Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Purpose of the Euston

I was recently quoted in a piece by Guy Rundle at Spiked, in a piece slamming what he sees as confusion and lack of direction coming from the Euston Manifesto and its signatories. He says:
“Given that the Euston Manifesto’s high-profile signatories include Julie Burchill, one can presume that its ‘anti-totalitarianism’ is subject to extremely flexible interpretation. Instead of bringing in a new politics, the EM group merely reproduces the confusion and atomisation of the Blogosphere in a new form.”

Perhaps I am approaching the Euston in the wrong manner, but I knew at the offset that my own political leanings were not going to gel with a good portion of those signing it. Some of those who hold the Euston in esteem may have wanted to have this manifesto become a party program of sorts, but the likelihood of having a monolithic voice generated by those signing the Euston is nearly impossible due to its generally vague language, and I believe the original authors foresaw this. On Iraq (and international military intervention for that matter):

“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. 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. 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, to create after decades of the most brutal oppression a life for Iraqis which those living in democratic countries take for granted — rather than picking through the rubble of the arguments over intervention.”

This document is not claiming to unit all of its members under a single foreign policy program, rather a shared understanding that our foreign policy should reflect a progressive internationalist stance - putting democracy at the forefront of political action. It is this basic principle that steers the Euston, even when my specific policy recommendations may radically differ from other signatories.

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