onanism, and property rights. I would much rather see the older Iroquois democratic ideal of responsible stewardship of the Earth mentioned here.] These inspirational ideas were made the inheritance of us all by the social-democratic, egalitarian, feminist and anti-colonial transformations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries [And are being taken away from us much more rapidly under the Clinton, Bliar, and Bush neo-liberal transformation.] — by the pursuit of social justice, the provision of welfare, the brotherhood and sisterhood of all men and women. None should be left out, none left behind [Regardless of their wishes]. We are partisans of these values. But we are not zealots. [One man's partisan is another man's zealot.] For we embrace also the values of free enquiry [Except about 9-11], open dialogue and creative doubt [Don't hear much doubt here], of care in judgment [sic] and a sense of the intractabilities of the world. [Much as we “Progressives” might try to manipulate things to our progressive advantage.] We stand against all claims to a total — unquestionable or unquestioning — truth. [Before we descend into post-modern mush, let us recall that these guys were pretty clear about the truths that one shouldn't seek to understand terrorists motives or say anything which AIPAC might construe as “anti-semitic.”]

[Let me take out my hankie and dry my eyes a bit before I continue.]

C. Elaborations

We defend liberal and pluralist democracies against all who make light [Or earnestly criticize.] of the differences between them and totalitarian and other tyrannical regimes. But these democracies have their own deficits and shortcomings. The battle for the development of more democratic institutions and procedures, for further empowering those without influence, without a voice or with few political resources, is a permanent part of the agenda of the Left. [Yes, but how? The devil, as they say, is in the details.]

The social and economic foundations on which the liberal democracies have developed are marked [Are they marked, or is that the hallmark?] by deep inequalities of wealth and income and the survival of unmerited privilege. In turn, global inequalities are a scandal [A scandal, I tell you!] 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. [Yes, yes, yes. But why do you bright fellows happen to think this is? And what do you propose should be done about it? That is the crux of the matter. The rest of this is just embroidered boilerplate.]

These things are a standing indictment against the international community. [The entire international community equally? Maybe the US more? Maybe corporations? Maybe the WTO, IMF and World Bank guys, combined with the economic hitmen and the supporting militaries.] We on the Left, in keeping with our own traditions, fight for justice and a decent life for everyone. [How?] In keeping with those same traditions, we have also to fight against powerful forces of totalitarian-style tyranny that are on the march again. [Well, at least a persistent jingoism shines through. Are you really prepared to fight the encroaching totalitarian tyrannies of the Bush regime?] Both battles have to be fought simultaneously. One should not be sacrificed for the other. [But if one must be sacrificed, it is pretty clear from the tone of this document which it would be.]

We repudiate the way of thinking according to which the events of September 11 2001 were America’s deserved comeuppance, or ‘understandable’ in the light of legitimate grievances resulting from US foreign policy. [There is nothing understandable about others' hostility to us. Got it. Actually, I am beginning to suspect that the war in Iraq, rather than 9-11, is America's deserved comeuppance.] What was done on that day was an act of mass murder, motivated by odious fundamentalist beliefs and redeemed by nothing whatsoever. No evasive formula can hide that. [After listening to David Ray Griffin, I am not very sure about what was really done on that day. But I do understand that you guys are mining the “9-11 changed everything” meme, which most of us have forgotten, for all it is worth.]

The founding supporters of this statement took different views on the military intervention in Iraq, both for and against. We recognize that it was possible reasonably to disagree about the justification for the intervention, the manner in which it was carried through, the planning (or lack of it) for the aftermath, and the prospects for the successful implementation of democratic change. [This is all “rooting for our team” tactical disagreements. What I would like to know is, how many of you oily liberals agree about the illegality of “preventive” war, and this war in specific. How many of you agree that one country has no right to invade another sovereign country that is not threatening to attack it? And how many of you guys are really foolish to believe all this hooey about democracy, when there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that we ever planned anything but installing a new puppet leader? If you want to be thought of as serious thinkers, and not serious drinkers, you need to address these questions.] We are, however, united in our view about the reactionary, semi-fascist and murderous character of the Baathist regime in Iraq, and we recognize its overthrow as a liberation of the Iraqi people. [Well, I guess you addressed it then. The point here is that it is irrelevant whether you recognize the overthrow of the Baathists as a liberation or not. It is up to the Iraqis do decide how they recognize it, and I don't think you belligerent dunces really want to hear their answer.] We are also united in the view that, since the day on which this occurred, the proper concern of genuine liberals and members of the Left should have been the battle to put in place in Iraq a democratic political order and to rebuild the country’s infrastructure [How sweetly patronizing of you!], to create after decades of the most brutal oppression [I believe that by brutal oppression you mean the Kissenger engineered war with Iran, followed by our first war with Iraq, followed by sanctions. Prior to all of that, Iraq was the gem of the Middle East, a center of higher education with the greatest percentage of PHDs in the world, and nationalized health care.] a life for Iraqis which those living in democratic countries take for granted — rather than picking through the rubble of the arguments over intervention. [War crimes on the level of Nuremberg are blithely dismissed as “rubble of the arguments over intervention." The sweet joys of Liberalism!]

This opposes us not only to those on the Left who have actively spoken in support of the gangs of jihadist and Baathist thugs [Reagan preferred the phrase “freedom fighters” to “gangs” and “thugs.”] of the Iraqi so-called [do you mean self-called, perhaps?] resistance, but also to others who manage to find a way of situating themselves between such forces and those trying to bring a new democratic life to the country. [No doubt of the puppets motives at least.] We have no truck, either, with the tendency to pay lip service to these ends, while devoting most of one’s energy to criticism of political opponents at home (supposedly responsible for every difficulty in Iraq), and observing a tactful silence or near silence about the ugly forces of the Iraqi ‘insurgency’. The many left opponents of regime change in Iraq who have been unable to understand the considerations that led others on the Left to support it, dishing out anathema and excommunication, more lately demanding apology or repentance, betray the democratic values they profess. [Betray democratic values? By disagreeing with you? You are on quite a little snit here, especially for someone who has made every effort NOT to share your treasured “considerations” in engaging in war crimes. I think the more pertinent consideration after reading this delightful little paragraph, is to ask in what manner you “progressives” differ from the most totalitarian and fascistic strains of the far-right in your views on Iraq? Is it that you are bombing them for “democracy,” while the right is bombing them for oil? Pray tell.]

Vandalism against synagogues and Jewish graveyards and attacks on Jews themselves are on the increase in Europe. [Really?] ‘Anti-Zionism’ has now developed to a point where supposed organizations of the Left are willing to entertain openly anti-Semitic speakers and to form alliances with anti-Semitic groups. [You don't have to put quotes around  ‘anti-Zionism.’ It is true. Many people, including many Jews, are against Zionist ideology as well as the policies of the Israeli government. That is called democracy, my Liberal friend, not anti-Semitism.] Amongst educated and affluent people are to be found individuals unembarrassed to claim that the Iraq war was fought on behalf of Jewish interests, or to make other ‘polite’ and subtle allusions to the harmful effect of Jewish influence in international or national politics — remarks of a kind that for more than fifty years after the Holocaust no one would have been able to make without publicly disgracing themselves. We stand against all variants of such bigotry. [Maybe it is not bigotry. Maybe, as in the John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt article, there is a compelling case to be made. Here it is you that is betraying the democratic values you profess.]

The violation of basic human rights standards at Abu Ghraib, at Guantanamo, and by the practice of ‘rendition’, must be roundly condemned for what it is: a departure from universal principles, [Try war crime on for size.] for the establishment of which the democratic countries themselves, and in particular the United States of America, bear the greater part of the historical credit. [Nice rhetorical trick to find a way to complement the US in a sentence about Abu Graib!] But we reject the double standards by which too many on the Left today treat as the worst violations of human rights those perpetrated by the democracies, while being either silent or more muted about infractions that outstrip these by far. [Usually committed with American support or complicity. Have to agree with Uncle Noam here, that America – and its proxies – are the worst perpetrators of violence in the world.] This tendency has reached the point that officials speaking for Amnesty International, an organization which commands enormous, worldwide respect because of its invaluable work over several decades, can now make grotesque public comparison of Guantanamo with the Gulag [In quality, yes; in quantity, not so far], can assert that the legislative measures taken by the US and other liberal democracies in the War on Terror constitute a greater attack on human rights principles and values than anything we have seen in the last 50 years, and be defended for doing so by certain left and liberal voice.

D. Conclusion

It is vitally important for the future of progressive politics that people of liberal, egalitarian and internationalist outlook should now speak clearly. We must define ourselves against those for whom the entire progressive-democratic agenda has been subordinated to a blanket and simplistic ‘antiimperialism’ and/or hostility to the current US administration. [Anti-imperialism is not simplistic, nor harmless, in the least, regardless of how you seek to derogate it. And calling the progressive-democratic agenda to be imperialism, albeit clothed in populist guise, is to reveal what you have here so ardently sought to obfuscate.] 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.

[It is hard to understand just how you would attempt to implement this progressive agenda -- “the values of democracy, human rights, the continuing battle against unjustified privilege and power, solidarity with peoples fighting against tyranny and oppression” -- while, at the same time, defining yourself against “hostility to the current US administration,” as they represent the very pinnacles of “unjustified privilege and power in the entire world. If you call yourselves progressives, yet show no hostility to the current administration, perhaps, by your reckoning, they are progressives too.  As Orwell mused in “Animal House, “Man is the only real enemy we have.”]

Posted by b on April 19, 2006 at 9:31 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Wow! excellent deconstruction of a monster in sheep war-drobe Malooga, I just ran across this elsewhere..., in the meantime from the same haunted mansion:

CIA, er I mean...Tom Delay appointee involved in drug running?


Of fucking course...Daniel Hopsicker has dug up a remarkable story -- one which I have been trying to take a small step or two further:

One of the two owners of the DC9 (tail number N900SA) busted at an airport in the Yucatan last week after lumbering in from Caracas, Venezuela carrying an astonishing 5.5 TONS of cocaine was appointed in 1993 to the Business Advisory Council of the National Republican Congressional Committee by then-Congressional Majority Leader Tom Delay, The MadCowMorningNews can exclusively report.

The plane's registered owner, “Royal Sons LLC,” a Florida air charter company, was at one time housed in a hanger at the Venice Fl. Airport owned by infamous flight school Huffman Aviation.

Further,
Interestingly enough, the DC9 was painted to resemble an official government aircraft.
Oh it gets so jucy, read more here...

P.S. Don't miss the comment section...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 19 2006 10:18 utc | 1

Also, along the same lines:
Don't fall for this!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 19 2006 10:28 utc | 2

I'll start with the sob-story. I don't want your pity; I want to explain "where I'm coming from" as people say in the States.

I'm a mixed-race immigrant to Britain from Africa. I've been delivering leaflets for the Labour Party since I was a boy. I put up with years of racial abuse at a crumbling school and worked hard to go to university.

When I got there I met expensively educated, privileged young white people who told me that my idea of what socialism was about was "racist".

Since I contributed to the writing of the Euston Manifesto I have experienced exactly the same feeling as I did then. Solely on the basis of stating my beliefs I've been accused of being everything from a "hebe" to a "Nazi" by people who have never met me and clearly can't even be bothered to google my name.

Now you accuse me of being in pay of the CIA. (In that, sadly, as so many things, you are not original.) I don't have a job, but I put up the two hundred pounds for hosting the Euston Manifesto site myself, hoping that donations would pay me back: they have, ten pounds at a time through PayPal. (Perhaps that's how the CIA operates these days, inventing donors all over the World.)

I'm an unemployed black man who used to get his head kicked in for studying too hard and you call me a "belligerent dunce". Admittedly I've had worse recently, but why is it that the vast majority of the hatred I've experienced over the past few days has come from the so-called Left? Have I libelled someone? Have I physically attacked someone?

I looked forward to reading some interesting arguments here from what appeared at first glance to be a close reading of our text, things that might help in the redrafting of the manifesto, but after wading through a couple of paragraphs of teenage abuse and spite I gave up.

I am genuinely interested in a real debate about the Euston Manifesto with others on the Left, but most of the time I visit Left-liberal sites linking to us all I find is name-calling and insinuations. Surely if you believe in free speech our ideas are the things that you should criticise?

This kind of behaviour by people who supposedly share our values is one of the reasons we wrote this document. It's one of the things that's depressed me about Left politics for decades. Apart from anything else, it's embarrassing to be associated with people who think "Gag me with an Anarchist pretzel!" is a contribution to an intelligent discussion.

Sure, there are loons who attack us from the Right too, but a much larger proportion of the Right-wing sites that have criticized the manifesto have done so in a civilized, adult way.

If you really want to debate the Euston Manifesto please do please visit our site once the forums are set up.

It would be nice to have an apology for some of the personal abuse as well, but why would you bother? You already know what an evil person I am.

(And it's somehow appropriate that this comment of mine on the childish nastiness of this attack should appear under a link to a penis joke.)

Posted by: PooterGeek | Apr 19 2006 11:06 utc | 3

It looks as if a lot of folks of "The Euston Manifesto Group" (scroll down) are identical to people writing for something called Engage.

To be exact, 13 out of 27 original signers of the Manifesto are listed on the About Us page of Engage. Who is Engage?

The homepage says:

• Engage challenges left and liberal antisemitism in the labour movement, in our universities and in public life more generally. Antisemitism here, manifests itself mainly as anti-Zionism.

• We are a resource for the monitoring and the critique of left and liberal antisemitism.

• The website has two streams. One, the forum, is fast and responsive, with up to date news and opinion. This stream will also be a resource for co-ordinating campaigns. (This is the 'blog' that will be familiar to people who know our old website)

• The other stream is a journal, for rigorous, academic and political writing on antisemitism.

I wonder who finances those folks.

Other signers are from pro Blair Labour Friends of Iraq and from a curious bi-monthly Democratiya. Christopher Hitchens is one of the Advisory Editors.

These folks are about as left as Joe Lieberman.

Posted by: b | Apr 19 2006 13:36 utc | 4

holy cow, a lot of stuff to chew on there. and then for a poster named "pooter" to call the tone of the dissection "childish". cute.
welcome back, malooga!

btw, animal farm, not house

Posted by: b real | Apr 19 2006 14:59 utc | 5

"holy cow, a lot of stuff to chew on there. and then for a poster named "pooter" to call the tone of the dissection "childish". cute."

"Pooter" is a joke at my own expense. Charles Pooter is the hopeless loser character in a famous English comic novel called Diary Of A Nobody which is why I apply it to my blog. (My online diary is more about my being a loser than it is about politics.) The book isn't well-known in the US so I can understand your mistake.

"Geek" comes from my previous job as a computational biologist.

I use the name "PooterGeek" to separate my scientific identity online from my blogging identity---solely for search purposes, so that people can separate my scientific publications from my comments on blogs; I don't blog anonymously.

It's illuminating that that the discussion has now progressed to another feeble attempt to smear manifesto signers and another unresearched personal jibe at me, rather than any attempt to address the subject at hand.

Aren't you due another knob gag?

Posted by: PooterGeek | Apr 19 2006 15:38 utc | 6

I can't figure out whether this pompous collection of DLC talking points is Progressive Lite or Conservative Lite (But I guess that's kind of their intent huh?).

Whatever it is, it's pretty Lite on logic.

For instance, anyone want to tell me what this means?

We reject the double standards with which much self-proclaimed progressive opinion now operates, finding lesser (though all too real) violations of human rights that are closer to home, or are the responsibility of certain disfavoured governments, more deplorable than other violations that are flagrantly worse.

Are they saying that so long as China continues imprisoning political dissidents, we shouldn't criticize US free speech zones? Or (probably more to the authors' real agenda) if a Palestinian suicide bomber blows himself up on a bus in Tel Aviv we can't complain when Israeli tanks mow down houses in Gaza?

Under the Eustonian model, greater human rights violations render lesser ones immune to criticism. So as long as there is anybody else doing something worse out there in the world, we have to shut up about problems closer to home.

The only thing 'progressive' about these guys is that they seek to create a progressive race to the bottom on Human Rights.

Posted by: Night Owl | Apr 19 2006 15:39 utc | 7

"It's illuminating that ... the [opportunity afforded pooter to respond to malooga's point-by-point comments] has now [di]gressed [from absolute dismissal as 'childish' to insulting the community], rather than any attempt to address the [topic] at hand"

Posted by: b real | Apr 19 2006 16:01 utc | 8

A manifesto from the Cruise Missile Left? Yawn.

As for this:

I am genuinely interested in a real debate about the Euston Manifesto with others on the Left, but most of the time I visit Left-liberal sites linking to us all I find is name-calling and insinuations. Surely if you believe in free speech our ideas are the things that you should criticise?

This kind of behaviour by people who supposedly share our values is one of the reasons we wrote this document. It's one of the things that's depressed me about Left politics for decades. Apart from anything else, it's embarrassing to be associated with people who think "Gag me with an Anarchist pretzel!" is a contribution to an intelligent discussion.

Sure, there are loons who attack us from the Right too, but a much larger proportion of the Right-wing sites that have criticized the manifesto have done so in a civilized, adult way.

If you really want to debate the Euston Manifesto please do please visit our site once the forums are set up.

It would be nice to have an apology for some of the personal abuse as well, but why would you bother? You already know what an evil person I am.

Could this geezer be anymore inane or self-serving? Slapped wrists all round as he selflessley delivers yet another talking point straight from the playbook of the US right about the "angry, uncivilized left"? Double yawn.

For the record, I don't think you are evil, I think you are an attention-seeking twat with fuck-all to offer in a debate on ideas about teaspoons, let alone anything else more taxing.

Posted by: Diary of A Nobody's In | Apr 19 2006 16:18 utc | 9

I am genuinely interested in a real debate about the Euston Manifesto with others on the Left, but most of the time I visit Left-liberal sites linking to us all I find is name-calling and insinuations. Surely if you believe in free speech our ideas are the things that you should criticise?

This kind of behaviour by people who supposedly share our values is one of the reasons we wrote this document.

Spare me your crocidile tears PooterGeek.

If you wanted to avoid insinuations and name-calling, you shouldn't have been so liberal with it in your own Maifesto.

According to your document leftists/liberals are:

Racists, Anti-Semitic and Anti-Zionist.

Not 'real' democrats.

Zealots.

Cultural Relativists.

Support gangs of jihadist and Baathist thugs.

Terrorist apologists (you say this more than once).

Finally, and most insultingly, you say that left-liberal thinking is 'infected' with Anti-Americanism. (this type of eliminationist rhetoric would make Geobbels himself proud).

Is this what you mean by leftist 'double-standards'? Stop playing the victim you passive-aggressive twat.

Posted by: Night Owl | Apr 19 2006 16:29 utc | 10

My understanding is that the main movers behind this Manifesto are a bunch of British journalists who support the greater goals of the Empire, as long as they are fronted with a meaningless and rootless Potemkin veneer of liberalism, and a bit of empty feel-good cant, in order to hide and deflect from the whole Faustian undertaking. They call themselves "liberal," in much the same way that Americans like Joe Klein and Michael Kinsley do.

I see this as essentially a desperate rear guard action to rally the rapidly waning support for the whole rotten interventionist project. This might be the first of many such attempts by house journalists and intellectuals to earn their keep. The head nod to human rights and social justice only serve to mask the dangerous, fascistic, and totalitarian injunctions against leftists daring to disagree with their government.

Posted by: Malooga | Apr 19 2006 17:09 utc | 11

feeble attempt to smear manifesto signers seems to refer to my comment.

What of that written there is a "smear"? Did the sentence "These folks are about as left as Joe Lieberman" hurt? Why?

Posted by: b | Apr 19 2006 17:10 utc | 12

Link for the Guardian Article

Posted by: Malooga | Apr 19 2006 17:14 utc | 13

geek,

It's illuminating that that the discussion has now progressed

this after 2 comments

people who supposedly share our values

rethink this, i don't think i share your values.

I'm an unemployed black man
I'm a mixed-race immigrant to Britain from Africa

i guess i'm not clear how this qualifys the manifesto. perhaps it's just that i am not used to people introducing themselves by way of race. i've been at moon since the beginning and i don't know the race of the regulars. whatever your race is supposed to infer i don't get it.

vast majority of the hatred I've experienced over the past few days has come from the so-called Left

all I find is name-calling and insinuations

warning, victim. hate is the only word we don't use in my home, my son was not raised w/that word. i understand the power of slinging it around w/abandon. the rovians love to call the left 'haters' beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is hate.


malooga, thanks for bringing this manifesto to our attention, and to geek for providing a window into the workings of the 'other side' . i think you may be the same kind of liberal as joe klien. i need to polish up on the definition of liberal before i say more.

Posted by: annie | Apr 19 2006 17:19 utc | 14

On point to that "manifesto".

The title is "For a Renewal of Progressive Politics" but the very core of progressive politics have always been specific ideas and goals about the economy and about how these can be achieved.

The "manifesto" says:

We leave open, as something on which there are differences of viewpoint amongst us, the question of the best economic forms of this broader equality.

A "manifesto" that doesn´t even go into that question is just a big blurp. It misses the escential question.

Later:

We support radical reform of the major institutions of global economic governance (World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank)
But to what goal? What is the economic system these "progressives" want? Why do we need "global economic governance" at all?

Answers Pooter, answers?

Posted by: b | Apr 19 2006 17:21 utc | 15

The head nod to human rights and social justice only serve to mask the dangerous, fascistic, and totalitarian injunctions against leftists daring to disagree with their government.

Word.

Also don't forget the blatant attempt to co-opt the 'progressive' label for this neo-neo-con agenda.

(Phony) imitation is the greatest form of flattery, I guess.

Posted by: Night Owl | Apr 19 2006 17:27 utc | 16

whoops, i was to busy reading and missed maloogas joe klien reference!

my idea was original!!!!(whine)

Posted by: annie | Apr 19 2006 17:40 utc | 17

Are they saying that so long as China continues imprisoning political dissidents, we shouldn't criticize US free speech zones? Or (probably more to the authors' real agenda) if a Palestinian suicide bomber blows himself up on a bus in Tel Aviv we can't complain when Israeli tanks mow down houses in Gaza?

No, we're not. I do believe, for example, that the atrocities committed continuously (thousands murdered annually according to Amnesty) at Abu Ghraib prison under Saddam Hussein's regime were orders of magnitude worse than anything American soldiers did there---and that even the acts of US troops are those were appalling.

"Under the Eustonian model, greater human rights violations render lesser ones immune to criticism. So as long as there is anybody else doing something worse out there in the world, we have to shut up about problems closer to home."

That's the precise opposite of what we're saying. We are saying that violations should be criticised consistently, regardless of the identities or affiliations of their perpetrators.

"According to your document leftists/liberals are:

Racists, Anti-Semitic and Anti-Zionist.

Not 'real' democrats.

Zealots.

Cultural Relativists.

Support gangs of jihadist and Baathist thugs.

Terrorist apologists (you say this more than once)."

It's true and sad that there are people who claim to be of the Left who have recently taken positions that the Left has long professed to abhor. It is also true that there are people on the Left who have fought honourably for its ideals. The Euston Manifesto does not make any blanket condemnation of the Left and I would defy anyone to find a passage that does so. I would also defy anyone to say that there are not, for example, anti-Semites and apologists for terror who also claim to be Leftists.

An official of a local Labour Party I was a member of once told his daughter that if she married a "darkie" he would disown her. Am I to ignore this kind of behaviour because he claims to be socialist? I certainly don't conclude from it that all socialists are racists and the Euston Manifesto certainly doesn't condemn all or even most socialists in the way you claim.

"Finally, and most insultingly, you say that left-liberal thinking is 'infected' with Anti-Americanism."

I have heard time and time again Left-liberals in Britain say things in front of me about Americans that they would never dare to say about black Africans. Should I just ignore it because the subject of their prejudice doesn't fit into the usual category of supposed victim? Race relations in Britain have improved massively in the UK to the extent that it is no longer acceptable to shout abuse in the street against blacks, but many people including people who would call themselves socialists consider it acceptable to shout abuse at Americans, solely because of their country of origin.

What is most disturbing for me is that people seem to think that their views about the foreign and domestic policy of the US govt. are sufficient justification for this kind of behaviour. Would it be acceptable for me to hold every Persian I meet responsible for the hanging of gays in Iran and abuse them verbally accordingly?

Read this story from the Guardian, a newspaper far to the Left of most in the US:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/wtccrash/story/0,1300,552742,00.html

and note that this happened immediately after an attack on the United States and long before the invasion of Iraq or even Afghanistan.

Read this story from the BBC this week:

http://newswww.bbc.net.uk/1/hi/uk/4881474.stm


"Stop playing the victim you passive-aggressive twat."

If I were sitting in the same room as you having this discussion with you would you address me like this? If we were sharing a beer in a pub and I asked you to restrict yourself to the subject of my argument rather than my personal qualities would you accuse me of "shedding crocodile tears"? I honestly want to know.

You are probably a nice guy, Night Owl. We probably have more in common politically than you might want to admit. We share a language and an interest in the world. We both seem to be committed to making it better. Why do you feel you have to communicate with me in insults? I really want to know.

Posted by: PooterGeek | Apr 19 2006 17:41 utc | 18

@annie:

Great minds think alike ;-)

Posted by: Malooga | Apr 19 2006 17:44 utc | 19

"What of that written there is a "smear"? Did the sentence "These folks are about as left as Joe Lieberman" hurt? Why?"

My problem wasn't with that but with the phrase "I wonder who finances these folks" written directly underneath Engage's openly stated mission---as though any group of people fighting anti-Semitism must have sinister financial backers.

I'm not Jewish, but can't you see that someone who is Jewish could perfectly reasonably see a connection between that kind of implication and a catalogue of perennial and persistent historical libels against the Jewish people? It's like seeing a black man driving down the street in a flashy car and saying "I wonder where he gets his money from".

Besides what has the membership of Engage got to do with the content of the Euston Manifesto?

Posted by: PooterGeek | Apr 19 2006 17:52 utc | 20

Anybody knowns something about "www.waynemadsenreport.com" and wayne madsen?
Is missing?

Posted by: curious | Apr 19 2006 17:54 utc | 21

did anyone read the story about president bush getting up to speed on blogs, and the governments fore into the internet in the last couple days? i saw the headline at google (top shelf0 but didn't go to far.

anyone have a heads up on this.

Posted by: annie | Apr 19 2006 18:12 utc | 22

well b, if a few regulars have the time today, you can deconstruct this Euston claptrap line by line. It's gonna eat up your bandwidth -- Pooter seems to have plenty of free time for feeble responses.

What sort of shit beer were they serving in that pub anyway, "Pooter" ? (Jesus H. - do we really have to keep using this limey-pommy baby-name).

Posted by: DM | Apr 19 2006 18:19 utc | 23

Who is providing financing is a legitimate question to be asked of anything, you idiot.

Or is asking about campaign financing now to be conflated with antisemitism, just as Engage is attempting to conflate antizionism with same?

Posted by: Not In My Name | Apr 19 2006 18:20 utc | 24

@curious - I can reach http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/
---
@annie - CIA mines 'rich' content from blogs
---
@pooter

Besides what has the membership of Engage got to do with the content of the Euston Manifesto?

As said, half of the signatories are from Engage and I wonder how they just meet by chance in bar. They didn´t of course. Now I have learned that with evaluating intend of political groups or activists, "follow the money" is indeed a serious question that should be openly answered.

Some people claim to fight Global Warming but are financed by the oil industry. To know their financers does help to find their real intent.

So again: As "Engage" is obviously, by at least 13 of 27 people as first signatories connected to of the "manifest" questioning about their backers is appropriate. Who finances these guys? Do you have an answer?

You also in your first comment lamented about no serious discussion on the content of the "manifesto". I did ask serious content questions as did Malooga in his original commenting.

How about answering to the issue instead of starting sort of pissing contests?

Posted by: b | Apr 19 2006 18:24 utc | 25

We are saying that violations should be criticised consistently, regardless of the identities or affiliations of their perpetrators.

Sorry, but whatever the magnitude of atrocities committed by Saddam simply is not as important to me as the atrocities committed by my own countrymen.

Call me a cultural relativist, a terrorist apologist, or whatever you like (although you probably shouldn't call me a socialist), but when fellow countrymen under orders from my own government commit barbaric acts of torture, I feel a special duty as a citizen to speak out.

Everyone has a right to choose his own battles. Simply because I choose mine closer to home makes them no less important nor worthy of my effort - regardless of any percieved difference in magnitude. Torture is torture, period.

The Euston Manifesto does not make any blanket condemnation of the Left and I would defy anyone to find a passage that does so.

You may may not a blanket condemnation of the entire left (because you claim to be a leftist you would thus be condemning yourself). But you do take a lot a broad, unjustified swipes at a lot of people, and your inflammatory rhetoric, name calling, and insinuating tone make you no friends among those you are alledgedly trying to persuade.

If I were sitting in the same room as you having this discussion with you would you address me like this? If we were sharing a beer in a pub and I asked you to restrict yourself to the subject of my argument rather than my personal qualities would you accuse me of "shedding crocodile tears"? I honestly want to know.

First off, I wouldn't share a beer with anyone who calls me an anti-semitic, terrorist appeaser infected with Anti-Americanism.

Second, if you said something like that to my face I'd do a lot worse than call you a passive agressive twat.

Posted by: Night Owl | Apr 19 2006 18:26 utc | 26

in england, these are the same class traitors who neutered the trade union movement, who fought against the miners, the printers & the dockers in the name of a liberal modernity

what the left needs is not less rage but a tidal wave of increasing & active rage

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 19 2006 18:27 utc | 27

Not entirely OT: Juan Cole on the noise around the recent Mearsheimer and Walt paper, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.

Posted by: Not In My Name | Apr 19 2006 18:29 utc | 28

& what my dear dear 'new socialist' wouls like to for get is the terrorism being enacted in ramadi, in fallujah, in tal afar in village after village town after town by the forces of bestiality represented in this moment as american forces

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 19 2006 18:33 utc | 29

Sorry, forgot to link to Cole's comments.

Posted by: Not In My Name | Apr 19 2006 18:34 utc | 30

Actually, on consideration, Malooga has already done a pretty decent job of deconstructing this pseudo-manifesto and there’s probably not much fun or any more value debating the content.

It's been a while since I lived in Britain, but I just can't imagine this sort of shite spontaneously manifesting itself in a cozy little pub by Pooter and like-minded “intellectuals”. It really does sound like just another little project in the info-wars.

Pooter, I expect to see a complete financial declaration and photocopies of all of your bank account transactions for the last two years, full disclosure on the funding of your website, a pretty good damn explanation why a computational biologist can’t find a job in this wonderful economy, and lastly, an explanation of why these very specific issues are of such intense interest to you (e.g. you know, like the downtrodden unemployed black battler in grimy London has the two-state solution as No. 7 on his list of things to do to save the world).

Posted by: DM | Apr 19 2006 18:46 utc | 31

@DM

It really does sound like just another little project in the info-wars.

Yes.

@b

Great sleuthing about Engage and the background of this front group.

Posted by: Malooga | Apr 19 2006 19:00 utc | 32

Interesting how Norm Geras and Nick Cohen, pootergeek and friends have been tracking their posted stories fishing to gage reactions no?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 19 2006 19:00 utc | 33

On preview I see DM has beat me to the punch...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 19 2006 19:04 utc | 34

"Sorry, but whatever the magnitude of atrocities committed by Saddam simply is not as important to me as the atrocities committed by my own countrymen."

Thank you for being clear and honest about that. I now know where you stand, Night Owl. And on that question at least, I stand against you.


"First off, I wouldn't share a beer with anyone who calls me an anti-semitic, terrorist appeaser infected with Anti-Americanism."

No one called you any of those things...


"Second, if you said something like that to my face I'd do a lot worse than call you a passive agressive twat."

...but clearly you are a Man Of Peace.


"Pooter, I expect to see a complete financial declaration and photocopies of all of your bank account transactions for the last two years, full disclosure on the funding of your website, a pretty good damn explanation why a computational biologist can’t find a job in this wonderful economy, and lastly, an explanation of why these very specific issues are of such intense interest to you (e.g. you know, like the downtrodden unemployed black battler in grimy London has the two-state solution as No. 7 on his list of things to do to save the world)."

Because it's not what I say that counts; it's who I am. That's where I came in. That's where I'll leave.

Posted by: PooterGeek | Apr 19 2006 19:07 utc | 35

but clearly you are a Man Of Peace

LOL. At least I don't support immoral and genocidal wars of aggression, Pooter.

Or shouldn't I draw equivilencies?

Because it's not what I say that counts; it's who I am. That's where I came in. That's where I'll leave.

As if you actually said anything that did count.

Posted by: Night Owl | Apr 19 2006 19:25 utc | 36

@Pooter - still no answer on my questions on the CONTENT of the "manifesto"?

You claimed I am genuinely interested in a real debate about the Euston Manifesto with others on the Left,

I claim that the center of any "progressive" "left" manifesto has to be a clear statement about the economic system that is to be supported. This is the core element and the "manifesto" avoids it.
A "left" "progressive" system must include some essentials like free health care for everyone, no one sided trade agreements, no IMF-like loans for the "right" political behaviour, progressive taxes, equal or higher taxes on capital gains than on labor gains etc.

Why don´t you take up the debate on this if you are "genuinely interested" in this?

Posted by: b | Apr 19 2006 19:30 utc | 37

Well Pooter, bye. You could have said what you wanted to say -- as you did in the "Manifesto" that was deconstructed by Malooga -- without resorting to the "sob story" and bio (the phrase "where I'm coming from" is not normally an intro to someone's entire autobiography).

You'll have to check out of every political debate if you refuse to discuss your campaign funding.

Posted by: DM | Apr 19 2006 19:35 utc | 38

I saw this when it came out and couldn't muster the energy. It's not worth it: r'giap has the right idea here I think.

I can't even read all of Malooga's attack because then I'd have to think about the horror of the manifesto. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Posted by: Colman | Apr 19 2006 19:48 utc | 39

Seems to me that "Pooter" was the one who dragged in the topic of Who I Am -- identity politics as a form of source legitimation -- in an attempt to shore up the Manifesto against (imho deserved) criticism, by playing the race card. Wasted effort. If your ideas are sound, does anyone online care whether you're Black or not? If your ideas are not sound, telling a roomfull of electronic strangers that you're Black -- something they can hardly verify -- will not render the ideas any sounder. [On the internet, nobody knows or cares if you're a dog.] Condi's Black -- though not unemployed -- and her ideas are sociopathic.

This sounds to me like classic infowar. The upmarket version of freeping.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 19 2006 19:52 utc | 40

Glad I missed it.

Forgot my helmet today.

Posted by: Groucho | Apr 19 2006 20:21 utc | 41

Malooga, thanks for for pointing to that manifesto, even if it also extremely depressing. Good comments. I haven’t read it all carefully yet. I will though.

If I might make a small, timid suggestion, to round the manifesto off. Entirely virtual of course.

Briefly - not the words but the gist -

We are green. We respect animals, want to protect endangered species, stop seal killing (inter alia), have respect for wildlife. Substitutes for oil must be supported by the Gvmt. to reduce ‘dependence’. Ethanol, hybrid cars, turning off the TV at nite and using paper rather than plastic bags are the duty of all caring, upright citizens. Wasteful and polluting ways - think of rivers! - and owls! dolphins!- must be protected, specially in developing countries, to stop fish stock depletion and disasters like the Aral sea. We are one with nature. Nature needs us!

Aspartame causes cancer, be aware of that.

Unbridled exploitation of the environment leads to illegitmate profits!

------

I’m always looking to improve my English vocab. So I looked up Pooter and found this:

“I studied Science to intermediate level in secondary school, including Biology. We had exactly one field trip in three years, into the school grounds, where we were armed with Pooters. A Pooter is a small container with two plastic tubes coming out of it. One of them is covered with gauze on the end inside the container. The idea is that you suck through this one while pointing the other one at various of God's Little Creatures, which find themselves rudely transported into your container for future study. Of course the two tubes look very much alike, and if you then suck through the wrong one you get a mouthful of insects.”

http://www.show.me.uk/dbimages/chunked_image/shm0084.GIF>Picture of a pooter

It has other meanings as well.

Posted by: Noisette | Apr 19 2006 20:45 utc | 42

"For a Renewal of Progressive Politics"

or, rather

"For a Renewal of Aggressive Politics".

Thanks Malooga. Interesting read.

Posted by: PeeDee | Apr 19 2006 23:14 utc | 43

@ Malooga - Thanks for the insightful and easy presentation of Euston and its fallacies.

Is anyone else reminded, by Euston, "our" leaders, and their military adventures, of the apologia for American forays into imperialism a century ago, and of Mark Twain's dissent, "To the Person Sitting in Darkness"? So much for "progress".

. . . Extending the Blessings of Civilization to our Brother who Sits in Darkness has been a good trade and has paid well, on the whole; and there is money in it yet, if carefully worked -- but not enough, in my judgement, to make any considerable risk advisable. The People that Sit in Darkness are getting to be too scarce -- too scarce and too shy. And such darkness as is now left is really of but an indifferent quality, and not dark enough for the game. The most of those People that Sit in Darkness have been furnished with more light than was good for them or profitable for us. We have been injudicious.

The Blessings-of-Civilization Trust, wisely and cautiously administered, is a Daisy. There is more money in it, more territory, more sovereignty, and other kinds of emolument, than there is in any other game that is played. But Christendom has been playing it badly of late years, and must certainly suffer by it, in my opinion. She has been so eager to get every stake that appeared on the green cloth, that the People who Sit in Darkness have noticed it -- they have noticed it, and have begun to show alarm. They have become suspicious of the Blessings of Civilization. More -- they have begun to examine them. This is not well. The Blessings of Civilization are all right, and a good commercial property; there could not be a better, in a dim light. In the right kind of a light, and at a proper distance, with the goods a little out of focus, they furnish this desirable exhibit to the Gentlemen who Sit in Darkness:

LOVE,
JUSTICE,
GENTLENESS,
CHRISTIANITY,
PROTECTION TO THE WEAK,
TEMPERANCE, LAW AND ORDER,
LIBERTY,
EQUALITY,
HONORABLE DEALING,
MERCY,
EDUCATION,
-- and so on.

There. Is it good? Sir, it is pie. It will bring into camp any idiot that sits in darkness anywhere. But not if we adulterate it. It is proper to be emphatic upon that point. This brand is strictly for Export -- apparently. Apparently. Privately and confidentially, it is nothing of the kind. Privately and confidentially, it is merely an outside cover, gay and pretty and attractive, displaying the special patterns of our Civilization which we reserve for Home Consumption, while inside the bale is the Actual Thing that the Customer Sitting in Darkness buys with his blood and tears and land and liberty. That Actual Thing is, indeed, Civilization, but it is only for Export. Is there a difference between the two brands? In some of the details, yes.

We all know that the Business is being ruined. The reason is not far to seek. It is because our Mr. McKinley, and Mr. Chamberlain, and the Kaiser, and the Czar and the French have been exporting the Actual Thing with the outside cover left off. This is bad for the Game. It shows that these new players of it are not sufficiently acquainted with it. . .


Posted by: small coke | Apr 20 2006 3:46 utc | 44

I am continuously baffled by 'liberals' who believe that the primary problem with politics is that extremists on both sides are destroying the debate, and therefore there needs to be a middle ground of some kind.

I am reminded of Bobby Kennedy's response to the violent attacks on the Freedom Riders in 1961. He blamed the violence on "extremists on both sides."

When one side is clearly both factually correct (the Freedom Riders were testing established federal law) and has justice on its side, as well as being pragmatically non-inflammatory and practicing non-violence, and the other side is a bunch of racist thugs who believe in the power of violence to shape reality to their vision of how it should be, calling both sides equally complicit is little short of absurd.

The leftists that you wish to reject in your toothless manifesto are, where facts can be found, factually correct - globilization has not brought economic equality, only mass riches to the already-rich, as documented by, uh, Merrill-Lynch, and of course, there's the Weapons of Mass Destruction, which we were completely, utterly, unmistakably 100% correct on...and war supporters, especially those on the "left", were absolutely completely wrong on. The analogy can be stretched further, of course - other than the ever-elusive charge of anti-semetism, it's rare to find these radicals engaging in overts claims of racism. Rather, we tend to say things like "Hey, maybe bombing Arabs isn't a good idea if we want Muslims to like us" while the strategies of the American Right are predicated on a racist strategy covered by a very thin, ugly blanket that falls away when tactics like the conflation of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bil Laden are used.

Instead of offering a compromise, or triangulation, between "progressives" and potential progressives in the center right, you're doing nothing but diluting what "progressive" means...if that's even possible after progressives lined up and cheered for John Kerry in 2004.

Your middle way is nothing but a return to Clinton-era politics. And lest you forget - 9/11 changed everything.

Posted by: Rowan | Apr 20 2006 4:02 utc | 45

newsflash pooty. people on the left in this country anyway, don't refer to themselves as leftists, but i did notice that the neocon joe klien(the liberal himself!) did make a very public distinction on huffington post excusing his revealing gsnaff calling liberal anti americans (he meant leftists!). so , is leftist the new talking point? a divide and conquer new strategy? are you a liberal, or a leftist? no no mr bill, i am not a leftist fringe unhinged. just sayin, you may want to strike this from your vocab, total giveaway
"we're leftist and we're proud" nah, no ring

thanks for the link b. this whole manifesto brought to mind that article from the o so reputable wash times that megaphone of anti leftist thought


"A lot of blogs now have become very big on the Internet, and we're getting a lot of rich information on blogs that are telling us a lot about social perspectives and everything from what the general feeling is to ... people putting information on there that doesn't exist anywhere else,"

"We're certainly scoring a number of wins with our ultimate customer,"

ok pots, i'm calling you out. your whole scheme is a boondoggle to trap and engage uneducated gullible 'liberals'
imo. mayyyybe i'm wrong but my bullshit meter is spinning.

please, enlighten me. is there anything about the neocon plan, approach, meme, that you find abhorent?

we've all heard about the tendency of the left to be anti semetic, racist, etc. let me hear you spew some dirt on the right. dare ya

do you love all things zionist? and no , i am not talking jews, they are amoungst us and i personally draw a very distinct line between jews, israel, and the foriegn policy of israel.

to me, saying one is anti semitic because you disagree w/israels policies is no different than saying a person is un american because they are from the left.

lets just stick to politics. criticize something against israeli policy. or just come clean.

Posted by: annie | Apr 20 2006 4:56 utc | 46

i want to amend my last post . i meant

a very distinct line

Posted by: annie | Apr 20 2006 5:04 utc | 47

Galloway:
Every country needs a labour party. We no longer have one

Labour's long retreat from class politics - marked by the marginalisation of trade unions, privatisation, the abandonment of council housing and the helter-skelter of billionaires queueing up to fill the party funding gap - has finally forced some worms to turn.
...
When Mr Blair bragged to the assembled claque at a soiree in the headquarters of Goldman Sachs - whose partners are among the richest people in Britain - that everyone present was paying less in income tax under him than under Margaret Thatcher, he seemed neither to understand nor care how repellent that sounded during a third Labour term and with multiple urban deprivation beginning just a stone's throw from the City.

In meetings across the country over the past couple of years I have been arguing that every country needs a labour party - but that Britain no longer has one. A party that will serve working people, whose interests are different and separate - as Keir Hardie argued more than a century ago - from those of Goldman Sachs. A party that will care for those now too old to work; for those who are not yet old enough to work but deserve the right to free study; for the poor, the marginalised, the migrants.
...
As the former car workers of Dagenham and the West Midlands, mill-hands in Lancashire and miners in Yorkshire watch their rulers cavort with the undeserving rich, it's little wonder if some are prey to the patter of Nick Griffin and his fascism-lite. The worst thing to do under such circumstances is to make concessions to the BNP's immigrant-bashing or to slander white working-class people as irredeemably racist, while continuing with the destructive neoliberal policies that are fragmenting and impoverishing working-class communities.

The fascists were driven out of the East End in the 1930s, 1970s and 1990s by uncompromising opposition to their racist filth and through the unity of white, black and Asian working people around genuine labour-movement values of solidarity and equality. Yet they are not the values prized by New Labour. The party made its bed when it abandoned those things that had commanded the loyalty of generations for the fool's gold that is the temporary favour of rich men. In next month's local elections it will have to lie in it - its former heartland supporters the victims, not the villains of the piece.

Posted by: b | Apr 20 2006 6:07 utc | 48

Good find there Small Coke.

Very unwise, imho, to associate with people dragging around manifestos.

Posted by: Groucho | Apr 20 2006 13:38 utc | 49

Rowan, who was arguing for a middle way here? I didn’t capt that at all, maybe I am shortsighted..those sneaky caviar leftists or liberals are subtle.. eh what?

We have plenty of middle way and the cutting out of ‘extremists’ in the West.

A good example is France - Le Pen came second (above the socialist Jospin) in the last F. pres. elections. (Cutting a long story short, as I am sure you understand.) And there is not one single député from the National Front in the F parliament. Not one. The Troskyists got 10 % in the first round - they have no seat either, though that is perhaps more usual / comprehensible / natural, etc. So France has become basically ungovernable, also due to other factors, extreme centralisation, economy, etc. The ruling elite represent maybe - maybe - 20% - 30 % of the population. And on some issues only.

This kind of ‘democracy’ is of course a travesty of the concept itself. (Not that I myself believe in the original concept.) It’s the middle way! Carefully engineered by the spin doctors, TV, poor education, pandering to individual or narrow group interests, etc. - I needn’t flesh it out.

Am I making sense? Did I misread the thrust of your post?

As for globalisation, you are wrong. As an outcome of the ‘free market’, imposed by the rich and powerful (military might, world bank, etc.) its outcome has been dismal in my eyes, nevertheless, say, for example, the Chinese have managed to hoist themselves up economically in a big way (don’t tell me about the sick /poor / little children in the countryside, I know all about that), they have joined in, they have wanted, achieved; the middle class (whatever that is) is growing. And even the poor are not poorer than before. Are some becoming illegitimately rich from these actions? You bet.

A careful even jaundiced reading of the usual average stats Gvmts. publish shows a slight postiive effect, negative for some to be sure.

All that is by the way - the model itself is crap.

Posted by: Noisette | Apr 20 2006 18:34 utc | 50

Noisette,

Yeah, you're misinterpreting the thrust of my remarks, I perhaps used "you" poorly - it was aimed at the author of the manifesto who came to defend his masterwork. Very rarely here are people into arguing for a middle way, which is why I stick around.


Though I don't understand your statements about globalization. If the effects are positive, then how is the model bad?

Posted by: Rowan | Apr 21 2006 2:48 utc | 51

Rowan well good that is cleared up.

Anyway within the model of ‘growth at all costs’, economic development, etc., growing exchanges (economy 101) do their job.

For sure evaluating the effects of ‘globalisation’ today (19th century different), is fraught with difficulties. Every plus argument - e.g. bigger GNP, less absolutely poor ppl, less infant mortality, etc. is counter balanced with another - bigger income gaps, more sad poor ppl in relative terms (huh!), etc. etc.

The superficical problem is that many of these calculations are partisan, or shoddy; in any case partial, as they fail to take into account major effects such as wars, displaced ppl (refugees), growing or sometimes sagging populations, cultural change, climate, etc. etc. But at that superficial level, I reckon it is likely that the overall effect is ‘positive.’ But it is like a Psych. test, depends on pov. Who knows. Measures ..?

At another level, more fundamental, none of them take into account how resources in the environment (fossil fuels, water, minerals, bio mass, etc.) are used, and used UP, to create that ‘growth’; what might happen next is not a consideration.

Bad accounting leads to junky conclusions. So the temporary effect may be seen as positive in the short run within a certain framework, but is invisbly catastrophic in the long run.

Posted by: Noisette | Apr 22 2006 19:25 utc | 52

I've managed to save up roughly $77308 in my bank account, but I'm not sure if I should buy a house or not. Do you think the market is stable or do you think that home prices will decrease by a lot?

Posted by: Courtney Gidts | May 19 2006 2:45 utc | 53

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