I have been reading through NormBlog’s criticism of the criticism of the Euston Manifesto. In platform one, he points out something that I noticed too. So many of the commentators have missed what seemed to me a central point :
The founding supporters of this statement took different views on the military intervention in Iraq, both for and against. We recognize that it was possible reasonably to disagree about the justification for the intervention, the manner in which it was carried through, the planning (or lack of it) for the aftermath, and the prospects for the successful implementation of democratic change.
Many supporters of the manifesto explicitly point to the fact that it is a pro-war document as the reason for signing it. Many commentators on the right snearingly claim that a few leftists are finally starting to realize that it’s better to be pro-war than pro-terrorist as though those were the only two options.
For whatever reason, the MSM and the conservative establishment have found it convenient to pretend that the nonsense spouted by Galloway’s Respect, A.N.S.W.E.R. and other fringe organizations like the SWP represents the majority of anti-war opinion. Perhaps it’s easier to argue against shouting lunatics than to confront the quiet voice of reason and moderation? Perhaps it sells more newspapers ?
Anyway, for whatever reason, a lot of people have bought into this narrative. The Euston Manifesto is important because it provides an opportunity to make it clear that opposition to the war is not anti-american or pro-dictator or anti-democratic or pro-terrorist. It gives us a chance to say what we stand for not just what we oppose. That’s why I signed it.