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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Nice Balm 

...But it's not a project.

I think you have to be a communist or at least a surrealist to need a manifesto. A manifesto has to crystalize some new set of ideas and present it to the public for the benefit of the public. But this Euston Manifesto, which people have been reacting to (for example, Lenin's Tomb), is hardly a manifesto. It's full of all sorts of stuff, this and that, agree, don't agree, but it's not putting forward any vital new position. If you read it carefully it's merely mapping out a safety zone for people who don't want to have an opinion. It's a terribly long version of "Eh, yes, but you know". It's dithering. Not that there's anything wrong with dithering. Dithering is okay. It is normal. But it's not a project. It's a bit like declaring, "From now, let us procrastinate!" There's nothing that, in the light of this lamp, can now be done more effectively.

Beyond that, it only seeks to defend what the US and UK governments are already doing anyway. Who needs that? Governments are fully capable of manifestification, it's what they do. So who needs it? Most likely, the signatories themselves. Why? That's an interesting question.


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