Thursday, May 04, 2006


Sometimes people give me grief for not linking to "Screw 'Em" Zuniga's DailyKos. Now I know he recently had his purge but really, do you honestly expect me to take a website seriously when it publishes a diary entry entitled "moussouai is innocent!"?

Avert your eyes if for some reason you think the Euston Manifesto is a waste of time - you won't like what you see:
do any of you really believe that al-qaeda, or anyone else for that matter, would have employed a clearly deranged person like moussouai to be part of the 9/11 plot?

or did al-qaida know it was completely protected by elements within the american government establishment?

several years ago the cia stated that it would not have been able to pull off 9/11. despite its nearly limitless resources. yet an organization that was under the gun and monitored throughout the world was.

think about that.
For f*cks sake.

Tin-foil hats all round.

To their credit, several commenters say the same damn thing, showing not all is rotten in the state of Denmark.

And not that other big-name Leftist blogs are without their fair share of plums.

From Crooked Timber we're treated to the following nonsense, a supposed critique of the Euston Manifesto courtesy of John Holbo - "Euston, We Have A Problem":
The whole ‘Decent Left’ thing, starting with Walzer’s original “Dissent” piece, is about post-9/11 US foreign policy. It isn’t too much of a stretch to say that it’s narrowed to be about the Iraq War, and everything feeding into it and flowing out of it. Whether you are still on the Decency bus depends on whether you are still, to some degree, on the Iraq bus.
Well that's a great way to start an essay, completely misrepresenting a broad swathe of the Left who've signed the Euston Manifesto despite their differences over the Iraq War. Sensible folk who have better things to do with their time than visit the academics' version of Kos have every excuse to stop here and change trains.

Firstly, let's start with "The whole ‘Decent Left’ thing." Drink-Soaked Trot Will was at pains to state he'd deck anyone who called him "Decent" at the last Euston meeting. He's as indecent as Drink-Soaked Trots come and there are others in the group who'd claim the same.

Letting that slip, describing the Euston Manifesto and the "Decent Left"'s outlook by stating "It isn’t too much of a stretch to say that it’s narrowed to be about the Iraq War" is simply incorrect. Not just a little bit, but entirely.

Let's revisit the Manifesto's Statement of Principles:
1) For democracy.
2) No apology for tyranny.
3) Human rights for all.
4) Equality.
5) Development for freedom.
6) Opposing anti-Americanism.
7) For a two-state solution.
8) Against racism.
9) United against terror.
10) A new internationalism.
11) A critical openness.
12) Historical truth.
13) Freedom of ideas.
14) Open source.
15) A precious heritage.
Quite clearly, it's all about the Iraq War.

I always admired Worzel Gummidge, but even he wouldn't show solidarity with this poor excuse for a straw man.

As initial assumptions go, this is about as daft as it gets. But why let the facts get in the way of a good rant?

We learn:
It is significant that ‘the Decent Left’ is, largely, an academic phenomenon. I think this is due in part to the fact that certain varieties of theatrical nonsense, not to put too fine a point on it, afflict segments of the leftist professoriat.
Fair comment perhaps, but then we read:
Maybe it would be a good idea to think about how the Decent Left exhibits self-lacerating impulses, with regard to the left as a whole, analogous to those the left as a whole is alleged to suffer from, with regard to society as a whole: to wit, a tendency to focus on the mote in one’s own eye rather than the beam in thine enemy’s.
What was that about theatrical nonsense?

The crux of the argument is:
But really maybe the best option is to extend a friendly invitation to these decent folks, who really are on the same side with us: just admit you were wrong and adjust accordingly. The fact that your manifesto attempts to skirt around arguments for and against the war shows that you are genuinely, intellectually, uncomfortable with what you have thought in the past. Come clean. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? Some lefties will gloat mildly for a few days. But mostly they’ll just be glad to have you back.
Have us back? Oh, how very kind. But we never left.

Quite what this has to do with the Euston Manifesto or the anti-War EM signatories I do not know. Presumably he feels the anti-War signatories deep down were actually pro-War and must thus beg for the same forgiveness from the rest of the "Left". I don't think so.

The whole piece reeks of "But this is what you really meant!" logic, setting up false premises which the author is keen to destroy. All very well and good, but what does this have to do with the Euston Manifesto? Not an awful lot.

Quite why pro- and anti-War Leftists shouldn't find common ground in anti-totalitarianism and the other 14 Statements of Principle is beyond me. Apparently it's a bad thing, as upon collaboration on a joint manifesto both become pariahs in need of salvation. I can only presume that to the Sporting Wood brigade being anti-War is everything, a badge of honour if you will, to be rubbed in the faces of those who might feel that despite the incompetence of the Bush administration, seeing millions of purple-fingered Iraqis is a good thing.

From the comments John Holbo makes it clear that for some reason, despite the Euston Manifesto being written by folk with a myriad of opinions on Iraq, being an anti-War Leftist procludes him from signing. Perhaps his initial assumption that the document is a pro-War screed might have something to do with that rather poor judgment.

Harry's Place stalwart Soru says it all:
JH: So you made a mistake. Own up. Formally apologize, for what it’s worth. Get on with it.

Soru: Given that your basic analysis of the motives and thinking of the Euston signatories has been shown to be off base, are you going to be taking your own advice?

Go back, think for a day or two, and write the whole thing again from scratch.

In particular, consider whether the new information you have learnt justifies possibly coming to a different conclusion about whether to sign or not. Failing that, at least provide a new explanation for why it is you are not signing.
Sadly it falls on deaf ears.

And if you think my Kos comparison is out of line, have a look in the commments.

Failed Harry's Place troll Brendan starts spinning the conspiracy wheel:
In other words, despite all the fine words, and fulsome rhetoric, the point of this document is purely and simply to get people to vote Labour, and support Tony Blair. The timing is interesting too. As long as the EMers can persuade people that the major issue of our day is Islamic terrorism and not (as a quick look at the British papers would lead you to believe) the impending disintegration of the Labour party at the council elections, then obviously this helps Blair.

The mindless support of the document from the Guardian and the Observer (which, at least in the latter case, is NOT a liberal newspaper) is based purely on the fact that these papers have a blind spot about Blair, based on ‘97, and they have been completely unable to face up to his recent failings (especially about Iraq).
You've got to chuckle at someone who hasn't noticed that both the Guardian and the Observer have run many, many stories about the "quagmire" in Iraq and thinks that the Observer "is NOT a liberal newspaper"...

Unchallenged, he continues:
Regardless how much we might want to condemn those intellectuals who supported the Leninist/Stalinist tyranny or the tyranny in China under Mao, there is no doubt that the vast majority of them did so because they really believed in Leninism/Maoism. They genuinely thought that authoritarian communism might lead to a Utopia where there was no exploitation or war etc.
Well that's all right. Presumably those of us who thought the invasion of Iraq was a "good thing" are let off the hook then. After all, many of us genuinely believe(d) that things might be a bit better under democracy than under Saddam's murderous regime.

Apparently not.

The meds were wearing off when he wrote:
Could I just add one basic point? That seems to have escaped everyone’s notice?

Why are suicide bombers always referred to as suicide bombers in these discussions? I mean, who gives a shit if the guy with the bombs kills him/herself? It’s a free country (well not Iraq, ha ha ha). Suicide is not illegal. If someone wants to kill themselves it’s their business.

The key point is not that they are suicide bombers but that they are bombers. Can we all get that straight?

Or is the addition of the word ‘suicide’ to create a thick psychological wall between ‘their’ bombers and ‘ours’?
Yup. That's it. Describing people who commit suicide by setting off bombs attached to themselves as "suicide bombers" isn't telling it like it is, it's all about the thick psychological wall. I'm surprised the BBC have the nerve to call them militants.

I did wonder whether these comments were ignored because noone took this loon seriously, but a quick check of other threads shows several folk replying to his nonsense. Ho hum.

Shame the Euston Manifesto went over their heads, but I've never seen the point of Crooked Timber before now and at this rate I never will.


Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home