The Euston Manifesto


An interesting political development or just another excuse for leading left-wing intellectuals to get into arguments with eachother?

Time will tell… but some interesting blogs linked to this initiative. Needs more digging…


2 responses to “The Euston Manifesto

  1. I hated this when it was first published, partly, I suspect, because I wished I had written a Manifesto and now it was too late. The problem with many Manifestos is that they are all apple pie and not enough beef. Some of our problems really are intractable and need to be dealt with by painful prioritisation.

    It also annoyed me that it started with democracy, as if that is the single most important thing. In my view, democracy is an instrument which helps us to achieve our desired end (a liberal society?), it is not an end in itself; democracy is necessary as a tool which, when it is effective, ensures a number of things (consensus politics, clean(-ish) politics, separation of and accountability of different public institutions, etc).

    And I also hated some of the weaselly phrasing – in paragraph 4 “we look towards progress in relations between the sexes”, for instance. Why not demand equality of opportunity and treatment, irrespective of gender (not “sex”!), race, ethnicity, nationality, etc, etc (bizarrely, by para 15 they have decided to “reject the oppression of women” – why then and not in para 4 when they just want to work towards the end of oppression of women…?).

    My other problem with lots of Manifestos is that they state things which are self-evidently true as if they are remarkable. Try saying the opposite and see how it sounds. If it is absurd, then the chances are that the original phrase is not telling us much. It is also context-dependent: so the US Declaration’s “we hold some truths to be self-evident” was an innovative statement of daring new ideas at the time, whereas now it is a statement of commonplaces. I’m all for expressing ourselves in ways that are sonorous and, hopefully, resonant. But not when the statements are insufficiently robust to support the rhetoric.

    Why doesn’t GlobaLab help us to write our own wiki-festo?

  2. Partly, because it wouldn’t know what to write in it, partly because if it did, it probably would mutate into a political party. And don’t we have enough of those? Er… sorry, forgot I am no longer in Italy, but in the UK!

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