Beginning with these words from T.S. Eliot, our friend Norm Geras eloquently explains why he and other British leftist have launched the Euston Manifesto, which calls for an unambiguous democratic commitment by the left, with no apology for tyranny:
Anyone who’s ever belonged to anything, as we all have – a family, a group, a club, a movement – will know that this involves having some quarrels. If you’re part of the left then you have your quarrels; and having been a part of the left all my adult life, I’ve had my share. But some things you quarrel about. About other things you draw a line.
Over 9/11 I decided the time had come to draw a line. A left truly committed to democratic values doesn’t make excuses for terrorism, not at all, not ever. Terrorism is murder. There is no context that makes it OK. This is a simple principle – that you do not wantonly kill the innocent – embodied in the most basic moral codes of civilized existence, embodied in the rules of warfare and in international humanitarian law.
The left paid a heavy price for its fellow-travelling with – its justification and apologetics for – the mass crimes of the Soviet Union in the twentieth century. For another generation to put its foot upon a similar path is not something any of us should look upon with indulgence. It’s the place to draw a line. You make an end and, if necessary, another beginning. The left has to be better than that.