[Martin Bright is] right: right about what the Eustonians think a left consensus should have 'concentrated' on once the Saddam regime was gone; and also right - unfortunately - that we've given the impression in the manifesto as written that arguments about 'the whys and wherefores of the war' ought to have stopped. We have done, but by a mis-statement of a point meant to be about priorities as if it were about mutually exclusive alternatives. It has not in fact been the position of those blogs which took the initiative leading to the Euston Manifesto that discussion of the origins of the war, or the planning for its aftermath, was somehow out of bounds. ...
The manifesto needs to be amended on this point.
I'd point out though that one of the continuing problems with Eustonian position seems to be that despite this acknowledgement that the question of deceit and malice in the run-up to the war is important, it seems like it's taken to be entirely disconnected from the question of what should happen next : today, tomorrow and in the future. For Norm and co. the liberal-left should still get behind the US-led reconstruction effort because ... well because to the Eustonians it's inconceivable that say anything else, like an Iraqi-led, or Iranian-led reconstruction effort could be better for the Iraqi people. It's axiomatic to them that the US / UK presence doesn't fuel the emerging bazaar of violence and civil war. Axiomatic that political decisions made in Washington aren't still making things worse in Iraq. I don't see we have any guarantees of this.
I stick by my claim that the real problem we face is the global guerrillas analysis. That the nation-state is losing the power and legitimacy to control violence, and instead new networks are spawning, often based on identity groups with a gang mentality. It's interesting to see one of the Eustonian ringleaders, Nick Cohen talking about the recent success of the British National Party in the UK.
I think he makes an excellent point drawing parallels between the white tribal identity of the BNP, the muslim tribal identity of Respect, Irish tribal identity of Sinn Fein and Sicilian tribal identity of the Mafia.
But then his analytic resource runs out of steam. He has no explanation or further ability to understand the rise of these tribes and simply rails against those "lost in identity politics and victimhood" and resorts to name-calling Sinn Fein supporters "doltish".
A robust liberal / left / progressive revival can't come without also being "radical" ie. being willing to drill down and "understand" rather than merely condemn the rise of tribal identity-politics. Eustonian muscular posing and insults are not going to bring it about. It's too easy, as generations of educated, white, middle-class, male progressives have discovered throughout history, to ultimately decide that the best hope of defending the decent moderate progressive values they hold, is an alliance with the tribe of other educated, white, middle-class males. By which time, you're a neocon.