Euston and Beyond

Matt, on his new blog Euston and Beyond wants to take up the issues raised by the Euston manifesto. I signed the Euston Manifesto, like quite a few others not because I agreed in every particular with it, but because I think the segment of left liberal opinion it represents needs to define itself and speak out in a more identifiable way. I’ll let Matt’s inaugural post speak for him.

The Euston Manifesto was, as two of its initial signatories explained, a preliminary step articulating a set of core beliefs in order to stimulate debate amongst those of unambiguous democratic commitment, whatever their political leanings. It was born of a belief that the most important ideological battles of the 21st century will not be between Left and Right, but between those who support democracy with universal human rights at its core and those who do not. It condemned those who would support backward and violent regimes and groups in the name of anti-imperialism, and rejected enemy of my enemy style logic. Arguing instead for universally applicable progressive liberal values.

It was to be a rallying point for a new democratic movement. It is our hope that this blog, in its own small way, can contribute to this, by providing a space for discussion of the values and ideas expressed by the manifesto. We intend it to be used in the spirit of intelligent and open debate.

I really like the possibility of a new common ground between the moderate right and the moderate left coming out an “unambiguous democratic commitment” because it reflects my own values. I don’t know if Matt is right when he says he believes that there will be a new ideological divide between those that believe in democracy and those that do not but I share his sense that the old definitions are changing and that the possibility of a very different political geography is in the offing. To round out my reactions I am not sure that I would put universal human rights at the core of my unambiguous democratic commitment. My instinct – and I think it is more typical of an American point of view – would be to put freedom and equality of opportunity to self actualize at the core, but it is the kind of difference in values that Matt invites us to explore.

In fact I would like to see more dialog among people who agree with the Euston Manifesto enough to sign it explore where the basic Eustonian political orientation fits into American, Canadian and Australia politics at this point in time. In his latest post Matt gives excellent examples of how both the right and left fail – when they are looking at the other side – to distinguish between the extreme examples of their opponents and the more moderate ones. Crudely summarizing – every conservative is not a Hitler; every leftist is not a budding Stalin. In that atmosphere the common ground in the middle disappears from sight and if there is to be a restructuring of the political spectrum then the common ground must be explored – not ignored.

One Response to “Euston and Beyond”  

  1. 1 Matt M

    I’ve reposted part of the above on ‘Euston and Beyond’ – let me know if you wanted anything changed.

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