Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Euston Manifesto: Progressive Politics I can believe in

It is a real shame when I've got to read Andrew Sullivan to learn what is going on in my own backyard. He pointed toward The Euston Manifesto as a document by British-based liberals and progressives in the new era of fundamentalism. I went and had a read. It is very, very good. It says exactly the sort of thing I've been trying to say on Page 132 for the last 18 months. The Preamble states:
We are democrats and progressives. We propose here a fresh political alignment. Many of us belong to the Left, 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. 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, and currents that have lately shown themselves rather too flexible about these values. It involves making common cause with genuine democrats, whether socialist or not.

The Manifesto has 15 points.
  1. For democracy, - We are committed to democratic norms, procedures and structures — freedom of opinion and assembly, free elections, the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers, and the separation of state and religion.
  2. No apology for tyranny - We decline to make excuses for, to indulgently ‘understand’, reactionary regimes and movements for which democracy is a hated enemy — regimes that oppress their own peoples and movements that aspire to do so.
  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.
  4. Equality - 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.
  5. Development for freedom - We stand for global economic development-as-freedom and against structural economic oppression and environmental degradation.
  6. Opposing anti-Americanism - 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...The United States of America is a great country and nation. It is the home of a strong democracy with a noble tradition behind it and lasting constitutional and social achievements to its name.
  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.
  8. Against racism - We oppose every form of racist prejudice and behaviour: the anti-immigrant racism of the far Right; tribal and inter-ethnic racism; racism against people from Muslim countries and those descended from them, particularly under cover of the War on Terror.
  9. United against terror - We are opposed to all forms of terrorism.
  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.
  11. A critical openness - Leftists who make common cause with, or excuses for, anti-democratic forces should be criticized in clear and forthright terms. Conversely, we pay attention to liberal and conservative voices and ideas if they contribute to strengthening democratic norms and practices and to the battle for human progress.
  12. Historical truth - we emphasize the duty that genuine democrats must have to respect for the historical truth.
  13. Freedom of ideas - We uphold the traditional liberal freedom of ideas. It is more than ever necessary today to affirm that...people must be at liberty to criticize ideas...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.
  14. Open source - we support the open development of software and other creative works and oppose the patenting of genes, algorithms and facts of nature.
  15. A precious heritage - We reject fear of modernity, fear of freedom, irrationalism, the subordination of women; 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.

Consider me a blogospheric signatory of the Euston Manifesto. How about you? Anything there you don't like?

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