Thursday, October 05, 2006

Restoring the identity of the "Left"

I have been continuously whining about the consistent downfall of the "Left". It has become evident that Anti-Americanism has overtaken all the principles on which the Left was founded.

The Euston Manifesto is a great study that goes into more depth of this new reality plaguing the globe. Here are some quotes from the article:

"The manifesto contains three main points of criticism: against "the anti-Americanism now infecting so much left-liberal (and some conservative) thinking"; against making excuses "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"; and against "some who exploit the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people under occupation by Israel, and conceal prejudice against the Jewish people behind the formula of 'anti-Zionism'.""

As a result, Lappin explains, the people behind the Stop the War Coalition (which organized mass rallies before and after the invasion of Iraq) have become the mainstream of the left, and bring with them radical positions on Israel and extremist Islam. "Basically," Lappin says, "the anti-American left has not changed. It still sees the U.S. as the source of all evil."

Geras adds: "The situation after 9/11 created some very serious friction on the left, some of which became anti-American at all costs, anti-imperialist. It became a left that sees the world in black and white, where every American initiative is bad."

As a result, the three agree, the manifesto appeared. One of its sections states: "We must define ourselves against those for whom the entire progressive democratic agenda has been subordinated to a blanket and simplistic 'anti-imperialism' and/or hostility to the current U.S. administration." The manifesto's authors consider the conciliatory attitude toward Muslim extremism as part of this trend.

"In the name of cultural relativism, the left now supports Islamic values, primarily because they are anti-American," says Lappin. "The left is also trying to 'understand' terrorism, and understanding in this case is reflected in an attempt to justify it and argue that terrorism stems from poverty and distress. They are not trying to save human lives, only to promote their political objectives."

Geras also feels "a large part of the left is acting indulgently" toward terrorism and Muslim extremism.

Counsell, for his part, is more cautious, saying only, "Most of those on the left who have associated themselves with Muslim extremism are weeds," but makes it clear that he does not accept attempts to justify terrorism.

Read more here


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